Japan

How Often Do You Go Grocery Shopping?

How Often Do You Go Grocery Shopping?

I have a pretty incredible streak in progress. Normally I go grocery shopping once a week. That’s right about the time that I start to run out of the essentials: baby spinach, orange juice, milk, and chocolate. As of right now, close to midnight on March 22, it’s been 16 days since I’ve been to […]


Have You Ever Visited a Cat Cafe?

Have You Ever Visited a Cat Cafe?

I studied abroad in Japan several times in my youth, but I missed out on one key Japanese phenomenon: Cat cafes. A cat cafe is a cafe for humans that is crawling with cats. Dozens of them. I think it was (and perhaps still is) popular in Japan because people often aren’t allowed to have […]


Numbing Spice: Am I Doing It Wrong?

Numbing Spice: Am I Doing It Wrong?

A few weeks ago I was talking with my brother and his fiance about their recent trip to Japan. I’m always curious about the food people eat when they travel, and they said they had tried some dishes involving sichuan, the numbing spice. I’d never heard of the spice even though I’ve definitely eaten food […]


What’s Your Favorite Japanese Candy?

What's Your Favorite Japanese Candy?

I’m wagering today’s entry on the assumption you’ve eaten Japanese candy. Maybe you ate a Pocky Stick during a cultural day. Maybe you sampled a Hi-Chew at a Japanese festival. Or maybe you tried a green tea Kit Kat at some point. Well, unless you’ve had a Kinoko no Yama, you haven’t truly lived. A […]


There Is a Portal to Japan Somewhere in St. Louis, and I Know Where to Find It

There Is a Portal to Japan Somewhere in St. Louis, and I Know Where to Find It

On Friday night, I traveled thousands of miles in less than a second. No drugs were involved. A few days before that, I happened to drive past a new, unfamiliar restaurant called Robata in Maplewood, Missouri. The sign out front advertised sushi, ramen, and yakitori. Ramen? What’s this? When I studied abroad in Japan, ramen […]


Akira: Not the Movie

Akira: Not the Movie

I studied abroad in Japan from 2001-02, and I had the good fortune of becoming friends with several college-age natives of Kyoto. It wasn’t uncommon for me to get a text from them that said nothing more than, “We’re picking you up in 10 minutes,” and we’d zip off to some adventure that I only […]


Curry Udon of Futures Past

Curry Udon of Futures Past

Yesterday I wrote about one of the worst foods ever (American cheese), so today I’m going to balance that out with a post about one of my favorite foods. When I studied abroad for a year in Kyoto, I had a weekly tradition of going to a tiny restaurant near the school for lunch once […]


The Best (and Weirdest) Gif I’ve Ever Seen

I’m still not a big fan of gifs (I want to pause them so badly!), but I have to share this with you. You’re not even reading this paragraph, are you? You’re already watching the gif. I could say anything I want right now and you’d have no idea. I used to eat peanut-butter pickle […]


I Left My Heart in Kyoto’s Fall Foliage

I Left My Heart in Kyoto's Fall Foliage

Today I was driving down my street in St. Louis, and I glanced up to see the number of trees that were changing color. It was a crisp, beautiful fall day. The sight filled me with an intense longing for the year I spent studying abroad in Kyoto, Japan (2001-2002). You see, Japan’s spring cherry […]


The Japanese Festival and Octopus Balls

The Japanese Festival and Octopus Balls

Food week continues! Recently a friend mentioned to me that there was a Japanese festival in St. Louis over Labor Day weekend. The conversation went something like this: Her: Wanna go to the Japanese festival? The food will be amazing! Me: How much does the festival cost? Her: $15. Me: So we have to pay […]


Where Would You Go for a Food Vacation?

Where Would You Go for a Food Vacation?

