About customs and traditions

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Most people associate Kyoto with the famous Kyoto protocol which sets obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emission. Fewer people actually know that Kyoto is the birthplace of Nintendo (initially, they only launched a card game and had nothing to do with game consoles) and probably even fewer know that Kyoto had been the capital city for more than thousand years.

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Kyoto is the perfect place for gaining invaluable insights into Japanese traditions. These traditions and customs are partly still visible. For instance, you should abide to some customs when visiting customers. Usually, the colleague that has a higher rank is introducing the lower ranked. It can also be said to work on the opposite too where usually, you hand over your business card to the individual who is higher up within the organisation first. Also, as you may already know, to bow for salutation is still common in Japan and of which I have just learned that the bowing has three levels. The first level, bowing about ten percent, is common between friends and colleagues. The second level has a bowing of about 30 percent, which is more formal. You use it mainly when meeting older people and people that have a higher rank. The third level, a bow of about 45 percent, symbolizes deep respect or an apology. I always make a bow of 30-45% whilst greeting a customer (just to be on the safe side). They don’t mind if a foreigner doesn’t know about customs or forgets them, but I would like adapt to the culture I am living in right now. A customer of whom are a major manufacturer for textile machines, is a sure place in which I could practise my bowing.

They are manufacturing customized machines and are about to set up new ones abroad. Of course, these machines need to be maintained, which can turn out to be very expensive. Thus, they are looking for maintenance-free products that can help increase the life of their machines. iglidur® and drylin® can help them extend the lifetime of their machines due to all our products having self lubricating properties and are therefore maintenance free. With igus® they don’t need to send their employees to customers abroad so often due to technical problems which again, helps save money.
Many manufacturer of textile machines are relying on igus® products. Often, not only iglidiur® bearings are essential to help to improve the quality and lifetime, but also other products such as igubal®. igubal® self-aligning bearings include rod ends, ball and socket joints, clevis joints, pillow blocks, flange bearings, pressfit bearings, and spherical balls that are all highly vibration dampening. This circular knitting machine, of MAYER & CIE GmbH & Co, relies on igubal® spherical bearings. They prevent any failure through the sticking together of textile fibres by their maintenance-free feature and the omission of lubricants.

As Kyoto is the traditional centre, it is not surprising that the city offers many cultural sights.

Everywhere, at least nearby the centre, you can find stunning temples or shrines.

One of the most famous temples is Kyomizu-dera.

The temple is UNESCO world heritage site and unique in the way it was built. They didn’t use a single nail. The huge terrace of the temple offers impressive views of the city.

The terrace is associated with an old Japanese phrase which means translated “to jump off the stage at Kiyomizu”. You can compare it to the English phrase to “take the plunge”. If one were to survive a 13m jump from the stage, one’s wish would be granted. Two hundred thirty-four jumps were recorded and 85.4% survived it. Of course, nowadays it is forbidden to jump from the terrace

Nearby the temple, hidden in a small street, is a restaurant that absolutely doesn’t look like a restaurant. There is no sign advertising or welcoming guests. It is one of the very traditional restaurants that are only open to an exclusive circle of members. In order to become a member, you need at least two recommendations and an interview with the owner of the restaurants. The owner, an old lady at the age of 70-80, proves the candidates knowledge about traditions and his behaviour. She decides who is worth to have dinner in her restaurant. Due to some relations we had the chance to have dinner there. At the beginning she seemed to ignore my “misbehaviour” but later she was sitting next to me at the table and correcting me when I did something wrong. For instance, when I forgot to put the spoon out of the soup she was doing it for me, or when I used my mobile phone she asked a colleague to tell me that I should put it away.  During the dinner we had the opportunity to meet two Geishas.

Geishas are traditional female entertainers who act as hostesses and whose skills include performing various Japanese arts such as classical music, dance and games.

It is not that everyone can just call them but only a few people can do so. Also, you cannot just become a Geisha. You must attend a selective school for it. What looks strange for most people is the white skin.

The use of white make up comes from an age where people knew only candles as the only source of light. At candle light the white face appears rose and natural.
Japan is a very modern country indeed, but at the same time you can find many old buildings and traditions that can be traced back hundred of years ago. I’m excited to explore more of this fascinating country.

I will keep you up to date,

yours, Sascha.