Okinawa: Things to Do on this Island Getaway

As a late spring vacation, I decided to catch a plane and head on down to Okinawa - a group of islands in the south part of Japan. The islands of Okinawa are famous for its subtropical climate - and is often referred to as 'the poor man's Hawaii'. But don't let that perturb you, …

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Navigating Koburi Pass 顔振峠

With the warmth of spring heating up, I decided to take another hike before the humid rainy season struck Japan. But instead of taking another famous hiking trail, I chose a more rural and uncommon spot: Koburi Pass. Koburi Pass is a relatively easy hike that takes you to many different peaks in Saitama Prefecture - …

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A 3 Day Weekend in Kyoto [Video]

Japan's ancient capital, Kyoto (京都), is famous for its Buddhist and Zen Temples, Shinto Shrines and other cultural centres. After Japan moved its capital to Tokyo in 1868, Kyoto remained the country's 'intellectual center' with traditions and cultural practices being kept alive in the city. In recent years, Kyoto has become the most popular tourist …

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Gift Giving Guidelines in Japan

Giving gifts are an incredibly important part of Japanese culture and presents are given for so many different occasions. In fact, gift giving in Japan is taken so seriously that it's not only seen as common courtesy, but a social obligation as well. Of course, like any gift giving culture, there are a certain number of …

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A Downpour on Mount Mitake

One seemingly sunny July Thursday a friend and I decided to tackle another one of Tokyo's famous mountains - Mt Mitake. Arriving at Mitake Station in the early morning, we were greeted by a yodel-inducing scene which wouldn't look out of place in The Sound of Music. With a river of clear-blue water and Mt …

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Cat Cafe Review [Video]

Cat Cafes are great places to chill out with some cats and enjoy delicious snacks. After being in Japan for over a year, I decided to finally visit one of these infamous cafes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaDg_sG8O34 Fun Fact: The Japanese word for cat is Neko (猫) and meow is translated as Nya (ニャー). [Hence Nyan Cat]

5 Basic Japanese Customs and Etiquette

When traveling to any country in the world, you should most definitely brush up on any local customs and etiquette so that you don't look like an idiot or offend anyone. So I decided to make a list of some basic Japanese etiquette for anyone wanting to travel to, or work in, Japan. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rq9uStNbU4   …

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Spring in Tokyo: Beautiful… but Weird

When you imagine spring-time, you imagine flowers blooming all over the place, a sense of happiness as you come out of winter hibernation, and (most importantly) a stable type of weather that gets consistently warmer. And while Tokyo has the first two down to pat, the weather is definitely anything but consistent. After an especially …

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Survival of the English-iest: Japan vs South Africa

Ever wonder what it's like traveling to Japan or South Africa using only English? Well wonder no more! Check out this week's installment of South Africa VS Japan to find out the answer! Part I: Surviving in Japan One question I often get asked as an English-speaker in Japan is "Can you survive in Japan …

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5 Surprising Things About Japan

Note: Although this list is from a South African's point of view, these items could indeed be surprising for many different types of people from many different countries.