Japan’s Legendary Maneki Neko (Lucky Cat)

images-3

Aikido, while practiced in well over 110 countries, is deeply rooted in Japan.  We are fortunate to have highly qualified instructors from many nationalities and backgrounds. But it’s safe to say that nearly everything we do in Aikido is Japanese by nature.  Except of course, most of us gaijin (non-Japanese).  So learning about Japanese social customs and culture is probably a good thing for us to undertake.

I thought we might delve into learning about that little cat statue found just about everywhere in Japan and in many Japanese establishments outside of the country.…

Shihan – Sensei – Senpai – Which to Use

The dojo culture can be confusing for non-Japanese students.  For example what’s with all these titles and how should one properly address people at the dojo.

Westerners tend to refer to people with a gender-specific Mr., Mrs., Miss, or Ms., and sometimes will identify someone by their educational or position status and address them as Doctor or Professor. However, modern society seems to be moving away from almost all formality in everyday use since it’s a rare occurrence when people use a title when addressing someone.…