Dasai! Is Saitama Lame?

After the Yuru-kyara Grand Prix this year, the magical mascot of Shiki won the first-place prize. That’s a city just a few stops up the Tobu Tojo line from my beloved Kawagoe, and it has gotten a lot of people talking about Saitama prefecture, mainly, how it has a reputation of being lame, full of […]

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Sapporo Beer Factory

Way back in February of this year, I was in the snowy northern island of Hokkaido. While there, I was able to visit the Sapporo Beer Factory, producer of one of the most iconic Japanese beers seen at home and abroad: Sapporo. While the tour was all in Japanese (unlike the information available from Yebisu) […]

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Pocky Day in Japan

11/11, November 11th, is Pocky Day here in Japan. It’s pretty low-key; you won’t really find it unless you really look for it. The consumer-based holiday isn’t really all that old or revered, but it did come about from a bitter rivalry with a certain country across the Sea of Japan, or the East Sea, […]

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Edo-Style Starbucks in Kawagoe

Starbucks is ubiquitous in the developed world. Wherever you go, you’ll more likely than not find a Starbucks to sell you coffee and treats for a nominal fee. There was some cheering and grumbling when a new Starbucks opened in Kawagoe’s historical district, steps away from a historic bell tower. Many were upset about corporate […]

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Minoo Falls and Minoh Brewery

Osaka can really get you down. The drudgery of everyday life, the rat race, the grind, the hustle; it can all really make you yearn for simpler times, simpler pleasures. Luckily, the weekend warrior can find his or her arena just a short train ride outside the city in a small town called Minoo. Go […]

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