• Exterior of a multiple-story building with text inside a green box that says, "My experience at Hotel Matsumoto Yorozuya."
    hotel review,  Japan

    My experience at Hotel Matsumoto Yorozuya

    For a recent trip to Matsumoto, my wife and I wanted a hotel with Western-style rooms close to the train station and the city’s popular tourist attractions.  Hotel Matsumoto Yorozuya is about five minutes from Matsumoto Station, but also has a parking lot.  It is 12 minutes from the city’s main attraction, Matsumoto Castle, and a five-minute walk to either popular shopping street (Nawate or Nakamachi) in town.  Additionally, the hotel is five minutes from Honmachi Street, which has several restaurants. Double room Traveling with my wife, we chose a double room.  Like many hotel rooms in Japan, the 15-square-meter room (approximately 160-square-feet) is the epitome of form following function. …

  • Collage showing man on left holding t-shirt that says "I ran the length of Japan" with map of Japan's four largest islands and text overlaying it that says "My running goals for 2020 and beyond."
    fitness,  Japan

    My running goals for 2020 and beyond

    The end of the year usually brings about reflection and goal setting for the new year.  After taking time the past few weeks to reflect on 2019 and thinking about the future I’ve set some long-term running goals for myself.  I may accomplish some of these goals in 2020, but these are long-term goals, so I do not have a specific deadline. Setting my goals A few months ago, I participated in a 10-mile race.  It wasn’t officially timed, but I clocked in at 1:24 (about an 8:30 pace).  I shared this accomplishment on my personal Facebook page because I am proud of how far I have come with my…

  • Four beer fans with autumn imagery on a counter top with text overlay that says "Review of Japanese fall (秋) beers."
    Japan,  travel

    Reviewing Japanese fall beers

    Seasonal beers are found throughout the world.  For example, Märzen (a.k.a. Oktoberfest) beers were traditionally brewed in March for consumption in September.  Japan has numerous seasonal festivals and breweries have capitalized by creating fall beers.  Japan’s big four (Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo, and Suntory) breweries release autumn beers, which are available from late-August into October.  The packaging evokes fall with red, orange, and yellow colors and images of falling leaves on the cans.  If you’re visiting Japan during this time of the year it is a great opportunity to try beers that are notably different.  Now onto sampling Japanese fall beers. Asahi Kurenai (紅) is Asahi’s fall beer.  Although 紅 translates…

  • Several trees in front of a large, grey concrete tower with text overlaying the image that says "My night with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows."
    ballparks,  Japan,  Tokyo

    My night with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows – August 24, 2019

    The Tokyo Yakult Swallows play in one of the oldest professional baseball stadiums in Japan.  Although Meiji Jingu Stadium lacks many of the modern amenities fans expect from a ballpark, fans regularly pack the park.  The ballpark is part of Meiji Jingu Gaien, which is a large athletics complex with a futsal court, an indoor skating rink, tennis courts, and more. Arriving at the ballpark As with many ballparks in Japan, Meiji Jingu Stadium has multiple public transit stations nearby.  Sendagaya and Shinanomachi stations, which are both on the Chūō-Sōbu Line, are the two closest train stations to the ballpark.  It is a 13-minute walk (about 0.6 miles/1 kilometer) from…

  • An exterior view of the Tokyo Dome with text reading "My day with the Yomiuri Giants" across it.
    ballparks,  Japan,  Tokyo

    My day with the Yomiuri Giants – May 25, 2019

    When it comes to professional baseball in Japan most people know one team: the Yomiuri (Tokyo) Giants.  In Japan the saying goes that there are two types of baseball fans; those who root for the Giants and those who root against them.  So when I recently got to attend a Yomiuri Giants game at the Tokyo Dome I was excited to see the country’s most famous and most vilified team play. Arriving at the ballpark The majority of fans arrive at Tokyo Dome via local trains or subways at Suidōbashi Station, which is a five-minute walk to the stadium.  The Tokyo Dome is part of a much larger entertainment complex…

  • Japan

    Drinking Coca-Cola Peach for the first time

    A lot of major global brands release products that are only available in Japan.  Whether it’s a Full Moon burger from McDonald’s or a roasted sesame Frappucino from Starbucks, there is a variety of food products that are only available in Japan.  A few weeks ago Coca-Cola released Coca-Cola Peach, which actually debuted last year.  However, Coca-Cola Peach is a seasonal product, so it did not return to shelves until recently. I have tried a lot of products that are only available in Japan, but I wasn’t sure about trying Coca-Cola Peach until I conducted a poll on Instagram (follow me there).  The overwhelming response from followers was to try the…

  • ballparks,  Japan,  Tokyo

    My day with the Saitama Seibu Lions – Sept. 29, 2018

    For a long time I have wanted to attend a professional baseball game in Japan.  I don’t remember when I first became interested in watching baseball played outside the United States (and outside of MLB).  However, when the prospect of moving to Japan became a reality, I became excited about being able to experience a Japanese baseball game in person.  So when the prospect of attending a game presented itself after my wife & I had settled into our new home in Japan I jumped at the opportunity. Although we live in Greater Tokyo, my first baseball game in Japan wasn’t going to be seeing the famed Yomiuri Giants.  Instead…

  • Japan,  Tokyo

    A new home brings about a new name

    If you know me beyond my web presence, you already know that a LOT has changed in my life over the past three months.  However, if you only (or primarily) know me as a travel writer/blogger then you probably are unaware of the dramatic change that has taken place. I have moved to Tokyo, Japan! Yep, this Southern-raised, Northern-born college geography professor has left the academic life (at least as a full-time academic) and relocated to Japan.  There is a LOT behind this move, but it boils down to my wife Katie securing a job teaching at a Department of Defense school in Tokyo and us deciding this was the…