Kokeshi Dolls – The Ultimate Japanese Themed Christmas Gift

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What Is A Japanese Kokeshi Doll?

Christmas is fast approaching and for those doing their last minute shopping now is the time for an inspired idea. If you’re looking for a different present for a loved one this year; then a Japanese Themed Christmas Gift may be the answer to this.

Japanese culture is full of ideas and notions that are a lot different form our own culture, and one area of this is their fondness for items such a s lucky charms and lucky animals that have a lot of meaning tied to them. One such example of this is the Japanese Kokeshi Doll.

A Kokeshi doll is a wooden doll made from a simple trunk as the body and an enlarged head which has a simple design. The body is often decorated in a floral pattern and tends to be either red, yellow or black. One of the main characteristics that is most noticeable is that there are no arms and legs. The artists tend to leave their signature on the bottom of the doll.

Origins Of The Kokeshi Doll

Kokeshi Dolls are thought to originate from Northern Japan, and were first produced by kijishi artisans who were skilled at the use of a potter’s wheel in the Togotta Onsen area in Zao, and then spread to other spa areas in the Tohoku region. It’s thought the dolls first came around in the middle portion of the Edo period (from 1600 – 1868) to be so to people who were visiting the hot springs in the north eastern part of the country.

Traditional Kokeshi doll shapes and patterns are particular to a certain area and there are eleven classifications. The most dominant type of this is the Naruko style of Kokeshi doll, which comes from Miyagi Prefecture originally. The main street of the Naurko Onsen village is known as Kokeshi street and is full of shops operated by the carvers of the Kokeshi dolls.

Other Japanese Lucky Charms

Alongside the Kokeshi doll, there are a whole host of other lucky charms available such as:

Lucky cats – One of the most common Japanese Lucky Animals is the Japanese lucky cat – also known as the Maneki-neko this translates as ‘beckoning cat’. You may have encountered this in an Asian restaurant or shop (popular in both Japan and in China, as they are a symbol of luck), prosperity success and happiness. They tend to sit on top of the till or cash register waving good luck to customers. They come in a range of colours and always have a raised paw. Most Japanese Lucky Cats tend to have a bib, a collar and a gold coin which is decorated.

Lucky owls – Another popular Japanese lucky charm is the Japanese Lucky Owl (or in Japanese Fukurou) the Japanese owl symbolises luck and is thought to prevent a person from suffering. It is believed that different colours of lucky owl have different attributes when it comes to luck. Some Japanese owls also represent wisdom; however this is a less common belief in modern times and is thought to have been a popular notion in the Meijiperiod.

Kokeshi Dolls As A Christmas Gift

Japanese lucky charms make great Christmas gifts, as they are an interesting looking addition to a house, whether or not that is eastern themed or not. And also for those who believe in lucky charms and the benefits that surround them, then they will be greatly received.

Just How Amazing Pressure Washers Are?

pressure washing

How do you keep clean? How do you keep things around you look brand new?

It’s cool outside! How do you take the idea of relaxing and communing with nature, free of worries, and anything negative? As much as we want to, but the dried grass clippings, mud, and blistered paint halt your fancies. Oh, my! You still have to do the cleaning and all it takes to be organized and polished. A magnificent pressure washer may help. As you do it, don’t forget to read more on pressure washers to ease your burden.

Pressure washing can be a hassle if the machine you use is not worth  your trust and money. Help yourself especially if no one will do it for you. Using the perfect pressure washer is worth more than 10 heads working.

Always choose your best power washer with an equally best price.  A pressure washer is an awesome piece of equipment designed to help you cleaning things around your home. A clean surrounding is a piece of heaven so to speak. Indeed, it is. Our home is a place where we relax and unwind. The relaxing mode can be drastically changed to a “beast mode” if everything around you is filth and dirt. Worry no more because pressure washers are always on full blast to help you clean. Just do the maneuvering and it can help you in a multitude of ways.

pressure washing

Now, gaze at the exterior siding of your house. Does it need ultimate cleaning? A sigh is not accepted. You can pressure wash it and at the same time soap it off so it will look shiny and new.

Then, check your grimy grills for they may need a wonderful bath so they would look awesome in the spring.

What about your garage door and driveway? They may look very old and grimy now. Pressure washing them will invite more friends into your seat of heaven.

As you soap and bathe your grills and bricks, don’t forget to perfume your best buddy, your car. Keep it shiny and always look new.  Oooops! Don’t take for granted your outdoor furniture. They need pressure cleaning as much as the others in the house do. Pressure Cleaning is quick and easy. No hassle for the majestic pressure washer will do it for you. Just relax and everything will always be brand new.

