DIY Halloween Costumes

13 Cheap and Easy DIY Halloween Costumes That Rock

DIY Halloween Costumes

So, what are you going to be for Halloween this year?

Not sure yet? You’re not alone.

To help you find the perfect costume this year, we put together 13 cheap and easy rockstar DIY’s. Rockstars always turn heads wherever they go, and with one of these rockin’ costumes you’re sure to do the same.

Let’s get this party started!

DIY Rockstar Halloween Costumes

Solo Artists

These are great easy DIY Halloween costumes you can wear all on your own or with a backing band.

1. Paul Stanley

Mastering the facepaint is key to getting the KISS frontman’s iconic look. Once you have your face right, you’ll be instantly recognizable.

Pair your perfectly painted face with black clothes for an easy look, or for a twist add a striped shirt and a beret – voilà, French KISS.

2. Bruce Springsteen

It’s easy to be the boss for Halloween. All you need to get this look is blue jeans, a white t-shirt, and a red bandana.

Break the ice with a cutie at the party by inviting them to dance on stage with you, just like Bruce’s “Dancing in the Dark” video.

3. Madonna

Making a DIY Madonna costume couldn’t be simpler. Head to your local thrift store and pick up a short 80s style dress, lace gloves, and lots of bracelets and pearls.

For an added bonus, carry a microphone (or make one out of a paper towel roll).

4. 90s Grunge Look

Depending on your lifestyle, this look might not be much of a stretch. But if you tend to be more polished and dressy, the grunge look could be a great change of pace for you.

Channel your favorite alt rock stars of the 90s with oversized shirts and jeans, and of course lots of flannel.

5. Joan Jett

Be one of the baddest women in rock and roll this Halloween with this simple, classic look. Pair tight jeans with a leather jacket, add a lot of attitude, and you’ve got this DIY Halloween costume down.

Carry a guitar with you, and you’re sure to be a runaway hit at the Halloween party.

6. 80s Glam Rocker

Big hair and tight pants are what this costume is all about. Tease your hair or find a wig at the Halloween store, and don’t forget to wear lots of eyeliner.

Wear an old loose tank top or cut up a t-shirt to get this glam look on a budget.

7. Stevie Nicks

Stevie’s signature style includes scarves, hats, and anything long and flowing. Wear your hair long and wavy and unleash your inner mystical wild child.

If you have an old witch costume with a long skirt, you might even be able to repurpose it into a Stevie Nicks look.

Dynamic Duos

These DIY couples costumes are sure to make a splash. Pair up with your partner or a good friend and get to work!

8. Justin and Britney

Bring some early 2000s nostalgia to the party and make a grand entrance with your partner in Justin and Britney inspired head-to-toe denim.

9. Weezer’s “Buddy Holly”

Sick of homies dissing your girl? Show the world that you don’t care what they say about you anyway with this easy DIY Halloween couples costume.

All you need to do is pull together a couple of squeaky clean preppy outfits. One of you will need glasses like Buddy Holly, and for the other flipped hair like Mary Tyler Moore.

10. Hall and Oates

Make your Halloween dreams come true with this easy DIY costume perfect for a fun-loving twosome. Head to a thrift store for 80s-style blazers and feather your hair.

To make it a little more obvious, you can write “Hall” and “Oates” on your t-shirts.

11. Taylor Swift’s 1989 Vs. Ryan Adams’ 1989

Got bad blood? Bring your rivalry out on Halloween with this timely costume.

Get the polaroid look of the album cover by cutting frames out of large pieces of cardboard, and be ready to sing songs from 1989 all night long!

12. David Bowie and David Bowie

Did someone say David Bowie? From Ziggy Stardust to Jareth the Goblin King, David Bowie has had more iconic looks than you can shake a spandex jumpsuit at.

Celebrate Halloween in style with your best friend or partner by dressing as some of David Bowie’s different looks throughout the years.

13. John and Yoko

Dress as the original iconic rock and roll couple and make a statement this year. All you need is long hair, white clothing, and love.

Or you can ditch the costumes and stay in bed for peace!


So, what will you be? Tell us your favorite costume idea in the comments below!


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japanese holidays

12 Japanese Holidays and Celebrations [Infographic]

japanese holidays

From January through December, there are many ways to participate in Japan’s special occasions. So if you’re taking Japanese lessons, make sure you get in on the fun! Mark your calendar, here are 12 Japanese holidays you should remember.

