japan culture facts for kids
Japanese Culture for Children– fun facts, food, music, language, Nihongo 日本: Japanese Culture interesting Facts 4.02/ (80.42%) 96 votes
Unlike most other countries, Japanese food must be beautifully displayed as well as tasty so Japanese cooks take great care in arranging food on the table. Rice, the primary dish, is prepared in many different ways. The Japanese eat rice cakes, rice crackers, and mix rice in various dishes with red beans, fish, and vegetables. Rice is often formed into balls, filled with fish, meat or a vegetable and then wrapped in dried seaweed. Called onigiri, they’re popular for lunches and snacks. Rice is also made into wine called sake.
The next most important foods are noodles and pickled dishes. Noodle dishes are eaten for lunches and snacks. Japanese love pickled foods and they eat pickles at every meal. Also important are soybeans. Tofu, soybean curd, is used in many different ways including making donuts and ice cream. Miso, a paste for flavoring soup and marinating fish, is made from soy beans and rice. Soy is also made into a sauce.
A common breakfast in Japan is a bowl of rice, a bowl of miso soup, a pickled vegetable and a side dish of fish. Dinners are similar to breakfast but have three side dishes. Each side dish needs to be cooked a different way. Two foods unique to Japanese cuisine are sashimi and sushi. Both are made from raw seafood. But sashimi is eaten dipped in soy sauce and sushi is combined with rice.
Japan’s traditional beverage is green tea which may be served hot or cold. It is also canned and sold in stores like soft drinks are in the west.
The traditional Japanese garment is the kimono which is worn by both men and women. However, in modern Japan kimonos are usually reserved for special occasions although one may see elderly women wearing them. Younger men and women prefer western dress as it is less expensive and more comfortable.
A kimono is fastened with a long, wide sash called an obi.The obi is wrapped around the waist and tied in the back. Young girls and single women wear a special type of kimono called a furisode which has long sleeves, is made from colorful fabric and tied with a brightly colored obi. An informal kimono called a yukata is worn at the beach, and at hot springs. Young women and girls often wear gaily colored yukatas to summer festivals.
Plain, black kimonos are worn for funerals by both men and women. Although today black suits are also acceptable. Brides in traditional weddings wear intricately embroidered white kimonos with ornate headpieces. The groom’s kimono is made of black silk embellished with the family crest.
Kimonos are worn with flat thonged sandals called zoris or wooden plat formed sandals called getas. Zoris may be made from rice straw or lacquered wood. Getas are always constructed of wood with two slats of wood fastened to the underneath part of the sole, one near the heel and the other near the arch. The 4 to 5 centimeters high slats keep the geta soles from touching the ground. Zoris are for formal wear while getas are worn with yukatas.
Festivals, Holidays and Celebrations
The two most important holiday celebrations in Japan are New Year’s and Bon Obon. New Year preparations begin in mid-December when everyone cleans and decorates their houses, offices and buildings in anticipation of a visit fromToshigami, the god who brings the blessings of the New Year. Businesses send New Year’s cards to their customers and individuals send them to everyone they know. These are taken to the post office in December to be held for delivery on January 1. People also exchange gifts and give money to children. During the last part of December forget-the-year parties (bounenkai) are hosted. However, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are spent quietly with the family. On New Year’s Eve they listen to the 108 tolls of the temple bells which cleanse us of all sins and bring new life. While Westerners stay up until midnight, Japanese get up early to see the first sunrise. They also eat noodles to bring good fortune in the coming year. New Year’s Day includes a visit to a shrine and a special family dinner.