雛祭り Hinamatsuri: Japanese Girls’ Appreciation Day

My colleague plops down in his seat next to me, and nods in my direction. Knowing that he has a young daughter I ask him if he’ll be celebrating Hinamatsuri today. Of course, he says, she wouldn’t let me not celebrate it, and giggles. On Hinamatsuri, March 3rd, girls all over Japan are appreciated through …

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おみくじ Omikuji: A Japanese Fortune Telling Slip

A Japanese language teacher gifted me an おみくじ, Omikuji, from the Dazaifu Tenman-gū, a famous shinto shrine in Fukuoka, Kyushu. She sat down to explain it to me, letting me know that Omikuji is best translated as a 'Fortune Slip'. As the Dazaifu Tenman-gū is a large and famous shrine, they had English Omikuji available. She happens …

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A Comprehensive Guide to Hiking Daisetsuzan National Park’s The Grand Traverse – Part 1

Daisetsuzan, the largest national park in Japan, is located in the centre of its northernmost island, Hokkaido.  Measuring a gargantuan 2,267km² the expansive area hosts every biome imaginable; sprawling forests, marshland, snow drifts, shifting volcanic rock, bamboo forests, the list goes on... The landscape, wild and stunning in its sheer size, gives a hiker plenty …

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