Entrepreneurs on the Rise: Second Career Women in Regional Japan

I'm fortunate that in my travels I often get to meet local people who are doing interesting and creative things.  I was able to write a profile of a couple of groups of women in Kyushu and Shikoku who have become successful small business entrepreneurs, producing condiments featuring local produce and local flavors.  (Archived article … Continue reading Entrepreneurs on the Rise: Second Career Women in Regional Japan

Yusuhara: the eco-friendly traditional mountain town

In these days of environmental concerns, it's not unusual to hear talk of green living and energy independence.  In the Shikoku mountain town of Yusuhara, it's more than just talk.  This town of less than 4,000 people has adopted various practices to generate its own power and reduce its carbon footprint while caring for the … Continue reading Yusuhara: the eco-friendly traditional mountain town

Ritsurin Koen: a classic garden and the teamLab touch

Ritsurin Koen, a classic "samurai strolling garden", is a treasure of Takamatsu, a Shikoku castle town facing the Seto Inland Sea.  With 400 years of history it is one of the most beautiful gardens of its type in Japan, with sculpted ponds and waterways, hills dotted with carefully tended pine trees, and landscapes that must … Continue reading Ritsurin Koen: a classic garden and the teamLab touch

Kanamaruza: the historic Kabuki theater of Kotohira

I recently blogged about Kabuki, one of Japan's more modern performing arts.  Kabuki is highly entertaining wherever it is performed, but it is often said that there is nothing like seeing a Kabuki play performed in an historical theater in order to truly get the feel of the art. The trouble is, there aren't that … Continue reading Kanamaruza: the historic Kabuki theater of Kotohira

How Sweet It Is! Making wasanbon tea sweets

The frothy whipped green tea served in traditional Japanese tea ceremony is strong and bitter.  But unlike Western style tea or coffee, one does not ever add sugar!  That is not to say that we completely ignore Mary Poppins' maxim. Rather, for over 400 years in Japan, whenever traditional tea ceremony tea is served, it … Continue reading How Sweet It Is! Making wasanbon tea sweets

Noodling on Shikoku: lessons in traditional noodle making

Japanese people love their noodles.  Across the country, you can't visit any size community that doesn't have a ramen shop.  But ramen is a Chinese import.  There are lots of indigenous Japanese noodles, too.  On a recent trip to Shikoku, I not only encountered plenty of these noodles, I got to have lessons in how … Continue reading Noodling on Shikoku: lessons in traditional noodle making