My Soba Eating Tour in Izushi Castle Town

Article originally written for Voyapon / Part of a 4-day trip to mainland Japan exploring Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukui prefectures in January, 2020. “Itadakimasu!“ With my stomach already dangerously at capacity, I dove into my last order of soba (buckwheat) noodles in the Japanese castle town of Izushi (出石). As my favourite go-to cold noodle dish during the summer months in…

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Traditional Japanese Paper Making in Kurotani Village, Kyoto

Originally written for Voyapon / Part of a 4-day trip to mainland Japan exploring Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukui prefectures in January, 2020. Ohhhh, hand-made paper. I remember going through and feeling my mother’s old collection of Japanese washi papers as a kid, loving the texture of the delicate veins of natural fibres weaved into a smooth layer. I…

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The 800-Year Old Japanese Craft Heritage of Tamba Pottery

Originally written for Voyapon / Part of a 4-day trip to mainland Japan exploring Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukui prefectures in January, 2020. When I was a kid, my mother thought it was best to keep my brother and I occupied with a myriad of craft-making camps and workshops that filled our summer vacations. What probably…

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A Stay in the Traditional Japanese Home of Umetan FUJI, Hyogo

Originally written for Voyapon / Part of a 4-day trip to mainland Japan exploring Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukui prefectures in January, 2020. “Watch out for those deer!” I whispered, as a herd suddenly skipped across the road in the dark. It was a moonless night in Hyogo prefecture’s Tamba Sasayama (丹波篠山) as we headed to our accommodations at Umetan Fuji for…

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The Swordsmith of Arao, Kyushu

Originally written for Voyapon Sponsored by Northern Kumamoto Administrative Headquarters “Strike while the irons hot.” I always knew what this meant, though never witnessed it in its complete, literal meaning. That is, until one a stormy day, while the furnace roars and hammers clang, as Mr. Matsunaga of Arao, Kumamoto leads us into the elusive…

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