Category: Tokyo Tips and Tales

Japanese culture of kawaii: Even the signs are “cute” in Tokyo

This sidewalk sign helps show where the water supply is for use by emergency crews during the event of a fire - in a fun, light-hearted way.
Before my family ventured to Tokyo this past spring, I read up on kawaii – a word used to describe the quality of “cuteness” in almost all aspects of Japanese culture. As noted in a Associated Press story, Nobuyani Kurita, a sociology professor at Musashi Unversity in Tokyo, has said that the word “cute” is a “magic term” that encompasses everything that’s... Read more »

Crêpes aren't just French: Japanese-style crêpes delight fans in Japan and the US

I used to only associate crêpes with France – until I went to Tokyo. While in Paris, my family sampled many, many French crêpes, most often made to order with decidedly French ingredients like Nutella, lemon and sugar, and even ratatouille. No matter if we ate them from a street-side cart or a quaint Bretagne-style restaurant, the crêpes felt... Read more »

A surprising lesson in innovation at CUPNOODLES Museum in Japan

I have a new appreciation for Cup Noodles. Yes, that’s right. The instant ramen noodles you most likely ate by the cup-full during your college days. What brought about this new appreciation? I recently learned that there’s more to the product than it being a quick, convenient and inexpensive meal. There’s a compelling story, too. It’s a story is steeped in creative... Read more »

Tokyo souvenirs: Fun and fabulous finds

I wasn't surprised to see that you could buy a wide variety of chopsticks in Tokyo. But, I was surprised - and delighted - to see that you could find ones with anime and manga characters on them. I picked up chopsticks with Pikachu, Gundam, and Ultraman. Next time, I plan to buy the Star Wars lightsaber and Harry Potter wand chopsticks, too. Can you blame me?
Anyone who has spent time in Tokyo can tell you that there are no shortage of fun and fabulous souvenirs to be found there. In fact, there may be too many to possibly choose from. Between kawaii (the “quality of cuteness” in the Japanese culture), anime, manga, and more, there’s a real feeling that consumerism (and... Read more »

Kit Kat chocolates in Japan: Unique varieties popular in regions across the country

One day, before our family’s recent trip to Japan, my husband excitedly told me about something we just had to do in Tokyo. To my surprise, he said we had to eat Kit Kat chocolates. As an American, born and raised in Chicago, I’ve enjoyed many of the chocolate-covered wafer “fingers” over the years. For me, they’ve always... Read more »

Reliving our travels through food: Rome, Tokyo and beyond

So much of travel to other places revolves around one main thing: food. No matter if I travel across state lines or an ocean, I often spend hours and hours researching where to go, what to do and, most importantly, what to eat. When I dream of my recent travels, it’s hard not to picture my husband, my sons and I savoring a local culinary delight – walking along a river with... Read more »

8 things I miss about daily life in Tokyo

My family was fortunate to get to spend our sons’ spring break holiday in Tokyo, Japan. For our vacation, we only had one goal – to absorb all the sights, sounds, tastes and traditions of daily life in Tokyo. And, I’m happy to say we did just that. We rented an apartment in residential neighborhood. We took public transportation all over the... Read more »