This year, pandemic-emergency bar, restaurant and movie theater lock-downs and working from home all came together to create the ideal conditions for an excellent crop of new Mundane Halloween costumes! … Continue Reading Japan’s funniest Mundane Halloween costumes 2021!
Remember when I ordered all those fab Lego village kits? Well, the Buildiverse folks sent me one that I missed (or I would have already bought it instantly): this light-up … Continue Reading What do you need for cherry blossom season? Your own light-up Lego cherry tree!
Every March 3rd, families with daughters display a set of Girls’ Day dolls that represent the Imperial court at its Heian Era finest… …but these days, you don’t have to … Continue Reading Girls’ Day dolls with a side of quirky
Just in time for Setsubun—the Japanese holiday on which demons are exorcized with dry beans and smelly sardines—the Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium built this hilarious (and twisted!) ehōmaki sushi roll hideout … Continue Reading Live eel sushi rolls
Every year in the city of Kitakyushu, Coming-of-Age Day is celebrated in over-the top style by 20-year-olds kitted out in outlandish versions of Japanese formalwear. The second Monday in January … Continue Reading Speed Tribes come of age, Yanki style
Even in Japan this year, a lot of temples and shrines are closed because of the current COVID spike, and trains didn’t run all night on New Year’s Eve, so … Continue Reading How to have a lucky (remote!) Japanese New Year
Don’t laugh! The humble haramaki is making a comeback, because nothing—and I mean nothing—keeps you warmer while sitting at your desk fielding endless zoom calls than this legwarmer for your … Continue Reading The best winter gift of 2020? A Japanese stomach warmer!
I’ve been a fan of the divine Tia Oguri since long before she began designing kimono with traditional African fabrics, because her kimono styling has always been out-of-this-world fresh and … Continue Reading Uber Dandy Kimono: Wildly modern, breathtakingly bold, insanely stunning
You’ve probably seen these adorable tanuki figures outside of your favorite Japanese bar or restaurant, but did you happen to notice how, er, well endowed they are? Yeah. Can’t unsee. … Continue Reading When Nothing But Unnecessarily Large Tanuki Testicles Will Do
The new book is a two-timeline tale, with one thread taking place in the samurai era, and the other unspooling in modern-day Tokyo, where two women from opposite sides of … Continue Reading The World of The Last Tea Bowl Thief
The Japanese design firm Triad just released one of the most Japanese products ever: the Hogwarts Castle notepad. Wait, that’s not Japanese! But…it is. Obviously, people who just need to … Continue Reading Amazing scenes emerge as you use this notepad
I don’t know about you, but this year has given me a lot more respect for luck than I used to have. In Japan, people are a lot more comfortable … Continue Reading When you wish upon a…monk?
Hello, fellow kimono lovers of all shapes, sizes, colors, & geographic persuasions! Kimono princessing is all about mixing East and West, colors and patterns, styles and eras, and it warmly … Continue Reading Modern Kimonos To Die For: These Designers Are Giving An Old Artform New Edge
If Sei Shonagon (author of that famous tenth-century snark-bible The Pillow Book) had been alive today and quarantined with the rest of us, I’m pretty sure she’d have tweeted these: … Continue Reading Tweets from the Pillow Book: Pandemic Version
One of the most entertaining things you can do in Tokyo is wander around the city after the sun goes down, if you know where to look. The wizards of … Continue Reading Every year, in every season: These lovely Tokyo sites light up at night
Today I was beelining toward a garden, through a neighborhood I never visit, when I was stopped cold by the kimono lovers’ equivalent of Aladdin’s Cave. Before I knew it, … Continue Reading Feast Your Eyes On This: A Shop Full Of Taisho, Meiji & Showa Era Kimonos
Ever since I discovered that one of the most inspiring kimono stylists I know offers private tour and photo sessions, I’ve been dying to swan around Tokyo in a gorgeous … Continue Reading Kimono Princess For A Day!
As the old year draws to a close (and we say good riddance to all that was disappointing and discouraging), and a new year is about to begin (along with … Continue Reading The One Word Saint
It’s that time of year again, when the chrysanthemum wranglers of Tokyo liberate their flower-of-choice from ragtag funeral bouquets and show the world they can hold their own with far … Continue Reading Killer Chrysanthemums 2019
Tokyo is stuffed with gorgeous shrines and temples, but some of the gods in residence have hilarious and entertaining specialties! Here are the ones dedicated to my favorite kami-sama and … Continue Reading The Eleven Strangest Shrines In Tokyo
Usually you’d have to hie yourself all the way up to rural Aomori* to catch a glimpse of these epic glowing floats, but lucky for me, last fall I happened across an outpost of … Continue Reading Giant Paper Lanterns On Wheels
If you love kimono – and especially if you love Taisho and Showa-age kimono – don’t miss this exhibition! Right now, the Yayoi-Yumeji Museum – where over 3,000 of artist/illustrator … Continue Reading Jazz Age Paintings Of Beautiful Women And The Real Kimonos They Were Wearing
Riusuke Fukahori paints 3-D goldfish so real you can’t believe they’re not wriggling. And I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but the exhibit of his work going on RIGHT … Continue Reading 3-D Goldfish Art: Wait, Those Are PAINTINGS?
