Ōme was far from Edo but today it is one of the most beautiful areas of the Greater Tōkyō Metropolitan Area. It also has a connection to a legendary Kantō samurai hero. Continue reading What does Ōme mean?
Does the city name Yōga have anything to do with yoga exercise? Many people believe it does. Continue reading What does Yoga mean?
牛込 Ushigome (Crowd of Cows) 。 。 牛 ushi cow 込 komi[i] swarming, huddling, amassed, crowded, “in bulk” 。 According to Japanese Wikipedia[ii], in 701, in accordance to the Taihō Code, a livestock ranch was established in this area. In fact, two were established which were sometimes referred to as 牛牧 gyūmaki a cow ranch and 馬牧 umamaki a horse ranch. These two locations came to be referred to as 牛込 Ushigome and 駒込 Komagome. The fact that there was a cattle/dairy ranch here in the Asuka Period is a known fact (it’s documented). The horse ranch is a different … Continue reading What does Ushigome mean?
Christopher Hitchens claimed that religion poisons everything. In this case, it may have poisoned a place name… but not too badly. Continue reading What does Nishiarai mean?
Shakujii Park is a famous park in Tokyo, but do you know it’s dirty little secret? Continue reading What does Shakujii mean?
Gagaku is the name of a type of Japanese music that was developed in the Imperial Court during the Heian Period (794-1185). This music features classical wind, wood and string instruments originally imported from China and Korea. Even if you don’t know much about East Asian music traditions, I think you’ll agree this one is recognizably Japanese. Since we’re getting close to o-shōgatsu (Japanese New Year), I’m getting in the mood for traditional music. So today I’m going to post 3 YouTube links to some very famous gagaku compositions. But first, lets look at the kanji! 雅楽 ががく gagaku The … Continue reading Lady GAGAku