Crash Course: Shisa

I'm having a bit of Okinawa nostalgia at the moment. No one is more surprised by this than me, as my three years on the island were not necessarily, to quote Dickens, "the best of times". Never terribly fond of the confines of the sweaty "rock", I've nevertheless been reflecting a lot on Japan's southernmost... Continue Reading →

Experience: Bullfighting (Okinawa)

This past month, my daughter has been slightly obsessed with the decades-old children's book The Story of Ferdinand. If you haven't read it, it's the story of a bull in Spain who prefers to sit and smell the flowers rather than fight in the bullring in Madrid. Charming? Yes. Realistic? No. 🙂 Yet every time I... Continue Reading →

Crash Course: Eisa

Obon in Okinawa ended yesterday, a week after that of mainland Japan, but I am sure the echoes of eisa music can still be heard around the island. Eisa is considered a Bon dance, meaning a dance that is performed during the Obon season to honor the spirits of the ancestors. In modern-day Okinawa, however,... Continue Reading →

Good Eats: Akasaka Tantei (Tokyo)

UPDATE: Although Akasaka Tantei is still in business at the same location, they no longer offer the fantastic lunch deals they once did. Lunch now begins around ¥4000, while dinner runs at least ¥10,000 per person. Although I have spent three of my five years in Japan on the island of Okinawa, I must admit... Continue Reading →

Family Fun: Forest Adventure (Okinawa)

I'm working on an itinerary this week for a family with teenagers heading to my old stomping grounds on Okinawa. It's been quite the walk down memory lane for me as I select the activities I think they'll like. I didn't always enjoy my three years on what I considered Japan's subtropical "rock" but there... Continue Reading →

Crash Course: Shamisen

Last week, I posted about a great find of a restaurant in the Asakusa neighborhood where diners were treated to a shamisen concert during their meal. For those of you who may not be familiar with the shamisen, here is a brief introduction to this Japanese traditional instrument. The shamisen is thought to have come... Continue Reading →

Experience: Urashima Dinner Theater (Okinawa)

Aside from the beaches, Okinawa doesn’t always seem much different from the other forty-six prefectures of Japan. Yet these islands had their identity shaped by centuries of contact with Pacific cultures, influencing everything from food to styles of dance. One of the best places in Okinawa to witness the latter is the Urashima Dinner Theater... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Onna Village

Whew, it's been a busy year! We've barely turned the calendar to 2013 and already the first mini-break of the season is in the books. I was lucky enough to tag along with my husband on a business trip to our former island home, where I shot this interesting manhole cover. The photo was actually... Continue Reading →

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