Archive of articles classified as' "yearinjapan"

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The Japan-blog is Back in Action


If you’ve ever tried clicking on the “old japanblog” link at the top, you might have noticed that the photos didn’t work, rendering the blog rather worthless. Well, I have good news! I’ve spent the last two days reconstructing the blog and all its photos. It’s also on a blogspot URL for the purposes of keeping it authentic, just how it looked in 2006-7 when I was originally posting to it.

So knock yourself out. Get inside my teenage mind as I adjusted to life as a Japanese schoolgirl, complete with loads of culture shock.

Visit the blog at:

Highlights include…

Jumping off cliffs in Kyoto:

Asking Oguri Shun to marry me on my 18th birthday:
OMG Oguri Shun!

Pulling a danjiri through mountains to welcome fall in:

The overly crowded and beautiful Kobe Luminarie:

My complete and total obsession with ikanago, the west Kobe delicacy:

Throwing surprise parties for Noriko, culture festivals, and TONS of purikura:

Sakura, Takashi, Osaka, and my first encounter with an ice dog:

The ever-popular purple-jacket boy:

And of course, rapping about tea ceremony:


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home base



For the time I’m spending in Tokyo (which is purely touristy stuff), we have been staying in Shinjuku, one of the districts of Tokyo. It’s got plenty of skyscrapers, restaurants, hotels (including the one that Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson stayed at), a great subway station, and Yakuza (yes, gangsters).

Shinjuku looks basically like this:

Last night, while we were walking to find some sushi to eat, it started raining. We didn’t have an umbrella, so we stood in a dry spot next to some building. There was really nothing to do besides watch people walk by.

People who are wiser than us instantly whip out the umbrellas!

Rain, trains, people, umbrellas, skyscrapers, bikes… so one of the most impressive things about Japan is, in my opinion, the amount of girls with a) umbrellas, b) high heels, c) on bikes, d) in the rain, e) all of the above. I have a hard enough time with any one of those four things, but to do them all together is something you see constantly here. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of any one of these multitasking girls, so you have to be satisfied with this:

another such shot:

the puddle, a few feet from where we were standing, in action. I like the contrast of the different shoes.
Also note how they are all walking on the left side, rather than the right, how we Americans do it. According to a tour guide Bethany and I had last year, this is because back in the samurai days, when you would cross a bridge (or other narrow path) you would want to avoid other people’s katanas. Since they drew the sword with their right hand, it was held on the left side of the body, and thus walking on the left would keep everyone’s katanas away from each other.

Anyway that’s it for Shinjuku. Tune in next time for many other districts of Tokyo including Shibuya, Harajuku, Akihabara, Ginza, and Asakusa.

P.S. I’m really not liking flickr that much for pictures, because I don’t think it’s doing a very good job as far as quality. I tried Zoto on this one. Any suggestions?

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Hotel Expressionism, Part I


This post is for my mom, becaue of her fondness for hotel pictures. Here is our room, no smoking, two beds, and air conditioned, yesss:

my bed, and its 便利な proximity to the bathroom:

a bit more bathroom, the place of hours of entertainment, or at least hours of looking through toiletries and attempting to wash myself:

me in said bathroom:

oh no! Electrical outlet is different from Amerika! Please, conserve energy:

the obligatory toilet shot:

oh, those japanese toilet buttons, gotta love them:

one last shot:

I promise there will be pictures of things besides Japanese bathrooms later on. But who doesn’t love foreign bathrooms??