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Two of Japan’s biggest chains travel to disaster-stricken Kumamoto to hand out free beef bowls — RocketNews24

April 21, 2016

Cows come to the rescue in quake-striken Kumamoto.

Mobile kitchens provide comfort food, in the truest sense of the word, for thousands of earthquake victims. Kumamoto has only just begun the process of recovering from the series of destructive earthquakes that struck the prefecture late last week. As those affected seek to restore some sense of normalcy to their daily lives, residents were…

via Two of Japan’s biggest chains travel to disaster-stricken Kumamoto to hand out free beef bowls — RocketNews24

2016 Setouchi Triennale International Art Festival

April 19, 2016

Here are some photos I took from this year’s art festival on the Inland Sea islands of Naoshima, Teshima, Ogijima, Megijima and the port towns of Takamatsu (Shikoku) and Uno (Okayama).


Sou Fujimoto–“Naoshima Pavillion”



Yayoi Kusama–“Red Pumpkin,” the first thing you see as you arrive in Miyanoura Port. IMG_1338Inside the Red Pumpkin:


Yoyoi Kusama–“Pumpkin” (near Benesse House and hotel)IMG_1374

Shinro Ohtake–“I Love Yu” public bath (‘Yu” means “hot water” in Japanese) IMG_1322

The outside of “I Love Yu” public bath


See our previous article on Naoshima


Ryue Nishizawa and Rei Naito–Teshima Art Museum


The museum itself is actually underground. This is the entrance.


Pipilotti Rist–“Your First Color”




Christian Boltanski–“Les Archives Du Coeur.”  A place to listen to heartbeats.IMG_1058


Takahito Kimura–“Sea Gulls Parking…”


See our previous article on Megijima and the story of Momotaro the Peach Boy.


Jaume Plensa–“Ogijima’s Soul”


Onba Factory

This is where they make the “onba carts” that the people push around the island to transport goods since there are few cars.

IMG_1230This cart is made in the shape of the local car ferry!


Takeshi Kawashima–“Kaleidoscope Black and White”



Keisuke Yamaguchi–“Walking Ark”


Mayumi Kuri–“Memory Bottle”



Haruki Takahashi–“Sea Vine”

Akinori Matsumoto–“Akinorium”


Mechanical instruments that make natural noises.IMG_0230

See our previous article on Ogijima.

Takamatsu Port

Shinji Ohmaki –“Liminal Air -core-”


Lin Shuen Long–“Beyond the Border…”


Uno Port

Atsushi Ozawa–“Beyond the Last Stop”


Esther Stocker–“JR Uno Minato Line Art Project”

IMG_0270 (1)



Kobe beef burgers coming to Japanese fast food chain Lotteria

January 21, 2015
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Jan. 29, 2015. Not a good day for Kobe moo cows, despite them being the “most respected beef” in Japan. A mooment of silence for our Kobe bovine friends!


KB 2

It’s kind of ironic that the hamburger gets saddled with a stigma as the lowest rung of entrées. Sure, it’s a staple of cheap, low-quality fast food chains, but it’s also beef, the highest form of our three most commonly eaten meats, and as such deserves a certain measure of respect.

That goes double for the newest hamburger from Japanese hamburger chainLotteria, since it’s made with the most respected beef of all: Kobe beef.

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‘Cows can marry’ and other fascinating bovine facts from India

January 18, 2015
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The cows at the Moooo! Bar have just come back from India, where we were seeking opportunities for expansion. Turns out that India is a very fertile ground for a Moooo! Bar franchise! Here are some things we learned about the sacred cows there….



You’ve heard about India’s sacred cow, the Mother of Civilization, a gift from God that has become a part of Indian iconography, religion and culture. The cow protection movement began in 1882, and ended the slaughter of the animals in what was then British India. The cow is revered because it is unique in that it offers five products to humans — milk, curds, ghee butter, urine and dung — all of which are useful to everyday life in India. In addition, the beast of burden has traditionally been used to help plow the fields and pull carts for transportation. If you’re one of those people who likes to dress up your dog, or cat, or buy them their own kotatsu, then we can only imagine what you’d do for a pet cow if you had one! You’ll have no problem understanding the high regard Indians place on…

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5 tips for staying healthy while traveling in Japan this winter!

October 18, 2014

Stay healthy while traveling in Japan!



I spent two winter seasons working in the hospital emergency room (as a translator) in Niseko, a popular Hokkaido snow holiday destination for foreigners. While we had our share of broken bones from ski and boarding accidents, what impressed upon me most was the number of people who get ill while on vacation. There were just as many sudden illnesses as snow-related accidents–everything from gastrointestinal disorders to ear infections and first-time asthma attacks which too many times put people in the emergency room.

The good news is that most of these illnesses can be avoided, but different cultures pose different health risks and knowing what to watch out for beforehand can be tricky, if not impossible. In this article, I’ll share some tips on how to stay healthy while traveling in Japan in wintertime, based on my experience working with hundreds of foreigners who ended up in hospital on their vacations.

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Secrets of an Innkeeper: 3 Japanese guesthouse habits we could all learn from

October 10, 2014



At the beginning of this year, my husband and I took over management of a guesthouse in Japan. While we were looking forward to our new role in the community, the truth is that we were already busy enough without taking on yet another daily responsibility. But in the countryside, where it’s hard to find employees willing to come and live far from convenience stores and flush toilets, most of us are already doing double or triple duty to keep our little villages alive. And where I live, tourism is a big part of that.

So, while the countryside “slow-life” will probably always elude us, we admit that whenever Japanese people check in to our guesthouse, we both give a sigh of relief. Why? Because Japanese people are the best guests in the world! And that makes our job all that much easier.

We share with you three things…

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We try eating insects — they don’t taste like chicken

October 8, 2014

Getemono 下手物 (unsavory things) actually has a long history in Japan. Experience this world-wide insect-eating trend while you’re in Japan!


Jiminy cricket

Insect cuisine is popular in Thailand, where insect farms are booming as farmers try to keep up with demand by breeding cricket snacks and ant-egg omelet meals to satisfy this growing market. And, lucky you, the bug-eating trend is going international!

Who’d eat insects, you ask? Me, of course!

Don’t act so surprised. Japan has a history of devouring insects and other fun fare, referred to as getemono or, inferior foods. While most Japanese people will turn their noses up at such “delicacies” they probably won’t deny that restaurants, called getemonoya, were once common and that during war times, eating such food was often necessary. The good news is that Jiminy Cricket actually tastes pretty good! And, he’s nutritious.

Join our vegetarian, insect-eating reporter as she crunches and munches her way through some of Japan’s finest insect cuisine that we promise you won’t find in the Michelin Guide.

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