Have you ever heard “nabe”(鍋) or “donabe”(土鍋)?

Nabe or donabe is  a pot in Japanese but Donabe doesn’t mean a stainless pot but a clay pot like this.


We often use this and the dishes cooked with this is also called “nabe”, and is popular in winter. I’d like to show you examples of nabe dishes that I made.


This is a typical Japanese nabe dish in winter that has napa cabbage, cibolspork, garland chrysanthemum leaves and shiitakes in it.


This is called “Nabeyakiudon”. “Yaki” is grilled and “Udon” is thick noodles made from rice. It has Japanese radishes, carrots, spinach, udon noodles, eggs and kamaboko which is fish minced and steamed. How to cook nabeyakiudon is quite simple. Boil soup and put root vegetables in first. Add other stuffs in the nabe and once it steams up again, then it’s ready.

I cooked and ate it with my friends and had a great time, because it warmed our bodies and hearts! Nabe is not a dish to eat alone but a dish to gather friends or family to eat together.

Why don’t you hold a nabe party to enjoy the hot and delicious nabe dishes with everyone in this winter?



One soup and three dishes(ichiju sansai一汁三菜)

Have you ever heard of one soup and three dishes(一汁三菜)?

%e3%81%84It’s an idea that Japanese people have traditionally tried to eat healthy every day and literally consisted of one soup and three kinds of dishes that are one main dish and two side dishes, and pickles are added to it to refresh the mouth during the meal.


Staple food: cooked rice

Soup: miso soup, clear soup

Main dish: raw fish, grilled dishes, fried dishes, simmered dishes, steamed dishes (meat or fish)

Side dish 1: simmered dishes, steamed dishes, tossed dishes (vegetables, potatoes, mushrooms, tofu, beans, etc.)

Side dish 2: tossed dishes (raw fish and vegetables seasoned in vinegar, vegetables, seaweed, fruits, etc.)



The reason why this concept is healthy is that you can have a well-balanced diet if you embrace it, drinking fluids from soup, eating carbohydrates from staple food, which is rice, protein from main dish and other nutrition like vitamin or mineral from two side dishes. Also, using a lot of foods to make this one soup and three dishes meal, you will create a nutritious and balanced diet naturally.


Listed as a UNESCO intangible world heritage site, Japanese food (washoku) is drawing global attention for its nutritional balance and its role in Japanese custom, history and culture.

If you’re intrigued by this style of cuisine, please try and enjoy it!



Have you ever been to a Junkissa?

%ef%bd%8aIt’s a classic café with the atmosphere of the Meiji-Showa era. In the Meiji era opening the country to the world, Japan began to accept cultures from overseas and be rapidly civilized and westernized. We didn’t have any café before the era but it came to be a place for the intellectuals to gather and communicate. Now this word “Junkissa” is used not as a western style café but as a western Japanese style café.


Let me introduce my favorite place that has Junkissasas. It’s Jinboucho. This town has so many book stores on the streets that people call here a book town and we can buy books, go to a café and read what we got here. There are a lot of café and Junkissa in Jinbocho and it going to be easy to find a place to read books or have some breaks or chitchat with your friends, but if you visit here alone and have books you mean to read or want to enjoy the peace of silence I highly recommend you to knock on the door of Junkissa, because it’s a place for you. Here people are unwinding over a coffee, reading books alone in nine cases out of ten. You can hear music like classic, chanson or old Japanese songs that make you feel relaxed to spend time at a Junkissa. Also, the atmosphere is not like in crowded Tokyo but somewhere I know well, because I feel like I am always welcomed by the place, lovely sweets and tea or coffee and people belonging here. If you are interested in this town or Junkissa, search on the web and visit!



Do you know koyou(紅葉)?


This is koyou. Green leaves gradually turn into red in autumn. It looks so beautiful that people trip somewhere to get and see the leaves changing colors.


In Japan Kyoto is one of the famous koyou spots.

koyou1This picture is a window at a temple maned genkoan(源光庵)in Kyoto. The window cut a beautiful part from scenery and how it looks changes depending on where you sit. Actually, there is a window shaped square next to it and both are great and photogenic.



koyou2I took this picture at eikanji(永観寺) in Kyoto. Here is especially beautiful at night because they light up the vivid colorful leaves and it makes this place amazing in darkness of the night sky. We can also have a matcha(抹茶) or oshiruko(お汁粉) which is sweet red bean soup at the temple, enjoying stunning koyou.


The season of koyou is colder than I expect, so if you visit Kyoto or other koyou spots in Japan, don’t forget your coat and scarf for extra warmth!

What’s “Kodou(香道)” ?

Have you ever experienced Japanese incense ceremony called “Kodou(香道)”? “Kodou” is the traditional Japanese art of appreciating the incense. This may be not as popular as “Sadou(茶道, Japanese tea ceremony)” or “ Shodou(書道, Japanese calligraphy)” but an important element of Japanese culture and counted as “Sandou(三道)” which means three ways of traditional arts, as with Japanese flower arrangement (“Kadou”華道) and Japanese tea ceremony(“Sadou”茶道).


