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By Chuck Clenney | 28th February 2011 | No Comments

Few things can both physically and metaphorically encompass the current cultural transformations and bewildering fusion of new and old styles present in modern-day Japan, especially while being incredibly delicious and covered in chocolate: meet the world of Japanese KitKats.

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By Jaimie Lynn Foster | 11th January 2011 | No Comments

In case you have not noticed, winter is here in Gunma. While the howling wind whistles in through the windows and the sun sinks down behind the horizon at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, no one wants to do anything except cuddle up in a quilt on the couch (or under the kosatsu) and eat something warm.

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By Alice Volkmar | 26th November 2010 | 4 Comments

One thing that you quickly notice living in Japan is the true love the Japanese share for the seasons, and how they celebrate the changing of the seasons with relish. Summer brings fireworks and yukata.  And at summer’s end, Autumn may not quite feel like autumn yet, the leaves may not have changed colors, but as soon as September rolls around the advertisements change to sweater-wearing girls against backdrops of gorgeous winter foliage.

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By Jessie Zanutig | 10th November 2010 | No Comments

The snow is falling in the mountains and the temperatures are dropping. It is that time of year when we struggle to find comfort in our uninsulated Gunma apartments.  If you are not already spending each evening snuggled beneath the kotatsu grasping for any small amount of warmth, then it is certainly time to open your storage closets (or wallets) and get your apartment set up for the long cold winter months ahead.

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By Chuck Clenney | 27th September 2010 | 18 Comments

Around the world, konnyaku is known by many names: devil’s tongue, konjac, 蒟蒻, konjar, voodoo lily, snake palm, but to 45 people (since 1995), it is better known as the cause of death! Perhaps we should get to know this potential menace lurking in the (brightly lit) shadows of our local supermarkets and convenience stores a little bit better.

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By Thom Schumacher | 24th June 2010 | No Comments

With the sun rising at some ungodly hour and then beating down on me all day it is no wonder that after a hard day of work I feel like a refreshing tipple.   And with the summers warmth comes a great fruit; the ume. It is from this very fruit that comes a traditional, fragrant delight: 梅酒 or Umeshū. It just so happens to be the season to throw together this delicious alcoholic beverage, and that is precisely what I did.

Food and Drink »

By Laurel Swift | 9th November 2009 | No Comments

Yakitori: who can resist salty, smoky bits of grilled chicken on a stick? Well, maybe a vegetarian could, but for the rest of us, it is likely irresistible. I suppose most of us have found a local yakitori shop to park at for a nibble on warm summer evenings or chilly winter nights alike. If you haven’t found yours yet, look around for their red lanterns hanging by the door and don’t hold back.