Category Archives: Tourism

Kumejima Kuruma Prawns

It’s no secret that Japanese food is popular outside of Japan.  Not only is the food in-country highly rated, but there are Japanese restaurants all over the world.  A lot of people wonder, why is Japanese food so good?  It’s a complex answer.  Many will tell you it’s umami, others the care and thought put into food, and yet more that it’s the simplicity of the dishes that highlights natural flavors. I’m not a food expert, but I think it’s a bit

2013 School Trip – Day 1

One significant modern rite-of-passage for young people in Japan are school trips.  Generally, there is a school trip for elementary, junior high, and high school levels.  For Junior High students, the school trip occurs in the second year and is three to four days in another prefecture.  For students in many schools in Okinawa, the school trip destination of choice is Kyushu. This year, I was able to go on the school  trip as the photographer for two of my

Hoko Garden – Himeji City

The Koko-en or Koko Garden is located just west of Himeji Castle in Himeji City.  If you’re walking from the main train station, it is to the left of the castle grounds on the other side of the moat.  According to the visitor’s pamphlet, the garden was completed in 1992 and is situated where the samurai beholden to the local domain once lived. The day I visited, the weather was overcast, but I found the expansive garden a great place

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),

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 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

Things to Come on MTJ

Hi all! As you might have noticed, I was out all last week with my students in Kyushu for their school trip.  I will have a lot more to post on that amazing experience, as well as plenty of pictures.  I ended up with over 4,000 plus video.  Most of the photos I won’t be able to share due to privacy concerns, but since I haven’t had a chance to finish up all the draft posts I have, I opted

Industrial Fairs (sangyo matsuri)

The industrial Fair, or sangyo matsuri in Japanese, is a fixture in the annual event calendar on my island.  From the English translation you might think of cars, heavy manufacturing, and other well-known industry.  In Japan, though, many products are made by very small local companies rather than in large factories.  Even when big factories are necessary, there are often many small shops acting as suppliers.  Taken to a further level, small rural communities without those major industries often have

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