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Fukuro: For the Love of Ramen, and Owls

// by Jessie Fast // It’s not every day that a restaurant opens decorated entirely with your favorite animal. Nevertheless, it happened to me, and as soon as I saw Fukuro and the door with the owl silhouette, I knew I had to try it. After climbing a long set of stairs, the interior presents … Continue reading


// by Russell Kabir // I am a mountain. Losing face, losing faith but waiting to reach the sky. Time erodes my foundation, but not the faults I’m built on folding forever in my mind. My eyes become cloudy when I wake from my dormant state, and my shoulders of boulders grow cold. The elements … Continue reading

Best Way to Enjoy the Fall Colours

// by Katie Yantzi // I’m all for autumn hikes, but with a season as damp and rainy as this year’s, hiking doesn’t strike me as the most desirable way of enjoying Akita’s burst of colourful leaves. Nor is a rain-soaked trek in the woods a good motivator for getting out of bed on a Saturday. So, last weekend, I … Continue reading


// by Jessie Fast // I don’t think there are very many places on the planet where putting in eye drops during class is considered acceptable behavior, but drinking water is not. Where sixteen-year-old boys have stuffed bear pencil cases and folders with pictures of their favorite members of J-idol boy bands printed on them. … Continue reading

Rescued by Monks: My First Experience with Zen Meditation

// by Gavin Fisher // “Hello,” said the burly Japanese man standing in front of me. “Are you interested in Zen meditation?” It was one of my first weeks teaching at an elementary school out in the countryside in Yashima, a small town on the outskirts of Yurihonjo. I was in a field near the … Continue reading

Of Hippies, Music and Broken Tents

// by Katie Yantzi // It’s just after dark in a secluded mountain forest. The hum of guitars and various percussion instruments carries through the muggy air. All of the tents in the clearing beyond the stage have been pitched – except ours.  “Nani?!” Apparently we’ve come camping with tent poles that are actually just … Continue reading