Japan: Kyoto’s Geisha

Posted by on Jul 9, 2015 in Featured, Japan, Travel Photo Thursday | 23 comments

Kyoto’s Geisha are one of the major tourist attractions in Kyoto, Japan. Welcome to week 236 (07/09/2015) of Travel Photo Thursday. When I was in Kyoto a few years ago I quickly learned that Geisha watching is a favorite past-time. It’s almost like a game..’Spot the Geisha’, and there is always lots excitement when there is a sighting. I saw two beautifully made up geisha when I was there, and managed a couple of photos that I want to share with you today.

In Kyoto you may also here the Geisha referred to as Geiko. This is a term used in Western Japan, including Kyoto. The Geisha/Geiko in my photos look quite young. Although looks can be deceiving with all that makeup, if they are as young as they look, they could be Maiko.  Maiko is an apprentice Geisha, and must be under 21. Any woman over 21 is automatically considered a Geisha/Geiko once initiated into the Geisha community. Regardless, if you want to enter the ranks, you must train for a year. You can find out more about them here. 

Remember to leave your comment and link at the bottom! 

This young Geisha was moving quickly. I have no idea who the woman was behind her, but it looks like they’re together. Maybe the bundle the girl is carrying belongs to the Geisha, or maybe not… 🙂


Geisha/Geiko walking in the Gion district of Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto’s Geisha/Geiko walking in the Gion district of Kyoto, Japan.

Read More

Travel Photo Thursday –September 22, 2011 A-Bomb Dome, World UNESCO Site, Hiroshima, Japan

Posted by on Sep 22, 2011 in Destinations, Japan, Travel Photo Thursday | 18 comments

Welcome to another week of Travel Photo Thursday. Last week we had a record number of contributors. The range of photos was fantastic, and I am always pleased to see that we all try and visit each other’s submissions.

To join in the Travel Photo Thursday fun simply post a photo on your blog. Return here and place your link in the Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post. Please remember to leave a comment after you link. Finally, if you have a few moments, visit the others who have linked. Perhaps you can give them a tweet, a stumble, or a comment on their TRAVEL PHOTO THURSDAY.

Please post a link to a post featuring a travel photo, not simply a link to your blog.

If you do tweet a shot, please use the hashtag #TPThursday.

My travels in Japan took me to Hiroshima and the Peace Park. Despite being a horrific event, the Peace Park remembers the dropping of the A-bomb in a manner that is not overly depressing or oppressive. Like Nagasaki, which I had visited a few years earlier, Hiroshima’s Peace Park ensures that people never forget the event, and hopefully one never to be repeated.

Hiroshima is easy to get to, and easy to get around. A great walking city, especially when the weather is sunny and hot, as it was for my visit.
Here are two shots of the A-Bomb Dome, which is a world UNESCO site. The A-Bomb Dome is the only remaining structure in central Hiroshima, which predates the 1945 atomic bomb.

(Click on the shots to view larger versions.)

A-Bomb Dome, Hiroshima, Japan


A-Bomb Dome, Hiroshima, Japan


There is no charge to visit the A-Bomb Dome and the Peace Park, and it’s easy to spend a day there roaming the grounds and visiting the museum. Check out the sites below, if you’re interested in learning about Hiroshima…

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Wiki Travel: Hiroshima



Read More

Travel Photo Thursday, September 8, 2011 — Sake Barrels, Kushida Shrine, Fukuoka, Japan

Posted by on Sep 8, 2011 in Japan, Travel Photo Thursday, Uncategorized | 26 comments

Welcome to another week of Travel Photo Thursday. Koreans are gearing up for one of thier biggest holidays of the year, Chuseok. Starting tomorrow, Friday, I’ll be off for five days. For me the days off mean getting caught up with a summer of photos that have not yet been edited, dinner with friends and a quick trip to Seoul. Somehow I managed to book train tickets yesterday, which is amazing since most Koreans travel home for this holiday.

To join in the Travel Photo Thursday fun simply post a photo on your blog. Return here and place your link in the Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post. Please remember to leave a comment after you link. Finally, if you have a few moments, visit the others who have linked. Perhaps you can give them a tweet, a stumble, or a comment on their TRAVEL PHOTO THURSDAY.

Please post a link to a post featuring a travel photo, not simply a link to your blog.

If you do tweet a shot, please use the hashtag #TPThursday.

I took this shot back in 2006 on my first trip to Fukuoka, and my first visit to the Kushida Shrine; a favorite with both locals and visitors. This shot was also taken with my first digital camera, a Fuji Fine Pix 2800. At the time I really had no idea what I was shooting. I thought I was shooting colorfully decorated drums. Later I learned they are sake barrels. Can you imagine serving up a barrel of sake at your next outdoor barbecue? What fun that would be! I love the colors and designs on the barrels.

