<em>Yomawari</em>

| Dec 20, 2011

Yomawari

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Dear Alice, I've been living in Japan on and off for a few years now, and in the various places I've lived I've seen groups of senior citizens dutifully patrolling the streets. Just the other day, in my latest location, I encountered a similar patrol. ...

Nipple Fruit

| Nov 15, 2011

Nipple Fruit

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Dear Alice, I have lived in Japan for almost a decade. Every fall I see in flower shops the most unusual and fantastic plant, and I would like to finally know what the heck it is. It is sold as cut branches that are laden ...

Anzan kigan

| Sep 20, 2011

Anzan kigan

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Dear Alice, My friend and I stumbled upon something mysterious on the Izu Peninsula. We were walking along the picturesque Matsukawa River, where it runs through the town of Ito, when we came upon a shrine with no one about. It looked like any other ...

<em>Kinpū</em>

| Jun 21, 2011

Kinpū

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Dear Alice,I am fascinated by the elaborately decorated envelopes offered for sale in Japan. I know they are used for giving money, because the first time I came to Japan to study martial arts a friend taught me to put my lesson fees into ...

Setsuden

| Apr 21, 2011

Setsuden

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Dear Alice, Everywhere I go now I see signs for setsuden (conserving electricity). There's a notice at my local convenience store explaining that the lights are down for setsuden. My post office has shortened its hours for setsuden. And the subway is running with ...

Yokobue

| Mar 17, 2011

Yokobue

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Dear Alice, Last November, I went to Kyushu to see the Karatsu Kunchi festival. It was a wonderful spectacle, with huge, flamboyant floats pulled through crowded streets to the rhythmic accompaniment of drums, music and shouts of "Enya! Enya!" I loved it all, but ...

Bloomers

| Feb 17, 2011

Bloomers

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Dear Alice, I've never been to Japan but I do watch the Japanese channel that comes in my cable television package. The programming is in English, so I understand what everyone is saying, but I have to ask one thing: What the heck do Japanese ...

Wagashi

| Jan 20, 2011

Wagashi

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Dear Alice, I love desserts of all kinds, but eating my way through the cake shops of Japan is wreaking havoc on my waistline. When I mentioned this to a Japanese friend, she said I need to wean myself off crepes and cream puffs ...

Kiribi

| Dec 16, 2010

Kiribi

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Dear Alice There is a shop in Ryogoku in Tokyo that sells a rock and a piece of metal as a souvenir set. I am wondering if this has something to do with an old Japanese custom I've heard about in which iron is ...