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Asia » Japan » Fukuoka November 2nd 2020

I was sad when our 13 months in Fukuoka came to an end. I was also apprehensive to be leaving a country that had neither a huge covid outbreak nor a lockdown nor stringent restrictions in order to move to Europe where the streets were seemingly oozing with covid and no fun was to be had. I would say it was a successful year in terms of my research project at Kyushu University, which went well, despite being unable to go to Nepal after February to finish off the fieldwork. It was also definitely a successful year in terms of visiting much of Japan. So much so that I have decided to divide my living in Japan experience into six blogs; one for each of the main islands and a general one about living in Japan. ... read more
Itoshima Oyster Season
Hiking the forested mountains around Fukuoka
Yoshinogari Historical Park

Asia » Japan » Wakayama » Tanabe May 24th 2020

So after spending a short time in Los Angeles, in March 2019, I flew from LA to Osaka with Japan Airlines. As previously commented, I had decided to try and do self guided hikes, so again booked with World Expeditions for a Kumano Kodo, Coast to Coast Self Guided trip. It was for 10 days and included accomodation, luggage transfer and most meals. Having landed in Osaka, I had booked a hotel in Wakayame so I had easy access to the station to Tanabe the next day. Luckily for me, it was cherry blossom season and a walk from the hotel was the Wakayame Castle which was lovely to see with the cherry blossoms in full colour. After a nights rest, I caught the flight down to Tanabe, about a two hour trip. I checked in ... read more
Kumano Kodo
Kumano Kodo
Kumano Kodo

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto » Higashiyama May 23rd 2020

Which country has the most Michelin-starred restaurants? The Michelin guide was founded in 1900 by brothers Andre and Edouard Michelin as a way to encourage drivers to take more road trips. It included maps and recommendations on where to sleep, fuel up, and eat. The hope was that it would encourage people to put more wear on their cars and thus buy more tires from their company. Today, restaurants covet Michelin stars. Even a single star is a tremendous honor as it denotes a quality restaurant. Excellent restaurants are awarded two stars, and the crème de la crème receive three-stars. Despite France's reputation for fine food and it being the home of the Michelin guide, France's 600 odd starred restaurants only put it in second place. The most Michelin star restaurants can actually be found in ... read more
Wow, I would love this!!!!
My favorites!!
n/naka in Los Angeles

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Ginza May 5th 2020

This year, Children's Day is May 5. Of all the children-centric holidays, I miss Children's Day the most. Why? I felt it was special, for Japanese American children, in a culture that cherishes tradition, family, and outright spoiling of children. (Written in 2009) Many of you think of May 5 as Cinco de Mayo. But May 5 is a big day in Japan as well, for it is an annual event, now called Children's Day, or originally Kodomo no Hi. It is set aside to respect children's personalities and to celebrate their happiness. It became a national holiday in Japan in 1948. It was always a special day when my son was a little guy. And of course, like most Asian families, the boys are favored with ... read more
Grandma and daughter Sarah

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Shibuya April 25th 2020

When dining with neophytes at a Japanese noodle bar, the question always comes up. What are the various types of noodles, and which one will I like? The short answer, try them all. Or just order what I order! So, basic flour and water, like most pasta, right? But in Japanese noodle cooking, the broth is the key. Stories abound, as some Japanese artisans trace their secret recipes back a century or more. And noodle apprenticeships can last decades! In Japan, there is a fellow who travels around the entire country, doing nothing but reviewing ramen! As I recall, he averages about two bowls of ramen each day. You can find his story in "Rice, Noodle, Fish", a great read for those of you who love Japanese food. I use the book as a reference quite ... read more
Noodle soup
Shirataki noodles
The mighty ramen

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Harajuku April 7th 2020

I found this on one of my favorite websites: url=https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/news/make-your-own-face-mask-with-these-simple-step-by-step-guides-032620?mc_cid=b627418c6c&mc_eid=5f781646f3https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/news/make-your-own-face-mask-with-these-simple-step-by-step-guides-032620?mc_cid=b627418c6c&mc_eid=5f781646f3url=https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/news/make-your-own-face-mask-with-these-simple-step-by-step-guides-032620?mc_cid=b627418c6c&mc_eid=5f781646f3img=https://media.timeout.com/images/105628314/image... read more
Creative!

Asia » Japan » Nagano February 16th 2020

Having enjoyed a day at Suginohara Ski field last year while staying elsewhere, we eagerly sought a longer visit this year (assuming bodily capabilities). The 'bodily capabilities' issue arose about a month before departure as Judy experienced a painful inflamed knee issue which was not getting resolved. Just before departing, Judy confided that she doubted she'd get skis on this year! This year we were joined by one of our children and his family. Adrian had married a Japanese national - Mari - and now have 2 children; Sakura 10 and Jack 7. Though they had visited the snow some years ago for a day, we assumed a prolonged ski holiday would be a novel experience for them. Having Mari help with accommodation turned out to be a blessing. Mari was able to secure accommodation in ... read more
Snow Dump Day
From Restaurant area towards Mt Myoko
Looking down the Gondola route

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Shinjuku February 10th 2020

The article on MSN Travel Voices featured a young African American woman, traveling in Japan. Here are some of her thoughts and observations: url=https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Travel-While-Working-44457039?utm_source=msn&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=feed&utm_content=link_4When I go abroad, I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders to be a good example of a black woman so negative stereotypes don't continue, especially in homogeneous cultures where there is a lack of diversity. The media doesn't exactly portray black people incredibly well, and people watch it and make assumptions about what we're like based on the color of our skin. In some places, they've rarely even seen a black person in real life. I am constantly aware of every move I make when I step outside of the United States. There is not a single moment when I am not c... read more
Where are you from?
What are you?
Tell me the truth!

Asia » Japan » Hokkaido January 17th 2020

Keeping an eye on our recoveries, Furano became a point of relative convalescence interspersed with light snow hiking. P2 felt underdone energy wise, so there would be unfinished snow business after the trip. The last time we were here the temperatures were in the mid thirties, the sun rising at 3:30am. Contrasting it to January, it was crusty snow underfoot and minus 13 to 15 Celsius in the morning. Our bodies were certainly under different stressors. The landscape transforms completely and it’s very relaxing to simply look at in the wintery state. We thought our colds had improved enough to meet 2018’s trip feature, Shingo-san, a café owner, cycle guide, and jack of all trades, as is common in the Hokkaido community. Luckily, the dress code of the cool days had been a covered nose and ... read more
Biei shrine, a power spot with many heart symbols

Asia » Japan » Hokkaido January 14th 2020

We had four full days to play with in Sapporo. Whilst P2 remained under the weather I got my leave pass to head back to the known snow shoe site of the Hokkaido memorial at Nopporo, a safer option to a mountain traverse. Trains to Shinrin-kooen are frequent and rapidly filled up that morning with locals, young and older. Now being an expert at knowing the park entry points, I had the snow shoes on ready to hike Nopporo within fifteen minutes of alighting. Yesterday’s cross country skier tracks (the tracks owners were an older Japanese couple whom I’d met) remained, as well as our messy frozen contribution. Snow was in the forecast though that day, which would likely coat everything. Gaining elevation from the city made a difference to snow depth in Nopporo. After trekking ... read more
Otaru




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