Yasukuni Shrine

August 15th marked Japan’s surrender during World War II. One place that was conspicuously unvisited by Shinzo Abe and his cabinet was Yasukuni Shrine. If you haven’t heard of Yasukuni Shrine, here’s a brief run-down: This is where Japan commemorates all of those who died in service to the Japanese empire. While Yasukuni did not […]

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Furin (Wind Chimes)

Furin (foo-reen) are those pleasant wind chimes that you often see made of a globe of glass with the bottom cut out. Often, you’ll have another piece of glass dangling below to bump against the orb, producing sound. They are a symbol of summer here in Japan, and I thought I’d take a little time […]

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Enoshima Island Spa

My first spa experience was at a wonderful place in New Orleans, and it was very relaxing for me. After getting beaten up by a traditional masseuse from the Lahu tribe on the Myanmar/Thai border, I was put-off by the idea of massages and spas in general, since massage seems to be such a big […]

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Enoshima Island

Just off of the coast of Kamakura, south of Tokyo, lays Enoshima Island, a small island that hosts many interesting man-made and natural beauties. One rainy weekend during summer, I was able to make a stop on the island for my wife’s birthday and get a little taste of what the island has to offer.

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Gojo Falls

Just 30 minutes or so outside of our fair city of Kawagoe rests a beautifully forested area near Chichibu, which I am slowly coming to adore. Mountains, rivers, and meadows dominate the landscape, and it was in this setting that my wife discovered a short hike to Gojo Falls. Easing me into an eventual hike […]

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Omiyage

There is a nice tradition here in Japan called Omiyage (oh-me-yah-gay), which is a gift that you bring back to coworkers, friends, and family upon returning from a trip. In the States, we have all manner of knick-knacks and chachkies that we can buy, but Japanese omiyage is a big industry, so the level of […]

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Akanasu Cat Pub

Picture a modest-sized bar where you order small finger foods and drinks. That’s known as an izakaya in Japan. Now picture a place where you play with cats as you drink tea. That’s known as a cat cafe. What happens when you merge the two? You get a cat izakaya (bar/pub), which is where my […]

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Cool Biz

Having lived in both incredibly dry heat and super wet heat, I can say with certainty that life in these places without air conditioning is quite the challenge. Having a fan makes it manageable, but for how long? In Japan, there is an effort that started back in 2005 in order to help cut energy […]

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