“Kodou”, incense ceremony has a long history. Aromatic woods came to Japan in the 6th century with Buddhism so the Buddhist temples started to use it first and subsequently the scents of these woods were gradually recognized by the people at court. In the Heian period aristocrats came to make their own fragrances to compare one another, which is said the roots of incense ceremony.

I have an experience of “Kodou” at the college class. Before I attended the class I knew little about what was involved and never realized that the method of preparing it was graceful and calculated. When our teacher made some incenses for us to smell I found every incense has different design on ash and it seemed that he drew it quite easily enough for me to do. However, it was not as simple as I expected.

This is what I made in the class. First, making surface smooth was difficult, because I didn’t know how much I should put strength, and dug on the ash. Besides, if I use aromatherapy by myself I don’t have to care about other people but in this time, I needed to prepare it so that all of participants can smell it equally. I understood that “Kodou” is not for one but for everyone.


Also there are two types of enjoying “Kodou”, which is “Monkou(聞香)” and “Kumikou(組香)”. The former is a simple way of smelling and participants know what kind of aromatic woods they will have. While the latter is an interesting way of enjoying incenses like playing a game and the most common way of it called “Genjikou(源氏香)” is featured by “The tale of genji” . Participants who don’t know which incenses will they smell sit near one another and pass around five censers, guessing what they are smelling. Then after finishing it move on to the next stage where they express what they smelled with drawing illustrations called “konozu(香の図)” on a piece of paper.


It may look like formal and a bit complicated but it’s fun and relaxing.


Brief introduction of Cosmos students!

Brief introduction of Cosmos students!


Hi, this is Cosmos Japanese Language School! Today, we would like to introduce couple of our wonderful students here:)

The info is about ①gender②age-group③nationality④terms of staying in Japan

★①Female②20-30 year-old③Australia④2.5years

★①Male②30-40 year-old③Turkey④2years

★①Male②40-50 year-old③Hong Kong④9years

★①Male②40-50 year-old③U.S.④2.5years

★①Male②30-40 year-old③Saudi④3years

★①Feale②30-40 year-old③Brazil④1years

★①Male②30-40 year-old③Irish④3.5years

★①Female②20-30 year-old③Japan④1year

★①Female②30-40 year-old③U.S④6years

★①Female②20-30 year-old③U.S.④1.5years

Want to join Cosmos? Why not! We are waiting for your join!

Feel free to sent your message to


Okonomiyaki お好み焼き

The first time I came to Japan, my tutor asked me and my classmates if we had ever tried Okonomiyaki. “Okonomi-what-now?” we answered in barely comprahensible Japanese, and we were promptly taken to an Okonomiyaki restaurant. After getting a simple explanation about what it was, and ordered, we waited for a little while, and in came the bowl of batter. Our tutor poured it over the cooking plate in the middle of the table, and skillfully fried it up. Then he cut it into easy-to-handle pieces, and we were told to put Okonomi-sauce, mayonnaise, and shaved dry fish on top. The heat from the Okonomiyaki made the dried fish dance on top, and it all looked like it was alive. I then bit into this creation, and what I tasted was the start of a long love with Japanese food, other than Sushi.

Okonomiyaki is a sort of savory pancake, with a variety of ingredients in the batter. (Different from the French Crepe, or other “foody” pancakes, that are wrapped around an ingredient.) Usually one would find cabbage, pieces of meat, or seafood, and spring onion, etc. Basically, you can put whatever you want in it, as the name tells you: Okonomi (お好み), meaning “what you like”, and Yaki (焼き), meaning “grilled, baked, cooked, fried”.


Halfmade shrimp and cheese Okonomiyaki
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This dish is usually associated with Osaka and the Kansai area, and with Hiroshima. However, one can find restaurants and chains all through Japan that sells Okonomiyaki. Next time you feel a little hungry when out in town, whether you have tried it before or not, why not try to find a nice Okonomiyaki place, and dive a little deeper into the Japanese cuisine?

OBS! Okonomiyaki in Japanese is easily confused with Sukiyaki. Heres why:
好 has two readings, 好む (konomu “to like”) and 好く (suku “to like”). Both are verbs, and when used in other words they usually take the form of 好み (konomi) and 好き(suki).
焼く (yaku “to bake, grill, cook, fry”) undergoes a similar transformation when used in other words: 焼き (yaki), and in this form it is a common word in Japanese cuisine, in everything from sukiyaki, to yakisoba, teppanyaki, etc…
We therefore have two words with different readings, meaning about the same thing. To separate them, we put an お in front of one of them. This お is just a little decorative politeness prefix, and has no real meaning in itself. Hence we have:
お好み焼き (okonomiyaki)
好き焼き (sukiyaki)

Bushido – The Soul of Japan

Starting from today, we will be introducing the books that we are available in our mini-library. We recently bought a number of Japan-related books and we hope that we can slowly add more to our collection. If you have any books that you would like to recommend to us (related to Japan of course!), please let us know through g-mail, twitter or facebook!