(To view a larger version click on the photo.)

Drums (Sake Barrels (maybe) at Kushida Shrine, Fukuoka

You can easily spend a few hours wandering around this shrine. There are many great photo opportunities, and the two times I have visited I’ve been lucky enough to see couples having photos taken in their traditional wedding outfits.
Admission is free; a great price for any budget traveler! For more information follow the link: Kushida Shrine

Last week I mentioned that I might have a sponsor for this week’s Travel Photo Thursday. Well, I do and I don’t. My sponsor has other commitments this week, so we have agreed on next week. Stay tuned, and next week everyone who contributes to Travel Photo Thursday will have the opportunity to have their name thrown in the pot, and the chance to win a great prize.


Read More

How to Help Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami Survivors by giving to Japanese Organizations

Posted by on Mar 29, 2011 in Japan, Uncategorized | 10 comments

Todd at Todd’s Wanderings is a fellow travel blogger, with an intimate knowledge of  Japan. Todd’s wife is Japanese and they have lots of family in Japan. Todd was in Japan during the earthquake and tsunami. Thankfully he, his wife, and family all survived this tragic event. To help raise money for Japan’s earthquake and tsunami survivors Todd is asking that fellow travel bloggers reproduce and post the following to their blogs. My post today is dedicated to all those who survived this horrific disaster. Please take a moment to read the post below, and give what you can. Remember, there is no such thing as a donation that is too small.

How to Help Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami Survivors by giving to Japanese Organizations

This page is dedicated to helping the survivors of the Friday 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan by channeling international donations to local efforts.

The earthquake and tsunami have caused extensive and severe damage in Northeastern Japan, over 9,500 people have been confirmed dead and another 16,000 are missing, and millions more affected by lack of electricity, water and transportation.

The images of the destruction and suffering have shocked the world. However, with the World Bank reporting over 300 billion USD in damages and families torn apart there is a need for everyone to help both financially and emotionally.

A few weeks ago I posted about my Experience During the Japan Earthquake and made a plea to my readers to spread the word about helping Japan recover. My wife is from Tokyo and we are both professional aid and recovery workers with the United Nations. We have seen the recovery phase of the 2004 Tsunami up close and we know there is a tremendous need to not only raise donations but to make sure those funds are used responsibly and are in the hands of organizations with not only technical expertise but also local knowledge.

How You Can Help

A lot of people around the world want to help and have been donating to various international organizations (mainly the American Red Cross). I think this is great and with the money being transferred to the Japanese Red Cross this money will be used well. However, we also believe there is a need to donate funds directly to local Japanese organizations and NGOs that don’t have access to this type of fund raising. There are also many scams out there trying to benefit from this horrible disaster. We know that language barriers and lack of knowledge can also prevent people from donating to the right place. As such we have put together a list of Japanese Organizations that we know, trust and recommend to channel your donations to.

If you are unable to donate we ask that you Share this Page with your friends, family and coworkers through e-mail, facebook, twitter or any other outlet you can think of. The more people who see this page the greater the donations will be.

If you are blogger, or have your own website. Please see the Blog4Japan page to learn how you can utilize this appeal on your own site and help us reach even more people.

Japanese Organizations We Trust

Please consider donating to one or more of these organizations. All are local Japanese organizations and we have found the English Pages for you. Even a small amount like $10 is useful, but we hope you donate more!

Peace Winds Japan Tsunami Response

Peace Winds Japan is one of the largest Japanese organizations providing humanitarian relief such as food, clothing, fuel and medical supplies to the affected areas. You canDonate Here.

JEN Tsunami ResponseJEN is a well known NGO dedicated to restoring a self-supporting livelihood both economically and mentally to those who have been stricken with hardship due to conflicts and disasters. They are currently supporting emergency relief items such as food, woman’s hygienic items, clothes and other essentials to the survivors of the Japan Tsunami. You canDonate Here.

ADRA Japan Tsunami Response

Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is donating food and essential items to the survivors of the tsunami. They also keep a well maintained English blog of their activities in Japan for the tsunami which you can Follow Here. You can Donate Here.

JOICFP Response to the Japanese TsunamiThe Japan Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning is taking donations for their response to the tsunami that will focus on the reproductive health needs of women and mothers in affected areas. You can Donate Here.

AMDA Tsunami ResponseThe Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA Japan) team is delivering essential medical services through mobile clinics and delivering relief goods to the nursing homes and schools (evacuation shelters) in Aoba and Miyagino Wards. You can Donate Here.

