For westerners, keeping track of the different eras in Japan can be a confusing ordeal. How long is an era in Japan exactly? That depends. Japan’s system of counting years in groups era names creates varying lengths because eras begin each time a new emperor takes the throne. The first year of the new era name is called the nengo.
This is where Hachiju-hachiya comes in. It falls on or about 2 May, eighty-eight days after Risshun. This date had a very practical role in agriculture. Weather in early spring is fickle, but there are actually few instances of frost after May 2nd, and Hachiju-hachiya became a catchy way to notify Edo-era farmers that it was safe to plant rice seedlings as well as to harvest tea.
Aside from being sung in a different language, Japanese music stands out in many other ways. Japan’s unique pop sound has even gained fans from abroad. One genre that has gained popularity worldwide in recent years is Japanese city pop. City pop is a style of Japanese music that is mainly associated with sounds from the late 1970s and 1980s. At the time, it was categorized in Japan as the Western-influenced “new music.” That’s an interesting point considering that today, city pop music feels uniquely Japanese.
For a more traditional experience in Japan, many travelers prefer to stay at a ryokan or minshuku. Anyone who has stayed in one of these charming accommodations can confirm that they offer one of the best ways to experience the culture and traditions of real Japan. After all, Japan is known around the world for its unmatched hospitality. Though both ryokan and minshuku provide comfortable and traditional places to stay in Japan, what is the difference between them?