shrine bell

How much does a Shinto wedding cost?

The cost for a wedding can cause heart palpitations for the calm and bring the anxious to their knees. Marrying in a country where wedding options are unfamiliar can be frustrating, baffling or fascinating. Hitoshi and I were married in 2008 in Japan. The official marriage was at our local ward office. Our public ceremony…

rice stalk

Rice run – a new perspective

After moving to Canada from Japan, my husband and I had a lot of adjustments to make. One thing that stayed constant was our need to keep eating our favorite Japanese rice. Back in Japan, the closet grocery store was steps from our door. We could buy an easy to carry bag of rice whenever…

rice paddy in Katagami

Rice run – the burden

Moving to Canada from Japan was a huge adjustment for my husband and I. Besides the weather, crazy drivers and the necessary evil of cover letters (a requirement in Canada with many job applications), our beloved Japanese rice caused some of the greatest strain. We managed to run out of rice more than once. To do…

cute dog

Being sick and (cultural?) disagreements on how to get better

Ugh! Hitoshi is still getting over suspected influenza and I’m in the thick of a super coughy, sinus headachy like-my-brain-is-going-to-be-squished-out-of-my-ears nastiness. Nice. Getting sick far from the familiar Getting sick in an international context can be the pits. You might be far from remedies you’re used to and sometimes have weird things thrust at you to “just…

wedding rings from Japan

Wedding rings in Japan and that mismatched couple

Mismatched wedding rings and the stranger “Why are your wedding rings different?” The young woman had a wide open face with an easy smile that stretched from ear to ear. Her lanky frame arched over a crossed leg that swung back and forth. Everyone in the registry office could hear her business as well as her question.…

shrine roof, Akita, Japan

Hiking and love in Japan – Mount Shinzan, Akita

Photography 101 is done! My skills have improved dramatically over the last month thanks to the course prompts and lots of practice. The inventors of digital memory also get my gratitude, allowing for hundreds of mistakes and experiments at no cost. This course has helped me see that even the photos I thought were worthless have value…

Japanese warehouse

In-laws as parents: adopting for marriage in Japan

When Hitoshi and I got engaged, I started thinking about changing my last name. I love Hitoshi’s family name. It includes some of my favorite natural objects. Taking it shows recognition of my Japanese connection. Best of all, it is his mother’s last name. When I told Hitoshi I was going to change my last name to…

miso soup in a pot

Recipe: my first successful miso soup

I had a lot of trepidation about making delicious miso soup but it was all for nought. The recipe below got a 5-star review from hubby. Before you start This soup was made in Canada so it is possible! For those in Japan, this may help you avoid the mistakes I made. Some may think that…

a pickle jar as big as my hand!

Expectations and culture shock

Since we had seen her last, our friend had spent three weeks in Japan visiting her family and friends. She wasn’t sure how the visit would go but had no expectations and found the trip really nice. This was a big change from the previous trip to her homeland where she had high hopes of moving back yet ended…