2013年08月30日

As Japanese monkeys, which can exist no further north than Japan, live even in a snowy area, they are also known as snow monkeys.

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Wild monkeys, in general, lie in the tropical zones, but Japan, situated in the temperate zones, is also inhabited by wild monkeys. Hokkaido aside, in most parts of Japan including small islands, wild monkeys can be found everywhere. Koujima in Miyazaki, Takasakiyama in Oita and Minosan in Osaka are very well known as natural habitats of them, however they can be easily found in the mountainous regions throughout the country. As a special example, the wild monkeys in jigokudani in Nagano, enjoying hot spring bath, attract many sightseers from around the world. The Japanese monkeys in the picture were taken at Takaosan in Tokyo.
Since the Japanese live in harmony with wil monkeys, Japanese culture has a deep connection with them. Monkeys play an important role in many folk stories, such as 'momotaro' and 'sarukanigassen'. Public entertainment 'sarumawashi' was also born from the belief that monkeys have the mysterious power to cure horse disease.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

通訳案内士 高木聖久

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posted by masahisa at 15:42 | Et cetera | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2013年05月09日

Japanese barrel, as it is called "taru", is made up of rectangular cedar boards tightened up with bamboo hoops and a cedar lid on it.

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Different from a Western barrel featuring a fat body, a Japanese barrel has a straight trunk. "Taru" Japanese barrel is used as a container for liquid such as "sake", "soy sauce", "oil" and "urushi" lacquer, and sugar or dried food. Taru had spread throughout Japan as a convenient container for marine transportation.
We seldom find taru today as this wooden container has been replaced with metal or plastic ones. However, wood-made taru is still used for keeping sake owing to its characteristic fragrance. Many taru barrels as shown in the picture were found in front of a well-known sake maker's factory in Kobe, where fresh sake is poured into the taru covered with a straw mat, what is called "komo", to be delivered across the country.
This traditional "saka-daru" sake barrel is used for dedication to Shinto Shrines in the New Year. In some cases, this is used at an auspicious banquet as a sign of beginning when its wooden lid is cracked with mallets by representatives, then sake in the barrel is served to every attendee.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

通訳案内士 高木聖久


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posted by masahisa at 11:27 | Et cetera | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2013年02月20日

A tuna filleting event, what is called 'Maguro-no-kaitai show', can be seen in many places in Japan.

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'Maguro' tuna is one of the most popular ingredients for sushi in Japan. Each part of tuna flesh is called 'otoro', 'chutoro', 'akami' and so on respectively, according to the part of its body. The same is the case with beef in Western countries. Japan's domestic consumption of tuna is the highest in the world as that fish is loved as the ingredients for sushi and sashimi. Frozen tuna from all over the world and chilled tuna from off the coast of Japan are sold by auction at many fish markets across the country, among those Tsukiji fish market is the most widely known. Just auctioned whole tuna is filleted on the spot early in the morning and sold to sushi restaurants and fish shops by brokerage houses.
This filleting work has become quite a show in recent years.
A tuna filleting event can be often seen in front of sushi restaurants in Tsukiji fish market, as shown in the pictures, and big fish shops in the country to draw attention.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 16:31 | Et cetera | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする