Good Eats: Nikiniki (Kyoto)

Most visitors to Kyoto can't help but taste the old capital's specialty sweet - yatsuhashi. While traditional yatsuhashi is a hard cinnamon-flavored cookie, the stands that line the road up to Kiyomizu Temple do a brisk business in both selling and offering samples of the nama (raw) version - a chewy, glutinous confectionary. Namayatsuhashi are normally shaped like a triangle... Continue Reading →

Crash Course: Tenugui

It's July 1st and I've got to say, the heat is STILL not here. I'm a bit surprised that rainy season has lasted so long this year, with no break yet in sight. (It's currently pouring.) Not that I am complaining, mind you. I am not a fan of the stifling summer temperatures. Summertime means sweat,... Continue Reading →

Crash Course: The Tokugawa Shogun(s)

Quick - name a Japanese historical figure. (And no, Ken Watanabe's character in The Last Samurai does NOT count.) Chances are one of two names comes to mind - Emperor Meiji, the man who oversaw Japan's emergence as a modern power, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, the samurai who fought to unite Japan and ushered in an... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Osaka

It might sound silly, but I get really excited about Japan's manhole covers. That's because over 1500 communities in Japan - ranging from tiny villages to megacities - have specially designed manhole covers that showcase what makes their town known. It's literally a piece of art beneath a traveler's feet. I hope you enjoy this bimonthly series on... Continue Reading →

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