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
On Tuesday I arrived at a fabulous onsen in Tateshima, expecting to simmer in their hot spring, gaze at splendid autumn leaves in luxurious quietude, and stuff myself with regional … Continue Reading Remote Control Hell At The Traditional Inn
OK, I admit, I did not make this lollipop. I went to the workshop taught by the artist who made it, but the thing I ended up making did not remotely, remotely, REMOTELY resemble … Continue Reading How To Make The Most Beautiful Lollipops In The World
At first I thought this was some kind of wacky winter kimono from prehistoric, pre-Patagonia days, but no: it’s actually a futon built for two! This fancy sleeping bag was actually used by courtesans when they entertained their customers … Continue Reading Sleeping Bags Of Yore
When it’s a shoji screen with a tear in it, of course! This is how people mend paper screens after those inevitable situations where an object in motion tends to stay … Continue Reading When Is Something More Beautiful After It’s Broken?
In Japan, the frenzy of weird Santas and blue poinsettias are whisked away the day after Christmas, and replaced with something far better…new year’s decorations! I never saw them before I … Continue Reading I Love Japanese New Year’s Decorations!
…I’d have realized I could have had a smashing set of ram horns to wear all day, to welcome in the Year Of The Sheep! Happy New Year, everyone! May the … Continue Reading Dang, If Only I Hadn’t Been Distracted By The Satan Horns…
In the cosmic battle between epic thirst and historic preservation, these vending machines make a heroic effort to deliver the goods in stealth mode. • Read a novel set in Tokyo…
Remember those big white snowball-y bushes that bloomed next to Grandma’s porch all summer long? Believe it or not, those everyday flowers were where they started hybridizing to get these fancypants. Some temples in … Continue Reading Gorgeous Japanese Hydrangeas = Summertime!
Of all the rakugo performances I’ve seen, Fishing For Women is my fave. It’s got great characters, including a guy who’s more of a nightmare than the worst Tinder story you’ve ever heard! THE CHARACTERS In … Continue Reading Fishing For Women
Japan isn’t short on shrines that cure warts, protect your electronics from the forces of eviltude, and jumpstart your career as a manga artist, but this is the first one I’ve heard of that … Continue Reading The Dog Blessing Shrine
Warts. Just hearing their name makes you want to get rid of them faster than pronto. And what easier way, than to visit the Wart-Be-Gone Jizo at Nishiarai Daishi temple? Just toss … Continue Reading The Wart Shrine
Do you think the artist who carved these beasties had ever actually seen one? I guess it doesn’t matter, as long as the guy who paid the bill hadn’t either. These elephants … Continue Reading Furry Elephants. With Claws.
You can valiantly beat many a deadline with a cold, flu, hangover, and worse, but if your computer catches a virus or your phone bricks, you’re dead meat. Every Japanese shrine sells o-mamori charms to … Continue Reading Virus Protection Of The Gods
So, I’m trudging back to the bus stop after catching Sankei-en having the Japanese garden equivalent of a bad hair day,* when I spot this odd little shrine tucked between two houses. The altar … Continue Reading The Scrub Brush Shrine
If I were a samurai in the olden days, these would totally be my sneakers of choice for the cherry blossom viewing marathon. I’d stock up on those shoelaces hanging up above too. … Continue Reading Sneakers Of Yore