Category Archives: CULTURE

I still love Kendo!

Apologies everyone for my long absence from posting in this blog! Last November we moved home. At the same time my wife was operated on for Brain Cancer, so kendo took a back seat.

In December I got the news that I have Stomach Cancer (one of Japan’s most popular). For a lifetime henna gaijin, it seems a remarkably appropriate disease. My lack of blogging is not so much a direct response to my illness, but for me training, teaching and writing are inextricably linked and I need the stimulation of all 3 (4 with refereeing)

Thanks to great medical care and friend and family support I am continuing to enjoy life. I am still doing the job I enjoy and although I have given up on the big international engagements. I am still keeping up with many of my kendo commitments.

In the last two weeks I have taught and practised in a kendo class in Spain, run a referee’s seminar in Spain been shinpan shunin at Sunday’s Londo Cup and aim to run the big Watchet Kendo seminar in the UKs Somerset at the end of this month, with the help of some great 7th and 6th dan teachers. Best of all my buddy of 40 years from Japan, Hayashi Kyozo, kyoshi, hachidan is coming to the UK at the beginning of June, so I am hoping to be fit enough to receive yet another beating.

The one thing I do miss is my regular attendance at Mumeishi, either because of downsides in my chemotherapy cycle, or because the motorway from my home is permanently under repair at night and the journey home, causing me to break the curfew applied by my ever-caring wife. Still I try to get there when I can, and I am writing this now to congratulate …continue reading


Post Anime NYC – On Women and Their Impact on My Life

Anime NYC 2017 crowd

2017 is a year I will always remember with regards to anime conventions. The Bay
Area finally received an anime convention in Crunchyroll Expo, that
looks to spearhead the next generation of anime fans. And finally
after 7 long years, New York has a new place to call home for many
anime fans in the form of Anime NYC. After going through 3 days of
non-stop walking, talking, & hanging out, I had a blast being
around friends (old and new). But it was also one of the most
emotionally exhaustive experiences in my life. It brings me back 6
years ago when a certain someone came into my life and how my
blogging life suddenly became quite a journey that went beyond

Around late summer 2011, I tweeted at a
random Twitter user who loved Tiger & Bunny. She happened to be a
Japanese woman who lived in New York. We actually chatted online for
a bit. One day, we decided to meet up in person. A date was scheduled
and it was after her trip to Comiket, as she liked to draw doujinshi.
Before the meetup, she said she would get me Gintama merchandise from
Japan for me. I said “Sure.” We met for lunch at Kinokuniya
NYC and we hit it off right away. The two of us fangirled/fanboyed
over anime/manga series that had huge homoerotic undertones. I even
introduced her to a few of my friends. All of this was really
unexpected and I felt lucky. We then started to NYCC together and
grew closer as the years went on. We always texted each other every
day. I never thought I would have a close friend/companion that
listened to me a lot during that time.

big old post I made about the power of fujoshi back in 2012
. That
was largely inspired by her.

Around 2015, things changed slowly. I
think I was starting to have …continue reading


8 Of This Year’s Most Stylish Fall-Winter Fashion Trends

It’s almost the end of November and now with shorter days and cooler nights, it’s time to put away your lighter fabrics and tail-end of summer pieces and prepare for crisper, cooler weather. The following eight wardrobe staples, confirmed by designers in Japan and around the world, will take you through this fall-winter season in style! Ready?!

1. It’s All About Red

This season, fashion is going rouge, very rouge. From long trench coats, furry sweaters, sleek trousers and even sexy knee-high boots, red is the color for the season. With hues like scarlet, crimson, burgundy, vermilion, and ruby, the color is not only a standout key trend of the season but also a power look.

Recommended item: H&M Red Wool Coat, ¥15,999.

2. The Classic Madame Fur (or faux fur)

Vintage furs are one of this fall’s key items to have ready to wear! And when the temperatures drop sharply, nothing is better than a warm fur to keep you feeling bundled, cozy, and still runway-ready! Perfect with anything from a classic evening dress to even that casual but stylish look of denim, pumps and a blouse, fur coats are wonderful because they really make anything you are wearing underneath look posh and very runway-worthy. Simple lines, broad shoulders, nothing overly embellished or stylized is the way to go this season.

Recommended item: Uniqlo, Fur Touch-Shoulder Bag, ¥1,990.

3. Winter Florals

We saw florals this spring and then again in …continue reading


Onsen and Sento: A Closer Look Into Japan’s Bathing Culture

Japan is a volcanically active country and that has given rise to natural hot springs known as onsen. The country is 75% mountainous, many of those volcanic in nature. As a result, Japan boasts more than 3,000 hot springs. These hot springs are concentrated in the volcanic regions of Kyūshū,Chūbu, Tōhoku and Hokkaidō . There are also some hot springs that come from radioactive elements underground. Many Onsens have outdoor bath called 露天風呂 rotenburo allowing bathers to relish the view of the natural landscape. To be able to qualify as a legitimate onsen, the water must contain 19 different minerals and include certain levels of hydrogen ion, fluorine ion, and sulfur as specified by the Onsen Law enacted by the Japanese government in 1948.

(Photo Credit:

Whats the Difference Between Onsen and Sento?

Some onsen hot springs can be enjoyed through the ryokan, a traditional Japanese-style inn. This is the best place to experience an onsen while appreciating many elements of Japanese culture. They often feature Japanese-style wooden architecture and zen gardens that embody the Japanese principle of Wabi Sabi. Inns give guests a yukata (a thin summer kimono) and they can sleep in traditional Japanese-style rooms furnished with futon on tatami mats.

A sentō is a simple public bath that serves to fulfill the daily need for hygiene. It literally translates to “coin” (a sen is a discontinued coin worth 1/100¥) and “hot water”. Nowadays, entrance to an average sentō in Tokyo costs ¥450. When entering a sentō, guests will be greeted by the manager and they would need to pay an entrance fee. They will then be given a locker key with a chain so that it can be worn on the wrist or ankle. The guests will then proceed to a changing room depending on their gender where they will …continue reading