Japan

White Day and Black Day: The Other Sides Of Sei Baruntain

White Day and Black Day: The Other Sides Of Sei Baruntain

Today is White Day, March 14, the day that Japanese women (and women from other parts of Asia) get gifts of chocolate (originally marshmallows, then white chocolate, hence the White Day name) and other cool stuff from their significant other. This is a reciprocal gift based on gifts given a month before on Sei Baruntain, or Valentine's Day.

Cherry Blossom Time and The Great East Japan Earthquake

Cherry Blossom Time and The Great East Japan Earthquake

How do the Japanese prep for a Hanami? Firstly, they check websites that give predictions about when the cherry blossom bloom. A good one is maintained by JR, the Japan Railway. Then you contact your friends and colleagues and see who's up for a picnic. Then you go to your local 100 yen store -- think Daiso -- and get your stuff. The Japanese concept of mottenai applies here...why waste money when you're going to have to throw stuff away/recycle stuff anyway?

Sei Baruntain Chocolate For Those You Love AND Those You Hate

Sei Baruntain Chocolate For Those You Love AND Those You Hate

It's that time of the year again. Women in Japan are frantically running around dealing with candy shopping. Some of them are even dealing with candy making. Why? Sei Baruntain, better known as Valentine's day here. 

Setsubun

Setsubun

Lunar New Year is still considered a special time in Japan. Too much tradition is shared between Japan and China to just ignore this time of the year. So Japan has its Haru Matsuri, the Spring Festival, which begins every year around the beginning of February. Haru Matsuri starts with the observance of Setsubun.

Neko Atsume at The Next Level: Take a Kitty-Eye Tour of Hiroshima!

Neko Atsume at The Next Level: Take a Kitty-Eye Tour of Hiroshima!

How about taking a tour of two of Hiroshima Prefecture's most charming towns, Onomichi and Takehara? And how about taking it from a kitty's eye view?  Yes you can! And basically both of these tours are like a game of Neko Atsume or a game of Pokemon GO.

Yokohama Event Guarantees a Pikachu Catch!

Yokohama Event Guarantees a Pikachu Catch!

Japanese summers are notorious for being hot and sticky. What better way to keep things cool than to organize an event where water and ice factor into almost everything? The Pokemon Company held their annual Pikachu Outbreak, featuring the most popular Pokemon character of all, and gave it a specifically nautical theme.

Summer in Japan: Hot Times and Family Memories

Summer in Japan: Hot Times and Family Memories

Long before the advent of air conditioning, which is pretty much ubiquitous in Japan, the Japanese people needed to learn to cope with their hot, sticky Summer climate. To that end, the whole period is liberally scattered with outdoor festivals. When it's too hot to sleep, you take your mind off of the misery by going to visit shrines, temples, and town squares, where street food, drink and dancing help make the hot season bearable. The traditions have held to this day.