Friday Photo: July 2014

Ah, the dog days of summer. Yup, it's STILL hot here. This is not my favorite time of year in Japan. The heat is one thing (temperatures have been in the high 80s and low 90s for the second half of this month) but it's the humidity that really saps you. Still, as much as... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Izumi

I know I blogged about visiting the wintering cranes in Izumi back at the beginning of the New Year but I didn't have a chance to share Izumi's manhole covers. That's right - manhole covers in the plural sense. Not only does Izumi pay homage to its feathered inhabitants, as seen on this cover: They also commissioned... Continue Reading →

Crash Course: The 47 Samurai

A grievous insult. A man wronged. A life avenged. Conspiracy. Murder. Honor. It's the plot of one of Japan's most popular kabuki plays, Chushingura. Only this story is no fiction, but the famous tale of the 47 Samurai (or 47 Ronin). The story begins back in 1701, when the country was in the throes of... Continue Reading →

Crash Course: Samurai

Thanks to all of you for your patience. It took three weeks (!!!) but I'm finally hooked back up to the internet! Hopefully posting will resume a regular schedule from here on out. 🙂 I’ve just moved to Kumamoto (in central Kyushu) and man, is there a pretty impressive castle in this town. To me, castles are... Continue Reading →

5 Faves: Young Adult Novels

A few months ago, I suggested a number of children’s books that are perfect for engaging young minds ahead of a trip to Japan. But what about those pickier tweens and teens? Here’s a round-up of some engaging adventures about Japan for young adults … some adults might find these choices pretty entertaining, too! The... 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 →

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