Monthly Archives: September 2013

Japan is more affordable than we expected


A few years ago, when we were choosing which countries to visit on our round-the-world trip, we decided against visiting Japan.  We were sure that it would be over our modest budget. However, our friend, Stephen, was so enthusiastic about Japan, we decided just MAYBE we could travel simply in Japan.

Would it be possible?  We booked AirBnB apartments in Tokyo and Kyoto for much less than hotels would have cost and allowed us the use of kitchens and washer-dryers. Transportation costs were negligible because we walk almost everywhere. Food had been our biggest surprise. Modest Japanese-style meals cost less than we paid for equivalent meals in Washington, DC.  Sightseeing?  We spent very little.

We were surprised that our visit to the East Garden of the Imperial Palace was free and even more surprised that The National Museum of Modern Art was free (for seniors).  Another free activity should not…

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Parents/Student Trip Meeting Sept. 25, 2013 in Gilbert

Dear Parents/Students:

On Wednesday September 25, there will be an informational meeting for the Japan trip at Gilbert High School (1101 E. Elliot Rd. Gilbert 85234), Room #1604 (Japanese Japan Moves Forward In Aftermath Of Earthquake Despite Nuclear Fearsclassroom) from 6:30-8:00 PM. We kindly request that you enter through the cafeteria located off of the student parking lot. If you enter through the front office, the doors might be locked and the gates are closed at night. There will be signs as well as ushers to direct you.

Please note that Gilbert High School is located on Elliot Rd., between Val Vista Dr. and Lindsay Rd. The student parking lot is the entrance closest to Val Vista Dr., on the east side of school with the Tiger Electronic Message Board.

If you have any questions or concerns you can send me an email and we will address them at the meeting. Furthermore, if you are interested in going on the Japan Trip, please e-mail me stating that you are interested in receiving further information regarding the trip. Please contact me at

Here is the link to view our trip!

Thank you for your time! Hope to see you all there!


Mutsumi Hazen, Japanese teacher

Gilbert High School

1101 E. Elliot Dr.

Gilbert, AZ 85234

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We traveled from Nagano to Gifu. 3 :  Shirakawa-go(village) 2

aquacompass 7

Wada’s house    

< Wada’s house    >

I introduce the inside of the architecture with A-frame, the four seasons and the living of the mountain village.




four seasons

< four seasons, this photo are the good will of  >

A:  A rice planting in spring. It is reproducing old work.

B: A harvest of rice has finished, so it become a good time to see autumn leaves. We see Hakusan Mountains to the right side back.

C: being buried in snow in winter, people shut themselves up in their house.

D:  All villagers must put on a new roof of about two houses with some kind of grass together every year.


I observed the Wada’s house.    

This family served as a village mayor at Edo Period, and prospered by business of gun smoke.

The gun smoke that is materials of gunpowder was produced by fermenting some kind of grass under a floor.


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We’re not in Kentucky anymore – KFC Japan offering chicken-flavored rice balls


KT 4

Recently, the American expat staff here at RocketNews24 felt a twinge of shame when we heard that KFC’s Japanese division had leapfrogged its US counterpart by developing fried corn soup. The embarrassment we felt at being beaten in fried food innovation, something we’d always assumed America did better than anywhere else, was quickly replaced by simple joy when we tried some for ourselves and found out just how good it is.

Now, KFC Japan is showing they can do Japanese standards too, with their new chicken-flavored rice balls.

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Attack on Titan, 進撃の巨人, Japanese, Shingeki no Kyojin.

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Chilling out in the Tokyo heat wave

gardens, Japanese gardens, Koishikawa Korakuen Garden, Shinjuku Gyoen Garden, travel. Bookmark


We set our agenda for Japan: No rushing about; no long days of sightseeing; no pursuing the best dining in the best restaurants. What we needed more than anything was to chill out and relax after a hectic last month of preparations for this trip.

Every morning, we spread the map out and plotted a walk.  Walks restore us.  Our first stroll took us to Shinjuku Gyoen Garden,  a large park combining several themed gardens as well as a large greenhouse for tropical plants.





“Muggy” described the day, very warm with stifling humidity.  A few hours in this large park of gardens meant that we were able to concentrate only on its traditional Japanese gardens and the greenhouse.  After those, we collapsed onto benches by the French formal garden and enjoyed the view before acknowledging the heat had done us in.  We slowly made our way home.

Shinjuku Gyoen…

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There’s a Sailor Moon in my Coffee! Photos and Tips From a Japanese Manga Latte Artist



Latte art, created with a skilled pour of steamed milk and some clever manoeuvres, has been mesmerising coffee lovers for well over a decade. While the most common creations are heart and leaf designs in different shades of mocha, here in Japan we’ve spotted 10 hot, candy-coloured manga characters, of the Sailor Moon variety! We fell in love with these designs and needed to know how the pretty guardians and their pals came to life in coffee form. And, more importantly, whether it’s something we can do at home. Mouths watering and hearts fluttering, we asked the artist directly to find out.

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Unique plates to entertain your guests, hide your culinary fails



If you’re like me, cooking is less an art form and more a begrudging chore that you participate in purely out the need not to starve. Which is my clever way of saying that I am the exact opposite of “good at cooking.” But let’s be honest, normally it isn’t a big deal–that’s what 7-11 is for! But maybe you have a special someone coming over and you’d like to impress him or her with your hospitality. You might be tempted to order take-out, but nothing’s quite as impressive as a home-cooked meal, right?

So what’s a kitchen dunce to do? Just keep ’em dazzled and distracted with these unique and arty plates!

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Japan day! No, for real…it was like going to Japan but in Bellevue…

MK Barr Journal

It was such a wonderful surprise to find out that the Aki Mistsuri day at Bellevue Community College was great!  Our expectations were a little low (sorry) but again, I can’t recommend going highly enough!  I want to get a Kimono now so I can wear one there…a LOT of people were wearing one.

They spread it out through most of the campus and had little lanterns up inside with each building having seminars, exhibitions, martial art shows, games and sale tables.  It really was like going to Japan for the day.   I got to meet Enfu and there was an adorable cos-player that let me take her picture.  Mark your calenders for next year, it’s WELL worth the wait and the trip!

We finished off the evening by going to the International District’s Moon Night Market and festival.  I’m sorry to say that I wish we would have…

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Baskets of Autumn Flowers – Japan

Art, baskets, Flowers, japanese brush painting, shikishi board


Flower Girl - Shikishi Board 2009 WatermarkJapanese brush painting on Shikishi Board.  Autumn is here !


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