What is a traditional Japanese wedding like?

Weddings in Japan are very important as in Spain. It is a special moment in the life of a person, although each one follows the customs of the country where they are from and that can be a curious way of knowing how these weddings are carried out.

The Gift

When preparing a wedding, we know that it takes time and preparation, but above all it takes money. The couple usually invests a lot between the wedding and banquet suits, food and gifts for the guests, etc. It is an investment that they have to make so that everything goes according to plan. So if you don’t know what to give, the best bet is money.

The bills must be new unless they are not old or worn, they are carefully wrapped in colored envelopes, ornate and eye-catching, except black and white as these are used for funerals.

It is also important to know how much money to give away. For example, 30,000 or 50,000 yen (approximately 233 and 388 euros) is the usual thing, but if your economy does not give so much, give away what you can, avoiding that they are even numbers because it will be frowned upon since the money is not for the couple divide it between them.

The Bride

As in the Spanish tradition, in Japan, the bride spends a lot of time choosing the perfect dress, but not just one, but two. The normal thing is that it can be changed at least once during the day, although sometimes it can have four dresses.

The first part of the wedding takes place during the morning, in which the bride wears a white kimono, and this shows submission to the new family. This kimono is called shiromuku.

Preparation of the Bride to Start the Ceremony

Japanese wedding preparation

The bride wears another garment called wataboshi, which is shaped like a hood, and underneath she wears an accessory made up of a wig and cloth called tsunokakushi, which literally means hiding horns. This garment symbolizes that the woman hides her selfishness and jealousy to show herself pure and gentle to her husband.

Afterward, the woman has to change her clothes, and wear another kimono that is usually red, black and gold called an irouchikake.

And finally, the hikifurisode is only dressed during the reception and is usually a larger and more elegant kimono.

Examples of hikifurisode:

The Groom

Unlike the bride’s dress, the groom’s is much simpler. This consists of kimono pants, a long coat, and a kimono. This dress is called montsuki haori hakama and has only the colors black, gray, and white. This is done in this way so that it does not stand out more than the woman.

The groom can also change his suit or tie, but it is normal for him to remain in the same clothes all day.

The Ceremony

The traditional Japanese wedding is the Shinto wedding. In this, the bride and groom meet only with the close family and a priest in a sanctuary. The priest offers prayers to the gods, the couple is purified, and prayers are dedicated to each other. Finally, they share three glasses of sake called san-san-kudo.

Unlike in Spain, where the bride and groom meet with both close and distant relatives, friends and colleagues, in Japan only the closest relatives are allowed to accompany the bride and groom. At the end of the ceremony, everyone gathers to eat in a small room.

The Reception

This moment should not be confused with the usual celebration that we Spaniards carry out. At the end of the ceremony, we usually go to the place where we are going to celebrate the banquet with our family and friends. In Japan, the opposite happens, they have to spend two hours with friends, colleagues, and other relatives who take advantage of that time to congratulate them and wish them a good future.

Next, We Leave You a Speech During a Wedding Held in Japan

During the reception, it is customary for the bride to read a speech she has written dedicated to her parents, while the groom usually helps him with the microphone and whatever he needs so that he can speak without emotion preventing him from continuing. The husband also says some words although he does not bring them ready.

During the reception, depending on the couple, their daring, and financial capacity, there may be magician performances or other entertainment to make the moment more enjoyable and fun. Can you imagine a famous music group showing up in the middle of the reception? If you remember the video for Sugar’s song from Maroon 5, it would be something like that. A big surprise, right?

The Celebration

When the couple attends their family and friends at the reception, it is time to eat and drink, in which everyone is looking forward to it. This celebration is called Aikikai.

When the older ones finish, they retire and the youngsters move to a more relaxed place where they will eat, drink and continue having fun. This is not included in the price of the reception, so whoever wishes to attend must pay an extra. However, if someone is unable to pay, the bride and groom usually invite them because they do not want their friends to be left without attending because of money.

In addition, in this place, there will also be games, music, and prizes, which are another opportunity to see part of your invested money compensated by the guests.

At The End Of The Celebration

Finally, when the guests leave and only a few remain, the newlyweds and their closest friends will move once more to celebrate the sanjikai (“third-party”) in a smaller and quieter place.

The idea is that they can enjoy themselves with those who have not been lucky enough to see so much due to their responsibilities. The bride and groom change into more comfortable clothes to spend some time drinking and enjoying themselves with their loved ones.

We find a celebration that shares part of our tradition, such as a ceremony and a celebration, or the desire to be with our loved ones enjoying the great moment. It also lasts for a whole day, starting with the ceremony in the morning and ending with the sanjikai in the evening. Although we do not have such a differentiated reception time and we do not have the custom of giving only money.