Oxfam Japan's Tsunami ResponseOXFAM Japan is working with two partners in Japan on providing support to those on the margins of society who might otherwise have difficulty accessing emergency relief. One group is assisting mothers and babies and the other is providing information to non-Japanese speakers living in Japan. You can Donate Here.

Habitat for Humanity Japan Tsunami ResponseHabitat For Humanity Japan is still assessing the situation but will be involved in the reconstruction of housing once the emergency period ends. This is one of the most vital aspects of recovery and the homeless will need a lot of help to put their lives back together. You can Donate Here.

Institute for Cultural Affairs Tsunami Response

The Institute for Cultural Affairs Japan (ICA) is still assessing the situation but is accepting donations. You can Donate Here.

All of these are worthy organizations to support and  you can match your own personal interests to the organization that you think will work the best on what you want to support. Even if you are unable to donate please pass this on through social media, word of mouth or even in print. I have waived all rights to this post so please feel free to copy and reproduce any part of it for the good of the Japanese people.

If you do want to reproduce this please see the Blog4Japan page where you can find out more details.

Thank you from my family and friends who have been affected by this terrible disaster.

Read More

Through the Sandbox Lens #15 — Female Taiko Drummer in Tokyo

Posted by on Oct 5, 2010 in Japan, Sandbox Photography, Through the Sandbox Lens, Uncategorized | 12 comments

When you’re traveling anywhere in Japan always be on the lookout for events going on at the neighborhood temples. I literally stumbled onto this Taiko drum performance at a local temple. The drumming was fantastic and it was free! This is budget travel at its best. I love the energy of this photo. You can also see a video clip of their performance here at YouTube.

(Simply click on the photo to see view it larger.)

Taiko Drummer; Tokyo

Read More

Wanderfood Wednesday — Delicious Ramen in Fukuoka

Posted by on Aug 27, 2010 in Japan, Uncategorized, Wanderfood Wednesday | 35 comments

Here we are for another week of Wanderfood Wednesday kindly hosted by Wanderlust and Lipstick. My apologies for being a wee bit late. I am still trying to catch up on what seems to be my entire life since returning from my summer travels.

My first introduction to Ramen was in Korea. My initial reaction was “why is this stuff so popular?”. You see in Korea Ramen comes from a package. The noodles are heated and then the hottest spices available are thrown on top. Not my idea of fine dining.
However, I did know that Ramen is very popular in Japan and I was determined to try it and hopefully like the “REAL STUFF”.

I had read a bit about “Hakata” Ramen, which is famous in Fukuoka. This Ramen has a unique milky broth, which (so I read) is the result of boiling pork bones. That is not what I tried my first night in Fukuoka. I think having eight Ramen restaurants to choose from overwhelmed me and I actually forgot that I was looking for a specific kind. I found these eight ramen restaurants at Raumen Stadium on the 5th Floor of Canal City in downtown Fukuoka. They seemed to selling every kind of Ramen known to man!

The Japanese are so visual when it come to food. I loved it! Unlike many places, not knowing the language did not impede my foodie experiences in anyway. Each of the eight Ramen restaurants wanted my business, and the wait staff very politely hustled me for it. I finally chose this dish. Now I know it’s not Hakata Ramen, but I’m not sure what kind it is. I asked the wait staff, but wasn’t able to translate the Japanese into English. If anyone can tell from the photos, please let me know. I will say it was delicious. Vegetarians will probably not be awed by the photos.

Then it was off to the vending machine to pay my 990 Yen.

Into the restaurant to wait. Japanese restaurants welcome single diners. You either sit at the bar or share a small table with other diners. Unlike the West, it’s common to share a table. I’m thinking that’s probably to do with so many people ans so little space. Drinking water is free, and all you can drink. The place was spotlessly clean.

After a short wait …..


I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical of the pork. I’m not much of a meat eater and this looked a little too “fatty” for my liking. I was pleasantly surprised that it was very flavorful without being greasy. The broth was rich and tasty, and all of the different tastes..egg, green onion, kim, noodle… blended together very nicely. I was hooked!

At 990 Yen (approximately $11.75) I thought it was good value. Definitely a meal that wouldn’t stretch the wallet of most budget travelers.


Finally, there’s a store where you can purchase (or look at) everything and anything that has to do with this delicious noodle dish.

Ramen store

Here’s the website Raumen Stadium. Although it’s in Japanese, it will give you a nice overview of all the restaurants.

All tweets, stumbles, comments are most appreciated.

You can find more foodie stories at Wanderlust and Lipstick.

Read More