Straddling the skyline in Shibu Toge Pass

Ever since I moved to Gunma, I've wanted to visit the caldera of Mt. Kusatsu-Shirane. Unfortunately, I'm doomed to disappointment as the volcanic activity levels have been too high to safely allow visitors for the past 3 years. Despite this, it's still well worth the effort to make the drive up the mountain. The twisty-turny... Continue Reading →

Shibukawa – The Belly Button of Japan (日本のへそ)

Most cities have some sort of nickname or slogan. Not many claim to be the "belly button" of a country. The closest big(ish) city to my tiny town is about 30 min down the mountains, Shibukawa. Shibukawa is known for a lot of things - some famous onsen, a really weird spaceship bath, Initial D,... Continue Reading →

One Man and a History of Jingles

This article was published in the April 2020 issue of AJET's CONNECT magazine. You can read it, and many other issues, at CONNECT Issuu Mukaiya Minoru is a name you’ve probably never heard, but you’ve absolutely listened to his works. Multiple times. Possibly even every day. Maybe you even know some of his tunes so well,... Continue Reading →

My Life in an “Epidemic”

So, I'm sure some of you may have heard, but there's a little thing called coronavirus making it's way around Japan right now. *cough cough* maybe because the Diamond Princess quarantine was horribly bungled *cough* Anyway, I say "epidemic" with a health dose of sarcasm, because the situation is not really as bad as everyone... Continue Reading →

The Oldest Hotel in the World

One hotel. 1300 years of history. And it's still open for business Photo from SoraNews24 The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan was opened in 705 A.D. To put it into perspective, this hotel was open before England was even a thing. And for only a few hundred bucks a night, you could stay at the same hotel... Continue Reading →

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