By Avi Landau Tsukuba might be the SCIENCE CITY ( it was designated so 50 years ago) and it might be full of cutting edge research facilities and institutions of higher learning (as well as an overly large dose of new shopping malls), but it still lies in the heart of one of Japan`s great… Read More What to do with a WAX GOURD ( TO-GAN, 冬瓜)
By Avi Landau It can be said that until about 50 years ago, the hamlet of Saiki ( 妻木), now a part of Tsukuba City, was at the edge of NOWHERE. This is because the land on which nearby Tsukuba Center, Tsukuba University and all their accompanying shops, restaurants, and apartments now stand, was once… Read More Saiki`s Old Fudo-Hall and its Traditional Monthly Women`s Prayer Meetings (妻木の不動尊)
By Avi Landau Thanks in part to the widespread recognition of its healthful, aesthetic, and palate-pleasing qualities, Japanese cuisine has in recent years become a truly GLOBAL PHENMENON. And though now the world over, through encounters at restaurants, tv travel programs, or through one or more of the many books or articles being printed about… Read More Autumn is SANMA-TIME, as Japan`s Favorite Fish of the Common-Man, Sanma (秋刀魚)- is at its JUICY best
By Avi Landau HOW I GOT MY STASH OF CHESTNUTS THIS YEAR On a fine, fragrant autumn morning, I walked into the Kasuga Community Center in Tsukuba . Peering out of the office, from the reception window, was a woman of a certain age- I recognized her as an acquaintance of mine. She does not… Read More What to Do With Your Fresh, In-Season, Raw Chestnuts ?
By Avi Landau In all 20 volumes of the Manyoshu (a collection of Japanese poems compiled in the latter half of the 8th century) and its nearly 5,000 poems, NIRA is mentioned only ONCE – in Volume 14 Poem 3444, among the AZUMA UTA ( 東歌, Songs of the East – meaning Eastern Japan). And… Read More Tsukuba has Broken Out in (C)hives! Nira (韮), Chinese Garlic Chives Seem to be Growing Everywhere!
By Avi Landau It was in the year 700 AD, according to the Shoku Nihongi (続日本紀), an imperially commissioned history completed in 797, that the body of Dosho, a Buddhist priest with connections to the Emperor Monmu(文武天皇), was burned on a funeral pyre in accordance with Buddhist practice. This is the first recorded instance of a cremation having taken place in Japan… Read More An Exhibition of Early Buddhist Funerary Urns (now finished) and a bit on the complicated history of burial and cremation in Japan
By Avi Landau It is the week of the autumnal equinox, and you might catch a whiff of incense in the air as you are strolling about the old neighborhoods of Tsukuba. Don’t worry, you are not having olfactory hallucinations. You might also notice that the local graveyards have been adorned with fresh flowers and… Read More In Line with The Far Side- the Equinox Days and the 3 days before and after are O-Higan in Japan- a time to visit ancestral graves
By Avi Landau One of the benefits (and great autumn pleasures) of living in the Japanese countryside is being able to pick as many akebi as you like – for free (they can cost a pretty penny at Tokyo department stores). Akebi grow on coniferous vines which flower in spring and bear fruit in fall. When… Read More Foraging for Wild Fruit in Tsukuba- Akebi (あけび) – Chocolate Vine
By Avi Landau Many Americans who had been brought up on meat and potatoes got their first tastes of a wider world- I mean beyond those of spaghetti or pizza, at their university food co-ops. These progressive, student-run health food stores, originally spawned by the 1960`s counter-culture movement, gave adventurous and politically or health-conscious students a chance to partake of certain dishes they… Read More HECHIMA (loofah or luffa) – in Japan, much more than just a sponge !
By Avi Landau When they followed their traditional LUNISOLAR calendar, now referred to as the kyu-reki (旧暦, former calendar) or inreki (陰暦), the Japanese were always in tune with the MOON and its PHASES. In fact, under that old system of ordering the days, months and seasons ( first introduced to Japan from Tang China via … Read More A Look at Moon-Viewing ( O-Tsukimi, お月見) in Japan- this year`s JU-GOYA (十五夜) Harvest Moon can be seen on the night of Tuesday September 21st