What are those short, low, very wide tables?

I stopped at a little outdoor cafe to buy a snack. As I was looking around for a place to sit, I noticed short, low, very wide tables placed around the outdoor area.  At first I wondered if the tables were set in preparation for an upcoming trade display of sorts Continue reading


Can You Identify These Two Vegetables?

The supermarket in Japan was great fun. The seafood section was huge compared to the meat section; opposite from my grocery store here in the U.S.  There were unfamiliar vegetables, very different snack items and many seafood options that simply are absent at my local grocery store.

Grocery store visits in travels abroad make great tourist destinations. One gets to see different food items, labels in different languages, different marketing techniques, etc. In fact, there were Japanese men in the produce section during my visit shouting out something that sounded to me like moaning. But they were, in fact, greeting customers to the produce section. Moreover, a visit to the grocery store while abroad is a great way to experience local culture and see everyday people in an everyday setting.

The photo shows two different vegetables commonly eaten in Japan.  I actually ate both several times in my meals but did not know what they looked like uncooked in the produce section.  Can you name the two vegetables?lotus root and bamboo shoot 2



Cheyenne, WY in Japanese

Here’s another post about the U.S. for my Japanese readers with a brochure in Japanese at the end.

We recently visited Colorado for several days (go Rockies!) and enjoyed a day trip to Wyoming also, my first visit to this state. We visited old West Cheyenne and Laramie. In Cheyenne, we took a trolley tour of the town, and the tour guide gave a fantastic oratory on the “Wild West” history of Cheyenne as we stopped by historical buildings and parking lots that once were historical buildings…

Listening to her fantastic tales and truths, one could only imagine the rowdy town of the late 1800s with notorious characters like Wild Bill Hickok, Continue reading

Bloomin’ Azalea Bonsai

For two days in a row I tried to decipher the words of the Japanese train announcer as he quickly announced the specific train stops while riding the railway to Kyoto with my friend.  The one phrase I finally understood was “Omi-Hachiman, Omi-Hachiman desu,” roughly translated into English as “the next stop is Omi-Hachiman.” Although we did not get off the train in Omi-Hachiman, the announcer’s rhythmic words stuck in my head like a catchy little tune. Continue reading



The TOKYO SKYTREE® is the world’s tallest free-standing broadcasting tower, reaching up 634 meters into the sky (2,080 feet). The Skytree is also quite new, completed in 2012.  It was designed with the concept of bringing traditional together with the future, and the name, height, design and color all have meaning relevant to Japanese culture. Continue reading

Super Tour Man

We boarded the Shinkansen (“bullet” train) early and headed to Tokyo.  Traveling close to 200 m.p.h., the scenery whizzed by. The Shinkansen is a story in itself, so let’s just fast forward to Tokyo where we meet Super Tour Man. But first, my friend and I got off the train, and moving in speedy train fashion my friend whizzed us through the extremely large Tokyo train station, me at her heels, out the other side into the super-sized city.  Of course, it’s always movement at top speed with my speedy friend who is amazingly following her phone map while speed walking while we were looking for our hotel.  We speedily found it. Then, my friend informed me we were running late (yes, running—that’s being late, fast–) to catch our Hato tour bus to inner Tokyo.  So, it was out of the hotel and towards the tour bus depot. Continue reading