Top 5 Japanese Bakery Treats

You wouldn't think that Japan would be a country for great bread, given its preference for rice over any other starch. And yet the bakeries here regularly turn out excellent confections, from chocolate croissants to sugared toast. Here are some of the usual suspects you'll find at the local bakery, some of which have a uniquely... Continue Reading →

5 Faves: Ema (Prayer Plaques) – Part 3

It's time for another look at the various shrine prayer plaques around Japan. I've found some interesting ones in recent months, and the more you know about the story you tell, the more fascinating that random shrine can become. 1. Hachiman Shrine (Shirakawa-go) - The Hachiman shrine in the UNESCO World Heritage Village of Shirakawa-go has... Continue Reading →

5 Faves: Top Photos of 2014

I had such fun sifting through and identifying my favorite photos from last year, that I knew I wanted to do it again this year. In an attempt to get a bit of a jump on things, I actually went though my archives in October and picked out my ten favorite shots from the year.... Continue Reading →

5 Faves: Onsen Towns

Winter is the perfect season to enjoy Japan's warm waters. (And man, has it ever turned into winter practically overnight here.) I personally love hot springs and like nothing better than to plan an evening's escape to a small onsen town in the middle of nowhere. While Japan also boasts big tour-focused towns where tons... Continue Reading →

5 Faves: Waterfalls (Part 2)

One of the first kanji I learned in Japanese class was waterfall (don't ask me why) and it's served me well these past few months. Sometimes all it takes is a random road sign to steer me off in the direction of another one of Japan's beautiful cascades. If you don't have a car, however,... Continue Reading →

5 Faves: Regional Specialties

It's so much fun to travel around Japan on one's stomach. Every single region has an edible specialty; sometimes all you have to do is go one town over and you'll encounter something unique to that area. Here are a few of the tastier treats I've had during my travels in Japan. 1. Ikinaridango (Kumamoto... Continue Reading →

5 Faves: Movies About Japan

Back when I was in Japanese class in the US, we were allowed to watch movies on Fridays after our oral exams. I discovered some interesting Japanese TV series (Kekkon Dekinai Otoko), a new favorite actor (Abe Hiroshi ... be still my heart 😛 ) and it motivated those of us in class to seek... Continue Reading →

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