To conclude, say that this tradition has been changing over time. More and more young people feel less the need to put so much effort into the ceremony or opt for another type of wedding, such as the Christian one or directly go to the celebration without any ceremony. Although there may come a time when they are not the majority, the art of traditional weddings will always remain thanks to those who choose the Shinto ceremony.

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Wedding traditions in United States of America

All the countries of the world have their own wedding traditions and their own rituals. In the case of the United States, we have been able to verify them throughout the immense number of films, television series, and television programs that reach us each year. Including traditions associated with weddings. For those of you who are consumers of these products – we recommend doing it in the original version with subtitles to improve listening in English – you will already know them all. This article is aimed at those who do not know what weddings are like in the United States.

American wedding

Wedding traditions in the USA are not very different from what we have in Spain. What’s more, over the past few decades we have borrowed many traditions directly from the United States. However, there are enough differences to talk about a typical North American wedding style. One that starts with great propositions. Although we repeat, that romanticism is not unique to weddings in the United States, it has been the Americans who have invested the most creativity and resources in the marriage proposal.

Once everyone has said the expected “yes”, the wedding preparations begin. A ceremony of great value to Americans, who spend more money than any other citizen in its preparation. Before the wedding, and this is a typically American tradition, a pre-wedding known as an “engagement session” takes place, translatable as an engagement session. A kind of rehearsal for weddings to go perfectly. In an American wedding, even the smallest detail is taken care of.

Of course, Americans put all these tasks in the hands of the wedding planner. An essential figure in all weddings in the USA, since they are in charge of organizing everything. From the management of the guests to the coordination of the different activities that make up the wedding, through the hiring of the catering and many more actions. They are professionals specialized specifically in the organization of wedding ceremonies. As we said before, for the average American, weddings involve a lot of budget, work, and coordination.

Another peculiarity of American weddings is the vows of engagement. We have seen this a million times in millions of movies. Speeches that the bride and groom create for weeks and separately to say to each other at the altar. They are usually extremely emotional, romantic, and, in most cases, alluding to specific characteristics of the other person and the relationship. Dance is also essential at wedding parties in the United States. Both the groom with the bride and these with their friends and family.

Bridesmaids and groomsmen

American wedding traditions

The presence of a court of honor is common to all wedding celebrations in the world. Or practically all of them. However, in the United States, these courts are much more important. Thus, we find figures such as the main bridesmaid of the bride, the rest of the bridesmaids of the bride, the groom’s honor men, the groom’s best man, the flower girls, or the ring bearer in charge of wearing the rings. . As you can see, in this, North American weddings match a lot with Spanish weddings.

Finally, there is another very important characteristic of American wedding traditions: the best man speech and the godmother speech. Both are thrown during the banquet after repeatedly hitting the glass with one of the cutlery to attract the attention of all attendees. Usually, these are speeches that combine many past stories of the bride and groom with emotional words about love. A moment that, as we have seen in many American series and movies, can be wonderful, but also disastrous.

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9 Tips for a fantastic trip to the USA and everything you need to know

After the coronavirus, the desire to return to planning wonderful trips is the best and fastest way to reconnect to the world

After the coronavirus, the desire to return to planning wonderful trips is the best and fastest way to reconnect to the world. At the moment, strict restrictions on movement and travel around the world are still in place, however, the situation is constantly changing and we expect it will continue to improve. Therefore we try to hold back our desire to travel a little longer but not by canceling the project but only by postponing it a little longer and perhaps by booking in advance, for example, our trip to the United States. While waiting for the situation to continue to improve, here are 9 tips to plan our fantastic trip to the USA.

How to organize a trip to the United States?

Organizing such a trip alone is not an insurmountable thing, in fact, thanks to the network we have access to an impressive amount of data and information so that we can plan our trip in detail.

What are the steps to plan a trip to the USA?

Here are 9 tips to easily organize our trip to the United States and apply for this :

  • Be in possession of a valid passport
  • Having obtained the USA ESTA
  • Establish a travel itinerary
  • Take out travel insurance
  • Book airline tickets in advance
  • If you are traveling independently, always rent your car, camper, or motorbike in advance
  • For each state we will go to, we need to book hotels or campsites
  • Plan your trip to get a detailed daily schedule
  • Make preparations for your trip and make sure you have it all

How do you get the ESTA?

In addition to the passport, every person (including children) must obtain a travel authorization to the United States (ESTA). The ESTA is a mandatory document to enter the American territory. This request must be made online with the United States Department of Homeland Security. If you can’t – or don’t want to – take advantage of the ESTA, you can also opt for a USA visa. Remember that if you are planning a layover in Canada, you will need to submit a similar request to the Canadian government. Now before embarking on a trip to the USA you will have to wait for the Covid-19 problem to be completely resolved and once it is eradicated, you will need to update yourself to know if in the last few months the ESTA application has undergone many updates.

Creating general planning for our trip is a must!

The first thing to do to plan our vacation in the USA is to outline a general profile of our stay, taking into account some variables: duration, period, participants, and states to visit. This step will go pretty quickly for a stay in New York or Florida for example. It will be much longer if our project also includes a trip to the American West, in fact, we will have to determine a city of arrival, a city of return, and a reliable route according to our plans.

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American lifestyle: uses, customs, and habits to orient yourself in the USA

Usually, when preparing your holidays in the United States, you take care of everything you need: booking flights, hotels, expatriate documents, car rental (if we do an on the road), and much more.

However, among the thousands of preparations, one factor that can make the difference is often overlooked: how well do we know our destination? How is life in the USA? What are the customs, traditions, unwritten rules, habits, and lifestyles that characterize this fascinating overseas land?

Knowing the  American way of life will help us to orient ourselves right away, facilitating our relations with local institutions and citizens, avoiding big wastes of time and some bad figures. Here are some tips:

Rules of conduct of the American way of life

Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Mancha: the United States will always give a tip, at least you do not want to do an affront to the waiter, or that his work was really poor (which personally I never happened). Tipping is part of the salary of the waiters, who receive a rather meager fixed amount. How much to tip? From 15% to 20% to waiters and taxi drivers. If you only get a drink at the counter, give at least $ 1 per spin. Give porters at least $ 2 per suitcase. If you want some specific advice, read our article on how to tip in the USA
  • Do not photograph passers-by without permission: it has happened to me more than once to be stopped by a passer-by with a camera in hand who asked me: “You accidentally ended up in one of my photos, do you want me to delete it?” This is because Americans don’t like to end up in photos of strangers without giving their consent.
  • Relationship with alcohol: since the days of Prohibition, Americans have at least had a particular relationship with alcoholic beverages, and still today it is a big problem especially for young people. Alcoholic beverages are only sold to adults over the age of 21 with documentary proof. It is also not a good idea to walk the streets with a beer in hand like at our village festivals. The drink must be enclosed in a wrapper.

The American welcome

American welcome USALet’s say you are on the street with a map in your hand, intent on figuring out which is the right way to the place you are looking for … it won’t be long before someone approaches you and asks you: “Do you need help?” But it does not end here: if even after the detailed information received you continue to show an expression at least perplexed, do not worry, it is likely that the nice passer-by not only does not give up explaining the way but also decides to accompany you to the destination.

These have happened frequently during my travels in America; even once a lady mounted me in the car and took me home! In short, one of the most pleasant aspects of Americans is their welcome, simplicity, and ability not to make you feel like a stranger in their country. So if you get lost, you know how!

American cuisine: much more than it seems

It is often said that American cuisine is very heavy and based mainly on fast food. This is actually only partially true, in the United States you can really eat everything, and even good! Obviously, we need to look for the right places and not stop at the first place we meet.

In the USA you can enjoy good dishes of all kinds: they have excellent meat, delicious fish, gigantic but good salads. You will also find ethnic restaurants of all kinds (Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Greek, etc …) even if for the most part reworked according to local taste; if you take some information before choosing them, you will not be disappointed.

Depending on where you are you can try the regional cuisines typical of the various areas: for example, steaks and meats are characteristic of the cuisine of the Mid-West, while the fish is typical of Louisiana, Florida, Maryland, and New England. In California, refined and classy organic cuisine has long been established, which goes hand in hand with the quality of local food products.

In short, American cuisine is presented as rather varied, especially if we want to explore and research. How to find good restaurants? Two ways: ask for information around (as already said the Americans will not spare themselves), or consult guides and online resources (also on this site you will find many tips!). You will see that it will be a pleasant discovery …

Do you want to shop? Did you know that…

  1. The prices displayed are not inclusive of taxes, so what you are seeing is not the real price.
  2. Have you regretted buying a product? No problem! For many purchases, the goods can be returned (even if you have used them !!) and the money spent will be returned to you. Find out about the return conditions during the purchase phase.
  3. The real price is always the one displayed.  It may seem like a trivial statement but it is not. One evening I accompanied a friend to buy a vacuum cleaner. The department label said $ 100. Arriving at the checkout we discovered that the clerk had placed it wrong and that the real price was actually higher, but if the customer finds it at a given price, that becomes effective (plus taxes of course). Result: sold for $ 100! I swear to you, I’ve seen this scene happen before my eyes!
  4. Sizes for dresses and shoes. In America, the sizes are not the same as ours, and below you can take a look at the comparison table. However in many cases, at least to buy shoes, you won’t need them. In fact, in various shoe shops, you will find a series of footprint figures on the ground. Just compare them with yours to easily know your size. One last thing: in the USA the 40 (7.5) you will often find it among the shoes for boys.
  5. Electric sockets. Do you want to buy an electronic product? Know that you will need a gearbox to make it work in Italy. Power sockets in the United States are different from ours and this also applies to charging cell phones. So, before you leave, buy yourself a nice American adapter.