Ganjitsu – New Year’s Day

January 1st

People around the world celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. In Japan, many businesses remain closed until the 3rd, and there are all types of parties and traditions.

Japanese people view each year as a fresh start—so you should leave your worries and troubles behind, and start the new year with joy, happiness, and a new perspective.

Kenkoku Kinen no Hi – National Foundation Day

February 11th

National Foundation Day is a historical holiday on the 11th of February. The holiday commemorates the formation of the nation. The National Flag is raised and the prime minister gives a speech; Japanese people show their national pride by waving their flags.

Hina Matsuri – Girl’s Festival

March 3rd

Parents wish their daughters success and happiness. Dolls and peach blossoms are displayed in many houses throughout Japan.

Shunbun No Hi – Spring / Vernal Equinox

March 20th / 21st

This national holiday welcomes the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It’s also a time to visit graves and honor your ancestors. It’s a favored holiday for farmers, who pray for an abundant harvest.

Showa No Hi – Showa Day

April 29th

Part of Golden Week, Showa Day takes place on April 29th. Once known as the Emperor’s Birthday, then Greenery Day (which is now May 4th), it commemorates the Showa Era (1926 – 1989).

Golden Week

April 29th – May 8th

Golden week combines four national holidays in Japan. May 3rd is Kenpo kinenbi (Constitution Day), and commemorates the new constitution which was put in place in 1947. May 4th is Midori no hi (Greenery Day), which celebrates nature and the environment. Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day) is the last Golden Week holiday, and families pray for their son’s health and future success.

Summer Solstice

June 20th – 21st

It’s not an official national holiday, but chances are you can find a celebration to attend. The summer solstice recognizes the longest day of the year—a tradition honored in Japan and around the world.

Umi no Hi (Marine Day / Ocean Day)

Third Monday in July

Ocean Day is a holiday to give thanks for the ocean’s bounty and its importance to Japan as an Island nation.

Mountain Day

August 11th

Mountain Day will become an official holiday on August 11th, 2016. It will not only give people a day off from work, but also will provide an opportunity to appreciate and study the benefits of mountains.

Keiro no Hi (Respect-for-the-Aged Day)

Third Monday in September

This holiday is all about celebrating and showing respect for elderly people in the community, and expressing gratitude for their contributions.

Taiku no Hi (Health and Sports Day)

Second Monday in October

Health and Sports Day is a national holiday that commemorates the opening of the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. The holiday also encourages a healthy and active lifestyle.

Kinrō Kansha no Hi (Labor Thanksgiving Day)

November 23rd

As the name implies, Japan’s Thanksgiving celebrates workers, and honors the labor and production in the country.

Tennō Tanjōbi (The Emperor’s Birthday)

December 23rd

The emperor’s birthday is always a national holiday in Japan. Akihito, the current Japanese emperor, was born on December 23rd, so the holiday coincides with his birthday.

japanese holidays

As you take Japanese lessons, learn as much as you can about these special Japanese holidays. Learning about holidays and traditions makes learning Japanese that much more fun!

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facts about japan

Bet You Didn’t Know: 45 Fun Facts About Japan [In Pictures]

facts about japanEvery culture has its own set of perks, quirks, and interesting facts, and Japan is no exception.

So whether you’re planning a trip, taking language lessons, or you just want to learn some facts about Japan, check out this fun, interactive slideshow.

From facts about food to the lifestyle and the land, here are 45 things you probably didn’t know about Japan.



Now that you’ve learned some interesting facts about Japan, is there anything you found shocking or surprising? Let us know in the comments below!


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Halloween in Japan

Get in the Spirit: Celebrate Halloween in Japan

Halloween in Japan

Have you ever wondered how other cultures celebrate your favorite haunted holiday? Here, Japanese teacher Taro T. explains how Japanese people get in the spirit and add their own twist to Halloween…

Japan may be far away from the United States where Halloween is widely celebrated, but wearing costumes has become a tradition in Japan. In the land of anime and video games, wearing costumes, or cosplay, has been a part of Japanese sub-culture for decades.

Despite the increased popularity of Halloween in Japan (ハロウィーン), in the past, dressing up in costume usually meant attending cosplay conventions. Tens of thousands of people attend such events every year. This part of Japanese culture has also become popular in Western countries. In fact, in 2014, over 33,000 people attended Otakon, a cosplay event in Baltimore, Maryland.

