Growing up in Middle Tennessee, it was hard getting around without a car. I never was able to get a license because of my eyes, so I was totally dependent upon others to get around. On top of this there wasn’t much to speak of in terms of public transportation. There were a few busses and taxi services, but if you didn’t have a car you were out of luck. Imagine my great surprise when I came to Japan for the first time in 2010 and rode an actual train! I found a mobility and freedom I never had back home. For the first time in my life I could go anywhere I wanted whenever I wanted, and I saw some awesome things. Japan is a beautiful country and you don’t need a driver’s license to experience it.
Who needs an art museum when I’ve got…
Do you like nature? Have you ever seen those travel photos of scenery and thought to yourself “Wow! There’s no way a place is that beautiful.”? The beauty of Japan that you see in the magazines is only the tip of the iceberg. If you want to see the beautiful parts of Japan, simply hop a ride on a train. Some fantastic scenes can be viewed from the windows of Japan’s many trains. The above image was taken in Fukushima Prefecture going north on the Jouban Line. I find the rice fields to be breath-taking, especially in the fall when the fields are ready to harvest.
To Kyushu and beyond!
Japan’s public transportation system if very well connected and makes it possible to traverse the whole length of the country without ever sitting behind the wheel. Last year my wife and I went on a trip from Tokyo to eventually Fukuoka. During the weeklong trip, we rode several trains and buses. One place we stopped at was Kamikouchi, a stunning nature reserve. This slice of heaven can be accessed solely using busses and trains. If you live in Matsumoto City in Nagano Prefecture all you need to do is take a one-and-a-half-hour bus ride and you’re there. If you live near Shinjuku you can also catch a bus bound for this jewel affixed atop mountains.
Art Feature: HIROHIKO ARAKI JOJO EXHIBITION: RIPPLES OF ADVE...
Hirohiko Araki is one of Japan’s most well-regarded Manga artists who has been recognized internationally for his unique designs as well as within Japan for his magical storytelling abilities. Araki, who is originally from Sendai, Miyagi, has been drawing manga since his first year of high school and is best known for his long-running series, [...]
Going Green: 4 Japanese Phrases to Reduce Plastic Waste
One of the first things I noticed when I began shopping in Japan was the sheer number of plastic bags being used! Over packaging is, unfortunately, the norm here, and for many Japan’s plastic-heavy service industry can be a shocking change from shopping back home. But if like many, you are trying to watch your [...]
Book Covers – a 100-year-old Unique Feature of Japanese Cult...
You can see many Japanese people spending their time on the train effectively reading books or newspapers, listening to music or searching something on their phones. Have you ever noticed that most of them reading books wrapped by book covers? Do you wonder why they use book covers while reading books? Let’s find out the [...]
Japanese People Love Planning!
When you’re with your Japanese friends especially women and talking about when to meet up next time, have you ever experienced your Japanese friends suddenly taking out their schedule planners from their bags and checking their availability? If you take a glance at their schedule planners, it seems that they are really busy with a packed [...]
Shigin: Japan's Best Kept Musical Secret
Japan has a very rich and diverse range of musical styles. Many people are familiar with famous J-Pop artists like AKB48 and Arashi, and computer-generated mega-star Hatsune Miku. With their songs being catchy, uplifting, and relatable, it’s no wonder that their music is so popular worldwide. But these modern forms of music are by no means the only styles of Japanese music worth listening to—instead, I’d like to introduce an unsung traditional form of music called Shigin. Shigin (詩吟) Shigin (詩吟) means “poetry chanting,” and it is the art of reciting a poem. It uses a form of poetry somewhat...
Tokyo Daijingu Shrine: Pray for Love
If you’re down on your love luck, why not ask for a little help from the gods? The Tokyo Daijingu Shrine is Tokyo’s branch of Japan’s most renown shrine, Ise-jingu Shrine. Located in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, it has become a famous place to go pray for a successful relationship or marriage. The Rise of Weddings The reason that Tokyo Daijingu Shrine became a hot spot for prayers of love is due to it being the first shrine to offer Shinto-style weddings. Shinto weddings were first introduced in 1872. Prior to this, the concept of weddings was not widely accepted, and Shinto...