Hachi-Mangu

In Kamakura, there is a very large Shinto shrine, Hachi-Mangu, where you can really engage with some very cool cultural activities. When I visited Kamakura with my colleague, we were able to visit the shrine and spend some time wandering its grounds.

Read More Hachi-Mangu

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 […]

Read More Yasukuni Shrine

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 […]

Read More Furin (Wind Chimes)

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.

Read More Enoshima Island

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 […]

Read More Omiyage

An Introduction to Japanese Sake

Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a closed event for sake tasting geared towards a more international crowd. The event had a lot of great information and free sake for the tasting. I’m not a big sake drinker, and didn’t know too much about the drink outside of popular culture, but […]

Read More An Introduction to Japanese Sake

Bola & Bolo Ties

Not too many people know, but Arizona has an official state neckwear, and that is the fabled Bola tie (often referred to as the Bolo Tie). If you picture any stereotypical cowboy and imagine anything other than a bandana around their neck, you probably know what the Bola tie looks like. Being in Arizona, I […]

Read More Bola & Bolo Ties

Dia De Los Muertos Festival

This year, being busy Halloween weekend, I wanted to check out Phoenix’s Dia De Los Muertos Festival. It’s part of my cultural heritage that I never really did much with growing up nor as an adult up until this point and I wanted to change that. From the description of the festival on their website, […]

Read More Dia De Los Muertos Festival

Indigenous People’s Day

There is a very large Native American presence here in Arizona, so it was no surprise to hear that Phoenix is the largest US city that observes Indigenous People’s Day in place of Columbus Day (this year, October 10th), which was first celebrated in Colorado in 1909. There has been a popular movement in recent […]

Read More Indigenous People’s Day