English Speaking Society (ESS)

22.3.18

Instagram @tiu_esgram・Twitter @the52nd_tiu_ess

With about 26 freshmen, 22 sophomores, 4 juniors, and 15 international students, ESS is a club with around 60 people.

Club executives host discussions and debates to improve both English and Japanese levels within members.

President: Shota Hagiwara (Junior)

Requirements
  • No hard requirements, but proactivity is a trait we are looking for
Time

TUESDAY 17:30~19:30
FRIDAY 17:30~19:30

CALENdar
AprilFreshman Orientation
JuneFreshman Contest
AugustSummer Camp
DecemberGraduate-from-Club Ceremony
January or MarchWinter Camp

 Where to make friends on campus?

Author: Juri. A

Editor: Karen. W

Translator: Trang D.

 Where to make friends on campus?

We are well into the spring break, and after that is graduation time for many fourth-year students. In 2020 classes were offered online for the whole year, and in 2021 the class structure changed into a combination of online/ in-person and on-demand. Compared to previous years, the opportunities to interact with other people, which is one of the best parts of college life, were reduced greatly. Many may wonder, how the students who were enjoying lunchtime with their friends, greeted fellow students when passing by on campus, or approached in every class they took made friends at TIU? Yours truly, who is very reserved and only has a few friends in school, had short interviews with some students who are considered “masters in socializing” and have a lot of friends. To overcome the distance between humans resulting from the pandemic and to have a more fulfilling campus life, let’s take a look at how these students spend their time on TIU campus. Let’s take their strategies as hints to a better college experience!

【Hiraide Tamaki】

The first person I would like to introduce to you is Tamaki Hiraide, a third-year student in the Department of International Media Studies, International Relations major. When she walks around campus, she has such a wide network of friends that she often stops by to greet them. She says, “I’ve been able to build friendships since the new semester started. I am open to new opportunities, which allows me to actively challenge myself at any given time.”

When she was a freshman, she joined a cultural club on campus with the hopes of gaining a sense of belonging at TIU. During the club activities, she actively talked to people around her, regardless of whether they were her seniors or juniors, and asked questions about club activities, classes, or private matters as well. TIU has many clubs, such as sports clubs and culture clubs, which allow for students to meet one another and have joyful moments together.

In her second year, Tamaki was not able to participate in club activities as much as she wanted to due to COVID-19. However, in her third year, she participated in the COC Project, a tourism project aiming at reviving the city by planning events and implementing proposed plans. In the past, she knew a lot of senior students, but as the school years passed by and younger students turned into juniors, her acquaintances broadened and she was able to make connections with students of all years.

【Koki Yanagisawa】

The second person I would like to introduce is Koki Yanagisawa, a third-year student in the Department of English Communication, Language and Communication major. He is currently a member of TEDxTIU, a club where TIU students gather and organize TEDx events. Koki used to be an intern of the English Plaza team as well.

 He says, “I joined a community that interests me and provokes my desire to try different things, rather than just trying to make friends.” Back in the day when he usually drop by the Oregon Café inside the English Plaza, which is now temporarily closed due to COVID, he would ask international students, “What are you drinking? What did you do in class today?” In the beginning, he had a lot of small talk, but with the motivation of “challenging myself to have difficult conversations with international students,” he made great efforts to speak in high-level English at the Oregon Café with English-speaking students. This was an important part of his English learning process. As he engaged in more and more conversation with his peers, he found the people that he likes talking to and became friends with them. 

【Chiemi Magallanes】

The third and final person we’d like to introduce is Chiemi Magallanesu, a first-year student in the Department of English Communication, Language and Communication major, and a member of ESS. She has a lot of friends, with her attractive qualities such as friendliness, humor, and energy.

 In order to learn English, Magallanesu often joins the group of international students at the Student Plaza on TIU campus, even when she has never talked to them before, and has conversations with them.  Magayanesu says, “that’s how I expanded my network.” And according to her experience, “Her Instagram QR code is very useful in making new friends!”

