Cultural Glossary

This document has additional information on Japanese terms and cultural concepts mentioned in the 47 Japanese Farms blog.

  • bunny in the moon- what many people in Asia see when they look at the moon – just as Europeans tend to see a man, or lady, in the moon.  See the Wikipedia article here
  • genmai saishoku- a diet of ground, raw brown rice raw or lightly cooked vegetables that is considered extremely healthy.
  • hakkou seishin- foods that are made using the process of fermentation. The range and variety of fermented foods in Japan is vast, and includes everything from liquors to soup bases to soybean products. Most hakkou seihin in Japan are considered to be health food.
  • happi coat- a straight-sleeved garment, usually made of  cotton and imprinted with a distinctive crest. They are usually worn only to festivals. Originally, these represented the crest of a family, as happi were worn by house servants. Later, the coats commonly began to display the crests of shops and organizations.
  • Ise Grand Shrine- one of the holiest Shinto sites in Japan, Ise Grand Shrine is located in Ise, a small city in Mie Prefecture. For photos and more information, check out the Wikipedia entry here.
  • Kanji of the Year- a kanji chosen by the Japanese Kanji Proficiency Society (財団法人日本漢字能力検定協会) through a national ballot in Japan. The yearly competition began in 1995. The character with the most votes is selected to represent the events of that year, and is announced in a ceremony on December 12 (Kanji Day) at Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto, Japan
  • koshu- the original “Koshu grapes”were brought from Caucasus through the Silk Road and spread in Japan with Buddhism. They took root in Katsunuma, where the natural environment is suitable for grape growing.
  • Matsushita Institute of Government and Management- a graduate-level leadership and management institution founded by Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic, who had unique views on how innovation and education should be taught to Japan’s rising leaders. The current Prime Minister of Japan was a graduate of the Matsushita Institute, and many of its graduates go on to careers in politics.
  • mikan a seedless and easy-peeling citrus species, probably of Japanese origin, that closely resembles a mandarin orange
  • miso- a high-protein fermented food paste consisting chiefly of soybeans, salt, and usually grain (as barley or rice) and ranging in taste from very salty to very sweet
  • mochi– a soft, chewy rice “cake” made by pounding rice and eaten especially at New Years’s.  Mochi.
  • oshougatsu – the Japanese New Year, and the most important family holiday of the year
  • sake  a Japanese alcoholic beverage of fermented rice, often served hot
  • Seishun 18 kippu- a special train ticket available 3 times a year that allows unlimited rides on local and rapid trains throughout Japan from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south. Although the Seishun 18 is not valid on Shinkansens and limited express trains, it is a great way to enjoy travel at a more leisurely pace.
  • soba a Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour
  • Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)- The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), also known as the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, is a multilateral free trade agreement that aims to further liberalise the economies of the Asia-Pacific region
  • umeboshi- a salty, tart concoction  made from pickled Japanese plums

2 Responses to Cultural Glossary

  1. Takashi Yamamoto says:

    I enjoy your blog very much. I am 62 years old farmer in Tochigi prefecture.
    Your are well come to see and stay in my farm and my town Sakura city.

    I hope to advice you, hakkou seishin is wrong,hakkou seihin is good.
    Seishin means spirit or soul. Seihin means products.
    Shokuhin means foods. So hakkou shokuin is popular word.

    Have a good journey!

    Takashi Yamamoto

  2. Hi!
    I’m Tika from Indonesia. I’m very interested in your project. It is a great program to promote agriculture. I wish I can visit Japan soon and study about sustainable agriculture there 🙂

    Best Regards

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