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First Impressions: Haruchika: Haruta & Chika

I'm not exactly sure why I picked this new show of the winter season, really. I had no idea what it was about or the background behind it. Just a very brief description and one picture from a preview of the new anime debuting during these cold winter months. I guess I'm guilty of judging a book by its cover. Show More Summary

The winter is coming!

This year Tokyo is a little bit warming then usual, and many ski/snowboard resorts cannot open due to lack of snowfalls. In Hokkaido, it is the opposite of Tokyo. The hug snowfall came a bit too early according to the local residents. Coming from Minnesota I know a little bit about driving on snow. Show More Summary

New Year Wishes

Some people call them New Year's Resolutions, I call them "wishes" and each year I make a wishlist for each member of the family. I have no doubt that calling them wishes is one of the many positive influences of living in Japan. Here it is very common for people to write wishes on a wooden plaque at a shrine, called EMA, as pictured above. Show More Summary

Coming of Age Day Japan

Monday was a public holiday known as "Seijin no Hi" [????[??????]] or "Coming of age day" where those...

Kujukuri Sunrise Hotel - A Surf & Beach Resource in Chiba, Japan

Seems like an odd time of year to be recommending a beach hotel. My reasons are twofold; One, this hotel is quite often booked out over the warmer months, so late Autumn through early Spring may provide the best room choice, cheaper deals, and less noise. Show More Summary

SMAP To Split?

I had another news story planned for this morning, but on the train to work I was rocked by this news bomb of a trending hashtag on my Twitter feed - SMAP?? - SMAP kaisan - SMAP breakup! Now, if you don’t know who or what SMAP are, you must have literally just stepped on to Japanese soil. Show More Summary

Japanese Coming of Age Day generations

One is coming of age, but both of them are very much creatures of the age.

Final Impressions: Ultraman X

This might just be me, but 2015 felt like an average year for tokusatsu. The usual stuff ranged from average to enjoyable, and only one of them was consistently fun. However, things weren’t too bad, as I discovered the joy of watching indie toku shows. Show More Summary

Hybrid Smartwatch

Can't decide whether you want to get rid of your current watch for a smartwatch? Don't want to take th...

Family Friendly Snow Resorts in NIIGATA commutable from Tokyo

Snow Resorts are very popular in Japan during winter. Most people pay for a package that includes hotel accommodation, lift pass and rental gear. Sometimes food is included, too. However, it is not essential to make a full weekend of it, many of the resorts are accessible and accommodating to those on a day trip. Show More Summary

Setsubun Resources for young children

This is an amended version of an article that appeared on my blog www.insaitama.com last year.February 3rd is Setsubun in Japan, which marks the end of winter. A common tradition associated with this ancient festival is mamemaki or beanthrowing. Show More Summary

Oily? Heavy? Refreshing? My 3 Ramen Recommendations

What I’d like to do is introduce the kinds of ramen that my overseas friends in Japan often tell me taste really good. In doing so, I hope I can provide a small guide to some of the ramen that readers here might enjoy, too. All of these suggestions have been carefully, and lovingly selected. Show More Summary

I Ate Some Delicious Sura Tanmen (????????)!

There are many Chinese restaurants to choose from in Tokyo. When it comes to ???????? / Sura Tanmen (a noodle dish), though, I recommend this one … The restaurant is called ???? / Yousyu Syonin. It’s a chain store with branches in a variety of locations. Show More Summary

Week Ender - High School Life Edition

I'M LATE, I'M LATE! Oh hello! Sorry about that, we had some technical problems and I had some stomach problems this past weekend so this was hella late. So let's just get on with this week's selection of anime endings for Week EnderShow More Summary

Monkeys in Kyoto?!

When my husband suggested we visit a monkey park on the second day of the New Year, my first thought was were we going to see more people than monkeys? Was the park going to be as crowded as the shrine we visited the day before, or as crowded as the department stores my in-laws are so fond of visiting during the first week of the new year. Show More Summary

Buying a Buddhist shrine

Here’s an interesting topic that I’ve not looked at before, how people select a Buddhist shrine for their home. Demographics No specific demographics were given, but a survey was conducted on the 28th of December 2015 amongst people who had requested a coupon from E-Butsudan.com between the 1st of January and the 22nd of October […]

Check out Japan's recent 'Lucky Man' race event

When it comes to receiving good luck, most of the requirements for this blessing usually require a prayer or a special type of offering. However, there are some cases where you'll have to compete against a large group of people to obtain...Show More Summary

Watch this martial artist bring Tekken's Kazuya to life

Most fighting games may not have an especially strong connection to real-life martial arts, but that doesn't mean they're completely unrealistic or impossible to "do" in meatspace. The trick is in finding the right game to represent....Show More Summary

Getaway: Awaji Island

Most people chose to stay home during the New Year's vacation in Japan. Most places are closed. January 29, and we had arrived at my mother-in-law's in Kansai the night before. I didn't want to get trapped under the kotatsu (heated, blanketed) table for the whole week. Show More Summary

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