Zen Humor: Vow Of Silence

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Remember that story about the fellow who wanted to become a Zen Buddhist monk. So he flew to Japan and he had an interview with the head Roshi. And the Roshi gave him instructions and accepted him and he said, “By the way, there is one thing I forgot to tell you. We have a vow of silence here. You can only speak three words every ten years.” So he said, “Okay” and he went to his quarters.

Ten years passed. And he had an interview with the Roshi. And the Roshi said, “Do you have anything to say?” And he said, “The food sucks!” And he went back to his quarters.

Ten more years passed. He had an interview with the Roshi. The Roshi said, “Do you have anything to say?” And he said, “The bed’s hard!” And he went back to his quarters.

Ten more years passed. He had an interview with the Roshi and the Roshi said, “Have you got anything to say?” He said, “Yes I quit!” And the Roshi said, “I can’t blame you, you’ve been bitching ever since you got here.”

#Zen #Buddhism #ZenHumor

Tanabata

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Happy Tanabata tomorrow July 7th! Tanabata is a day that celebrates the legend of star-crossed lovers Orihime and Hikoboshi, who are separated by the Milky Way and permitted to meet only once a year. As part of Tanabata traditions we write our wishes on strips of paper and tie them to branches of bamboo. What’s your Tanabata wish?

#JapaneseCustoms

Nodaiwa: Unagi Restaurant

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Nodaiwa is a traditional unagi restaurant (grilled freshwater eel) established during the late 18th century in Tokyo. This michelin-star restaurant has 4 locations in Tokyo and one in Paris. Its main location is in Azabu, near Tokyo Tower. The 5th generation chef, KANEMOTO Kanejiro, is running the restaurant.

The building in Kamiyacho is an old style kura (storehouse) brought to Tokyo from Takayama in Gifu Prefecture. the restaurant stands out juxtaposed to the tall office buildings around it. The shop in Azabu dates from the 1970s, but the history of the restaurant goes back 200 years with the first chef opening a restaurant called “Nodaya” in Azabu during the Kansei years (1789-1801). Many articles throw around the year 1850 around as the year of establishment.  The Japanese articles just state late Edo period (1603-1868) or the Kansei years (1789-1801).

Chadō (茶道): The Way Of Tea

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The Japanese tea ceremony, also called the Way of Tea, is a Japanese cultural activity involving the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha (抹茶), powdered green tea.

In Japanese, it is called chanoyu (茶の湯) or sadō, chadō (茶道), while the manner in which it is performed, or the art of its performance, is called (o)temae ([お]手前; [お]点前).  Zen Buddhism was a primary influence in the development of the Japanese tea ceremony. Much less commonly, Japanese tea practice uses leaf tea, primarily sencha, in which case it is known in Japanese as senchadō (煎茶道, the way of sencha) as opposed to chanoyu or chadō.

Chanko-Nabe: Pot Meal for Sumo Wrestlers

 

Chanko-nabe – Pot Meal for Sumo Wrestlers

Sumo wrestlers eat chanko-nabe every day to build up strength. Nabe means “Pot” (or a meal simmered in a pot); chanko is the meal eaten by sumo wrestlers. At the sumo stable—the place where wrestlers live and train—there is no hard-and-fast rule about what goes into the pot. Common ingredients are chicken, tofu, and vegetables like Welsh onions and Chinese cabbage, all cooked in a seasoned soup stock.

Japanese cuisine offers a variety of one-pot meals served with rice. Soup stock is heated in a pot at the dining table. Previously cut ingredients, generally vegetables, fish and/or meat, are simmered and eaten around the table. The Japanese enjoy the camaraderie that comes from gathering around a nabe with family members or good friends, especially when it is cold outside.

Sumo wrestlers start their day with a long training session. After grappling, colliding and throwing each other around, expending plenty of energy, they are ready for a hearty meal that is both breakfast and lunch. One job of a sumo wrestler is to eat a lot and gain extra strength. They eat lots of rice, and chanko-nabe, which has plenty of liquid, goes down well with the rice. The vegetables, fish and meat, plus the rice, offer a nutritional balance that is easy to digest. And the meal is easy to make and serve, because one big pot holds enough for the many wrestlers eating together. This explains how chanko-nabe became an essential part of the world of sumo…

#ChankoNabe #JapaneseCulture #CulinaryJapan