Candle-lit lanterns floating across a pond in the moonlight? Yes, please! This Toro Nagashi lantern ceremony was at the Ueno temple that sits amid the nodding lotus heads of Shinobazu … Continue Reading Floating Lanterns
Fireworks happen all over Tokyo in the months of July and August, and if you haven’t been to see them yet, go. Last weekend I went to the Adachi Fireworks … Continue Reading Japanese Fireworks: The Many-Splendored Fire Flowers Of Summer
Most flower seasons in Japan are like hitting the jackpot, but lotus season is more of a treasure hunt. Instead of fields of I-can’t-believe-my-eyes color, you have to hunt for … Continue Reading Where To See The Most Divine Lotus Blossoms In Tokyo
This morning I was at the Sankei-en garden in Yokohama at the ungodly hour of 7:00 a.m. to see their field of lotus in bloom, but it was the bonus … Continue Reading Things I Did Not Know You Could Do With A Lotus Leaf
The leaves are greening, hangovers cured, blue tarps furled, the madness over. Right? Wrong! Because as soon as the petals begin to fall, it’s hana-ikada season: “rafts of flowers” that … Continue Reading The Best Places To See Pink Rivers of Cherry Blossom Petals
Kicking back under clouds of pink blossoms in the warm spring sun, eating a picnic and drinking with friends – it’s something you always dreamed of doing in Japan, isn’t … Continue Reading Hacking Hanami: How To Get Yourself Invited To A Cherry Blossom Party
The Yushima Shrine is famous for its plum blossoms, and until the end of February, you can see them lit up at night! Even if you’re a cherry blossom loyalist … Continue Reading Plum Blossoms Lit Up At Night
For years, I’ve wanted to see the old-fashioned farmhouse hamlet of Shirakawa-go all lit up at night in the snow, and this week I got half my wish. It turns … Continue Reading Shirakawago In The Snow
It was so hard to choose only a few quilts to feature from the embarrassment of riches at this year’s Tokyo International Quilt Festival, but here are some of the … Continue Reading Tokyo International Quilt Festival 2019 PART TWO: Just Beautiful
I didn’t think it was possible to be more blown away than I was in 2016, by the sheer artistry and sewing chops I ogled at the Tokyo International Quilt … Continue Reading Tokyo International Quilt Festival 2019 PART ONE: Eyepopping Japanese Motif Quilts
…this. • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon “A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist •
The only thing in all of Japan that might be cuter than huskies in kimonos is a parade of shiba inus in kimono. Shibas are well-known for making like the Petrified … Continue Reading Dogs In Kimonos: Shiba Edition!
Okay, what do you think THIS floral designer got in trouble for drawing in the margins of his schoolbooks…? If I’d come in through this portal, I might never have … Continue Reading Gateway To Chrysanthemum Bliss?
The fall leaves aren’t winning any awards this year in Tokyo, so thank whatever gods are in charge of making autumn insta-worthy that there are still chrysanthemums! Yes, it’s time … Continue Reading Chrysanthemums Like You’ve Never Seen Before
Yikes, everything is blooming crazy early this year! Here are a few highlights, as each day unfolds. For directions and maps, head over to The Best Cherry Blossom Spots in … Continue Reading Cherry Blossom Report 2018
There’s a little shop near Sendagi Station called Amezaiku-ya where you can order the ultimate sweet selfie! Most often commissioned for wedding cake toppers, all the resident artists need is … Continue Reading Sweet Selfies On A Stick
There’s a secret walled garden at the Ueno Toshogu Shrine that’s only open once a year for peony season, but guess what? This year they’re letting us come in to … Continue Reading In The Japanese Dahlia Garden
Don’t you just hate it when your kittehs get a touch of the walkabout? Well now you can do something about it. A quick prayer at the Tachikawa Suitengu Shrine … Continue Reading The Lost Cat Shrine
This spring, the ever-impish kami-sama apparently thought I was in need of some sort of life lesson. Because every time I set out with a well-planned, perfectly-timed plan, it was like … Continue Reading The Dish-Breaking Shrine
Kawanabe Kyosai. He’d have had the best instagram ever. Of course, these are just a small appetizer – the show is HUGE, and so full of great stuff, it took me … Continue Reading Why I’d Totally Follow This Guy’s Instagram If He Hadn’t Died In 1889
So you think you can’t rock a kimono because you’re not Japanese? Think again! Tamao Shigemune designs modern versions of traditional Japanese women’s wear with a distinctly Parisian twist, and guess what? You … Continue Reading Tamao Shigemune: Modern Kimonos That’ll Knock Your Socks Off
So, around this time of year, I get to thinking about how everybody is about to crowd into Japan to see the fluffy pink things, but that cherry blossom season is far … Continue Reading What’s Blooming In Japan Right Now?
There’s a little town about two hours from Tokyo called Katsuura, where one a year, dolls rule. 12,000 of them, to be exact. So, how did Katsuura get so many dolls? … Continue Reading Girls’ Day Dolls…On Steroids
All of February (and a little of March) is the best time to see fluffy pink and white and red beauties bursting like popcorn all over Tokyo. Here are the … Continue Reading Plum Blossom Countdown
The author of The Pillow Book mastered the trending hashtag and the snarky tweet ten centuries before anyone had ever heard of Twitter… • @seishonagon One has gone to bed and … Continue Reading Tweets From The Pillow Book
-1- Make a wish that you could draw as well as the other visitors at the anime & manga shrine Where: Kanda Myoujin Shrine (Kanda) • -2- Get your warts disappeared by the … Continue Reading 25 Obscure & Amazing Things To Do In Tokyo
Inside this telephone booth of yore lies the Miroku Stone. For hundreds of years (since the time of the venerable Kobo Daishi*) it has been known that if a virtuous … Continue Reading In Which An 8th Century Monk Trolls Us All