Travel Goals for 2017

Every January for the past few years, I've started off the new calendar with a list of my travel goals for the upcoming months. I just took a glance back at the last few lists and I am pleased to say, I've covered a lot of what I set out to do. We did indeed... Continue Reading →

Review: Real Samurai

When I picked up last month's Review selection (K is for Kabuki), I also grabbed another book called Real Samurai. This nonfiction book is written by Stephen Turnbull, a noted military historian. I haven't reviewed many samurai books so I thought I'd take it home and give it a go. Confession time - I find... Continue Reading →

What’s On in November

November is my favorite month in Japan. For much of the low-lying areas of the nation (and a few mountainous areas that have yet to turn), November is foliage month. Autumn in Japan is unlike anywhere else in the world. In my home state of Pennsylvania, our neighboring mountains turned mottled hues of rust, gold and... Continue Reading →

What’s On in October

I had hoped to get this list up at the beginning of the week, but our hot water heater died (and flooded part of our garage in the process) and that took priority at the beginning of the month. How I wish there was an onsen or sento right down the street, like in Japan! Hopefully,... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Minakami Onsen

Autumn is in the air in Japan. Typhoon season has been pretty wet this year, I heard, but cool temperatures and clear skies are starting to make their appearance. The first foliage reports from japan-guide are out and Hokkaido has started off the season with brilliant colors. Last year, looking to vary things a bit... Continue Reading →

Washoku Wednesday: Shiso leaves

Courtney cooks up a tasty shiso salad in this month's Washoku Wednesday column! Shiso, or perilla, is an herb that is often used in Japanese cuisine but isn’t well known in the western world. There are two varieties, green and (red) purple, but the uses are very different. Green is added to dishes, salads and more.... Continue Reading →

Spotlight: Ouchijuku (Fukushima)

Back in the Edo Period (1603-1868), the city of Edo (now called Tokyo) became the de facto capital of Japan. While Kyoto remained the cultural capital, the administration of the Tokugawa Shiogun operated out of Edo. Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun, had already unified much of Japan; his descendants strengthened the ties between the various... Continue Reading →

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