Talk Japan: An online exploration of Japan
08th Feb 2021
Walk Japan is pleased to introduce its Talk Japan series of online events providing in-depth and fascinating insights into a plethora of aspects of Japan, its history, culture and society drawn on the personal experience and expertise of Walk Japan's Tour Leaders and some of our friends, who also have deep knowledge about the nation. These talks, which are based on a series we have been running for our staff since the early days of the pandemic, provide an opportunity to enjoyably explore and connect with Japan from the comfort of your home. Whether you are looking forward to travelling with us in the future, or are simply interested in the Japan, all are welcome to join us.
To join Talk Japan events please click the register button, found below, and complete the form. One or more talks may be selected. Talks marked with an asterisk will be recorded and made available for viewing at a later date.
Water Matters: How I grow rice in my village*
11th March 2021 11am JST
Japan is not known for a wealth of natural resources but water is abundant across the nation. This is most obviously so when the rice paddies are flooded in the spring with each field shimmering with reflections of sunrises, sunsets and the surrounding countryside. Steaming bowls of white rice are ubiquitous in Japanese cuisine and invariably appear at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Rice is also transformed into a plethora of other products including senbei crackers, mochi cakes and, of course, sake.
Given its abundance, rice may seem like a straightforward crop to grow. However, in his talk, Tour Leader Takuya Ugajin guides us through the dedicated year-round process of manipulating the huge volume of water he needs to grow his own rice in Nagano Prefecture. Takuya also introduces the intriguing role that water played in forming Japanese Shinto beliefs and shrines.
What I think about Ueno when I think about Ueno
1st April 2021 11am JST
Tokyo’s Ueno Park is a top spot for ohanami, the Japanese celebratory spring picnics held under the full-bloom of sakura cherry trees each year. Ohanami are highly anticipated by all Japanese, and most definitely fun if sometimes raucous social occasions. In Ueno, however, the ground beneath the party-goers feet saw a dramatic unfolding of events in the late 19th Century.
Professor Bill Steele reveals how Ueno Park became a battlefield during the Boshin War (1868-69), when the new Meiji Government army clashed with samurai warriors loyal to the deposed Tokugawa shogun. He describes the turmoil and ferment of the age and introduces the heroic winners and losers, who are fondly remembered to this day in Japan and commemorated with statues to be found in the park.
Read before you drink: unlocking the secrets of your sake bottle*
22nd April 2021 11am JST
Walk Japan Tour Leader and Head Researcher for the Sake Industry News newsletter, Shima san brings her sake expertise to her talk on Japan’s libation to the gods. Shima san delves into the wide varieties of sake available introducing us to grading and qualities, subtleties of flavour, and regional varieties. She also provides practical tips on how to choose sakes to accompany different occasions and menus, and how to just simply imbibe for the pleasure of this most unique of Japan’s beverages.