 

PlayStation Plus – A new Gaming ERA

PSN

As Sony Entertainment Network’s premier service, PlayStation Network has been packed with more unifying games, videos, games and television. Over the years, it has been improved and established by Sony to be a brand having the most extensive digital entertainment evolution.

PSN already made its name as a gaming platform up to this date and through enormous years of comprehensive digital innovations, Sony Interactive Entertainment managed to add another amazing feature to the PlayStation world and this is PlayStation Plus.

Time brought about many changes to the gaming tradition. Gaming folks affirmed that video gaming is much simpler before and the big launch of PlayStation Network is a milestone to console gaming. It became more complex and refined. The system grew larger and gained online prowess.

Today, PlayStation Plus is one PSN users have been very hooked about. The instant rose of the genuine users is apparent and the established connection is becoming broader. Sony’s intent work on the functionality of their service is remarkable. From a rudimentary feature of a home console, comes of the most successful and integrated gaming platform.

What is PlayStation Plus?

PlayStation Plus is PSN’s premium subscription to their service. It was launched by Sony in June of 2010. With the system of PlayStation Plus, user are given accessibility to a list of exclusive content, store discounts and complimentary games. They also have initial access to the latest forthcoming games. This subscription is an exclusive access to the features of PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 which are:

  • Game discounts
  • Online game storage (for saving)
  • Multiplayer on PS4 (online)
  • Free games per month

How much is the Subscription cost?

The breakdown of the price is $9.99 (one month), $17.99 (three months) and $49.99 (one year) if you digitally subscribing to PlayStation Plus subscription through your PS device.

Online Multiplayer

People, especially online gamers, mostly subscribe to PlayStation Plus because of its online multiplayer feature.  This online multiplayer access happens when a game allows you to play with other players who aren’t physically sitting with you in the room.

This is also one of the key features of other online games today. If you don’t want to play online, it’s okay. But if you are after experiencing modern games in full, you’ll have to play online. Don’t forget that online multiplayer on PS Vita and PS3 is always free. Your membership to PlayStation Plus only require online playing on PS4.

Free Games

PlayStation Plus subscription offers free games. But you could also get these subscriptions by going to the generator here. Games differ every month. However, lapse to your subscription will cause you to lose access to free games. Sometimes, the games are older and often overlooked but all are good games. 72 free games were offered by Sony in 2012 including Dragon’s Crown, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Metro: Last Light and Dead Space 3.

Game Discounts

Sony selects games to be offered with discount to subscribers every week. Discounts reach 75% off the regular price. These games are bought digitally though this is not ideal to those who have games on their disks.

Main Kinds of the Kakejiku

Kakejiku

Usual Kakejiku

The usual kakejiku (hanging scroll) means a kakejiku, whose subject is perennial. It doesn’t mean that we can leave the kakejiku displayed for a long time, but that we can display it freely, regardless of the season.

The landscape, often called “sansui” (literally mountain and water), is one of the subjects of the usual kakejiku. “Suiboku-ga” (ink painting), the art of painting in just one color using “sumi” (Japanese ink), is not only for painting lines, but also for showing gradation through contrasting ink density and lighting. The landscape painting with sumi is called a “suiboku-sansui.”

Mt. Fuji has, since ancient times, long inspired many painters, because its magnificent image has long been worshiped all over Japan. When Mt. Fuji is tinted red by the sun’s rays, the image is called “Aka-Fuji” (Red Mt. Fuji). This superb view, which is rarely seen by most people, has long been considered a very lucky symbol. This is why a kakejiku of Aka-fuji is often displayed for New Year holidays as well as ordinary days, while other usual kakejiku are rarely displayed. (Most Japanese people want to have a happy New Year).

“Shikibana” means four flowers, each representing one of the four seasons. Shikibana is one of the subjects of the usual kakejiku. Although there is no special rule, a peony, which is considered the king of flowers in China, is usually positioned in the middle of the screen, with the other flowers encircling it.

The combination of bamboos and sparrows (called “take-ni-suzume”) has, since ancient times, long been considered a lucky symbol, so it is very popular in Japan.

The Japanese people admire the characteristics of bamboo: they grow straight and is flexible, yet is hard to break. They liken bamboo to the fortunes of a family, and hope that their family fortunes will not decline.
The sparrow breeds abundantly, so it has been considered a symbol of the prosperity of a family’s descendants.

The tiger or dragon is often painted, because their grand strength is believed to wards off evil spirits.

Seasonal Kakejiku

The four seasons are distinct in Japan, so the Japanese people value the sense of each season. They replace their kakejiku (hanging scrolls) depending on the season. This kind of kakejiku is called “kisetsu-gake” (seasonal kakejiku).