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Japan Glances

Slices of life in Japan. Quick looks at aspects of culture, society, and human relations that help to paint a more detailed picture of the nation.

“Nattō”: Japan’s Sticky Superfood

Made from fermented soybeans, nattō is a food with a distinctive flavor and texture. Much loved by many Japanese—although not all—it is most often eaten piled on top of rice or wrapped in a sushi roll.

“Tsukimi”: The Japanese Tradition of Autumn Moon Viewing

Tsukimi means nothing more than “looking at the moon.” But the Japanese custom of holding special moon-viewing parties, in autumn in particular, dates back over a thousand years.

Origami: The Japanese Art of Paper Folding

Origami developed from techniques for folding paper that first emerged in Japan during ancient times. The art is now practiced around the world and is even being applied to help solve technical problems.

“Depachika”: Japan’s Basement-Level Food Markets

Depachika are markets located on the basement level of department stores. These popular shopping destinations offer a wide variety of ready-to-eat foods like side dishes, bentō, and sweets, along with fresh ingredients such as meat and fish.

The Tasty, Affordable Joys of “Oden”

Once a way for common citizens to warm themselves through winter, oden is now sold all year round at convenience stores. This article introduces the most popular ingredients.

Japanese Banknotes

Japanese readily use cash for their day-today purchases even as payment options like credit cards and e-money become more common. This article introduces the people and artistic works featured on the nation’s banknotes and security measures that prevent counterfeiting.


On a cold day, nabe (hot pot) is perfect for warming both body and soul. Here we introduce some of Japan’s most popular varieties.


The eto are zodiacal animals that form a 12-year cycle. Around November and December, the animal connected with the upcoming year starts to appear in stores on New Year nengajō cards and a range of seasonal products on sale in Japan’s stores.


Izakaya are popular places to drop in for a drink and a bite to eat with friends or work colleagues. Shops usually have a casual atmosphere and offer a range of beverages and food.

Japan Glances Index

Discover Japan by picking a theme from the list below and exploring the related topics. Each short overview is illustrated with colorful photographs.

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