Many of us are drawn to Japan from a need to find somewhere to belong. I arrived in Kanto in 2018, after three years in the deep countryside of northern Kyushu. What…

Despite everything going on in the world, there has never been a more exciting time for reading about Japan. New translations and Japan-based books are sprouting forth quicker than the bulbs at…

The same day we meet Sumire Matsubara for our interview, she later shares with her 170,000+ TikTok followers a video of herself performing a choreographed dance to the Justin Timberlake song, “SexyBack,”…

If you’re at a crossroads in life and you’re looking for direction, this week’s idiom may help give some guidance. If you’re sick of feeling like a cog in the machine and…

A domestic hit in the late ’70s that has become an international one four decades later, “Mayonaka no Door: Stay with Me” by the late singer Miki Matsubara is now being re-released on…

Any beauty lover can attest to the fact that nothing beats a trip to your neighborhood beauty store. Smelling Chanel no. 5, sampling the season’s trending lipstick shades or browsing the aisles to…

Since I moved to Japan five years ago, my Japanese has been in decline. When I still lived in Germany, I took regular lessons. Mine wasn’t the most demanding school and I…

Living in Japan as an avid reader, I’m habitually on a hunt to find trusted sources for high-quality translations of captivating, modern Japanese fiction. I knew I had discovered the answer when…

Sleep deprivation is no joke. The long-term effects of not getting enough shut-eye range from concentration difficulties and irritableness to memory loss, mental exhaustion and poor balance. And even though it’s said…

Naomi Watanabe has had a tremendous career. Starting out as a comedian, she rose to fame with her impersonations of Beyonce before moving to acting, modeling, and owning her own fashion line.…

JAPAN RAIL CAFE TOKYO in Tokyo Station is a place where travelers' paths intersect. It is a great base for your next adventure, whether you grab a cup of matcha, use the WiFi, or have JR staff help you with your trip planning. This is the best place in Tokyo to learn all about the Tohoku area, a beautiful and vast stretch of several prefectures to the north. JAPAN RAIL CAFE TOKYO with TW hosted six workshops on six Tohoku prefectures last year. This year, on March 27 and 28, there were six more events where they invited foreign residents to see, taste and learn about the highlights of Tohoku. Each event showed participants some of the best travel spots (with an accent on where to see cherry blossoms) and provided an introduction to the special JR trains that can take you there. Presenters then introduced a traditional craft, and each event ended with an online sake brewery tour and sake tasting. Several participants expressed regret for overlooking Tohoku up until now, but they seemed determined to travel there as soon as possible. Those inspired to travel to Tohoku found out it's very convenient to get there, especially now that JR have made their popular money-saving passes available to foreign residents too. JR EAST offers a great travel deal with their JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area) and JR EAST PASS (Nagano and Niigata area), among other passes to other parts of Japan. Not to be confused with the JR EAST Welcome Rail Pass 2020 from last year, these new passes are similar and are available from April 2021 to all foreign passport holders (regardless of visa status). "I've had my eyes on Tohoku for a while, and this pass will make my trip possible," one participant shared with us, and she went to plan her trip with the JAPAN RAIL CAFE TOKYO staff at the tourist information counter. "I want to swim in this lake" and "I'm definitely booking a seat on the foot onsen train," were remarks expressed by other enthusiastic participants. Though cherry blossom season will be soon be over, any time of the year is a great time to start planning a Tohoku excursion.

The mikan, Japan’s quintessential winter fruit, which can be found on the coziest kotatsu and festive New Years’ spread, has had a long journey to the contemporary table. From Chinese trade and…