Festival Focus: Some no Komichi

For many, February is a frigid month, a month to just grit your teeth, zip up your jacket and trudge your way through a slog of icy, sleety days and cold weather. But February in Japan makes my heart sing. From bean throwing and daruma burning at the beginning of the month to the gorgeous... Continue Reading →

Festival Focus: Karatsu Kunchi

Most people rave about Japan's summer festivals (and admittedly, there are some spectacular ones) but being rather partial to the cooler weather, I am a fan of the nation's autumn festivals. Both Kumamoto and Okinawa had some exciting ones (massive tug of war, anyone?) but my favorite will always be the Karatsu Kunchi in Karatsu,... Continue Reading →

Family Fun: Neputa Mura (Hirosaki)

When we were up north earlier this month, we were lucky enough to catch the Neputa Festival in Hirosaki, which I highly recommend to anyone of any age. But if you're in Hirosaki outside of the festival dates (August 1st-7th), make sure to swing by the Neputa Mura, the "village" that houses some former Neputa... Continue Reading →

Friday Photo: June 2015

Unless something drastic happens, this will be the last Photo Friday post I make from my home here in Kyushu. The movers come in just over a week and we begin the drive to our new digs in Tokyo in mid-July. How did three years go by so fast??? So in honor of my last... Continue Reading →

Celebrate: Culture Day 2014

As you read this, I am probably recovering from a wet and rainy weekend on the Kumano Kodo, the old pilgrimage path on the Kii Peninsula (Wakayama Prefecture, south of Osaka). Last year, I read that¬†Culture Day is statistically one of the sunniest days of the year. This year it more than made up for... Continue Reading →

Celebrate: Obon 2014

I was going to start off this post complaining about the heat (again ūüėõ ) but a quick glance through the archives showed me that last year's Obon post started off the same way. I suppose I'd better dial down the whining ... autumn will be here soon enough, I guess! Obon officially starts today,... Continue Reading →

Crash Course: Hanabi (Fireworks)

Summertime in Japan is synonymous with fireworks and barely a weekend goes by without some sort of¬†hanabi¬†display. I'm sad to be missing our local summer festival and fireworks this weekend but we're off to Sendai at the end of the week¬†for a brief summer vacation and I have plans to catch some¬†hanabi up there. Hanabi¬†(literally... Continue Reading →

Crash Course: Yabusame

I mentioned¬†yabusame¬†(archery on horseback) the other week in my post on Culture Day, but it's a topic that definitely deserves its own post. I'd never had the chance to witness yabusame until this past October at the Kumamoto Castle autumn festival but I can now say with authority that it is very,¬†very cool. Yabusame as... Continue Reading →

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