An Accidental Side Trip to Taiwan

Funny story: I accidentally put myself on a trip to Taiwan over Christmas. It wasn’t exactly anything I expected to do, and it sure wasn’t cheap, but I’ll be darned if it wasn’t one of the most memorable experiences I had here during my study abroad. Here’s how it happened: students at Ritsumeikan University as…

Japan: Small Details Make For Big Differences

It’s interesting how much difference there is between the U.S. and Japan that doesn’t meet the eye at first. When I arrived here in Japan in early September, I had the idiotic delusion that American life is not that different from Japanese life. Of course, on the surface, that is 100% true: very few differences…

Japan: Food Heaven

Let’s talk food in Japan, because holy mother of God…the food here is just as good as you would expect. Now, before I continue, keep in mind that I’m not here on vacation, so the really expensive stuff is very much out of reach for me. (I’m saving the Kobe/Wagyu beef and Michelin Guide restaurants…

Japan: Not Quite Paradise

Most Americans (and Westerners, in general) who are interested in travelling hear amazing things about Japan: amazing food, beautiful scenery, polite people, and incredible culture. I’ve been lucky enough over the past two months to experience these things for myself. For example, I went to a world-renowned restaurant for tonkotsu ramen with a fellow American…

Japan: The Fleeting Sakura Season

Winter this year in Japan was milder than usual so everyone was a little surprised when spring seemed to show up late.  In Japan, people associate the blossoming of the cherry blossom trees, or sakura, with the start of spring.  People will typically have hanami, a flower viewing picnic, to celebrate the good weather and…

Japan: Food – More than just Sushi and Hibachi

  When people think of Japanese food they tend to think of sushi, ramen, or the popular hibachi grill restaurants in America.  While yes there is sushi and plenty of ramen it’s much different than what you would find in America. No california rolls, or deep-fried volcano rolls.  Sushi in Japan is usually just rice…

Japan: Yakushima – the Island that Inspired a Ghibli Film

For Christmas Break one of my best friends from high school came to Japan to visit and do some traveling with me.  We decided that the main thing we wanted to do was go to this island just south of Kagoshima Prefecture called Yakushima.  This island is famous for inspiring the scenery seen in the…

Japan: Traveling to Takasaki, Gunma

In preparation for the Waseda Fall Festival, students get a three day break before the festival.  During this time, I wanted to take a break from the city and experience the natural side of Japan and see some of the famous changing autumn leaves. I took this trip solo and I encourage you to do…

Tokyo: Halloween in Shibuya

Halloween in Japan was never a a big holiday in until about five years ago when people went to Shibuya for the night to go bar hopping.  But the bars were so full that people spilled out into the streets still partying in costumes.  Now, during Halloween the road is closed to traffic and the…

Tokyo, Japan: Temporary Art Exhibits

One of my goals for the year is to go to as many of Tokyo’s museums and art exhibits as I can.  Because of limited space and a plethora of artists and designers in the area, most art exhibits are temporary here, including some that only last for a week or even just the weekend….

Tokyo, Japan: Kawaii Monster Cafe

When I was first recommended to go here by a friend because of the rainbow food served here, I was expecting a small, cutesy cafe like most restaurants in Tokyo.  However, when I went up to floor of the building that it was located in, I see this:  Discreet, right? True to what I had…

Sayōnara Japan

Where to begin, where to begin. How about Yokohama, where the Japan adventures began? We ported in Yokohama and have not stopped since. Our first day, Paige and I decided to try independent travel for the first time. We left the ship and headed for the local train station. After 20 long minutes, our first…