Yae no Sakura, NHK Taiga Drama 2013

This year’s year-long, weekly NHK Taiga Drama TV series will start airing tonight on Jan. 6. Titled “Yae no Sakura,” it’s about a woman warrior named Yae Niijima (1845-1932) from Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture. Aizu-Wakamatsu is famous for Tsuruga Castle (photo) and as the site of a Boshin War battle between pro-Emperor forces and pro-shogun forces who lost. Yae was on

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Wakamatsu Tea And Silk Farm Colony at Gold Hill, California

Last Sat. in Yamagata city, I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Takahashi Yoshio (高橋義夫), a prominent, Naoki Prize-winning novelist whose favorite story themes include samurai history and rural life. In 1983, he wrote a book titled, “Kaisho Schnell” (怪商スネル) about John Henry Schnell and Edward Schnell who were German brothers working at the Prussian and Swiss consulates

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Spa Resort Hawaiians grand re-opening

Spa Resort Hawaiians in Iwaki, Fukushima is a Hawaiian-themed, hot spring and water park that suffered heavy earthquake damage on March 11, 2011. They partially reopened in Oct. 2011. Finally on Feb. 8, 2012, they fully re-opened after the water park was repaired. The main attraction is their hula girls who have been traveling around Japan in the meantime to

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