 

Chiemi Magallanesu started using Instagram after entering university, and now she has more than 1,000 followers. She says that she has made many friends through Instagram connections and that she has been able to hang out with many TIU students in person. Whenever she has questions about any of her class, she usually asks anyone in the same class with her or her friends, and uses it as a chance to socialize.

[Conclusion] How to make friends at TIU:

The three students who were interviewed for this article had the following three points in common:

  • Joined a club or a community
  • Actively talked to others in their classes, clubs, or groups on campus
  • Acted on their own initiatives

From this, it is clear that people who have many friends do not just stand still and wait for others to come to them, but rather initiate the interactions and go to places where they can meet people. If you are in a place where there is little interaction or limited socializing opportunities, there will be fewer chances to make friends. There may be several people who can become good friends and have many things in common with you, but you just haven’t met them yet. It might be a good idea to step out of your comfort zone and to reach out to those future friends that you haven’t talked to yet!

Let’s all keep in mind how the aforementioned students have been spending their time at school, take the shot to make friends, and make the most out of your college life.

Recommended Campus Spots

Writer:Karen W.
Editor:Aika M.
Translator: Theo F.
Original Language:Japanese

 Hey there! Good job with getting the first half of the semester over with! Up until now, I have mainly been writing about Japanese culture, but today I would like to introduce some spots on campus where you can relax and hangout with friends! Since TIU has two campuses, let me first start with Campus 1!

1. Campus 1

  • The Cafeterias 

There are two cafeterias on Campus 1. The first is located on the second floor of Lecture Hall 1, and offers a wide variety of Asian Halal dishes. The other is located on the first floor of Lecture Hall 4, and offers a wide variety of Japanese food, including ramen, rice bowls, and omelets. Sofas come in different shapes at the cafeterias, making it a comfortable place to spend time with friends.

  • Japanese Plaza

Located on the second floor of Lecture Hall 2, the Japanese Plaza is easily accessible as it is connected to stylish wooden steps outside the building. Many students use this place to study. The plaza also hosts the International Exchange Office and the Japanese Culture Research Center.

  • Student Lounge

The Student Lounge sits behind Lecture Hall 1. Students usually use this place to eat, chat, and study. Since there are also relatively many international students hanging out here, the Student Lounge is a good place for students who might want to make friends with international students.

  • Open Spaces

There are benches in various places: in front of Lecture Hall 3, next to Lecture Hall 4, across the gymnasium, and in front of Lecture Hall 1. On days with good weather, these benches make for a pleasant place to enjoy time with friends.

2. Campus 2

  • The Cafeteria

Here you can enjoy a variety of dishes not available on Campus 1. This cafeteria, with its wide perimeter and long tables, makes a nice atmosphere to spend time in.

  • Student Lounge

Located below the library, the Student Lounge equips itself with comfortable chairs perfect for a relaxing afternoon.

To end, I would like to share some good spots for students who prefer peace and want to focus on their work.

Located on Campus 1, the English Plaza offers sessions with GTI teachers and plaza interns where you can practice your English. Services are available during weekdays from 11:40 to 17:00, so do not hesitate if you want to challenge yourself!

  • English Plaza Library

Hidden above the English Plaza, the library hosts a variety of books in different languages. You can also find the same library on Campus 2 and both libraries require student verification as you enter, so don’t forget your student ID! There are also many desks, making it a great place for students who want to study.

  • Grand Auditorium

The Grand Auditorium is the biggest “room” on campus and it is currently open for students who want to focus at a quiet place.

Thank you for reading until here! I hope that this article will make it easier for everyone who wishes to use TIU facilities! I hope you have an enjoyable time on campus and wish you luck in finding the best spot for yourself!

Fluency in a Foreign Language

Writer : Tomoya S.
Editor : Karen W., (Juri A.)
Translator: Juri A.

