Manhole Monday: Ginzan Onsen/Obanazawa

One of the best things about summertime in Japan is the fruit. Big (and I mean BIG) juicy peaches, tart cherries, and the abundance of melons of all varieties. Watermelons are a big product in Ueki, a small town near my former home of Kumamoto, but the town of Obanazawa in Yamagata Prefecture is also... Continue Reading →

Crash Course: Fans

It's June 1st and the heat is on (yes, now YOU also have cheesy 1980s song lyrics stuck in your head). Luckily, we haven't yet broken the 90 degree barrier here in Kumamoto, although poor Kyoto has been stewing all week. Rainy season seems set to arrive tomorrow, though, so we'll hopefully see a few... Continue Reading →

Celebrate: Obon 2014

I was going to start off this post complaining about the heat (again ­čśŤ ) but a quick glance through the archives showed me that last year's Obon post started off the same way. I suppose I'd better dial down the whining ... autumn will be here soon enough, I guess! Obon officially starts today,... Continue Reading →

Crash Course: Hanabi (Fireworks)

Summertime in Japan is synonymous with fireworks and barely a weekend goes by without some sort of┬áhanabi┬ádisplay. I'm sad to be missing our local summer festival and fireworks this weekend but we're off to Sendai at the end of the week┬áfor a brief summer vacation and I have plans to catch some┬áhanabi up there. Hanabi┬á(literally... Continue Reading →

Celebrate: Obon

What a hot, muggy, crazy week it's been! I started off this month thinking that August in Kyushu might not be so bad, certainly not as bad as August in Okinawa. Right? Right??? Unfortunately, the weather this week has been unrelenting, a constant 93 degrees or higher with humidity so thick it just sits on... Continue Reading →

5 Faves: Beaches

Summer is in full swing here and when the mercury rises, sometimes there's no better place to be than at the beach. Being an island nation, Japan has no shortage of sandy stretches, though some certainly outrank others. From Hokkaido's icier waters to the subtropics of Okinawa, here are some of the country's best beaches:... Continue Reading →

Crash Course: Yukata

The heat is on here in Japan. The rainy season has passed and temperatures are ramping up in the land of the rising sun. Typical summer activities are in full swing - the kids are all out catching cicadas, the fireworks displays are lighting up the night skies, and girls everywhere are shaking out their... Continue Reading →

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