It has arrived! March Japan-ness is upon us. Below you’ll find the first round matchup for the Traditional Culture bracket. (Vote for Pop Culture here). Losers will be forgotten from the pages of history. (Editor’s Note: Our website sadly only allows one vote to be submitted at a time. Enter your selection before moving on to the next matchup).
Hanami: Japan’s perfect picnic tradition. Grab your friends and family, go sit under the blooming cherry trees and drink and eat your fill!
Tatami: As flooring goes, it’s beyond comfy. The absurd number of slippers you need to own are a bit of a downside, but still.
Sumo: Pacific Rim isn’t real 🙁 But sumo is the closest we’ve come to giant monsters fighting.
Tokugawa Ieyasu: The last of the great unifiers of Japan. He wisely waited for his chance to seize power, became the first shogun, and ushered in the Edo Period. Plus his name contains so many vowels!
Origami: Because folding paper is awesome!
Kendo: Nothing says Japanese nationalism like the beating each other senseless with bamboo swords. Don’t ask about the rules, the judging is more subjective than international figure skating.
Onsen: Few things are as luxurious as a trip to the hot springs. How have onsen not taken off around the world? HOW?
Calligraphy: It’s so pretty, but it’s impossible to read!
Kimono: So beautiful, so graceful, yet so hard to move in and impossible to put on.
Kotatsu: You’d think a heat lamp plus wood and blankets would be a fire hazard. You’d be wrong. Kotatsu are hands down the best way to keep warm in the winter.
Kabuki: The masks and dancing are impressive, but you’ll probably want to bring a pillow to a full 4.5 hour performance.
The Tale of Genji: The world’s first novel and possibly a more tragic love story than Romeo and Juliet
Ikebana: You know they say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, a picture of ikebana is worth more, but I could only come up with twenty-nine. I counted.
Zen Gardens: Such amazing attention to such tiny detail. Why should you vote for zen gardens? Contemplate this question while staring at one.
Tea Ceremony: On the plus side: matcha is delicious and the setting is usually serene. On the negative: sitting seiza through the whole thing might lead to knee issues.
Bonsai: They’re tiny trees! That you can fit in your hand! Yeah, they take entire lifetimes to cultivate and nurture, but ooohh they’re so cute!