I Heart T-Points: My Darling is a Foreigner
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I Heart T-Points: My Darling is a Foreigner

I am dating an amazing Japanese woman, and therefore it was only natural that we would eventually watch ダーリンは外国人 (My Darling is a Foreigner) together. In fact, before the movie even came out on DVD, she started reading the manga it was based on and had me doing the same…

Happy (Chinese) New Year!
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Happy (Chinese) New Year!

Festivities in Kobe’s Chinatown during the first weekend of February celebrated Shunsetsu, and the start of the year of the Rabbit. Beginning February 3rd with the new moon (to end January 22nd, 2012), Rabbit years are said to be for catching one’s breath after the dynamism of the Tiger. This year’s Rabbit is associated with the element metal, so the fluffy bunny may have a bit of a sharp edge (perhaps dulled a little by the fact that it’s yin metal, not yang this year)! Nankin-machi was thronged with visitors all weekend long, and on display were performances of dance, acrobatics, tai chi, as well as the famous lion and dragon dances.

Callin’ All Politicos: Japan vs. Korea/China/Taiwan/Russia
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Callin’ All Politicos: Japan vs. Korea/China/Taiwan/Russia

There is an old proverb that “fences make good neighbors.” A fence plus a large body of water in between would seem to make even better neighbors, but in Japan’s experience this has not been the case. An archipelago nation consisting of literally thousands of islands, Japan is embroiled in three island ownership disputes with its neighbors: Korea, China/Taiwan, and Russia. The contested islands may be small in size – and in some cases devoid of human life – but control over the islands brings political and economic payoffs that are huge.

Kobe Jazz Review: Vieni
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Kobe Jazz Review: Vieni

Kobe has a lot of nice restaurants, especially in Kitanozaka. Between the city’s huge international population and the local branch of Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, the slopes of Mt. Rokko are practically layered with good eats. Expensive, but good. From that perspective, then, Vieni still stands out from the pack. Located across from Sone, a Kitanozaka Jazz club with an unearned reputation, Vieni is sitting on some prime real estate, so you know the place has to measure up.