How much does it cost to visit Japan?

While the question of travel costs is not an easy one to answer, I’ve shared expenses from our trips with and without kids during peak and off-peak seasons. What’s your travel style? We travel on a reasonable budget. This includes eating out a lot as a couple but sticking to grocery stores and eating picnic…

Super Hotel Circuit

The Super Hotel chain has been a regular part of trips back to Japan for many years. While H had used them regularly for work travel, I got my introduction the night we were supposed to sleep in our new apartment in Tokyo. My memories of that place, seen several months earlier for about 12…

Ferris Wheel

A Ferris wheel, cow diaphragm and dragon flies

Memories from our final pre-children trip to Japan… Sweating visibly while silently shrieking on the brilliantly red Ferris wheel high above Osaka. Chewing delectable cow diaphragm at a Hakata ramen street vendor in Fukuoka. Circling the rim of an old caldera in the clouds while dodging swarms of friendly dragon flies in Fukushima.

semi in the heat of a Japanese summer

Semi (cicadas) in Alberta?

One of my favourite memories from Japan, especially a Japanese summer, is semi or cicadas. Their little insect bodies (or technically the tymbals inside their abdomens, as I learned) vibrate like crazy making an unmistakable, powerful sound that is unforgettable. The sound is oddly comforting but I’ve heard enough comments from people less impressed so…

Viennetta box and slice of ice cream cake

Viennetta in Canada… in 2016!

Viennetta is an outstanding and addictive frozen “cake” of ice cream layered with crunchy dark chocolate. Vanilla is the best flavour although chocolate and a few other flavours are available. The second last time I ate it was in 1997. Yes. 1997. In Finland. I had seen it in Canada around that time but never bought…

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…