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?)
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
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”
Hesitantly, I agreed to visit Beijing for a second time. I’d previously seen the sights, walked the Wall, and sampled the fare. Frankly, I wasn’t sure it was worth a return trip. While the enormity of its 10,000-year history was not lost on me, even at age 19, I did not especially enjoy the experience. Beijing was dirty. The toilet situation was awkward at best. … Continue reading Not your Grandmother’s China
We didn’t know what to expect. Navigating our way through the Akasaka district of Tokyo, we nearly missed the entrance, as it was nothing more than a small black door against a large black façade. Our only clue was the elegantly dressed man standing out front, clipboard in hand. Nervously I approached and attempted my best Japanese greeting: “Konbanwa.” Good evening. Maybe it was my … Continue reading I am Ninja…Eat my Food?
“Do without until we win” – the Japanese motto of World War II. But the Admiral felt the Okinawans paid too heavy a price. “Everything,” he wrote, “is burnt to the ground.” The military abandoned the people of Okinawa and now “they will surely be killed.” For this failure, he took his own life. Continue reading How the Okinawan People Fought the War
I was as surprised as anyone when I jumped on a flight for Singapore with only a few days’ notice. No plans, no tours, no schedules. Just great friends and a love of travel! Continue reading Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!
Well, we finally made it to Kyoto. I’ve been waiting since the day we arrived in Japan to experience this magnificent city. The capital for almost a thousand years, Kyoto is brimming with Shinto shrines, obsessively manicured gardens, and traditional teahouses… not to mention the elusive geisha. Spared the bombings of World War II, Kyoto boasts prewar architecture, which makes it both culturally significant and … Continue reading Kyoto: Keeping History Alive
Train travel is an essential way of life in Japan. Alex and I both begin and end our days at the Higashi-Zushi train station, joining the millions of Japanese residents who rely upon public transport. In fact, I am writing this piece while taking the Yokosuka Rapid Line bound for Shibuya bright and early this weekday morning. We do have a car. Like most Americans, … Continue reading Ticket to Ride!
I find my new life in Japan bursting with surprises. And I don’t just mean the culture, customs, and cuisine. It’s the unexpected moments and new occupations… Continue reading Ichi, ni, san…action!