Monthly Archives: March 2013

Weekend Trip to Kansai- Kyoto

Since moving to Japan, I’ve lived on small islands in Okinawa Prefecture.  Unlike those on the mainland, it can be hard to travel when you factor in the time and cost of having to take a boat or plane before you get to a major airport, and at least two planes to get to a major rail station.  Still, after a motivating visit from ZoomingJapan and a time sale on Peach Airlines (less than 7,000 yen round trip from Naha to Kansai),

Since I moved to Kumejima in Okinawa almost two years ago, I’ve been working on an English Language guide to the island.  It’s a work in progress as I’ve juggled this blog, writing my novels, and teaching, but I came across this picture that I had to share.  It’s a mini pineapple from the Akamine Pineapple Gardens on Kumejima.  Though its only about an inch long it looks like a perfect pineapple.

Big Leagues in Small Towns

Baseball is huge in Japan.  As I write this, the teacher’s room TV is set to the World Baseball Classic where Japan is up against Puerto Rico.  Will they win?  I have no idea, but there will definitely be plenty of fans watching to find out (turns out they lost the WBC for the first time ever).  Unlike in the states where baseball goes for a single season, and is quickly replaced, sports in Japan tend to be played all

Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle in Hyogo Prefecture is hailed as the most fabulous of Japan’s many castles. It is definitely the largest. I had the opportunity to visit Himeji for a half-day at the start of March in 2013. Himeji Castle is a UNESCO World Hertiage site. Restoration Over the past several years, the main keep of Himeji Castle has been covered by a giant scaffolding that is essentially a building that encircles the high roof. The internal structure has been reinforced

Nakasato Elementary Exchange (Winter) Part 2

This is the second part of this post.  Checkout the first part too!  Don’t miss the video at the end. Every winter fourteen fifth grade elementary students from Kume Island’s 6 elementary schools travel to Toakamachi.  In the summer, a group of Tokamachi students from 3 elementary schools return to visit Okinawa.  In 2013, I was invited along as one of Kumejima’s representatives (read cameraman).  I live-tweeted the event and you can catch a record of the trip here (I know, strange title but

Nakasato Elementary Exchange (Winter) Part 1

Japan is _____________. Japanese people eat ____________. In Japan, everyone wears ___________. When you hear “Japan” what do you think of?  What images come to your mind?  Before I began studying Japan, I thought of swords, anime, rice and green mountains.  Like many people, I thought of Japan through the stereotypes I picked up from television and books.  Anyone who doesn’t specialize is bound to think of another country by the most easily recognizable differences from their home culture. Yet