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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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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Vanitoy Bagel: Bagels in Japan

Bagels are a unique baked good, if you stop and think about it. They have become very ingrained in many parts of American culture and society, so much so that we seem to have them mentally categorized as essential as bread. You see them everywhere and can enjoy them at the drop of a hat, […]

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Kawagoe Coffee Festival 2017

I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but I am a sucker for festivals. As soon as I saw the hand-drawn posters for the Kawagoe Coffee Festival, I knew I would want to check it out, even though I’m not much of a coffee fan. I do enjoy the smell of roasting coffee, so with […]

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Kawagoe Festival 2017

One of the three major festivals in Saitama prefecture, the Kawagoe festival is an autumn festival that occurs every year on the third Saturday/Sunday of October. The whole town gets in on the action, with gifts, snacks, drinks, and floats flooding the city streets. Despite threats of bad weather, I was able to see a […]

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Japanese KitKat Flavors

One of the most fabled tales I heard back in the olden days (1990s) about Japan was the abundance of flavored KitKat bars. They were one of my childhood favorites, so when I arrived in Japan as an adult nearly 15 years later, I was curious if the KitKat craze was a passing fad or […]

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Spider Lilies in Kinchakuda

One thing I’m learning here in Japan is that everything is ruled by the seasons. Japanese people love the fact that the change of seasons is so notable here, and many tourist activities are very time-bound in accordance with the seasons. Right now, it’s peak time for spider lilies to be in bloom. One of […]

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