Nihonmatsu Chouchin Matsuri

Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival – 二本松提灯祭り

This festival is the BEST festival in Fukushima-ken HANDS DOWN! To be fair, I’m totally biased, as the majority of the people that take part in this festival are my student. Still, the Chouchin Matsuri in Nihonmatsu on October 4-6 (especially the main day, Sunday Oct. 4) is one of the best festivals in Fukushima-ken. Here’s why:

The Lantern Festival starts at a main intersection in Nihonmatsu, a five minute walk from the station, around 6 p.m. Seven gigantic carts are adorned with hundreds of traditional red lanterns (yay for fire hazards!) each lit with real fire. If one lantern goes out, there are guys that scurry around the carts to light them or to put out fires when they happen. These carts also each have to be at least three stories high. Read more

So You Want To Be A Snowboarder? Part 3 – Expectations, Learning and Tips

This is the last part of this series and I’m going to use it to hopefully get you all sorts of stoked about snowboarding.  But, I’m not going to sugar-coat anything and tell you how awesome you’ll be the first time you stand up on a board.  That, most likely, will not be the case.  As well, I’ll try to throw in some stuff that people who have been boarding for a bit might find interesting.  Without further ado, here are some things you should expect mixed in with difficulties and tips for when you start snowboarding.  As always, this is my opinion, meaning there are 100 other views that could most definitely vary from my own, I’m not a pro or anything, I just really like snowboarding, as in, I would take it as a mistress and buy it lots of presents if I could. Read more

So you want to be a snowboarder?? Part 2 – Slopes and Passes

So you want to be a snowboarder??  Part 2 – Slopes and Passes

Hopefully you’ve read the first article and now you know what you’re looking for gear-wise.  The next question is where can I go to SHRED some POW?  Luckily for you, you live in Fukushima-ken and a cornucopia of ski resorts exists here.  I haven’t been to them all, but I’m kind of a one trick pony that likes what I like and I branch out very little from the bigger resorts.  I’ve heard good and bad things about every hill out there and I’ll try to walk you through what I know.  There are tons of hills everywhere and you’ll have to do a little bit of exploring on your own if you want to experience them all.  I’m just gonna try to sell a couple to you. Read more

So You Want To Be A Snowboarder? Part 1 – Gearing Up

So You Want To Be A Snowboarder?  Part 1 – Gearing Up

It’s getting close to that time of year again. SNOWBOARD SEASON!!!!! Yeah! Woooo! YES!! AWESOME!!!

If you’re thinking of not snowboarding this winter, you should come over to my house so I can SLAP YOU IN THE FACE!!!!

In all seriousness, boarding is wicked and it’s something incredible to experience in Japan. Learning here is not a problem as pretty much everyone boards and there are a plethora of sempais waiting to teach you, and get this, they all teach for a living, so they must be good! Lucky you!! This is a good way to get out in the winter during those months where everything seems to get a bit more difficult to deal with. If you’re from an area where snow isn’t common, don’t fear it, make it fun and come out and board (or be lame and ski, hi Robin!). If you’re not sporty and you’re thinking, there’s no way I could ever snowboard, you’re totally wrong. At least half of the boarders that go every weekend started out like that, especially the girls. I’d even venture to say that as far as skill level goes, there are more girls at the high end of the scale than there are guys. Read more

Why YOU should be watching MMA!

Why YOU should be watching MMA!

Why should you watch Mixed Martial Arts? Well, it’s the best sport in the world!!!! That should be enough for you to get your hands on the latest UFC and Dream events right now, shouldn’t it?

Still not convinced? Read on: Read more