1. Have you ever thought of learning a new language? 

 Back in the day, we did not have so many foreigners in Japan and even did not have many connections with other countries. What about now? The demand for speaking a foreign language has been increasing in proportion with more non-Japanese citizens in Japan, and now Japan has developed to be a so-called “globalized society.” Some of you might have heard someone say, “English will be prevalent more and more in Japan and could be a common language (meaning a language spoken by everybody) in the future.” That might be one of the many reasons why many TIU students are passionate about learning new languages, especially English.

 At TIU, you feel you are speaking well enough, because the listeners, for example, teachers and exchange students listen to you patiently and try to understand you well. However, still, some of you might feel, “I have to speak more fluently.” Therefore, we are going to go zero in on the idea of becoming fluent in another language, particularly in English, and whether or not fluency is important when learning a new language.

2, Advantages of Being Bilingual.

 

 In this section, we are going to look at advantages and disadvantages caused by being bilingual. I think the advantage is widening a circle of your friends, interacting with people from foreign countries, and becoming flexible to intercultural communication.

In my view, most Japanese students tend to make friends after acquiring English speaking skills to some level. However, some also talk to them and challenge themselves even if they don’t feel confident in their English.

 There may not be many disadvantages to being bilingual, but of course, it takes a lot of your time to learn a new language. It is a bit hard to express yourself in a foreign language when communication methods are different from your first language.

How to Successfully Learn a New Language This Year

3. Do we need to be fluent in a second language?

 Lastly, whether all the things you do to become a fluent speaker are worth the effort or not, this topic is still controversial. However, I insist we do not have to become fluent at a language. That is because the purpose of learning a new language is communication and getting the message across. However, perhaps if you speak the language with the proper flow and pronunciation, the listener will be able to understand better.

Language Practice New Edition B2 Student's Book Pack with ...

 This book Language Practice for First covers the ways you better work first in learning a second language. Of course, to be a fluent speaker is not a number one priority, but the book explains speaking fluently is difficult if we mess up our grammar and vocabulary.

 What did you think about this topic? I hope it helped boost your interest in learning new languages, particularly speaking in English or Japanese (if you are an E-track student) with TIU campus community members. I hope we can all overcome the fear of speaking a foreign language!

New Year Festivities

Writer:Karen W.
Editor:Aika M.
Translator: Theo F.

How is everyone spending the winter in Japan? Winter in Kawagoe is characterized by wind chills – not much snowfall but many sunny days. Although in mountainous regions next to the Sea of Japan and the plains on the Pacific side within Saitama, there are also some places where it snows incredibly. Today I would like to introduce the winter event, “Oshogatsu,” which is essential for the beginning of the year in this diverse country.

1.) What is “Oshogatsu”?

In Japan, Oshogatsu generally takes place from the 1st of January till the 7th of January, although depending on the region there are also places that celebrate Oshogatsu until the 25th of January. On New Year’s Day, it is said that the God of new year will visit and bless each and every family. This God is said to have connections with the God of ancestors, the God of rice paddies, the God of mountains, the God of childbirth, and the God of harvest. As a result, Japanese families do their big cleaning on New Year’s Eve as a symbol of cleansing and in order to welcome the god of new year. There are also other events on this day, but next I would like to share my new year experiences as a Japanese person.

Insert:お正月にすることは?正月とは?行事由来・過ごし方【決定版】 [暮らしの歳時記] All About

2.)  My experiences

Before New Year’s Eve, my family members gather and make “mochi” (rice cakes)  and “ozoni” (a soup that contains rice cakes and vegetables). We also make preparations for “osechi” – a dish with different staple ingredients like shrimp and rolled omelettes that is eaten on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

On New Year’s Eve, we clean the house and prepare to eat “year-ending soba” as the countdown begins. When the clock strikes 12, we visit temples to ring a bell that signifies the beginning of a new year. 

On New Year’s Day, we sit in the yard as the “first sunrise” takes place. I would also like to note that some people also prefer to climb Mt. Fuji to witness this spectacular moment. In the morning, we go to shrines with our family and friends to pay our respects to the gods for a safe and happy new year. This is also where we buy traditional protective charms.

On the following morning, we wake up and share our ambitions and wishes for the year as a family. Using ink brushes, we write our goals for the year on a piece of paper. Next, we visit relatives and receive pocket money.