Thanks to the cosplay culture, Halloween has become increasingly popular in Japan as young people continue to embrace American culture. Last year in the Shibuya District in Tokyo, throngs of people took to the streets to celebrate Halloween in Japan.

If you happen to be in Tokyo on Halloween, you’ll be impressed by the costumes and makeup. When I first experienced Halloween, in high school in the U.S., I remember seeing a kid dressed as Bob Marley. I was amazed by the work kids put into their costumes. In Japan, you’ll see the same type of elaborate, high-quality costumes.

The obsession with Halloween in Japan may also be due to Obon, a period in August in which Japanese people celebrate their ancestors’ spirits. It’s an annual Buddhist holiday where people visit their relatives and honor their ancestors.

A yurei is a karmic ghost that’s associated with Obon and Halloween in Japan. A yurei is terrifying, like something you would see in a horror movie.

On the other hand, an obake is a cute, anime-like ghost which is also associated with Obon and Halloween in Japan. For Japanese people, Halloween is a time to have fun and show off their costumes.

In addition, Halloween in Japan is very marketable. Businesses take advantage of the opportunity to sell candy, costumes, and Halloween-related goods. Growing up in Japan as a kid, I remember getting candies that came in a Jack-o’-lantern case. My mother put the case by the front door, and I would avoid passing that area at night because I was afraid of the Jack-o’-lantern.

Halloween may be a relatively new holiday in Japan, but Japanese people love to put their own twist on this American tradition. If you have a chance to visit Japan on Halloween, I’m sure you’ll have just as much fun as the locals.

Here are some Japanese vocabulary  words to help you get in the spirit… ハッピーハロウィン (happy Halloween)!


halloween in Japan


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Taro TPost Author: Taro T.
Taro T. teaches Japanese and ESL in Washington, D.C. He is a language acquisition specialist and mentors students from the United States, Thailand, Italy, Korea, Turkey, and El Salvador. Born and raised in Japan, Taro came to the United States when he was 16 to learn English and American culture. He gained fluency in both English and Spanish. Learn more about Taro here!

Photo by Hideya HAMANO

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Japanese martial arts

The Ultimate Guide to Japanese Martial Arts

Japanese martial arts

There’s no better way to learn Japanese than exploring important aspects of the culture. Martial arts play a significant role in both Japanese history and Japanese culture.

So whether you’re taking Japanese lessons or you’re interested in learning martial arts, here is your guide to the most popular Japanese fighting styles.


Japanese martial arts

Photo by T toes

Sumo is Japan’s national sport. The rules are simple: each rikishi (wrestler) tries to push his opponent out of the elevated, clay dohyo (ring).

A sumo match ends when a wrestler steps out of the ring, or touches the ground with anything other than the soles of his feet. Matches usually take just a few seconds, but can last up to a minute or longer.

Unlike American wrestling, there are no weight classes in sumo, so a smaller wrestler could find himself face to face with a much larger opponent.

There are six annual 15-day sumo tournaments in Japan. Higher-ranked wrestlers will compete in one match per day during the tournament. At the end of each tournament, the wrestlers receive an updated ranking based on their record. The ranking system consists of six classifications: Makuuchi (top division), Juryo (2nd division), Makushita (third division), Sandanme (4th division), Jonidan (fifth division), and Jonokuchi (6th division). Yokozuna (grand champion) is the highest level a sumo can achieve.

Sumo has roots in the Shinto religion, and some of the original rituals remain today, like purifying the ring with salt. Sumo wrestlers must live and train in a heya (sumo training stable) and adhere to strict rules that dictate when they sleep, what they eat, and how they dress.


Japanese martial arts

Photo courtesy

Judo is a modern martial art and Olympic sport created by Jigoro Kano in 1882. Judo translates to “the gentle way,” and the sport is a combination of jujitsu and wrestling.

Judo does not involve punching, kicking, or striking. Instead, participants use throws to take an opponent to the ground.
Kata (pre-arranged movement) is part of Judo and many other Japanese martial arts. Because the opponent knows the moves, kata also allows hitting, kicking, and the use of weapons, but these movements are not permitted in competition and free practice.


Japanese martial arts

Photo by David Vega

Karate translates literally to “open or empty hand” which is fitting since it was developed during a time when a ban was placed on weapons. The three basic movements in karate are thrusts, kicks, and arm strikes.

