Kawaii ka Kowai? (Cute or Scary?)

After “konnichiwa,” my first Japanese word was “kawaii,” meaning cute. It refers to adorable puppies or playful children, adults dressed in anime costumes, and anything else that is quirky or fun. As I quickly learned, it’s an essential word here in Japan. Our fluffy white dog, Hercules, receives this accolade on a daily basis, which might explain the swing in his step as he proudly … Continue reading Kawaii ka Kowai? (Cute or Scary?)

Allowed to be an American

Eight months after moving to Japan, I’ve made a monumental decision: it is okay to be an American. I’m allowed to put sushi and ramen on-hold once in a while and enjoy a nice burger instead. I don’t have to wear heavy sweaters in the heat of summer or exclusively drink matcha. My shopping needn’t be restricted to Japanese brands that don’t fit my hips, … Continue reading Allowed to be an American

The Fuji Experience: 10 Things to Know Before the Climb

Walking Stick You start the climb at the 5th Station, where you will find restaurants, souvenir shops, and bathrooms. Generally things here are over-priced and cheesy. But I urge you to stop in and buy a traditional walking stick. Not only will you be glad you have it for the climb, but you will love it as a souvenir. Every station features one or more … Continue reading The Fuji Experience: 10 Things to Know Before the Climb

Airport A-Peril

I am always astounded by how people choose to dress. The website “People of Walmart” proves that Americans are willing to wear just about anything in public. And, in my recent experience, the airport is no exception. I realize that the glamorous days of flight are over. Stewardesses no longer parade around the cabin in fitted suits and excessively high heels. And, thankfully, weight restrictions … Continue reading Airport A-Peril

My Travel Bucket List

Where is it? That one place you most wish to travel? Can you picture it in your mind? Have you memorized the famous photographs of natural landmarks and timeless architecture? You might even be the type who knows which restaurants you will patronize. Or maybe you’ve already chosen the perfect hotel, with gorgeous views and lush accommodations. Here is my travel bucket list. 10 places … Continue reading My Travel Bucket List

Raohe Ramblings: A Taiwanese Tradition

Take a walk with me as we journey through the Raohe Night Market in Taipei. Feel the crowd closing in, each step you take an effort to push through the busy street. Enjoy the stark contrast of neon against the evening sky. Listen to the symphony of sounds that assault you; a chorus of Taiwanese vendors shouting their wares, titillated tourists giggling gaily, and raw … Continue reading Raohe Ramblings: A Taiwanese Tradition

10 Things You Will Forget to Pack

Don’t leave these essentials off your packing list. I’m not referring to your passport and phone charger. I hope you will remember to pack the basics like underwear and pants. No, these are the items that aren’t on your list but might end up saving the day! 1. Tide to Go Hopefully you’re a smart packer and didn’t bring your entire wardrobe. So when you spill delicious … Continue reading 10 Things You Will Forget to Pack


Do you remember Glamour Shots at the mall? Maybe you still have one tucked away somewhere. Big hair, ridiculous makeup, all-too-stylish apparel, and overtly sexy poses. They were all the rage in the ‘90s. I never did them; I just missed that generation. But in Japan, there is a current trend that seems eerily similar: the Geisha Makeover Experience. You dress up in traditional kimono, … Continue reading Kimo-no!

“Hostess with the Mostess”

After moving to Japan, I stepped into a new role: hostess. For months, we’ve had a never-ending parade of visitors. I’m not complaining. I love to host guests and share our newfound country with others. And while it’s a lot of work, I find the satisfaction of happy friends and family is well-worth a few days of prep. And it’s the perfect excuse to act … Continue reading “Hostess with the Mostess”