Since we had a lot of different delicacies, on January 7, we rest our bodies by having soup that contains seven different types of healthy vegetables. On January 11, we eat “kagami mochi” – two mochi stacked on top of each other that is a symbol of safety and health. 

During these festivities, some families prepare a “Kadomatsu” (made of pine and bamboo) to be placed at the front door. Furthermore, new year letters used to be a huge tradition where we send and thank people who have been a part of our lives for the past year. However, since the evolution of technology has been allowing us to send messages through devices, hardly anyone writes these letters nowadays. 

For others having lived in Japan, what kind of new year traditions have you had? I’m sure there are many things that you have heard of and some that you might not have. If you are interested, don’t be afraid and try to feel the Japanese culture!

3.) Other New Year experiences

Before we end, I would like to share some findings from the interviews I have had with other Campus Globalization members!

From Japanese members:

“Family members gather and adults hand out New Year money to children.”

“We celebrate by pounding rice cakes and cooking Osechi.”

“We have fun by holding Karaoke and Bingo contests.”

“Family and friends go to temples to make wishes to the gods, we also buy charms.”

From a Macanese member:

“We celebrate by having a fireworks contest where the most creative show wins.”

From an Indonesian member:

“We have fun by travelling to different places with friends.”

From a Sri Lankian member:

“We go see fireworks with friends.”

From a Vietnamese member:

“We clean the house and see fireworks with the family. We also visit the neighbours to receive money.”

How did YOU spent your new years this year? I hope that this article was informative and gave you some inspiration for the next New Year’s! Happy New Year!

A Japanese Christmas

Author: Theo F.
Editor: Aika M.

 The winter holiday season is enjoyed worldwide. For instance, when “Christmas” comes up in a conversation, it is safe to say that most of us think of Santa Claus or the birth of Jesus Christ. However, through centuries of history, the holiday has absorbed aspects from different cultures and religions to the point that we cannot say there is only one true origin behind the festival.

A western influence
KFC set for Christmas

 I was a bit surprised when I learnt that most of my Japanese friends have Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) as their go-to food for Christmas, so I decided to do some research. In Japan, chicken was popularised as a staple food back in the 1970s. The thriving economy allowed Japanese citizens to live more extravagant lives and US companies saw increasing opportunities to expand overseas. Amongst which, KFC took their chance and advertised Christmas chicken as an American tradition. The marketing campaign was a success as it effectively imprinted the concept of “Kentucky for Christmas” in Japan’s culture.

(Source: https://www.cnn.co.jp/business/35147384-2.html)

Family, friends, or the significant other?

 In countries with Christian cultural influences, Christmas is generally celebrated within the family – exchanging presents or whatnot. However, in Japan, Christianity never really took off and no one really paid attention to Christmas until late in the 20th century. Nowadays Christmas in Japan is popularized as a holiday for spreading happiness, and an evening where couples spend time together.

holiday season in kawagoe
Crea Mall streets with hanging Christmas lights

 Although we are situated in the middle of Saitama, Kawagoe offers quite a few options for winter illumination lovers. I recommend doing some Christmas shopping in Crea Mall and witnessing its sparkling additions, or returning to the classic stroll through historic Koedo with illumination in a warmer palette.

Koedo at night

 For those who prefer a more modern atmosphere, U_PLACE and UNICUS are great choices. These are basically three-storey malls with built-in cafes and restaurants where you can do your shopping while appreciating the colourful Christmas lights from the inside.

Crea Park

 Kawagoe Farmer’s Market hosts a Christmas market in Crea Park. Make sure you don’t miss it if you are interested in some fresh Christmas delicacies!

(For more information: https://twitter.com/kawagoemarket/status/1472214231949144064/)

 Here at TIU, we saw our own quirky way of celebrating the holidays.

Illuminations on TIU’s Campus 1

 It was definitely interesting to learn that historical events find a way to influence our  holiday culture in such a manner. Feel free to try and spend Christmas in a Japanese fashion at a KFC if you are feeling for some chicken or go on a date surrounded by traditional Koedo lights!

