Friday, 29 June 2012

T.G.I.F.: Nagoshi no Harae, Kyoto

Tomorrow various shrines around Kyoto will be participating in the Nagoshi no Harae ceremony, a Summer purification ritual in which visitors are invited to pass through a large ring woven of miscanthus reed to cast off defilement (kegare). Participating shrines in Kyoto include Kitano Tenmangu, Kamigamo Shrine, Fujinomori Shrine, Heian Shrine, Nonomiya Shrine, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Yoshida Shrine, Kuramazaki Shrine and more.

Click the image below for more details...

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Tops Wednesday!

Sorry this is coming a day late! Happy Hump Day everyone!


Tokyo SkyTree
File:Tokyo Sky Tree 2012.JPG

Its all anyone can talk about. Having opened just one month ago, getting tickets for the newest tallest structure in Tokyo can be difficult so I'm sure most of us are looking forward to July 11th when it will be possible to purchase tickets on the day of the visit instead of through a lottery. Click the image for more information!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Travel Log: Tokyo DisneySea

This past weekend I went to Tokyo DisneySea with my friends (who were visiting from Australia) to celebrate their final weekend in Japan. We had a blast! I've been to Tokyo Disneyland a few times but this was my first time at the Disney sea park and it was amazing! You could wander through various "sea ports" around the world; from Venice to the American docks. The best parts for me will always be the roller-coaster rides, especially the Tower of Terror. Enjoy some snaps below!

Friday, 22 June 2012

T.G.I.F.: Korean Festival, Yamanashi-ken

This weekend there is a festival in Yamanashi-ken to celebrate the style, tastes and flare of Korean culture. Click the image below for more details...

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Tops Tuesdays: Archery in a Volcano

I found a link to this article (written by the amazing Ashley Thompson over at Surviving in Japan) floating around on a gaijin forum and decided to share this unique activity here for a Tops Tuesdays post. It is just what it sounds like; archery in a volcano. Looking for something unusual to do on your holiday? Always wanted to try your hand at a bit of archery? Want to stand in the open crater of a volcano? This could be just the right activity for you! And this particular dormant volcano (Mt. Omuro) is located on the Izu Peninsula which makes it extra special to me. Click the image for more information...

Friday, 15 June 2012

T.G.I.F.: Hokkaido Shrine Matsuri

It's that time of year when a lot of the major shrines around Japan are orchestrating parades around town with elaborate and traditional Japanese "floats." Designed to represent individual neighbourhoods surrounding the shrine, these floats embark on a parade which usually includes a long walking course and ends back at the shrine. Sometimes there are 4 or more floats taking part in the traditional parade, challenging one and other (with chanting and dancing) for supremacy. 

This weekend, the Hokkaido Shrine Matsuri (and its traditional floats) takes place in Sapporo. Being one of the largest festivals of its kind in Japan, this event promises not to disappoint. Click the image below for more information...

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Tops Tuesdays: bills, Harajuku.

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of joining some friends in Harajuku, Tokyo for a catch-up. We went to the very, very popular "bills" restaurant for lunch in the brand new Tokyu Plaza where I had managed to land us a reservation. Bills is the brain child of Australian celebrity chef Bill Granger and his original Sydney restaurant now has branches around the world, including Japan. Recently opened this past April, bills does not accept reservations for lunch in advance so the only way to get in is to leave your name at the door early in the morning and come back during your allotted time at lunch. When I arrived at 9.30 am the line up for breakfast snaked out the door and down two flights of stairs. That's how popular this restaurant is and I can attest to the awesomeness of the food! That's why bills restaurant makes my Tops Tuesday post this week. Click the image below for more information...

Maybe you can spot the bills sign in this photo...

Monday, 11 June 2012

Travel Log: Picking Green Tea and Architectural Feats in Harajuku

Last weekend, I did two things: on Saturday I went green tea picking for the first time on the Izu Peninsula, and on Sunday I caught up with some friends from Australia in Harajuku, Tokyo. Enjoy some snaps below!

Friday, 8 June 2012

T.G.I.F.: Tokyo Ice Festival

Happy Friday everyone! Rainy season is  looming and like I mentioned last week, events are become scarcer during the months of June. Our first big cyclone of the year was on course to hit the larger Tokyo area tomorrow and last about 2-4 days but fortunately it has diverted south and missed Japan. That means this weekend, while a touch rainy, is not going to be spent entirely inside.

Precipitation aside, this event looks like it is still a go-ahead this weekend in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo. Click the image for more details...

This weekend I am heading to Tokyo to meet a friend visiting from Australia so we might check out this event! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The Izu Life: Sports Day

Yesterday was my high school's sports day. The kids work hard all year and this is one of their most looked-forward-to events; a day where they can let loose, forget about studying, and enjoy themselves. Enjoy some snaps below...

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Tops Tuesday!


I know this didn't strictly take place in Japan but anime and cosplay originated in Japan so this dude and his awesome Blue-Eyes White Dragon cosplay that he is trying to sell make this week's Tops Tuesday post...

See you tomorrow for a post about my school's Sports Festival!

Monday, 4 June 2012

The Izu Life: Culture Festival!

Last weekend was the Bunkasai (Culture Festival) of the school where I work. The kids had an amazing time! You could tell they were much more genki than usual and I found they where much more open to me and the gibberish I speak than any other day. Many ran up to me to have full conversations in English which is like pulling hen's teeth to get them to do during class! For many students, the Culture Festival is the event of the year. And so, the students worked all week after school, sometimes late into the night, to prepare their classrooms to serve as haunted houses, cafes and project displays. Enjoy some pictures below!

Friday, 1 June 2012

T.G.I.F.: Takigi O-Noh (Bonfire Noh performance), Kyoto

Heading into June, it's going to become increasingly difficult to locate festivals and events happening on the weekend. June is the rainy season in Japan so fewer organizations are willing to schedule events during this time. Personally, I'm hoping for a similar rainy season to last year's lackluster performance so maybe June will actually turn out to be quite enjoyable.

This June 1st and 2nd is the Takigi O-Noh (Bonfire Noh performance) in Kyoto. Performed at the famous Heian Jingu Shrine under the cloak of night's darkness, this performance makes use of elaborate costumes and masks to convey emotion rather than the actor's own facial expressions. So, if you're in Kyoto, check it out! Click the image below for more information...

On a side note, this weekend is my school's cultural festival, which means two things: 1) this is my second school festival in Japan,  and 2) I can lookforward to a 9-day week because the sports festival follows immediately on Tuesday. When I first heard I would be working for 9 days in a row, I didn't even bat an eyelid. I think its interesting how I've been living here long enough that when something like this happens, I just think to myself "Meh. Its Japan."

What are you doing this weekend?

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