Culture

Golden Week, Part 2: There Be Dragon Boats!

Golden Week, Part 2: There Be Dragon Boats!

Golden Week: more people on vacation, more traffic, more festivities. Also, this: Why are there Christmas lights up during Golden Week, you ask? Ahh, my dear Westerner, that is where you’re wrong (don’t worry, I made the same mistake). Those aren’t Christmas lights. Those are GOLDEN WEEK lights.  So what’s the difference between Golden Week(…)

You say Potato, I say Ben-imo

You say Potato, I say Ben-imo

If there’s one thing I really like to write about, it’s food. Whether it’s a restaurant I’ve discovered, or some exotic cuisine I’ve never tasted before, I think my decades of eating, enjoying, and even being picky (I prefer the term “particular”) about what I eat help me write somewhat informed food and restaurant reviews.(…)

100 Yen Stores: The Most Fun Consumers Can Have!

100 Yen Stores: The Most Fun Consumers Can Have!

It’s fun to visit another country and find little cultural differences, or learn that there may be a different way to do or say things than what you’ve always known. I take it another step, and admittedly get a little “judgy.” Here’s my running tally on “Who does it better–Okinawa or the U.S.?”                                             (…)

Shisa! Shisa! Things I learned about Okinawa’s icon

Shisa! Shisa! Things I learned about Okinawa’s icon

Fair and temperate Okinawa: what beast, pray tell,  is this? Be it friend or foe? Spend any time on Okinawa, and you’ll see pairs of these creatures on rooftops, or perched at the entrance to most homes and buildings. They’re called shisa, and they’re everywhere. Okinawa’s icon, for sure. When you think of Okinawa, think of(…)

I’ll Drink To That! Okinawa’s vending machine drinks

I’ll Drink To That! Okinawa’s vending machine drinks

On Okinawa, and in Japan in general, there are what seem like a babillion vending machines. I heard once that there was a machine for every 5 people, but the number seems to be more around 1 machine for every 23 people, according to the Japan Vending Machine Manufacturers Association. I decided to do my(…)

Japanese Trash Talk

Japanese Trash Talk

In my very first post, I mentioned that you shouldn’t get your hopes up when you hear what sounds like the ice cream truck. Here’s an example: (Open this in Media Player:) truck 1 I know, Beethoven’s a bit sophisticated for an ice cream truck. In the U.S., we’re more used to “Pop Goes the(…)

It’s about bloomin’ time!

It’s about bloomin’ time!

Little known fact: I’m a plant killer. I’ve always thought I had a black thumb, and I warn people of this when they ask me to plant sit. But lately, even I have caught the gardening bug. Here’s my fledgling cucumber plant, with its leaves still folded up in the seed: Why the sudden urge(…)

totes kawaii

totes kawaii

Whenever I’d chat online with friends from Mexico (I studied abroad in Puebla to learn Spanish, and didn’t realize I’d also learn to like drinking beer, as it was cheap and tasty), I’d always confuse them by posting “awww.” “What’s that mean–awww?” they’d ask. My response included baby animals, romantic gestures, and anything miniature. “Is(…)