American coffee: drink to discover or flush?

American coffee in the USAThe coffee is a symbol of US citizens, as are the burgers. To us Italians, this large and hot mash usually does not arouse a really positive impression and I too confess to you that at the beginning I had my difficulties. In the United States, you can also easily find espresso. But it’s not exactly a delicacy: they do it with capsules, single (1 capsule), and double (2).

In reality, American coffee is, as a concept, a completely different drink from our coffee. It is in fact a companion drink, to carry around and sip for most of the day, in the car and at work. Furthermore, the cliche that it would be a sort of long-watered coffee must also be dispelled. This is absolutely not the case, on the contrary, you will easily find really excellent blends. Above all, it is a question of getting used to the new taste and indulging local habits (in short, if you want to try it, you have to take it with you!).

Warning: the American coffee is hot (if you want to drink it immediately, some cold milk will always be available). A 79-year-old lady even got nearly $ 3 million in compensation from McDonald’s for coffee burns! Don’t believe it? A documentary was also shot on this story. Here is the trailer:

America and movies: how far apart are they?

Many tourists who decide to visit the United States do so because in some way they are also fascinated by the imagery transmitted by the world of television and in particular Hollywood. The question is: how far is the world of cinema from reality? The answer is little or nothing. As soon as you arrive, you will be amazed at how faithfully the films reproduce American habits and life.

Transportation to America?

In major American cities, the subway works quite well. But if an area is not well covered by the subway you will have to use the bus, which is much less reliable. The time slots are often reported in a vague way and it can also happen that they are not strictly respected. Also remember that you must have the exact money for the ticket, otherwise no change!

The coach proves to be a better choice for extra-urban trips; Greyhound for example allows you to move between major cities at an affordable price. The train, on the other hand, is a more expensive transport, operated by various companies depending on the area. The most common is the Armtrack which basically covers all the most important areas.

For internal travel, of course, you can also consider the plane. To avoid hitchhiking: there are fewer and fewer states where it is legal to practice it and in any case. You never know who you can meet … if they catch you technically they can even throw you in the cell!

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Curiosities of Different Cultures

Despite globalization, it is fascinating to see how there are customs that remain intact. The way in which each culture expresses itself is amazing.

On many occasions, there are actions that have a totally different meaning depending on where they are being done. Furthermore, every culture has those “rituals” that make it so special and different from the others. There is always something that marks us.

Sometimes that special feature is a language, other times a gesture or even a whole ritual. When we talk about culture we include a lot of factors: values ​​of historical knowledge, ways of dressing, beliefs, comity, artistic forms, and many more. At the end of the day, ways to communicate, to express yourself.

There is no doubt that the best way to discover the secrets behind each civilization is to visit them, especially if you are lucky enough to be able to live in their own way at least for a while. Right now we cannot travel but that does not mean that we cannot continue discovering curiosities of different cultures.

FISTS ON THE TABLE – GERMANY

If you go to a conference or a class in Germany, don’t even think of clapping at the end. Applause is reserved for events such as theater or concerts. To celebrate that a presentation has been very cool or to close a meeting, the Germans hit the tables with their fists.

PISOTONES – RUSSIA

In Russia, you can be walking quietly, stepping on someone unintentionally, and … let them stomp you back! Contrary to what you may think, no, it is not for revenge. Rather the complete opposite. There they believe that returning the stomp avoids future conflicts with the other person.

BLACKENING – SCOTLAND

Weddings are a whole world. Each culture has a ritual that differentiates them, we all have a different way of proclaiming our love. In Scotland, for example, they have the tradition of blackening or blackening the bride and groom. To educate the bride and groom that they must be prepared to be together both through thick and thin, the day before the wedding the friends of the bride and groom smear them with mud and make them parade through the whole town (or city).

THROW CHILDREN TO 15 METERS – INDIA

There is a tradition that consists of throwing children from a 15-meter tower, and not trying to kill them. In India, they trust that this act will bring prosperity and intelligence to the little ones. To avoid scares they put a sufficiently resistant cloth where the children fall.

SPIT – GREECE

In this country, it is common to spit three times when they hear bad news. Thus, they believe that they keep misfortunes away, at least for a time! Although they don’t really spit, what they do is make the sound like they’re throwing those three spits on themselves.

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