Uniquely Japanese- Hikikomori 引きこもり

Feature image credit: http://www.ejcrim.com The Japanese word Hikikomori, which literally means “pulling inwards” is used as a noun, as well as a verb, to describe adolescents or adults who choose to withdraw from society and lead reclusive and isolated lives. This is quite a big social problem in Japan, where it is estimated that as…

Five Crazy Days in Tokyo with Four Kids…. Part 1

At the end of our last trip we spent five days in Tokyo. I didn’t blog at all during that time as we were crazy busy, exhausted and trying to squeeze a lot into a few days. Tokyo is busy at the best of times, and when you are trying to cater to everyone’s wishes,…

The Old Town

Many of the buildings in Takayama’s Old Town have been preserved from the Edo Period (1600-1868). It is like walking through a historical drama movie set. Only it is beautifully maintained and many of the buildings are working sake breweries, so it was a little like Disneyland for Super Sake Boy and I. When we…

Up in to the Northern Alps

Sunday morning we had to say goodbye to Kyoto, again. It is always a heart-wrenching goodbye, on many levels. This was the first time that I didn’t cry. Maybe because Super Sake Boy and I booked in to stay with Maki again when we return in October for the Jidai Matsuri (Historic Festival) on our…

A Whirlwind Tour of Hiroshima

When we planned our trip, we tried to limit the period of time we would need JR Passes. We knew we wouldn’t be day tripping from Kyoto too much and that after that we would only need it for a few days, so we decided on our last day in Kyoto, to do a day…

Sake, Shrines and Shopping…..

Despite what the children think, we have had opportunity to drink sake, but little time to explore it any further. Today we headed out early-ish to check out the Gekkeikan Sake Brewery Museum. Fushimi, in Kyoto is an area where sake has been brewed for hundreds of years, as the quality of the water is…

Just Hanging Out in Kyoto

Yesterday we went with Maki and the girls, first to the most interesting pet store I have ever been to… which I will save for a seperate blog, as it was completely mindblowing… and then to a local udon restaurant for lunch. Apparently the udon were very good, Shikoku style, a little firmer and chewier…

Gion, Ponto-cho, Sake and Gin

Written by Super Sake Boy As the evening fell, Nihonshu Girl (aka Blossomkitty) and I set out for a little exploration on our own. Our plan was to wander the back streets and laneways of Gion and Ponto-cho, spot some Maiko (aka Geisha), sneak in some street photography, and settle down in a small timeless…

Messages from Lady Murasaki

Super Sake Boy proved his driving prowess yesterday, by driving us around Kyoto in Maki-san’s car. Now driving in another country is usually not too intimidating, even on the other side of the road… however, in Kyoto and surrounds, the roads were created as a complete afterthought. Most of the buildings were built hundreds of…

Sengoku Samurai Heaven… Osaka

The first time I came to Japan, I stayed in Osaka for three or four days. I was not a huge fan. I found the trains much more difficult to navigate than those in Tokyo and just the general, overall vibe of the place a little less charming than many other places I have been…

Urban Exploration, Kyoto

So, after wasting a half a day in bed and elsewhere….. I bounced back and we squeezed so much into our day yesterday, my feet are still hurting. Around 25,000 steps of exploration and fun. We started our day at Starbucks in Gion. A tradition for both SSB (Super Sake Boy), the kids and me…….

薬 too much kusuri

Kusuri means medicine in Japanese. It’s funny, because the two radicals (kanji roots) are grass and fun…. I guess it refers to all drugs. I have enough Japanese to be able to convey what I need in a chemist. But it is somewhat overwhelming when you are faced with rows and rows of products and…