Kamakura, the former capital of Japan (1192-1333) is often said to be like a little Kyoto. Even so, going there for the first time last weekend, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. But it turned out to be a beautiful, quiet, quaint town. The first place I visited was Engaku-ji. To get to Engaku-ji, … Continue reading Kamakura
In Japan, nothing else quite says "summer" like firework displays, shaved ice, yukata and street food. Running over two days, and with over 10,000 fireworks being set off, Matsue's "Suigosai" Festival is the most famous firework display in western Japan. Even though the fireworks don't start until about 8:00, people start claiming their spots to … Continue reading Fireworks!
One food that is not exactly associated with Japan but that Japan sure knows how to do is bread! The Japanese have figured out the perfect combination of "kawaii culture", tastiness and creativity to make some of the cutest and tastiest bread on the planet! Almost too cute to eat! They also theme the bread … Continue reading Bread!!!
The Ikedaya Affair effectively established the Shinsengumi as the most feared police force in Kyoto, and delayed the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the Meiji Restoration by at least a full year. A bit of background!! First, things got started when the Shogun visited Kyoto. A series of talks took place, during with two … Continue reading The Ikedaya Affair
Actually, Okita's birthday is unknown, but the peeps at Bakumatsu Rock decided to celebrate it on July 7, so I'm going to go with it!! Okita was born in 1842 or 1844 as Okita Soujirou Fujiwara no Harumasa in today's Shirakawa (north of Tokyo). He had two older sisters. His family was from the samurai … Continue reading Happy Birthday Okita Souji!!
It's coming back!!!!!!! Ultra Musical Bakumatsu Rock, the highly fictionalized account of Matthew Perry arriving in Japan, meeting Sakamoto Ryouma and battling through music will be back this December!!!!! With the same phenomenal cast as last year, including Rachi Shinji as Ryouma, Sasaki Yoshihide as Okita Souji, Kanesaki Kentarou as Matthew Perry and Kimeru as … Continue reading Ultra Musical Bakumatsu Rock!!!
Nagoya Castle, Japan's first castle designated as a National Treasure, is in Aichi Prefecture, roughly halfway between Tokyo and Kyoto. A brief bit of history: The castle, built under the orders of Tokugawa Ieyasu, was completed in 1612. It was built to secure an important position on the Tokaido Road to ward off attacks coming … Continue reading Nagoya Castle
Yesterday as a celebration for his 37 birthday, Kimeru sang a concert at Nagoya's ell.SIZE! The atmosphere, as always at Kimeru's lives (concerts), was electric. He came on stage, starting the concert with one of his earlier hits, "Pleasure of Love", immediately getting the audience involved and singing along. Afterwards he sang … Continue reading Nagoya Live!!!!
With a 1,360 year history, Torigoe Matsuri is an old festival. It is held in early June at Torigoe Shrine and it's surrounding streets. Tons of mikoshi (portable shrines) are paraded through town, (and directly through the streets lined with food stalls!) and return to Torigoe Shrine by lantern light. The highlight of this festival … Continue reading Torigoe Matsuri
The latest addition to Japan Rail East's trains, the ultra luxurious Shiki Shima just returned from it's maiden trip last week! The Shiki Shima (lit. "Four Season Island" - side note - the Japanese are very proud of the fact that there are four distinct seasons in Japan. For some reason, they seem to think … Continue reading All Aboard! Japan’s Shiki – Shima