Japanese culture


By night, they play gigs. By day, they sample ramen in cities across America.

They’re the three women of Shonen Knife, a legendary rock band from Japan. For over 35 years, the band has been serving up infectious punk songs with a delicious twist: Many of them are about food. Think song titles like “Wasabi,” “Hot Chocolate” and “Sushi Bar.” But don’t dismiss them as bubblegum pop: Over the years, some of their biggest fans have included giants of alt-rock music.

This spring, Shonen Knife embarked on its latest adventure – a ramen rock tour of the U.S.

Why ramen? Well, ramen is really like Japanese soul food, says Daisuke Utagawa, a ramen restaurateur in Washington, D.C., and unofficial ambassador of Japanese food culture. “It’s probably as important as your pizza here.”

Ramen Rock: These Japanese Punk Legends Sing About Food

Photos: Ariel Zambelich/NPR


Otemachi 8134 by Krzysztof Baranowski
Via Flickr:
Reflection of a golden sunset.

I love the marketing for this brand… The orange “Let’s go, mango” drink is obvious enough, and the pink is a delicious strawberry pun. Ichi-go, ichi-e(一期一会 / literally, “One time, one meeting”) is a common saying the means that you should treasure every meeting as once in a lifetime. And the word for strawberry (苺) also happens to be read ichigo, and there’s your Japanese lesson for today. 

❀✿ Common Japanese Last Names ❀✿

Sato 佐藤
佐 (sa) : help, aid
藤 (tou) : wisteria

Suzuki 鈴木
鈴 (suzu) : bell
木 (ki) : tree, wood

Takahashi 高橋
高 (taka) : tall, high
橋 (hashi) : bridge

田 (ta) : field, rice paddy
中 (naka) : middle

Watanabe 渡辺
渡 (wataru) : cross, ferry
辺 (be) : area, border

Ito 伊藤
伊 (i) : this, that one
藤 (tou) : wisteria

Yamamoto 山本
山 (yama) : mountain
本 (moto) : base, root, origin

中 (naka) : middle
村 (mura) : town, village

小 (ko) : small
林 (hayashi) : forest

Saito 斉藤
斎 (sai) : purification, worship
藤 (tou) : wisteria

Kato 加藤
加 (ka) : add, increase
藤 (tou) : wisteria

吉 (yoshi) : lucky, good
田 (ta) : field, rice paddy

Yamada 山田
山 (yama) : mountain
田 (ta) : field, rice paddy

Sasaki 佐々木
佐 (sa) : help, aid
々 : repeater kanji
木 (ki) : tree, wood

松 (matsu) : pine tree, fir tree
本 (moto) : base, root, origin