Best Places for Food around TIU

Author: Saki A.
Editor: Theo F.

After a long day of classes, as students, we do deserve to feast well from time to time and appreciate the food near our area. Definitely, you can go to Kawagoe or even Tokyo to find a good restaurant, and most likely, you will find quite a few of those. However, you do not need to go that far to get great meals as the TIU neighborhood itself offers culturally-diverse, delicious and filling food! 

After almost two years of being a TIU student, I have been to a lot of restaurants near the TIU campus so let me introduce you to my top 5 restaurants around TIU! 

As a sushi and sashimi lover, one of my favorites would definitely be Marudon which is located near the gate of Campus 1. Under 1000 yen, you are able to pick from a wide variety of kaisendon, or seafood on a bowl of rice. Counting all options from their menu, they actually offer 84+ different kaisendon! The menu varies with the topping so if you only like salmon, they have that exact option for you. If you want everything in one, their most popular kaisendon is for you. My personal pick would be their normal kaisendon, not because I do not have personality, but because you just get the best of everything in one rice bowl. While they allow a few to dine-in, it is usually better to buy take-outs and eat together with your friends on campus.

Another popular option offered in Marudon, Salmon Yukke Don

There are those days when one would crave for fried food. Located just beside Marudon, Momokara offers you high-quality and tasty karaage! On top of that, it is quite affordable as all options are only under 900 yen. Most of their bentos range from 500yen to 600yen, including a big bowl of rice, and freshly-fried, beautiful-looking karaage. I would personally recommend the Egg Bomber bento. From the name itself, you can already imagine how the half-boiled egg just goes so well with the karaages. Momokara does not however have an eat-in area so make sure to find somewhere to feast on these delicate bentos.

The lovely Egg Bomber from Momokara

The next recommendation would probably be my favorite among the list as I love anything spicy, so spicy food lovers out there, I got you! Juntara, an Indian restaurant, offers not only curry and naan, but also rice, noodles, and lots of salads. For those who cannot handle spicy food, you can customize your curry with how much spice you can handle. If you are however up for a challenge, you can try making it a bit spicier than of your liking, and pair your meal with lassi, a traditional yogurt drink popular in India. The serving size may also be too big for those who have a small appetite, but nevertheless, it is still worth a try!

10x Spicy Curry Set that I surprisingly finished

After introducing meals rich in taste and spices, naturally, we check out some simple and homey tastes. I personally would go for Chinese cuisine, and just around TIU, we have Ryuushouhanten, a Chinese restaurant that offers a wide variety of dishes ranging from fried rice and mapo tofu to fried dumplings and sweet-and-spicy prawns. The only problem whenever I look at their menu is to make a decision. But you can never go wrong with their 野菜あん, or vegetable ankake, which is basically stir-fried vegetables in thick sauce. It has always reminded me of my mother’s cooking, which is quite nostalgic.

Tenshinhan, another dish with the tasty ankake sauce

Of course, this list would not be complete without a ramen place. Just a few semesters ago, this ramen place did not exist. Ebi Tonkotsu Ramen in front of the Kasumigaseki Station opened just last year. Since its opening, they have gained a lot of loyal customers such as me. Their most popular dish – as you might have guessed – is the Ebi Tonkotsu Ramen, a dish composed of prawn-based broth and different spices. Not only is the broth heavenly, the noodles are thinner than your usual ramen which makes it special and easy to eat. What’s more? They offer you unlimited rice bowls to eat with your leftover soup. Indeed, you cannot leave the restaurant without filling up your stomach.

As a part of an international community, we as students get to enjoy culturally-diverse cuisines that are just right around the corner. Especially for freshmen, explore our neighborhood and check out these great restaurants! For those who have tried all of the restaurants on this list, would you agree with my choices?

Preparing for Winter

Writer: Prashan J.
Editor: Trang D.

Hello everyone! How are you dealing with the weather changes? As the end of fall is nearing and winter is approaching, the cold weather in Japan will certainly cause us to adjust our lifestyles accordingly. For those who are experiencing winter in Japan for the first time or those whose least favorite season is winter, this article will contain helpful tips on how to deal with this harsh season.

From Autumn, when the temperature starts to drop drastically, the first and foremost preparation to make is the closet change. Flannels and windbreakers are the musts for the extreme cold during January and February. Winter is also a good time to show off fashionable outfits while staying warm. One more thing that you must keep in mind during winter is the fluctuation and unpredictability of the temperature. In Japan, it’s generally a good habit to check the temperature before heading outside as winter rain is in fact very common here as well. 

Winter outfits

During winter, you must not forget to take necessary health precautions. Especially for people moving from warm countries, it is important to take extra measures. As the humidity adjustments take time to adapt to, prevention is better than cure. For instance, Influenza or flu is one of the most common illnesses in Japan in winter. Most people have a tendency to catch it in late fall. Additionally, skincare is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly as the humidity drops severely when winter comes. Irrespective of gender or age, pocket-sized hand cream and lip balm that are convenient and can be carried anywhere become the most demanding cosmetic products during winter. Moreover, don’t forget to stay hydrated. During winter, the body’s thirst response is lower and we tend to sweat less compared to other seasons. So, you may sometimes be under the wrong assumption that you are better hydrated, which later results in winter dehydration. Insufficient water intake can cause health problems like skin breakouts or peeling. 

Starting from fall, people set out to travel to several tourist attractions around Japan, a country with a phenomenal diversity in nature from mountains to seas. As winter approaches, the tourists start to gather in the colder regions of Japan to enjoy the winter outdoor activities such as snowboarding, skiing, ice skating, ropeways in breathtakingly beautiful locations. Or maybe just relaxing in some hot springs, one of Japan’s most unique destinations in terms of traveling. Hokkaido, Niigata, and Gunma prefectures are the most famous when it comes to such winter activities. Asides from that, the greater Tokyo area starts to put on its festive look with Christmas around the corner. For people with tight schedules, they can go for a short one-day trip to different locations in Tokyo where there is winter illumination. Ebisu and Roppongi Illuminations are very well known among foreign visitors.

Roppongi Hills Illumination

Overall, regardless of how you choose to spend winter or how you deal with the cold, some may still find the conditions of winter somewhat harsh. Nevertheless, it is important to stay warm, healthy and enjoy the winter as much as possible. Hopefully, after reading this article, you have found some useful tips that can make your winter experience a better one!

Is Japanese cuisine healthy?

Author: Karen W.
Editor: Aika M.
Translator: Theo F.
Original Language: Japanese

Have you ever had Japanese food before? In 2013, Washoku, the traditional Japanese culinary culture, was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage. From this delegation, we can see that the traditional Washoku is up to a healthy standard, but what aspect of it is healthy? Furthermore, when you compare Japanese cuisine to foreign cuisines, it is apparent that Japanese cuisine revolves around fish and has lighter flavours, while foreign cuisines tend to use a higher variety of spices. This article aims to delve into the world of Washoku and explore the origins of its healthy nature.

To begin, let’s talk about the nutritious values Washoku offers. To have a healthy diet, we need to have a balance in nutrients. This balance mainly includes carbohydrates, protein, minerals, vitamins, and fat. This means that if we only have junk foods, we will not reach an ideal nutritious balance; the excess calories often lead to obesity and other health problems. On the contrary, even just one meal of Washoku contains an ideal balance of nutrients. This is due to the fact that the traditional Japanese menu contains Ichiju Sansai, one soup and three dishes. Although there are a total of four items, their portions are kept small, making it easy to eat. This allows us to taste different dishes and absorb different nutrients in one single meal.

To illustrate, let me give you an example of an actual Washoku meal I have had. Cooked with only water, the star of the meal is rice. It has a soft taste and usually goes well with all kinds of dishes. Since the weather is getting warmer, the main ingredients for the miso soup are the summer vegetables, eggplants and okra. The main dish of our meal is the staple goya chanpuru, an Okinawanian stir-fried dish with bitter melon, egg and tofu. Our side dish is a salad composed with summer vegetables and glass noodles. The second side dish contains chopped chicken breast and pickled plum for our daily intake of minerals. The ingredients used in this Washoku meal includes all forms of nutrients: rice for carbohydrates; egg, tofu, and chicken for protein; plums for minerals; summer vegetables for vitamins; and fat from glass noodles. As such, you can see how the traditional style of one soup and three dishes is healthy for us. Moreover, the incorporation of summer ingredients would really allow us to taste the season!

Actually, nutrition balance is not the only reason behind Washoku’s healthy nature. In Japan, chefs have developed cutting edge techniques to completely bring out the flavours of each ingredient. Although it differs from region to region, oil, sugar, and salt were not commonly used as condiments for cooking back in the days. Oil especially, was a luxurious item and was only used to light lamps. The latter half of the 19th century brought western cuisine influences to Japan where they started to implement the use of oil for cooking.
< https://japanese.hix05.com/Folklore/Food/food06.oil.html >

Let me introduce three traditional meals from the Chiba, Tokyo, and Saitama prefectures while highlighting the use of Japanese fish. In Chiba, we have “futomaki sushi” that is usually eaten during funerals and weddings. In Tokyo, we have Japan’s symbolic dish – sushi. Meanwhile in Saitama, we eat eels on the day of the ox. None of these traditional dishes incorporate the use of oil as they were not really available back in the days. Originally, sushi was actually called “box sushi” as it was preserved by fermenting fish with rice in a square wooden box. It was not until the Edo period that vinegar was added to the cooking process and sushi took on its present form.
< http://www.pref.chiba.lg.jp/annou/shokuiku/oishiichiba/dentou.html
https://www.gotokyo.org/jp/see-and-do/drinking-and-dining/tokyo-local-food/index.html
http://www.mizkan.co.jp/sushilab/manabu/4.ht >

In addition, the Japanese climate and environment provides a great influence that makes Japanese food healthy. The Japanese archipelago stretches from the North all the way to the South, and is exposed to all four natural seasons while surrounded by sea in all directions. As a result of this natural environment, we can harvest fresh seafood, vegetables, and fruits exclusive only to Japan. Different seasonal ingredients are also used in each region, which has given rise to unique local cuisine styles. 
< https://www.jice.or.jp/knowledge/japan/commentary01 >

The diversity of nature in turn influences the religious beliefs of Japanese people. The Japanese have a reverence for nature and a sense of “nature worship” – a belief in natural objects and phenomena which are then deified and worshipped. In connection to this, there are many annual events linked to the seasons and have a close relationship with food culture. For example, on New Year’s Day, we welcome the New Year’s God, who is believed to bring happiness, prosperity and a good harvest. The staple food for these celebrations is glutinous rice, due to the belief in rice cultivation. This glutinous rice is steamed, mashed and kneaded to make mochi, an offering to the New Year’s gods; it is decorated with two layers of round mochi, one large and one small, in the shape of a round mirror.

On New Year’s Day, we prepare “Osechi”, an offering to the New Year’s God. A five-tiered square container “jubako” contains dishes made from lucky charms to bring prosperity to the family. This dish is full of the characteristics of Japanese food, in that the quantity of each dish is not large, but the number of dishes is high. Some of the most important dishes in Osechi include the red and white kamaboko (fish cake), which is a symbol of good luck (with red to ward off evil and white for purity); date rolls that are shaped like the scrolls found in old Japanese books and a symbol of knowledge and culture; chestnut Kintoons that are golden in colour and symbolises good luck and wealth. There are also many other side dishes with the wishes of prosperity of descendants and longevity. As you can see, each of the dishes in Osechi has its own congratulatory meaning, but the wide variety of ingredients, including seafood and wild vegetables, makes it a nutritious and well-balanced dish.

I hope that having read this article you have learned some new things about Japanese cuisine. Feel free to try these healthy dishes if you are interested!