Experience: Listening to a Hibakusha

The Hiroshima Peace Museum is a worthwhile visit in its own right but for me, the most moving moment of my visit there a few years ago was the chance to listen to a hibakusha tell his story. Hibakusha is the Japanese word for those who survived the atomic bombing of either Hiroshima or Nagasaki... Continue Reading →

Good Eats: Unagi

When I was a teen. I had a Japanese penpal. One summer, she came to visit me from Yokohama. I lived in a rural area in Pennsylvania, but for one brief day, we took my friend to New York to "see the city". For some reason or other, perhaps as a concession to possible homesickness,... Continue Reading →

Top 5 Fireworks Displays

Like catching cicadas and chasing fireflies, fireworks in Japan are an integral part of the summer experience. Originally used to scare off evil spirits, fireworks (hanabi in Japanese) today are an exuberant affair. During my first week in Japan years ago, I remember joining the yukata-clad masses for the best light show ever over Tokyo Bay. If... Continue Reading →

Spotlight: Churaumi Aquarium (Okinawa)

Today, Japan is celebrating Umi no Hi (Marine Day) so what better way to mark the occasion than a post on one of the country's greatest aquatic sights? Japan has a dearth of aquariums, including a new and highly controversial one in Kyoto. Perhaps I'm biased but the one that really takes the cake is... Continue Reading →

Celebrate: Tanabata

Whew, it's been a busy past few weeks! First a trip to Tokyo in late June and this week, a trip to Kumamoto in southern Japan. My family is prepping for a move within Japan and we hopped a plane the other day for a quick househunting trip. It was only as I was walking... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Shizuoka

This post is part of a series on artistic manhole covers around Japan. It's Mt Fuji climbing season again. The trails opened around the first of July and each day, hundreds of hikers tackle Japan's sacred peak. I'll post a bit more on how to do the actual climb in another entry but for this... Continue Reading →

Experience: Nagomi Kitchen Home Visit

You've seen the temples, the shrines, the castles. You've eaten your fill of sushi, yakiniku and ramen. You've rested your weary body in a ryokan or curled it into a capsule hotel. But the one thing missing from your ideal Japan adventure? Getting to know the locals and seeing how they live. In Japan, it's not... Continue Reading →

Spotlight: Matsumoto Castle

The medieval gem of Himeji castle is currently undergoing a multi-year restoration and the remains of Edo Castle (now the Imperial Palace) aren't really all that interesting, in my opinion. So where should a traveler go for a good castle experience in Japan? Head for the hills - of Nagano Prefecture, that is - and... Continue Reading →

5 Faves: Children’s Books

Heading to Japan with the little ones in tow? Pick up some picture books before your trip - they're guaranteed to get everyone excited about the upcoming adventure! Here are a few of my favorite choices: One Leaf Rides the Wind by Celeste Mannis - A young girl goes on a poetic tour of a Japanese garden.... Continue Reading →

Good Eats: Vegetable Sushi Potager (Tokyo) – CLOSED

Update March 1, 2014 - Sadly, Vegetable Sushi Potager has closed. I'll now be on the lookout for other unique sushi and vegetarian options. This eatery will be missed! _________________________________________________________________ At first glance, the meals on offer at Tokyo's Potager seem like any other top-quality sushi restaurant. Look a bit closer, however, and you'll discover there's nothing... Continue Reading →

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