Fine eating is something of a national obsession and the preparation of the perfect dish is seen as a natural extension of the national spirit of monozukuri ― the "making of things".
The Jōmon pottery were distinguished themselves form contemporaneous any other vessels in the world; an artistic interest of Jōmon Japanese overwhelmed a practical utility.
In the Edo period, a style of woodblock prints called ukiyo-e became a major art form and its techniques were fine tuned to produce colorful prints.
The Kyoto nobility in the Heian period developed a society devoted to elegant aesthetic pursuits.
A parvenu Toyotomi Hideyoshi constructed a fabulous portable tea room, covered with gold leaf and lined inside with red gossamer.
Japan has a unique food culture: various good fresh ingredients of sea and mountains, seasonings that adds to the dishes’ tastiness, Japanese sense of taste represented by umami and intense curiosity about savoring variety of foods.
The Japanese perhaps are the world's best connoisseur of food exhibiting great curiosity about gastronomy.
Tokyo is a rare city you can try various kinds of cuisine from all over the world. The diversity is not only found in their origins but also can be seen in menu or in atmosphere - store size and facilities.
Japanese have never been conservative about trying unforeknown foods or ingredients but incorporated imported food from across the world, and have historically adapted many to make them their own.
Even after Empress Suiko openly encouraged the acceptance of Buddhism, the ancient belief had not be taken over by Buddhism but has survived for centuries to this day.
The Kamakura period saw the introduction of the two religious streams that had perhaps the greatest impact on the country.
Meiji rulers made Shintō the official religion, creating a form of Shintō known as State Shintō by merging Shrine, Folk, and Imperial Household Shinto.
Kami, Japan’s indigenous religion and foreign Buddhism never quite fused, but a combination of Buddhist and Taoist elements, and the incorporation of shamanistic features of the indigenous religion remained however inextricably linked all the way to the present day.
"Moe" (萌え, mo’e), came out in 90th, is not a trendy concept something popping out of the blue, but an aesthetic sense that has intricately tied to the Japanese traditional aesthetic ideas.
Kabukimono (かぶきもの) personified basara (婆娑羅, basara, posing for dramatic effect dressed in imported gaudery form china.) and furyu (風流, fūrū, ostentatious flamboyant design).
"The essence of Japanese Anime is in its taboo-free, in terms of violence, eroticism, and mechanical presentation." Sugiyama Tomoyuki
In the Ghost in the Shell universe, "ghost" means soul, essence, being, mind that separates humans from robots and Ais. If a cyber-brain can generate its own ghost, then there is no particular importance to be placed on “the human.”
Japanese aesthetics, in its nature covers a broad spectrum in comparison with the explicit formulation of 'aesthetics' in the Western sense, and is seen as an integral part of daily life.
Haruki was permitted to buy books on credit at the local bookstore, as long as he avoided comic books or trashy weekly magazines, and he became a voracious reader.
Haruki would play Mahjongg almost every day, fool around with girls, spend hours in jazz cafés and cinemas, smoke, skip school, read novels during class, and so forth, but his grades were never terrible.
Let's start with the town, where Haruki grew up and his stories came from. The sea out in front, hills behind, and right next door, major port.
Young Haruki would often hear his parents discussing eighth-century poetry or medieval war takes at the dinner table. Haruki said, “Throughout my teens I became hate ‘Japanese literature’ and ‘teachers’.”
Hanshinkan, the area between Osaka and Kobe, was a comfy place to spend Haruki's boyhood to the adolescent period.
"The town has deep hold on me; almost all my memories are tied up with the place. Yet the spring I left town to enter university, I let out a sigh of relief from the bottom of my heart,"Haruki said in his novel.
What is Cool Japan?
The keywords, "Cool Japan," are flying all around the world.
From fashion, anime, games, and food, various cultures that the Japanese take for granted are being accepted as cool and trendy by foreigners.
"COOL JAPAN Discovering what makes Japan cool," uses the sense of foreigners to the fullest, to dig up and examine the appeal and secrets of these cool cultural aspects.
In a 2002 article in Foreign Policy entitled "Japan's Gross National Cool," Douglas McGray wrote of Japan "reinventing superpower" as its cultural influence expanded internationally despite the economic and political problems of the "lost decade."
Surveying youth culture and the role of manga, anime, fashion, film, consumer electronics, architecture, cuisine, J-pop, and phenomena of cuteness such as Hello Kitty, McGray highlighted Japan's considerable soft power, posing the question of what message the country might project.
He also argued that Japan's recession may even have boosted its national cool, due to the partial discrediting of erstwhile rigid social hierarchies and big-business career paths.