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Culture and Language

Why Christmas = KFC in Japan

Why Christmas = KFC in Japan

Christmas may not be a national holiday in Japan, but that doesn’t mean people won’t be celebrating! Only around 1% of Japanese people consider themselves Christian, so to most Japanese, Christmas is celebrated more like a Valentine’s Day of sorts, with young couples or groups of friends going on strolls through fancy displays of holiday decorations and lights. And families celebrate with ... Read More »

#FindingAsia: Ghosts and Demons in Japanese Prints, Chicago

#FindingAsia: Ghosts and Demons in Japanese Prints, Chicago

Chicago is known for having one of the best art museums in the country, complete with a large Asian art wing. However, from now until January 4th, 2015 guests can enjoy the exhibition Ghosts and Demons in Japanese Prints, which features some of the celebrated collection of Clarence Buckingham. This special exhibition showcases prints depicting the supernatural, a popular motif in Japanese art. The ... Read More »

#FindingAsia: Mochitsuki at the Midwest Buddhist Temple, Chicago

#FindingAsia: Mochitsuki at the Midwest Buddhist Temple

Mochi (餅), which is a sweet sticky rice cake, has been eaten in Japan since ancient times for special celebrations and festivals. The practice of hand-pounding mochi, known as mochitsuki (餅つき), is now rare even in Japan as most people would rather buy machine-made mochi sold at stores instead of making their own. Yet still, whether store-bought or home-made, the ... Read More »

Gaudí is Gaudy and I Love Him For it!

Gaudí is Gaudy and I Love Him For it!

I didn’t have much time in Barcelona, but I knew I needed to soak up as much of Gaudí’s architecture as I could while there. In order to get the most out of his bizarre masterpieces, I decided to take Discover Walk’s FREE Gaudí Tour. Meeting outside the Casa Batlló, I was blown away by its appearance. I’ll admit that I ... Read More »

Experiencing Christkindlmarket, Chicago: America’s Most Authentic German Christmas Market

Experiencing Christkindlmarket, Chicago: America's Most Authentic German Christmas Market

Each year from mid-November until Christmas Eve, Christkindlmarket allows visitors to experience authentic German traditions without having to travel any farther than the city of Chicago. Modeled after the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Chicago’s Christmas market sister city, the Christkindlmarket in Chicago is the largest open-air holiday market in the US. And it’s also the most authentic. The market now has ... Read More »

Sake to Me: The Art of Drinking Sake

Sake to Me: The Art of Drinking Sake

Sake (酒; pronounced “sah-keh” not “sock-ee”) is a drink that has been made in Japan for thousands of years. It is relatively unknown in the US, although a few varieties are starting to pop up in some restaurants and groceries stories. All across Japan there are sake breweries, dozens of different brands, and sake festivals. And again, most regions have ... Read More »

Famous Regional Omiyage Across Japan

Famous Regional Omiyage Across Japan

A few months ago I talked about omiyage in Japan. A lot of people seemed intrigued about this aspect of Japanese culture so I thought I’d talk more about famous omiyage throughout the different regions of the country. If you don’t remember what an omiyage is, it’s like an obligatory souvenir that you bring back to give others, but yet, ... Read More »

Sensory Overload at Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant

Sensory Overload at Tokyo's Robot Restaurant

Rushing through the streets of the Kabukicho, I kept glancing at the time on my phone. I had a bad feeling that we were going to be late. Blindly winding through the small alleyways, I had begun to regret my decision of not writing down directions. At this point, we could only hope that we were headed the right way. ... Read More »

7 Must-Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto

7 Must-Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto

Next to Tokyo, Kyoto is the second more popular city for tourists to visit, and it should be. Kyoto was the first capital back in 794AD and today it’s become Japan’s living cultural archives. If you’ve come to see shrines and temples, you can’t go wrong visiting Kyoto. This city has more than 1600 Buddhist temples and over 400 Shrine ... Read More »

Memories of Songkran

Memories of Songkran

I can’t believe Songkran was 2 months ago already. Despite having all this time pass since then, I still remember it as though it were yesterday and will continue to have fond memories of it. So what is Songkran you ask? Imagine thousands of people of all ages on the streets armed with water guns, hoses and plain old buckets ... Read More »