Cranes: From Paper to Steel

Temple University Japan


“Elvis” in Yoyogi Park on the weekend. There were so many different groups of people performing – from hip hop dancers to traditional Japanese dancers in kimonos to the group I found most fascinating, the Elvis impersonators!


During the week, we decided to visit Akihabara. Here is Eric Mousin (left, psychology major from the University of Vermont) playing a Virtual Boy at Super Potato as Vince Cline (art major from Thomas More College in Kentucky) watches.


The next day, I went to a restaurant called Gonpachi with my extended family for dinner. This was the restaurant where one of the main scenes from Kill Bill took place.

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Unfortunately, most of the food was seafood which I am allergic to but it surely did look pretty! It was served in miniature boats and wicket baskets.


Afterwards, I came across this crow who actually stole a piece of bread from a child at…

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Viewing Sakura (cherry blossoms)

Temple University Japan

Around this time of year in Japan, cherry blossom trees, known as Sakura, are in full-bloom. Sakura can be found here and there throughout Tokyo, from neighborhood streets to local parks. The largest collections of sakura appear to be in larger, iconic green spaces, like Ueno Park and Yoyogi Park. Sakura inspire a number of recreational activities and responses, from photography to hanami.

Image A beautiful afternoon scene in Yoyogi Park

I was surprised to see how many non-tourists I found photographing sakura. Even lone trees in a largely populated area, such as outside of a train station, receive plenty of attention. My first view of sakura was toward the end of March in Yoyogi park. Unfortunately, even approaching the few blossoming trees proved difficult, as dozens of viewers with cameras surrounded them. By this time, the first week in April, blooming sakura appear all over Japan, and have become a…

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5 More Interesting Japanese Words


Last time I brought you some interesting Japanese job words to show you what working here is like. This time I thought I’d show you a few cultural keywords to give you an idea of some social problems Japan is struggling with.

Parasite Singles

Parasite singles are life’s eternal high schoolers. Though they may have graduated into employment, they continue to live in their parent’s homes well into adulthood–for free–burning through their disposable income. For parents’ part, they don’t mind their baby bird not leaving the nest. While western culture has the idea of getting out of your parents house as soon as humanly possible, traditionally, Japanese live with their parents until they get married to spare them the large financial burden of living on their own. Housing prices are high in Japan and even renters have to pay ridiculous amounts of up-front fees of four or more month’s rent. For me, it took about 2,500 dollars…

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Does black garlic a day keep the doctor away?

Discover Japan

black garlic (640x449)Aomori prefecture is the garlic capital of Japan, producing as much as 80% of the total garlic in the nation.  Aomori garlic is known for being large, dense, and high quality.  But what’s really famous is its fermented version – Aomori black garlic.

Since I moved to Aomori this summer, I’ve been seeing black garlic everywhere from grocery stores to gift shops.  It struck me as unusual, because I had never seen one in any other parts of Japan before.

The other day I decided to try it, since the package stated a number of health benefits.  The garlic costed about 400 yen (about $4), which was pricier than white garlic.  Although I was hesitant to eat it at first, the experience was surprisingly pleasant.  It tasted like a dried fruit, and it didn’t smell like garlic at all.  It was soft, sweet, and easy to eat with only a hint…

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