While feasting on one of the many delicious homecooked meals I ate while in Virginia recently, the topic of “food vacations” came up. Whenever I travel–particularly abroad–eating at a lot of interesting, local dishes is really important to me. My family visited me in Kyoto for a week back in 2001, and I planned every […]


Cabbages Are Trending

Cabbages Are Trending

After studying abroad in Japan from 2000-2001, I realized there was a common internet fallacy: Most of the Japanese “trends” we hear about actually aren’t trends, but rather a few people doing something weird or interesting that happens to be caught on camera. The refreshing part of this realization is that there are weird people everywhere. In […]


Pet Please #108: The Bottom of an Ice Cream Drumstick

Pet Please #108: The Bottom of an Ice Cream Drumstick

One of my favorite summertime treats is the ice cream drumstick. Chocolate and peanuts on the outside, ice cream on the inside, all held together by a crispy waffle cone. SO good. I’ve realized that my absolute favorite part of eating a drumstick is the end when all you have left is the solid chocolate […]


When We Were Young: The Japanese Ice Cream Story

When We Were Young: The Japanese Ice Cream Story

I recently had a birthday (one of many–apparently it happens once a year), and I’ve been somewhat reflective on the idea of getting older. I’m 33, so I’m not ancient, but looking back, there are so many things I could do when I was young that are much more difficult now: When I was really […]


I Made a Ramen Burger for My Mouth

I Made a Ramen Burger for My Mouth

When I studied abroad in Kyoto, I ate ramen more than any other food. Not instant ramen. In Japan they have thousands of small ramen restaurants where you get steaming hot, freshly made, absolutely delicious ramen. I can still remember specific bowls of ramen that I ate over there. So about a month ago when […]


Pet Please #92: Accurate Japanese in American Movies

Pet Please #92: Accurate Japanese in American Movies

It’s all Beyonce’s fault. Jump back to the summer of 2002. I was in a packed theater for the movie Austin Powers in Goldmember with my friend Josh. We believed the hype–we were there to see the funniest movie of all time. Needless to say, that’s not what we got. I honestly think that Josh […]


Ramen Nostalgia

Ramen Nostalgia

I’m in Austin, Texas for the weekend, and this was the first food I ate here. Apparently ramen might be the next hot food trend, and I couldn’t be happier. I haven’t had fresh ramen since my time in Japan 11 years ago, so it was like taking a bite out of my past. A […]


I Have Some Regrets

I Have Some Regrets

I’m sure you’ve heard people–perhaps including yourself–say, “I have no regrets.” Usually it’s proceeded by a big “but.” “I shouldn’t have dated her, but I have no regrets.” “I didn’t have the money to take that trip, but I have no regrets.” “I wish I had gone to a different college, but I have no regrets.” What’s […]


The Joy of Ramen

The Joy of Ramen

Today I had one of the happiest moments of my life. It involved ramen. This blog entry could have gone several directions. One was to be a personal entry about how the one type of surprise I like is a chocolate surprise. The other was to be a  pet please entry about care packages, because […]


My 21st Birthday…with Geishas

My 21st Birthday...with Geishas

In all the hubbub about my fake birthday last week, I took a moment to reflect back on real birthdays from my past. There is one that I’m surprised that I haven’t already written about on the blog: My 21st birthday…with geishas. The day was January 9, 2002. If you want to read about what […]


Mom Stories: Part 1

Mom Stories: Part 1

One of the most endearing, loving, and amusing things my mother does is overprepare me for travel abroad. It all started back in 2001 when I was headed to Kyoto for the year. Concerned about the quality of the water in Japan (a first-world country where people don’t, contrary to popular belief, drink unfiltered toilet […]


The Best Bar in the World

The Best Bar in the World

The best bar in the world is in Kyoto, Japan. You cannot get directions to this bar. It can’t be found on the map. Someone who knows where it is must take you there. Once you enter this bar, you are a regular. You are home.  Everyone may not know your name, but if you […]


The Peace Park Story

The Peace Park Story

Today I’m going to write about something a bit serious and somber. Thanks to having parents who fully supported my desire to become fluent in Japanese, I had the good fortune of going abroad to Japan for two summers in high school (and then for my entire junior year of college–see more stories about that […]


The Nap Story

The Nap Story

I don’t know how to tell this story the best way. I’ll tell it the only way I know how. Also, I feel like I’ve told it on the blog before, but I searched for it and couldn’t find it, so here it is. I’ve told a few stories on this blog about the time […]