Mascots!

Thought I’d put up a fun post for today. This is a small collection of mascot photos taken in Fukuoka, mainly from the Tenjin area. Businesses in Japan seem to love using them. In fact, the whole country loves characters. From Hello Kitty to Pikachu to Kumamon, every business entity, and many local governments, have […]

A Day in Kamitsu

Today I’m going to put the spotlight on my neighbourhood. I live in the Kamitsu area of Kurume, which is a mixed residential and commercial area, like most neighbourhoods in Japan. On the surface it’s nothing special, but it has its own charms. The most obvious thing that you see when you come to this […]

Kurume x iPhone

“The best camera is the one you have with you.” -All of the photography world And it’s true. As much as I refuse to admit it sometimes, my iPhone has bailed me out many times when I had nothing else. Your smartphone (or whatever phone you have on hand) may be the only camera you […]

Flashback: Hitting The Manhattan Pavement

If you’re in Canada, you’re celebrating the May two-four long weekend, which is the unofficial start of the summer season. BBQ, early trip to the cottage, Victoria Day fireworks, no work on Monday: I miss it all! Lucky Canucks. This weekend last year my wife (then future wife) and I took a road trip to […]

Sakura Scenes

In Japan, springtime means sakura season. The arrival of the magnificent cherry blossoms that colour the whole country whitish-pink is reflected in many aspects of Japanese life, from traditional seasonal sweets in Kyoto to the storefronts of posh Ginza. Happy Easter! Shibuya, Tokyo Arashiyama, Kyoto Asakusa, Tokyo Tokyo Station Arashiyama, Kyoto Tokyo Skytree Sumida, Tokyo […]

Of Fire and Men

One of the best things about Japan: the festivals. Great food, fun people, and centuries-old rituals, however weird they might seem. In this case, the Daizenji Oniyo Fire Festival, six giant torches are put on fire by men in loincloths. In January. Did not envy them. This Kurume tradition to drive away evil spirits dates […]

Christmastime in the City

I’ve made the trek from Kurume to Fukuoka a few times over the past few weeks, mainly for Christmas shopping, hanging out with friends, and the occasional work meeting. Being in the (bigger) city makes me shutter-happy, especially with all the Christmas decorations around. And I love Christmas, so that’s a good combo. If you […]

Kobe

This week for my second year junior high school classes we read a story about pets that got displaced after the 1995 Kobe earthquake. The disaster is nearing its 20-year anniversary, and if you go to Kobe now, you would have no idea how devastated it was after the earthquake, save for some plaques and […]

Mochi Making Time

I have to admit that while I know a lot about Japanese culture, one thing that I’m not too knowledgeable about is the tradition of mochi-making, or mochitsuki. The only thing I knew about it was that Japanese people see the craters and shadows of the moon as a rabbit making these delicious rice cakes. […]

Toho Village

A couple of months ago my friends and I were given a book to review about a little village far from the crowded cities of Fukuoka. It seemed like a nice place. So last weekend a few friends and I rented a car to see what the village was about. It was a very tranquil […]

Sumo Day in Fukuoka

Sumo has always been, pardon the pun, a big thing for me. It started when my family first got cable and I found sumo on NHK, Japan’s public broadcasting channel. Something about two giant men throwing salt, stomping, and colliding to force each other out of a ring got my attention. I totally got hooked […]