There are several theories about the history of karate, but many of them are difficult to verify. While karate was developed initially as a method of self-defense, participants also learn and practice Zen and Bushido principles in their search for spiritual enlightenment.

Karate is a blend of indigenous martial arts from the Ryukyu Islands (now Okinawa) and Chinese martial arts like, kenpo. A large number of karate styles are practiced in Japan and across the world, differing from one another in fighting technique and kata.


In kendo (the way of the sword), opponents use shinai (bamboo sowrds) and wear bogu (protective armor) that covers the face, chest, and arms. Participants must master techniques and timing to strike an opponent and score a point.

Like other Japanese martial arts, kendo is about much more than just the physical fighting. Kendo participants seek physical and mental strength along with spiritual enlightenment.

According to the Southern California Kendo Organization, “the concept of kendo is to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the Katana (sword).”


Another form of Japanese sword fighting, iaido is the art of drawing and attacking with a sword. Unlike kendo, iaido is mainly practiced solo using a series of movements called waza. A participant uses techniques and movements against an imaginary opponent, and there is more focus on striking from the draw.

Iaido practitioners develop not only their technique and physical strength, but also their mental capacity. There is no direct sparring in iaido, but partner practice is permitted with a bokuto (wooden sword).

Hayashizaki Jinsuke Minamoto Shigenobu, who lived in Japan from 1546 to 1621, is credited with creating iaido. Almost 100 years prior, however, Lizasa Lenao developed iaijutsu, the precursor to iaido.

japanese martial arts


Japanese martial arts aren’t simply physical activities, but means of seeking spiritual enlightenment. Which martial arts form would you like to try? Let us know in the comments below!

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animals in Japanese

QUIZ: Which Japanese Animal Are You?

There are certain animals that are significant in Japanese culture and history. Some animals are feared because of their supernatural powers, while others are loved and trusted by the Japanese people.

So whether you’re taking Japanese lessons or you’re just an animal lover, learn some vocabulary and find out if you’re a friend or foe with this quiz!


Learn how to say more animals in Japanese with this infographic!


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Japanese Wedding Traditions

Weddings Around the World: 5 Japanese Wedding Traditions

Japanese Wedding Traditions

Giving gifts and honoring parents aren’t just Korean wedding traditions – they’re also important components of Japanese weddings. In this article, you’ll learn about the unique traditions and rituals associated with Japanese weddings…

Japanese wedding traditions

Shintô is an ancient Japanese religion that continues to dominate the country’s culture, especially its ceremonial traditions. Up to 79 percent of Japanese people still belong to Shintô temples, but the vast majority don’t identify with its actual beliefs. Instead, they observe ancient rituals as a celebration of their country’s sacred history, and wedding ceremonies are one of the best examples of this.

According to the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), Shintô is an ancient belief system that originated with the worship of demons and evolved into a long cultural tradition of superstitious rituals and icons. Unlike the demonic creatures associated with Western religions, Shintô demons are supernatural human-animal hybrids who bring both good and bad fortune. Most modern-day Shintô traditions are still associated with the pursuit of good fortune, which is the overarching theme of Shintô weddings.

Japanese weddings often take place in Shintô temples, which feature religious iconography that have become distinguishing features of Japanese architecture. These include stone dogs, water pavilions, and tall red gates that mark the division between the spiritual and corporeal worlds.

When Japanese couples opt to hold their main wedding ceremonies in these sacred shrines, they usually limit the attendance to family members and very close friends, who participate in a variety of superstitious rituals.

Japanese Wedding Traditions

Yui-no is a dinner to celebrate a newly-engaged couple. This pre-wedding ritual involves exchanging gifts. The most common gifts are an obi for the bride (kimono sash) and a hakama for the groom.

Japanese wedding traditions

San san kudo is a sake sharing ceremony and is common in both Shinto and Buddhist Japanese weddings. During this wedding ritual, the bride and groom take three sips of sake from three stacked cups. After the bride and groom sip their sake, both sets of parents also sip the sake. The ritual is complete after a total of nine sips.

The first three (san) represents the three couples: the bride and groom, the bride’s parents, and the groom’s parents. The second three is said to represent the three human flaws: hatred, passion, and ignorance. Some people, however, believe the second three represent heaven, earth, and mankind, or love, wisdom, and happiness.

Nine (do) is a lucky number in Japanese; the phrase san-san-kudo translates literally to “three, three, nine times.”

