Great Gardens: Ashikaga Flower Park

A few years ago, wisteria wasn't even on my radar. Sure, it's a historical and hugely popular flower here in Japan, but having spent so much time in Okinawa up to that point, my flower knowledge mostly comprised hibiscus ... and that's it. Alright, and cherry blossoms.¬†Everybody knows cherry blossoms. ūüôā Then I moved to... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Kawagoe

The beginning of March involved a lot of traveling outside the Tokyo region. The latter half of the month, however, involved two friends in town who'd never been to Japan, so we covered a fair bit of ground in the city, as well as destinations not too far afield. While we did hit up the... Continue Reading →

Tohoku and 3/11: Looking Back and Ahead

Five years go, I was sitting in my kitchen in Okinawa, playing cards with a friend while my infant daughter slept at our feet, when the messages started coming through: "Are you alright?" "Oh my word, how devastating!" "Is everything ok????" "PLEASE tell us you're alright." They had every reason to be concerned. A 9.0... Continue Reading →

Review: Once Upon a Time in Japan

A few months ago, a package arrived from Tuttle publishing with a new book to review entitled Once Upon a Time in Japan.¬†Not only is this a collection of multiple tales, perfect for short stints and bedtime reading, but it also comes with an audio CD (which is what took so long to get around... Continue Reading →

Great Gardens: Meguro Sky Garden

Most of the gardens I've profiled in this category (and on this site in general) have been traditional Japanese style gardens or gardens dedicated to a particular bloom (like the iris garden outside Beppu). I'm going to break with "protocol" and write up a modern garden I discovered only a short walk from my home... Continue Reading →

Crash Course: Osechi

New Year's Day arrives in less than two weeks and I am just now coming to terms with that. What is it about December that makes it seem as if there are 15-20 fewer days in this month than all the others? Last year, I felt I had everything together by the time Christmas rolled... Continue Reading →

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