Today we will be introducing the book:


“Bushido – The Soul of Japan”

by Inazo Nitobe

If you have watched “The Last Samurai” or any other movie related to samurais and samurai culture, you probably have heard the characters mention at some point, the idea of bushido.

Bushido which implies “the way” of the samurai life is similar to the term “chivalry,” in that they both refer to a warrior’s moral code of conduct.  However, the Japanese bushido is slightly more complicated and particular.

The seven virtues of bushido, according to Inazo Nitobe are:

  • Justice – 「儀」 (ぎ・gi)
  • Courage – 「勇」 (ゆう・yu)
  • Benevolence – 「仁」 (じん・jin)
  • Politeness – 「礼」(れい・rei)
  • Sincerity- 「誠」 (まこと・makoto)
  • Honor- 「名誉」 (めいよ・meiyo)
  • Loyalty – 「忠義」 (ちゅうぎ・chugi)

In this book, Nitobe first thoroughly examines each of these virtues. He then goes on to explain how these virtues are strongly rooted in Japanese society and provides his insight on the future of bushido.

It is interesting to note that Inazo Nitobe, who was an educator and civil servant to the Meiji government, wrote this book in English in 1900. Like Tenshin Okakura, who wrote “The Book of Tea” first in English as well, he hoped that he could be some kind of bridge between Japan and the West. Since Japan at this time was rapidly Westernizing and constantly trying to promote itself as a modernized nation like the West, books such as “Bushido” and “The Book of Tea” were read with great fascination as it exposed the more traditional and delicate side of Japanese culture.

Students of COSMOS may borrow this book and any of the other books in our collection🙂

A Geek In Japan – Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony

Another book from our mini- library that you have to check out!


Author: Hector Garcia
ISBN 978-4-8053-1129-5
Tuttle Publishing

Chapter 1 – The Origins of Japanese Culture
Chapter 2 – The Traditional Arts & Disciplines
Chapter 3 – The Unique Japanese Character
Chapter 4 – Curiosities & Symbols
Chapter 5 – The Japanese at Work
Chapter 6 – Japanese Society & Daily Life
Chapter 7 – Japan Today
Chapter 8 – The World of Manga & Anime
Chapter 9 – Modern Japanese Music
Chapter 10 – Movies & Television
Chapter 11 – Visiting Tokyo
Chapter 12 – Traveling Around Japan

This book, A Geek In Japan, reinvents the culture guide for the Internet age. Packed with articles and photographs, it ranges from the touchstones of traditional culture like bushido, geishas, Shinto, Buddhism, and Confucianism to chapters on traditional arts and disciplines like ukiyo-e, ikebana, Zen meditation, martial arts, and the tea ceremony. There are also cultural code words and values; society and daily life; business and technology; the arts; and symbols and practices that are peculiarly Japanese. A quarter of the chapters are devoted to pop cultural genres, with attention to the stars, idols, and urban subcultures – otakus, gals, lolitas, visual kei, and cosplay – associated with them. For visitors to the country, the author includes a mini-guide to his favorite neighborhoods in Tokyo as well as tips on other places of outstanding interest.






About us, Cosmos japanese language school!

COSMOS is a Japanese language school located in Hanzomon, Tokyo.

The founder of COSMOS established this school recently as a second job in hope to support foreigners living in Japan, especially those who intend to stay here for a longer period of time.

Because we are a start-up company and it has only been several months since we opened this school, we must admit our school is not very big. We are located in a room in an apartment, just a minute away from Hanzomon station. However, we take great pride in being able to provide our students quality Japanese language classes in a comfortable and “at-home” environment.

For those who are new to Japan or for beginner Japanese language learners, you are pretty much in charge of what you want to learn and what you want to focus on in class. If you speak basic Japanese but aren’t so confident in reading and writing, we will prepare exercises for you that will help you improve those skills. If you on the other hand, have studied Japanese through textbooks but cannot form sentences quickly when trying to speak Japanese, we provide more conversation-based classes, using various topics and settings.

For those who have studied Japanese for years and are hoping to either brush a certain skill or learn advanced Japanese, we have classes that focus on analyzing newspaper articles or writing essays. If you have a specific curriculum that you would like to follow, that is also possible. Just consult with us first so that we can provide a great class for you.

Plus regarding homework, that is completely up to the student if she/he wants it or not. We are very flexible when it comes to our student’s needs as well as their schedule so if that’s the kind of school you are looking for, please drop by sometime and take a class!

If you would like to register for a free trial, please contact us at the following address: