When I went to Canada for the first time, I didn’t know any Japanese there. When I went drinking with my Canadian friends, I always went to a bar. It’s just as usual for me. But typical Japan in Canada usually hang out with Japan, go to fake Japanese restaurants or other Asian restaurants, and never go to a bar. I like to enjoy things of the place, but they are missing something.
Now I live in Japan, and don’t want to miss a thing. I will eventually go back to Canada, and this situation makes me see my home country’s culture in a different way from before. Last weekend I made a day trip in Nishio, Aichi prefecture. Nishio is famous for 抹茶 – matcha, or powdered green tea.
They are also proud of Nishio City History Park. There is Nishio Castle in the park. Unlike Inuyama Castle that I visited last month, the castle tower was rebuilt recently. But unlike entertaining Nagoya Castle, its original state is precisely represented.
I can tell it’s not “authentic”; on the surface of a thick beam, unlike the one in Inuyama Castle that impressed me, I can recognize evidence of machining. But I still admire people’s efforts to restore our historic heritage. They don’t want to miss something important.
Another remarkable featured in the park is a tea house called 旧近衛邸 – Kyu-Konoe-tei. The building is beautiful, and the garden is very beautiful too. The way of serving tea is very, very different from Western style. Probably Westerners and many other non-Japanese find this pretty uncomfortable. We Japanese (…not all Japanese, though) enjoy this way of having tea, combined with the beautiful view outside. But do not assume this is typical in Japan. This is in fact rare and only recently I came to enjoy having matcha in this way. Now I don’t want to miss something old but new for me.
It’s not always easy to create something new. It’s not always easy to make a break with tradition. But it’s often so easy to lose traditions. While I live in Japan, I want to experience our traditions as much as I can.