Konnichiwa from Tokyo and Kyoto

Shuffling Freckles

“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.”
— Mark Jenkins

Full disclosure: I am in love.  With Japan.  Therefore, this is an extremely long post.  I couldn’t bear to leave any details out, mostly because I want others to share in the experience, but also because I want to make sure never to forget any of them myself.  I hope you’ll take the time to journey through Japan with me.

If there’s one…

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Categories: japan, kyoto, tokyo, yokohama | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Field Report: Sendai (15 April 2013) – Part 3/3

Within striking distance

15Apr13 Sendai 053

Where Diego finds life in a cemetery, sees bright colours on a mausoleum, and is rendered speechless by a cow’s tongue.

Third part of three.

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Categories: Aoba Castle, Bus, Date Masamune, japan, Train | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Grass is Always Greener

Life in the Middle Kingdom


I left Beijing this summer needing a breath of fresh air. By the end of HBA, I had begun to feel a bit disenchanted with the place: the constant pollution, traffic jams, impatience with foreigners etc. Dealing with the suicide of one of my closest friends threw me into a state of dejection. I was lucky enough to have friends near and far offer their condolences through emails, letters and hugs. It drew me closer to people I didn’t even know before. Yet, it was hard for me to find importance in anything around me after losing someone who taught me how meaningful life could be. I was drained and I needed to get out.

Luckily, my month away from Beijing refreshed me. I was able to teach in rural China for a week, see Shanghai and explore Suzhou. I traveled Japan on an unlimited rail pass for a week…

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Doutonbori in Osaka Namba! First Day Out!

Tripping and Traveling

So, for our first real day out to explore Japan, we ended up going to Osaka’s Namba area, which is full of shopping and delicious things to eat.  We spent the day wandering around, taking photos, and feasting our eyes (and stomachs) on all that Osaka had to offer.ImageImage

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We traveled from Nagano to Gifu. 2 : Shirakawa-go(village) 1

aquacompass 7


I introduced Shirakawa-go of the world heritage in Gifu Prefecture.

This is a mountain village of the unexplored region in where many old houses with A-frame remain.

The characteristic of the architecture with A-frame is the big triangle roof that is made of thatch.







Position of Shirakawa-go

< Position of Shirakawa-go >

Upper map: The upper side is the north, and Japan Sea can be seen. A red mark is Shirakawa-go.

Lower map:  it is viewing the yellow frame from north, by Google Earth.

The basin is sandwiched by two mountain ranges as much as 2,000m high, and heavy snow is brought from Japan Sea in winter.


上の地図: 上側が北で、日本海が見える。赤い点が白川郷

下の地図: 黄色い枠を北から見た。Google Earthによる



A sightseeing map and a full view of Shirakawa-go

< A sightseeing map and a full view of Shirakawa-go >

Old houses crowd in the small basin.

Many stores like old house are in line along both sides of a highway, and many tourists are enjoying…

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Categories: Culture, Gifu, History, japan, Nagano, Shirakawa-go | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment



Shin Sekai 1

With a population of 2.5 million, Osaka is Japan’s third largest and second most important city. It was the last city that we visited as we flew out from Kansai Airport to Taipei.   Osaka is a big, busy, bustling city, with lots of transportation options. Getting around in Osaka can be challenging at times, given the multitude of train stations (some with very similar names!), and the twisty, turny little streets that veer off the main boulevards. Thank goodness to our JR pass, it made  our trip in Osaka so much easier..

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Konichiwa, Tokyo!

What Gives

I guess I was waiting to get Lost in Translation (since it’s one of my favorite movies) but I found I just loved Tokyo.

It’s such a beautiful, tidy, clean and gorgeously designed city … and also a city where the littlest things matter.
And there’s always an aesthetic around beauty – wherever you find it.

Tokyo is a mind-boggling marriage between the beauty of the natural world and a design aesthetic that infuses everything from architecture to fashion to food.

What a beautiful place to turn 59. With my darling husband…..….who will turn 59 tomorrow. Aging misery/denial/bargaining/acceptance loves company!

So here’s to you, honey — happy last year of our 50s. I am so glad we’re going through it together!!!

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