Category Archives: People

Goshogake bubbling up

By chance our travels north from Tokyo to Kamaishi coincided with a reward of delightful cherry blossoms in Morioka Castle Park in full bloom. More of that in a later post. Today I wanted to relay the story of a … Continue reading

Posted in Akita, People, Prefecture, Small Towns and Villages, Volcanos, Walks | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

More to explore in Tohoku, this time in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture

The Tohoku region north-east of Tokyo may not at the top of the visitor list, but it should be. Spectacular scenery, coastal and mountain landscapes, large cities as well as very small villages, numerous places to walk and with many … Continue reading

Posted in Disasters, Iwate, People, Small Towns and Villages, Volunteer Guide | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

First hand account of Disaster Resilience education at work

I am in Japan again. Usually on one day I take some time to do ‘work’ around the management of disasters. This time I caught up with someone who I saw present at the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk … Continue reading

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Laundry nirvana in Morioka

‘Laundry needs to be done again’ I didn’t want to think about it. After running around aimlessly for 6 hours in Tokyo on the great laundry hunt, and suffering the indignity of being offered a seat on the train, I … Continue reading

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A good beer and a good book

Another day goes by too quickly in Morioka. So I purposefully headed out to the Aeron Standard Diner and Bar for a local beer and maybe a conversation or two with the local patrons. Maybe I need to lower my … Continue reading

Posted in Big Cities, Eating and drinking, Iwate, People | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Surely the laundry is here somewhere

Tokyo is a big place and I assumed it would be pretty easy to find a coin-operated laundry, pop the dirty washing in, sit around for an hour, and be back out touristing before you know it. Here’s hour the … Continue reading

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Cafe Aun quiet beside the Tama River

From the riverside walking track only a small wooden gate sign lets you know that both a gallery and cafe lie on the other side. The short path leads you past kid’s bikes, a cubby house and a deflated football … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, People, Small Towns and Villages, Tokyo, Walks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yasu’s favourite izakaya is now mine. IZAKAYA たいと

I met Yasu at the Japan Council of Local Government Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) in Sydney a few years ago. With his posting over and a trip to Tokyo coming up for Veronica and I, some loose arrangements were … Continue reading

Posted in Big Cities, Eating and drinking, People, Tokyo | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Images of the Kumano Hongu Taisha Spring Festival

Big festivals in Japan are vibrant and exiting, the energy of the massive crowds palpable. But small festivals with rich history and cultural connections are worth finding. On such festival is the Kumano Hongu Taisha Spring Festival, in Hongu, Tanabe … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Festivals, People, Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Wakayama | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Umbrella

The simple question from my work colleague was “where did I get my umbrella?” It might look like an ordinary, cheap looking, clear plastic, black ribbed and black handled umbrella. But that umbrella is a link to disaster, resilience, hope … Continue reading

Posted in Accommodation, Disasters, Iwate, People, Small Towns and Villages | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Remains of the Stay

Traveling brings with it an accumulation of momentary conversations and connections. Relationships that are never developed, and highly unlikely to be rekindled. Like a variant on Kazuo Ishiguro’s fantastic book The Remains of the Day. I smile to myself at … Continue reading

Posted in Akita, Disasters, Nagoya, People, Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Tochigi, Volunteer Guide | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2:46pm, March 11, at Kakunodate Fire Department

2:46pm today was the fourth anniversary of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. As I make my way lazily toward Sendai for the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) I wanted to take time out from my … Continue reading

Posted in Akita, Disasters, Fire fighters, People, Small Towns and Villages | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fire Station 21, Matsumoto, Japan

Originally posted on Having a ball in Japan:
Matsumoto Fire Station #21 covers Uchida and Kotobukidai areas south-east of Matsumoto CBD where 2,646 households and 6,357 residents are there. This cross-cultural exchange had been arranged via Yuri at the Matsumoto City Government…

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Wedding crashing a new visitor activity in Harujuku

Most visitor stories of Harujuku include the colourful young things assembling around the station, families taking in the relative sanctuary of Yoyogi Park, or of the bustling shopping precinct around Omotesando-dori and Meiji-dori. Photos a plenty of cosplay girls, old-time … Continue reading

Posted in Big Cities, People, Tokyo, Walks | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Finding that special Asakusa place again

Sometimes a dining experience sticks in your mind. The company. Getting dressed up to match. The long line of eager diners anticipating the fare, having been excited by the critic’s words. The artistically plated chef’s specialty. Just one Michelin Star, … Continue reading

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Controversial and nerdy: Esuno-ya in Mishima

