Experience: Making Karashi Renkon

It's my final week in Kumamoto, which means getting around to all of those things I promised myself I would do before (and never did) or the things I just discovered in the past month and wondered why I had no idea they existed. The karashi renkon class at Murakami was a combination of both... Continue Reading →

Experience: Lavender in Hokkaido

Not too long after my university years, I lived in France for awhile. While I loved my home in the Dijon region in central-eastern France, I always harbored a not-so-secret desire to head south to Provence to see the famous lavender. I never did make it but - lucky me - I moved to Japan... Continue Reading →

Experience: Sake Tasting at Kafu

Want to learn more about one of Japan's most popular drinks but don't know where to begin? If a trial and error tasting at a local bar isn't for you, you can learn a lot about sake in a short amount of time at one of Kafu's sake tasting evenings. Kafu is an up-and-coming cultural... Continue Reading →

Experience: Tosenkyo at Hangesho Fan Shop

On my trip to Kyoto earlier this month, I was faced with a rather rainy forecast. So, turning to the internet and my trusty research skills, I tracked down this article on a fan shop in the Miyagawa-cho neighborhood of Kyoto that taught visitors an age-old fan throwing game. So, with umbrella and good friend/frequent travel... Continue Reading →

Experience: Miyako Odori

Kyoto is home to five hanamachi, or geisha neighborhoods. Every year, each neighborhood's geisha (or geiko, as they are known in Kyoto) and maiko put on a demonstration of their accomplished skills. Tickets sell out quick but last year, I was lucky enough to score a pair of tickets for a Sunday afternoon show by the... Continue Reading →

Experience: Temple Stay on Koyasan (Mt Koya)

One of the attractions of visiting the religious complex of Koyasan in Wakayama Prefecture is the chance to stay in a shukubo, a temple lodging. Guests are treated to Buddhist vegetarian cuisine and can participate in morning prayer services. But not all shukubo are created equal. Here is my personal experience from January 2015. Winter was... Continue Reading →

Experience: Mokuhankan Ukiyo-e Workshop

I first heard of David Bull a few years ago, when I stumbled across the Ukiyo-e Heroes website of Jed Henry. Jed took modern video game characters, placed them in traditional Japanese settings and sent his pictures off to David in Tokyo to be made into woodblock prints. David took the process through the complicated... Continue Reading →

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