Japanese wedding traditions

Shintô and western weddings have one obvious staple in common: the white wedding dress. White and red, the country’s national colors, are associated with good fortune. Japanese brides almost always wear white and incorporate red into their culinary and decorative choices. While their ensembles vary from delicate silk costumes to sleek evening gowns, their white clothes are consistent symbols of virtue and patience. Grooms often wear black kimonos or suits in Japanese weddings.

Brides who want to honor the Shintô tradition will wear a wataboshi, a white silk hood or headdress, over the bukin takashimada (bun) in their hair. This represents modesty and humility.

Others incorporate simple floral kimonos into their wedding day apparel, but fashion-savvy brides are happy to choose haute couture dresses for their special day.

Japanese wedding traditions

The bride and groom take time during their special day to honor their parents. Gifts include flower bouquets, cards, and letters.

All of these traditions make you wonder – what other wedding traditions exist around the world? One of the best ways to learn about a new culture is to learn its language. You can put on a Japanese movie with English subtitles, read Japanese literature with a translation, and anything else fun to help you learn the language (while learning about the culture along the way). Just remember, practicing consistently is the key to learning any skill, especially when learning a new language.

Want to learn more about Japanese language and culture? Sign up for private lessons with a Japanese tutor, today! 

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Korean food blogs

Bring Your Appetite: The Top 10 Korean Food Blogs

Korean food blogs

Learning a new language isn’t just about memorizing grammar rules, it’s also about tickling your taste buds and sampling some amazing new foods. So as you’re taking Korean lessons, let these Korean food blogs be your guide as you treat yourself to some delightful Korean delicacies.

Koreans are foodies, and it shows in their diverse cuisine. It’s an excellent food culture to explore, and it features everything from traditional dishes, Korean BBQ, and street food favorites like the giant ice cream cone.

When you visit Korea,  you will have all sorts of new foods to explore. But you don’t need to wait until you visit Korea to try the delicious food. These 10 Korean food blogs will teach you everything you need to know about Korean food, and teach you how to make some of the delicious dishes at home.

1. Seoul Eats

best Korean food blogs

Find interviews, restaurant reviews, travel tales, and more on this delightful blog written by Daniel Gray.

Daniel guides you through the more traditional customs, teaches you to eat “abnormal delicacies,” and gives you information about wonderful culinary tours in Korea, including his own.

2. ZenKimchi

Korean food blogs

ZenKimchi has become a monster of a resource. The website has all the information you need on the best, highly-rated food tours.

The journal also provides the ultimate restaurant guide, a food calendar, and an extensive list of places to find cheap eats.

3. My Korean Kitchen

Korean food blogs


Check out My Korean Kitchen to see Sue’s amazing photography as she gives you a visual tour of the food of Korea.

Find recipes, products, restaurant reviews, and tips for living in Korea.

4. Seoul in the City

korean food blogs

Seoul in the City is an adventure to find Korean food (and other cuisines) in a variety of cities. Seoul is on the list, but when you’re in the states, there are some solid restaurant recommendations as well.

It’s a lovely blog about a girl who loves Asian food, with a strong focus on the best in Korean cuisine.

5. Seoulistic

Korean food blogs

You’ll love Seoulistic for many reasons. Sure, you can find plenty of info on where to eat and unique food spots in Korea, but you’ll also find lots of fun articles about Korean culture.

6. The Korea Blog

Korean food blogs

Another all-encompassing blog, there’s an ample section dedicated to food.

Find articles about Korean restaurants with breathtaking views, or read about the best dishes to warm up your winter.

7. Aeri’s Kitchen

Korean food blogs

Aeri loves to cook. She’ll introduce you to some delicious Korean foods, and she’ll even teach you a little Korean.

With Aeri’s guidance, and her warm personality, you will learn about lots of different Korean foods, and you’ll even learn how to make some of the dishes on your own.

8. Easy Korean Food


With easy-to-follow recipes, Easy Korean Food lets you enjoy delicious Korean dishes whenever you want.

Whether you’re looking for a Korean BBQ recipe or a decadent dessert, learn to make signature Korean dishes in your own kitchen at home.

9. Maangchi

Korean food blogs

Maangchi developed a community of dedicated Korean food lovers. Find information about cooking and preparing Korean food, and participate in an active forum of restaurant owners, novice and professional chefs, and foodies from around the world.