Careful readers might note that the Gifts and memories post related to girls in my life. What about the boys? One son has somewhat eccentric and colourful clothing tastes, and the other is most happy with new and used soccer … Continue reading

Posted in People, Shizuoka, Small Towns and Villages | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Shizuoka City Tokaido Hiroshige Museum of Art

In 2012 I saw an exhibition of Hiroshige Utagawa’s Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido prints in Sydney and was amazed at the vibrant colours and detailed depictions of rural Japan life around 1830. Museums and galleries around the world proudly … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, People, Shizuoka, Small Towns and Villages | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Guided along the Kumano Kodo

Sorry folks, I posted this, then changed the ‘post date’ so the link to the original post was broken. Here it is again. Tokyo over. The game at Saitama over. Hiroshima, Mt Aso, Saijo and Setoda over. Now a long … Continue reading

Posted in People, Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Volunteer Guide, Wakayama, Walks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Guided along the Kumano Kodo

Needing a hot bath

Believe it or not, it was my fourth trip to Japan before I drew up the courage to try out an Onsen. Weird hey? Particularly as I write effusively about the cultural experiences of visiting Japan. Some of that reluctance … Continue reading

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I thought Honda and Endo were the stars?

This gallery contains 18 photos.

Well, another football game against Japan is over. The centre of another trip. The excuse for drawing 3 others into our traveling party this time. Joining with the Green and Gold Army. Joining the 62,000 singing and screaming Blue Samurai … Continue reading

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The Namboku Line sardine can to Saitama Stadium

Well, another World Cup football game against Japan Blue Samurai is over. The centre of the trip. The excuse for drawing 4 others into our traveling party this time. Joining with the Green and Gold Army. Cheering for the Socceroos. … Continue reading

Posted in Football, People, Saitama, Tokyo, Trains | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Namboku Line sardine can to Saitama Stadium

Nagoya Grampus fans. Oh what a night!

So the trip to Japan this time around was all about this. A soccer game. Andrew, Dean, Madeline and I had come armed with Central Coast Mariners trinkets, to swap with Nagoya Grampus fans after the final whistle. Outside the … Continue reading

Posted in Big Cities, Football, People | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The fraternity of fire fighters: Asakusa Fire Station

Saturday 12th May, 2012 I should not have been surprised that my volunteer translator was waiting in the foyer of the Toyoko Inn, Kuramae some 20 minutes before the arranged meeting time. Resplendant in a dark suit, and busily reading … Continue reading

Posted in Big Cities, Disasters, Fire fighters, People, Tokyo, Volunteer Guide | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Tapping an alien on the arm

Thursday 4th August, 2011 The obvious legacy of copper mines like at Ashio are the dilapidated industrial shells posing like a contemporary art installation, drawing intrepid tourists in to imagine the times of glory for these places. For workers and … Continue reading

Posted in Gunma, People, Small Towns and Villages, Trains | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Boy with the 1,000 Yen note

Sunday 7th August, 2011 My mind drifted back to the first time I got spending money as young boy. Was it to secretly buy that Choo-Choo Bar that rots your teeth, or was it to scoff down a small bag … Continue reading

Posted in Fukushima, People, Small Towns and Villages, Trains | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bluesman of Inokashira Koen, Tokyo

Around an hour west of Tokyo is the must-see Ghibli Museum that displays the life and anime works of the great Hayao Miyazaki. Think Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away. Think colour and movement. Think tiny and gigantic. The Ghibli … Continue reading

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Watarase railroad … the little train that can.

This gallery contains 7 photos.

Moving from Matsumoto to Nikko can take about 4 hours at best, using a mix of JR Limited Express and Shinkansen. Options are to Nagano, then looping back to Tokyo, then north to Nikko; or to Tokyo via Otsuki, and … Continue reading

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So, were you really there?

This gallery contains 23 photos.

Remember how the first Apollo moon landing was faked by NASA, filmed in a big studio in the Californian desert? As a single traveler, how do I get real proof that I actually saw and did what I said happened? … Continue reading

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Where did I leave my wallet?

When my son Tim traveled to Japan in February 2009 in our extended family group to see Australia play Japan at Yokohama, Tim lost his wallet and passport lost – or had it stolen. The circumstances are a bit murky, … Continue reading

Posted in Nagano, People, Small Towns and Villages, Tokyo, Volunteer Guide | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Fire Station 21, Matsumoto, Japan

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Matsumoto Fire Station #21 covers Uchida and Kotobukidai areas south-east of Matsumoto CBD where 2,646 households and 6,357 residents are there. This cross-cultural exchange had been arranged via Yuri at the Matsumoto City Government (see another post on Volunteer Guides). One of … Continue reading

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