ホテル Types of Hotels and Inns in Japan

Japan has many types of hotels that are quite interesting, some are common in the west while other are uniquely Japanese. One of the obvious is a western style hotel which are like Hilton’s and other chains. So now to the unique ones!

Ryokan

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(click on photo to go to original source)

Ryokan’s are a very traditional type of Inn, dating from the Edo period. They have the traditional  tatami floors, some times an onsen(hot spring) and you get to wear a yukata and geta(japanese sandals).  A common thing to find inside the rooms are supplies for making tea. The very traditional ones have the futon you sleep on while modern style ones might have a mattress on a platform. Also there is usually a traditional dinner served. If it is a small family owned one you get to enjoyed a home cooked style meal. On the fancier scale it might include a kaiseki meal. The smaller ones you usually share a common bathroom(showers and toilets are always separated in traditional Japanese homes), while the larger ones you will have your own bathroom. You can find ryokans in rural areas but also some in the cities too.   Here is a website of ryokans. And here is another.

Capsule 

Capsule Hotel (26)

(click image for original source)

Capsule hotels are the budget friendly hotel($20-$40) and for those that are not looking for many amenities. They are stacked on top of each other creating two rows. Most come with a small TV and internet access. For privacy there is a curtain(though it doesn’t eliminate sound) and any luggage can usually be stored in a locker(though I would think most stays are from missing the train at night or drinking too much and needing a cheap place to rest). Bathrooms are communal.

Love hotel 

Love hotels were made for the couple that need a place for some private time. Say if you have kids, living with your parents to save money or have a room mate this is the place to go. The interaction with staff is minimal making checking in for the short stay discreet by using buttons to pick the room. Often rooms will be themed like Hello Kitty, Batman, a time period or anything you can think of.

もしもし Why is moshi said twice

Moshi is said twice because it is said that foxes can only say it once as もし(moshi). So when you answer the phone to say hello you say  もしもし(moshimoshi) it insures you are not a fox. One story that is of a fox who turns into a woman and tricks men into marrying them.

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So each night she would meet her husband as a woman and leave as a fox. The word for fox is きつね(kitsune) in old Japanese kitsu-ne means “come and sleep” and ki-tsune means “always come”. Because of this combination of the words, the fox got it’s name きつね(kitsune). Though nowadays stories with foxes are usually more mischievous. So like above, always say もしもし(moshimoshi).

The other myth is that ghost can also only say もし(moshi) once and if you answer back they will take your soul!

 

 

夏 What makes a Japanese summer

When I think of a summer in Japan I think of many things. They have their own unique summer. I think of festivals and wearing a yukata. Fanning yourself from the humid heat with a traditional japanese fan and eating shaved ice or drinking ramune. Below I will go into detail about each unique thing.

incense pig

This pig is not only cute but you can put incense in him called
かとりせんこう(katorisenkou) that are suppose to repeal mosquitoes. You can buy it at jbox.com

まなつび  (manatsubi) midsummer day

むしあつい  (mushiatsui)  humid

まつり (matsuri) festival

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はなび (hanabi) fireworks

すいか   (suika) watermelon

ラムネ  (ramune) japanese soda

かきごうり (kakigouri) shaved ice flavored with sweet syrup

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ゆかた (yukata) cotton summer robe/kimono

せみ  (semi)  cicada

ほたる  (hataru) fireflies

きんぎょ  (kingyo) gold fish

furin

ふりん (furin) chime

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うちわ (uchiwa) japanese fan

ふろば Japanese bathing etiquette

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For anyone that doesn’t know the basics of the Japanese bathing:

In a home the bathroom lay out is usually a sink and a place to get unchanged, then there’s the showering area and next to it the bath. Also in public baths there is a changing area, washing area and the bathing area. The toilet is usually in a separate room on its own.

Always wash yourself before entering the bath in the shower area. The bath is a place for relaxing, not cleaning. This applies at public baths and home since traditionally the whole family would bath in the same water.

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かいろ Heat pack

In Japan they have these nifty little packets called kairo that keep your hands warm when you take it out of the plastic packaging. They look like a tea bag but slightly larger and they are disposable. They last for about 5 hours. I ordered some from jbox.com a year ago and they work great, but they are currently out of stock for the moment. They do have the cute hello kitty case I have here. This is a photo of the case below.

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クリスマス Nothing says Christmas like a bucket of KFC chicken

When you think of Christmas you probably think of a family dinner with the fine china and a turkey or a roast, wearing your fancy Christmas clothes. Well in Japan nothing says christmas more then KFC for dinner.

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Why not try a bucket of chicken with a salad and a christmas cake.

And for those people with a finer taste can get this premium roast chicken for 5600¥ which would be about $56 in USD.

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てがみ A gift from Japan

After writing a letter in Japanese for practice to my friend and her mom in Japan, I received a nice letter back and an extra birthday gift from them. We always exchange Christmas and birthday gifts ever year, but I guess I get an extra one this year since they already sent me one last month for my birthday. My friends mom sent me a nice letter back in English saying how when it’s hot she likes to put up a Japanese wind chime. So she sent me one to try since she says it feels much cooler when she hears it chime. My friend also sent me a letter back in Japanese asking how i am and about my dogs. It’s fun knowing I can write the basics in Japanese and feels like I have come quite a ways since when I first started studying.

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侍 Samurai

Here’s a photo of a photo I took at my friends grandparents house in Japan of some samurai. It was really cool to see this hanging in their tatami room. If I remember, her grandfather said that photo was of the famous samurai of that time.

京都 Maiko and maybe a Geisha will make your night in Kyoto, even if it’s just a snap shot!

These are some photos from when I was in Japan for the first time in 2007. I was traveling with my mom and my friend from Tokyo 東京. When we got to Kyoto 京都 the first thing my mom and I wanted to see wear kimono clad women everywhere, we saw a few everyday women dressed in kimono which made me happy, but as for my mom it wasn’t enough, we had to see the geisha. My friend from Tokyo 東京 did want to be out at night in an area she didn’t know, plus she thought we were going on a wild goose chase along with the whole hotel staff. In this geisha quest we also meant seeing a maiko would do, but at the time I never knew the difference between maiko and geisha(or as locals call them geiko).

The key differences between them is the maiko dresses more colorfully and decorative then her, as they call it, “older sister”. A geisha becomes an older sister by taking on a maiko as her understudy and when they come of a certain age or are ready they become a geisha after a ceremony. There is also a ceremony to bind them as sisters as well.

So after arriving in Gion(one of the geisha districts) my mom and I were on the look out for geisha/maiko along with a few other tourist. As you can see I found a few maiko and maybe the one in the car was a geisha since she was being escorted by a few men and didn’t have any decorative head pieces on. Also below I have a a photo I took of the shoes under the doorway and a photo of the entrance where the geisha walked out of. It was quite a fun night!

まあ まあ まあ まあ、おおとう とう とう! Sushi video! I had to make a separate post for it!(^∇^)

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