This article explores the importance of Japan's many flowers. It further considers why the Sakura has become such an icon and why it has replaced other blossoms such as the plum.
By special guest blogger: Oliver Trapnell Nuclear issues are voiced strongly in Japan, and have had a direct impact on thousands of lives not only in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima but also from cases such as the Daigo Fukuryū Maru (No. 5 Lucky Dragon fishing boat whose story inspired the Godzilla movies). Despite the sensitivity … Continue reading The Stories of Survivors
By special guest blogger: Oliver Trapnell Shinjuku is home to a grand number of cafes, bars and clubs that cater to the variety of lifestyles that exist in Tokyo. No matter where you come from, you will find something that suits your tastes in this bustling Tokyo ward. On this occasion, I've gone hunting for … Continue reading Jazz in Shinjuku: hitting the right note
By special guest blogger: Oliver Trapnell Harajuku is a popular Tokyo neighbourhood. So much so that many might conclude that it is a guaranteed tourist trap, luring us into the packed, pop-idol lifestyle that permeates the area. More than often than not, a visitor here can end up being swept along Takeshita Street by the … Continue reading Looking for the sweet edges of Harajuku
Tottori is known for many things including being the least populous prefecture in Japan and being the home of some of Japan's most famous manga cartoonists. In spite of its small population, Tottori is host to two airports, one international and the other purely domestic. Both airports feature in their names and decor some of … Continue reading The Airports of Tottori: Tourist Destinations in their Own Right
It's called the "Rose of Winter", and with good reason. Tsubaki, Japanese camellia, blooms most prolifically from January to early April. One great place to enjoy these blooms is the Hagi Camellia Festival (February 17, 2018-March 21, 2018). Hagi is an old castle town on the Japan Sea coast of Yamaguchi Prefecture. It is particularly … Continue reading Hagi’s Camellia Festival – a celebration of the Rose of Winter
"Modern" Japan dates from the Meiji Restoration of 1868. During the reign of the Emperor Meiji (1868-1912), Japan modernized and Westernized. This transformation included not only Japan's political, economic, and education systems, but also various aspects of fine arts. With respect to the latter, many feared that Japan's cultural identity might be lost in the … Continue reading Nihonga: Distinctly Japanese Modern Art
I'm not very fond of cold weather, which is perhaps one reason I particularly love the soothing steam of a good hot bowl of soup when I come in from the cold. I daresay I'm not alone in these sentiments. The Tohoku region of Japan, famously cold and snowy in winter, has many hearty winter … Continue reading Hachinohe Bouillabaisse Festa – absolutely a reason to go north in winter
Stepping into the latest exhibition at Shibuya's Toguri Museum of Art, I felt as if I was in heaven. The exhibition, entitled "Beautiful Glazes in Ko-Imari Ware", features the glazes used on Ko-Imari ware, some of Japan's earliest refined porcelains, dating back to the 17th century. The pieces on display are exquisite. It was refugee … Continue reading The colors of Ko-Imari: it’s all about the glaze
This article introduces readers to the gold mining legacy of the town of Toi, in western Izu. Through February 4, 2018, the site of the gold mine has a special night-time illumination of its early cherry blossoms, making this a great time to visit! (Archived article – Originally published by Japan Today.)
Perhaps it's the result of a frugal upbringing or perhaps it's the fact that the day is cold and rainy and I want something to warm me, but as I am walking along the street, a sign that says "free coffee" catches my eye. What's weird is that a price is given just below those … Continue reading What does it mean to be free?
Old stone quarries are fascinating places to explore. They are full of man-made shapes and angles that nature is working to reclaim. At Nokogiriyama (lit. Sawtooth Mountain) in Chiba--a perfect distance for a day trip from Tokyo--, part of the mountain was quarried away over several decades, leaving lots of fun nooks and crannies to … Continue reading Nokogiriyama – stepping it up on Sawtooth Mountain