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Tokyo is not Japan…. THIS is Japan

People always ask me how much I loved Tokyo and I always reply, “not very much!”.  The reason is fairly simple.  In my opinion, other than Akihabara, there is not much in Tokyo I couldn’t see in Manhattan.  I didn’t go to Japan to hang around with a bunch of non-Japanese people, I went to Japan to experience traditional Japanese culture.

And nothing could be more Japanese than the Kasedori Festival in Yamagata prefecture.  The festival takes place in February when it’s freezing cold.  People dress up in straw costumes that are supposed to resemble birds.  As these “birds” dance, make bird sounds and shout out things like “take care with fire” and “prosperous business!” they are drenched with buckets of ice water.  Clearly being a fire prevention festival it makes sense to drench them with water, but I have no idea why they’re birds….

But it’s these kinds of festivals that make Japan great.  If you plan a trip to Japan, don’t spend your time in Tokyo.  Head to the small towns and villages throughout Japan and try to experience traditional Japanese culture.

The Kasedori festival happens each year in February.  It starts at the Kaminoyama Castle and ends at a local onsen.  Check out the YouTube video below as well as a link to the official Yamagata website for more information.


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Visit Yamagata


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Curry Rice Neko

Curry rice is a very popular dish in Japan, but apparently it’s popularity is not limited to humans!


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$100 for a bottle of water

From: FIVE BY FIFTY – Asian Consumer Intelligence

Osaka-based company Vieluce has begun marketing “Fillico Beverly Hills,” a line of premium luxury spring water that goes for ¥10,500 ($100) per 750 ml bottle.

The water comes from a natural spring at the foot of Mount Rokko in Kobe, an area known for producing excellent water for sake production. The bottles are handcrafted and encrusted with genuine Swarovski rhinestones.

Special “King and Queen” sets of two bottles with caps modeled after the crown of Fredrick II of the Roman Empire and decorated withSwarovski rhinestones are also available for ¥23,000 ($230). Bottles with engraved names can be order for wedding receptions and other special occasion.

Due to limited supplies of the water and the labor-intensive handmade bottles, production is limited to 5,000 units per month.

Since the water and bottles are fully produced in Japan, the “Beverly Hills” of the name is simply to invoke the opulence of Hollywood celebrity culture.


Visit the link above to view photos of this “luxury” water.