Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Nara – Food!

Here are photos of probably the worst meal i have had in japan yet. IES took us to a traditional tea house, where we were treated to a vegetarian monk lunch. The Japanese tour guides who took us here told us that it would be a privilege for even Japanese people to eat this, but knew that we were all like ‘ehhhh’ about it (not just me!) and would have preferred meat. They laughed. I will do my best to explain what you are looking at. mostly, it’s a ton of tofu and mochi. the top left features ferns and […]

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Monday, May 6th, 2013

A Small Assortment of the Weird Foods Japan Has to Offer

The first two photos are from Nara, where a friend of mine found machya (green tea) flavored Oreos and let me have one! Turns out they weren’t real Oreos, and more like moonpie-type things but it was pretty good, especially considering I’m not huge on the green tea flavor, unlike the rest of Japan. Really anything here that’s ever green tea flavored has a very light taste to it. But it’s just okay. I had seen these Doritos in the store, but didn’t get the chance to photograph them. They weren’t exactly totally different from Doritos … they were definitely Doritos chips but the […]

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Thursday, April 11th, 2013

はなみ – Cherry Blossom Viewing

When the Cherry Blossom – or さくら “sakura” – trees finally bloom, the whole of Japan gets excited. The dates are announced on the news, and people flock to the more famous parks and areas that have them, setting up vendors and little street fairs in honor of them. The place I went to was called Iwakura, and I was told after by another Japanese student that this is the most famous place in my city to do go see the sakura trees. Sakura are found everywhere, but are particularly noticeable where they line rivers, as usually there’s one planted […]

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Monday, April 8th, 2013

Hiroshima 広島 & Miyajima 宮島

On Saturday, March 16, my IES group and I went to Hiroshima, where we stayed for the weekend. We went straight to the museum and stayed around that area for the day. It was kind of horrifying, to be honest. Learning about the effects of a nuclear bomb where it happened was heartbreaking. The A-Dome is the only structure still standing from the blast (the few others that survived were knocked down for safety reasons or to build new buildings in their places.) It now stands as a peace memorial, with general upkeep to make sure it looks the same as […]

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Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Naked Man Festival

Hadaka Matsuri (裸祭り) or the Naked Man Festival is just as weird as it sounds: On February 22nd I went to go see Hadaka Matsuri, a festival for men that enables them to rid themselves of bad luck for the coming year.  The festival is technically intended for men ages 25 and 42, which — for men — are considered the unlucky ages; I can’t remember why 25 is considered unlucky, but 42 is bad because it is made up of four, which in Japanese is read “shi” and two which is “ni.” To say “shi-neh” to someone basically means […]

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Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Skytree

So my friends and I got up around 7:30 to get to Skytree by 8:30 so that we could order tickets for later that night. We find out after waiting in a forty-minute line that we have to go up… now. Tokyo Skytree is the tallest building in Japan and the second tallest in the world. The view was pretty amazing, but i’ll be totally honest, I wish i had gotten to see it at night instead. It was really cool, but it was all grey. I would have loved to see it lit. Unfortunately that day was also very […]

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Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Asakusa

When my friends and I got to Tokyo, one of the first places we went to was Asakusa, which houses a famous Buddhist shrine. The first photo is a shot on the way there. You can see Skytree in the back (the tall building) which we visited later that night but – unfortunately – tickets to the observation deck had sold out, so we were forced to go back Saturday morning; i was a bit disappointed because I had really been looking forward to the view of Tokyo at night. The next shots are actually of the temple. The first […]

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