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Seven Things I love doing in Japan...

Journeywoman Mei is an avid traveller, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She enjoys blogging about both her travel and gastronomic experiences. Since she works for a Japanese company Mei has had the opportunity to visit Japan a resounding 17 times. Her visits have included Tokyo, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. We asked her about the nicest experiences she recommends to other women travelling to Japan. Here in words and pictures are her answers...



Little children in kimonos...

I love watching the Shichi-Go-San or 7-5-3 Festival because this is the time that little children get dressed up in the Kimono and are taken by their parents to the temple to pray. – This traditional custom happens on the 15th of November and the kids are taken to be blessed at the local Shinto shrine and to thank God for their good health and pray for future blessings. Children are dressed up in colourful kimonos and they are really adorable.



The art of Kampai...

love the art of kampai, where after a long hard day of work, you, your colleagues and your boss, head down to the restaurant for a drink before dinner. It is customary to start with a glass of beer and then move on to the Sake or Soju depending on your boss' preference. I like the way everybody needs to wait to have their glass filled, and then normally the most senior person will lift up the glass in salute and yell "Kampai!". Everybody yells "kampai" back and drinks their sake. If your boss pours your drink for you, this is the highest honour and you should drain your glass. I love partaking in this act of camaraderie that is unique to the Japanese.



Slurping is a good thing...

like the slurping practice that goes along with eating a great bowl of ramen (noodles). Ramen stalls are a dime a dozen in Tokyo and especially in winter, these little stalls are packed with regular customers, business men, working girls.. etc, etc.. all huddling close and slurping their wonderful bowl of piping hot ramen. Apparently, the noisier you are, the better it tastes and I am inclined to agree. Delicious!



Leave your shoes at the door please...

like the fact that when entering a home, especially a traditional tatami styled abode, one should always remove one's shoes. Also, rolling of heavy bags or items on the Tatami floor is a strict no-no. I love the soft way that the Japanese scurry around on the tatami - so graceful, so light footed!


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