The Nikka Whiskey Factory In Hokkaido

There is a whole TV show in Japan devoted to the story of how whiskey came to Japan.  It was groundbreaking for its time because of its depiction an asian male/ western woman female couple on Japanese TV.


It became really popular and garnered great ratings.  The theme song became quite recognizable.

As for me, whenever Japanese students found out my husband was Japanese their eyes would go wide and they would ask, “Is his name Masan?”

I had disappoint them and say, “No”.

Then they’d try and see if my middle name was Ellie because westerners have more than two names.  And again, I’d have to disappoint.

So this TV show actually affected me in an indirect way.

Stranger yet, my husband was also a fan of the TV show which is normally not his cup of tea (he likes stuff about cars and the news).  I think deep down he liked seeing a couple on TV that he felt looked like our couple.  He would pre-record this show and we would watch it together after he came home from work. That’s how much he liked it. Continue reading “The Nikka Whiskey Factory In Hokkaido”

Cherry Blossoms In Hokkaido 2017

The cherry blossom may have run their course in Tokyo, but they were in full bloom on day 3 of our trip in Hokkaido.  We went to Goryokaku, a place I’ve always wanted to visit. It’s the star-shaped park you may have seen pictures of in magazines. There is a ton of history in this location where a very famous battle took place a long time ago.

In fact, according to my husband, a lot of the movie The Last Samurai draws its inspiration from what transpired here.

Plus it looks amazing in full bloom.

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The cherry blossom trees that grow here are not like the ones you find in Tokyo, their petals are whiter, fluffier, and fall off faster.

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Continue reading “Cherry Blossoms In Hokkaido 2017”

Golden Week Day 2 (Pt. 2) — Hakodate At Night

We arrived at sunset to Hakodate, Hokkaido. The town is packed with tourists from all over asian. I heard more Chinese, Korean, and Malaysian than I did Japanese.

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After driving off the ferry, we headed for food.

Hakodate has quite a history. It was one of the ports allowed to dock European ships after US Admiral Perry forced Japan to open the country using US gunboats. This gave Hakodate quite an international identity.  They have embraced the curiosity of the world outside Japan and are quite proud of their international heritage. Continue reading “Golden Week Day 2 (Pt. 2) — Hakodate At Night”

Golden Week Road Trip (Day One) 2017

This year the Golden Week Holidays in Japan fell perfectly, in a way that gave my husband and others an unusually long holiday.  So we packed our bags and went for a driven.

Normally, we go west, in the direction of Kyoto, like the rest of Japan, but this year we decided to go north, to Hokkaido.

The roads were so open and free, it was difficult to believe it was Golden Week. We zipped up and made our first stop at this city. Can you guess by the pictures where these were taken?

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Continue reading “Golden Week Road Trip (Day One) 2017”

Naka-Meguro In Cherry Blossom Bloom

Yesterday had beautiful weather.  So I went to Naka-Meguro Station.

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I love going to Naka Meguro during cherry blossom season, and yesterday was my last chance before they are gone there.

The vendors are great, the sparkling strawberry champagne is tart, and the blossoms look gorgeous overhanging the river.

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See what I mean?

I must warn you, I drank this:

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I’m weak to sweet alcohols, especially on an empty stomach.  After I drank this, I was quite drunk for the rest of my photo-taking.

Continue reading “Naka-Meguro In Cherry Blossom Bloom”

Cherry Blossoms Season Here? Goodbye Clear Skies!

One thing I’ve learned over the years of living in Japan is that when the cherry blossoms finally arrive, so does the cloudy weather and the rain.  When I was young, anime and manga always portrayed cherry blossoms season as 90% sunny.

However, the grey sky and wet weather come with the blossoms.  Last week was the last day with blue skies and pink blossoms.  Now it’s just grey to rainy to grey again. Continue reading “Cherry Blossoms Season Here? Goodbye Clear Skies!”