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Beyond Tokyo: 40,000 dolls dressed in Imperial court robes? Yes, please!

Girls' Day dolls in Katsuura

Every year, the town of Katsuura puts on a Girls’ Day Doll Festival to end all doll festivals. Nearly 40,000 magnificently attired hina-samasuddenly appear all over town, in displays that are truly jaw-dropping…read more

Seasonal Secret: The fabulous flower season that happens when nothing in its right mind would be blooming

Red pink plum blossoms

February in Japan is not fun. Cold and gray, its only festival involves demons, dry beans and smelly sardines. There would pretty much be nothing to look forward to, if it weren’t for the…read more

The Thing I Learned Today: The strange barbers of Yoshiwara

Hair restoration specialist barber in Yoshiwara detail of woodblock print

This is a new feature I’m adding because I thought you might enjoy the truly odd nuggets I’ve been discovering in the stack of academic tomes I’ve been plowing through for book research! This month’s is about an emergency service catering to wayward flaneurs of the pleasure quarter…read more

Japanese Home Cooking: Japanese Chicken Soup for the Soul

Japanese chicken soup

When it’s cold and wet and dark outside, people in Japan long for comfort food just as much as we do, and this chicken soup will warm you right down to your toes. It’s comforting, but a little bit exotic, all at the same time…read more

Book Review: Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein

Cover of Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein

The yakuza are nearly as legendary as the mafia (but harder to quit, since there’s no easy undo for full-body tattoos and missing fingers). The silver screen portrays them as stylish bad boys, but the real gangsters these anti-heros are based on are no joke. From extortion to human trafficking, they protect their…read more

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Jonelle Patrick writes mystery novels set in Tokyo, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

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