Japanese Emperor Steps Down

The Japanese Cabinet approved legislation to allow Japan’s emperor to abdicate the throne, just this once.  Emperor Akihito wishes to step down and give his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, “time to rule”. This is big news since Emperor Akihito’s abdication will be the first in 200 years.

Of course, there is the opinion for and against this action.  Supporters welcome the idea of letting emperors retire (they did pre-1889 law).  Opponents fear permanent change in the Imperial Household Law would lead to changes eventually allowing women to also be rightful heirs to the throne, although Japan had female emperors in the past as well.

One thing is certain–change.  Somewhere I heard the phrase “Change is inevitable; growth is optional”. This certainly seems to be a time for Japan once again to embrace the challenge of change in its laws governing emperors.  It will be interesting to watch!



Keep Your Dreams Alive

私は日本に行きます。Nihon ni ikimasu. I am going to Japan.

Since childhood I have wanted to go to Japan. I don’t know why. Perhaps the lure of things that interested me such as the intrigue of a strangely written language, the beautiful photo depictions of gardens and flowers, the gorgeous kimonos or simply the exotic and very different culture. Keep in mind, I grew up before the Internet, before easy access to information; the world seemed even larger then. Before Internet connection, different cultures were more mysterious and faraway places  more exotic. Add a child’s imagination, and the exciting dream gets painted with even more vibrant colors. Continue reading

Can You Identify These Two Vegetables?

The supermarket in Japan was great fun. The seafood section was huge compared to the meat section; opposite from my grocery store here in the U.S.  There were unfamiliar vegetables, very different snack items and many seafood options that simply are absent at my local grocery store.

Grocery store visits in travels abroad make great tourist destinations. One gets to see different food items, labels in different languages, different marketing techniques, etc. In fact, there were Japanese men in the produce section during my visit shouting out something that sounded to me like moaning. But they were, in fact, greeting customers to the produce section. Moreover, a visit to the grocery store while abroad is a great way to experience local culture and see everyday people in an everyday setting.

The photo shows two different vegetables commonly eaten in Japan.  I actually ate both several times in my meals but did not know what they looked like uncooked in the produce section.  Can you name the two vegetables?lotus root and bamboo shoot 2