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Travel 旅行 / Living Abroad 海外生活

Kawazu-zakura — Izu’s Early Blooming Cherry Blossoms

In Japan, cherry blossoms are the ultimate sign that spring is on its way. Most of the nation's residents have to wait until late March or early April (even later further up north), but there are a few spots where people can catch them as early as February! One of those areas is Kawazu, a small town located on the Izu ...

Setagaya Ume Matsuri 2015 世田谷梅祭り

Plum blossoms are the best. Sakura (cherry blossoms) may get all the attention, but personally I love ume (plum) blossoms the most. They have the delicacy of cherry blossoms, but also the strength to survive the harsh conditions of winter. When the hanami (flower viewing) custom was said to start in the Nara period (710-794) ...

Shimokitazawa Tengu Matsuri 2015

Last Saturday was Shimokitazawa's famous festival, the Tengu Matsuri. Held every year at the beginning of February, it's closely related to Japan's Setsubun celebration, which is the day before Spring, according to a seriously messed up old Japanese calendar. That may seem harsh, but it snowed all day the day before this ...

Japanese Superstitions: Love and Dating

Love is in the air...! Well, it's February, which means it's Valentine's month! (Yes, month. It seems to last almost as long as Christmas these days.) While I'm not really into Valentine's itself, YJ and have our proper-dating anniversary this month! ^^ (In fact, it's todayーFeb 2ndーreally easy to remember!) To celebrate ...

Tokyo Walking 19 東京ウォーキング

Throwback Thursday: My first visit to the infamous Tokyo Immigration Bureauーa large, looming and always crowded site of red tape and a general atmosphere of utter despair. It is often a frustrating experience because no one ever seems to know exactly what is needed for what kind of visa and thus people either bring too ...

8 Surprising Things Japanese People Forget While Living Abroad

This list was originally compiled by a writer at Madame Ririーa website dedicated to Japanese people either living abroad, or are interested in international communication, lifestyles and so on. This particular author lives in France, and though some of her points are either incorrect or irrelevant for some nations, I ...

The Weekly Bulletin: Week 51

Christmas is closing in! Have you done your holiday shopping yet? Am I stressing you out by asking?  I hope everyone has a wonderful last few weeks of the year—holiday celebrations or not—and that you have a chance to wind down and live it up before we enter 2015. As for me, I'm stuffing my face with good food, ...