The Deadliest Food in Japan: Mochi

You thought it was pufferfish (fugu), didn’t you? Well, as risky as that particular food may be, it doesn’t hold a candle to that sticky rice confection that takes the widest variety of forms. Usually, Japan sees a spike around New Year’s in hospitalizations from eating this treat, as well as a few deaths. What […]

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Yabusame (Horseback Archery)

Horseback archery has an interesting place in Japanese culture. It is now a purely ceremonial event that can be seen across the country. I was fortunate enough to discover that a small Yabusame association chapter held a competition just up the street from a local station, so I went with some friend to see this […]

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Sendai Tanabata Festival

Tanabata can fall on one of two sets of dates: Either July 7th or August 7th. One or the other depends on if you follow the solar calendar or the lunar festival. In the northern part of the main island of Japan, an area called Tohoku, there are three famous summer festivals that fall around […]

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Akita Kanto Festival

Akita prefecture is known for its Akita dogs, Namahage, and the Kanto festival. Not to be confused with the Kanto Region (which encompasses Tokyo), these Kanto are large poles that carry a large number of lanterns. They require great balance and strength to handle, and when held expertly, provide a stunning sight for onlookers. Every […]

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Kanamara Matsuri

Alright, so, here we go. This is the festival with the giant phallus parading through town. There are a lot of expectations going into an event like this, and a lot of things you are suspecting to see. I’m here to report that some of those expectations were met thoroughly, while others fell woefully short […]

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