10. EatYourKimchi

Korean food blogs

Bloggers Simon and Martina will entertain you with their videos that document their adventures in Korea.

Learn about traveling in Korea, the Korean culture and lifestyle, and of course, the food!

The food of Korea is as diverse as the culture. Exploring Korean food is the most flavorful way to learn the language, customs, and all about the people who live in Korea. Check out these Korean food blogs to discover an array of delightful dishes and delicacies.

Which Korean dishes are your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

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Your Complete Guide to Japanese Sake

japanese sake

Want to learn more about Japanese culture as you take Japanese lessons? Then you should explore different types of Japanese cuisine and Japanese beverages (if you are of age). Sake is a popular Japanese beverage, and luckily, if you’re unable to travel to Japan, you can enjoy certain types of sake in the United States… 

So next time you head out to eat sushi, you’ll be able to order and enjoy sake like a pro. Here’s everything you need to know about Japanese sake.

What is Sake?

Although the specific date and origin of sake remains open for debate, the earliest accounts of the alcoholic beverage have dated back to the 10th century.

Sake was brewed in temples and shrines, and by the 18th century, was a popular drink in Japan. At one point in the late 1800s, anyone was allowed to make sake, which created an explosion of breweries.

Eventually, many people opted out of sake making, and what were left were long-standing family breweries, some of which still operate today. The oldest Japanese sake brewer is Sudo Honke.

Sake is made from rice, and the alcohol content (15 to 20 percent) is higher than most wines.

How to Make Sake

Making sake is a three-step process. It’s a rice-based drink made from hulled, polished rice. The three steps in the process are koji, shubo, and moromi.


During the first step, spores of mold are added to polished and steamed rice. Since rice does not contain sugar, it has to be converted into sugar. This is done with the help of koji-kin (a type of mold).

The koji is then added to a yeast starter and mash to assist turning the starch into glucose.


In the second step, steamed rice, koji, water, and yeast are combined to spur the moromi process.


In the final stepshubo is combined with koji, steamed rice, and water, and everything is left to ferment. Once done, sake is pressed, filtered, and pasteurized before being stored cold.

The sake-making process is intricate, and often done slightly different in Japanese breweries. As with any alcohol, there are levels of quality.

In general, Japanese sakes are better than those produced in other countries—they’ve had more time to perfect the technique.

Types of Sake

Now you know that sake is made up of water, koji, mold, yeast, and rice, but different types of sake have a different concentration of ingredients.

Here are the four basic types of sake:


Junmai sake has no added sugars, starches, or alcohol. To make junmai sake, the rice is milled 30 percent, and there is 70 percent of each grain remaining.


Honjozo is a little smoother than Junmai, as a small amount of additional alcohol is added to lighten the flavor.

The 30 and 70 percent rice ratio is the same in Honjozo sake.


Ginjo has the same ingredients as Honjozo, but the rice is milled 40 percent, with 60 percent of each grain remaining.


To make Daiginjo sake, 50 to 65 percent of the rice gets milled away, creating a fragrant, full-bodied sake.

How to Drink Sake

  • Sake is served in a tokkuri, which looks like a vase.
  • You drink sake out of cups called ochoko.
  • Do not pour your own sake. Let your friend or colleague fill your cup, then in return, you pour his or her sake.
  • Don’t drink your sake until everyone’s glass is full. In Japan, everyone will raise their glass and say “kampai (cheers).
  • Sake bombs (a shot of sake poured in a beer glass) are an American tradition, you may not want to do sake bombs in Japan.

Sake can be served hot, cold, or at room temperature. In most cases, the most refined, high-quality sake is served cold.

Start exploring different brands and types of sake. Make note of what you like and what you might pass on in the future. It’s a fun process, and eventually you will be a seasoned sake pro.

Order in Japanese

If you’re learning Japanese, use some of your basic phrases to order sake. It’s a fun way to practice what you’ve learned. Use greeting, simple phrases and remember to thank your server.

Sake in the United States

Like most U.S imports, there is a level of Americanization with sake. You can find sake bars around the nation and participate in more straightforward consumption methods, or you can have some fun and try things like the sake bomb.

Although many sake aficionados prefer Japanese sake, American brewers have started to up their game. In a land of craft beer, creating sake is second nature. And what’s even more interesting is that some of Japan’s oldest brewers have begun to dabble in craft beer. It’s a win-win for everyone, since the results will most likely produce some excellent new lines of sake and beer.

It’s a wonderful drink and tradition, much like wine and beer, and it has the power to bring people together.

Kampai (cheers)!


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5 Unique Korean Wedding Traditions

Tying the Knot Around the World: 4 Unique Korean Wedding Traditions

5 Unique Korean Wedding Traditions

Have you ever wondered about wedding traditions from other countries or cultures? Maybe you’re learning Korean and it piqued your interest in worldly affairs. In this article, you’ll learn about neat traditions practiced for Korean weddings…

While Korean wedding traditions are both unique and interesting, not all couples choose to incorporate these rituals in their wedding day. In fact, Korean superstar Lee Na-Young got married in May of 2015, and she clutched a small bouquet and wore a long white gown during the simple outdoor ceremony. Her new husband, fellow actor Won Bin, complemented her modern look in a tailored suit with white flowers in the front pocket. Western wedding traditions have gone global, and even South Korea has adopted some of these wedding day rituals.

Today, most Korean couples follow this famous couples’ lead and plan westernized wedding ceremonies that have more in common with Hollywood movies than ancient Korean rituals. Some couples, however, choose to incorporate older Korean rituals into their special day.

From pre-wedding events to ceremony rituals, here are four unique Korean wedding traditions.


Eui hon (matchmaking) is an old Korean engagement tradition, and may not be as common in Korea as it was in the past. In 2014, however, there were 2,500 matchmaking companies in Korea.

Professional matchmaking in Korea is generally based on education level, social status, and family lineage. Before the potential bride and groom meet in person, the matchmaker introduces the families and introduces the parents to the potential mates.

If all goes well, the groom’s family sends a marriage proposal to the bride’s family. The bride’s family can approve or deny this proposal on their daughter’s behalf.


Hanbok refers to a traditional Korean clothing style that men and women have worn for more than two thousand years. Silk, simple lines, bright colors, and high collars are common characteristics of this festive fashion tradition, which almost always includes long sleeves and a sash around the waist.

Today, hanbok is shorthand for the custom-made costumes that Korean women wear on very special occasions. These colorful tops and full-bodied skirts are usually reserved for weddings or national holidays.

Though white wedding dresses are now much more common than ceremonial hanbok, many Korean brides pay homage to their heritage by incorporating this traditional dress in their wedding day activities. Some slip into their hanbok to pose for photos after the wedding. Others wear a hanbok for a smaller, separate ceremony on another day.

When a South Korean man or woman marries a partner from a Western country, like the United States or United Kingdom, hanbok allows them to integrate both cultures in their ceremony. Hanbok is also a stylish but nostalgic nod to the union of past and present; if the bride and groom wear a gown and tuxedo, their parents might choose to wear hanbok and white gloves to honor their roots.


Modern wedding traditions usually focus on the bride and groom, but in South Korea, family still plays a central role in weddings. The pyebaek is the best example of this. Originally, the pyebaek was a patriarchal tradition that officially integrated the bride into the groom’s family. She would bestow gifts upon her future in-laws and ultimately bow in subservience as she left her family for theirs.

Today, the pyebaek celebrates the union of both families. This family ritual is one of the most popular remnants of ancient Korean wedding traditions, and some original elements remain. For example, the bride still presents the groom’s family with a gift of Korean dates and chestnuts, which symbolizes fertility. The bride and groom also wear hanbok as they bow to their families in unison, a gesture of gratitude and respect.

Though the pyebaek began as a long, pre-wedding ritual, modern couples often hold their pyebaek immediately after the wedding. During this small, private ritual, the parents share advice for married life and accept gifts of wine.


During the marriage ceremony, the groom gives his mother-in-law kireogi (wooden geese/Korean wedding ducks). The kireogi symbolizes structure and harmony, keeping the same partner for life, and leaving a great legacy.

A Note on Gifts

The gift registry is one Western staple that still hasn’t found a place in Korean wedding traditions. Instead, the vast majority of modern Korean couples receive cash in special envelopes. Because odd numbers are associated with good luck, many guests make sure they give an amount that begins with an odd number, such as 50,000 or 90,000 won.

Koreans don’t always incorporate ancient traditions in their weddings, however, ceremonial clothes and gifts are still popular ways to honor Korea’s past on this special occasion. Nowadays, Westernized weddings are becoming more prominent while ancient Korean traditions still remain preserved. I hope you had fun learning about Korean wedding traditions!

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