A Blogger's Guide To Japan
For many, the island country of Japan is a far distant place characterized by temples, shrines, Noh, tea ceremonies, kimonos, geisha, manga and maid cafes. They often dream about visiting this alluring nation, but few actually have an opportunity to do so.
However, for those who do travel to Japan, it becomes a destination that they visit over and over again.
I had the pleasure of traveling to Japan numerous times since 2007, fell in love with the country, and vowed to return many times. I approached each visit with wide-eyed enthusiasm, immersing myself in the local culture and learning about the history and traditions of this magnificent place that once I only dreamed about. I fell in love with Japan and its people and wanted to share my experiences with others so that they too would carve out an opportunity to someday travel there.
With this travel guide written from the perspective of a travel blogger and a frequent visitor to Japan, you will learn about the history and background of each destination to help you develop a greater appreciation for the sites you visit. Discover places that are popular with tourists and travel to attractions off the beaten path. Uncover festivals and traditions unique to each area and familiarize yourself with local cuisines.
The book is organized by region/prefecture and the various locations/points of interest are listed in English, Japanese, and Romaji. Consequently, you will find that regardless of whether you are traveling for a week, a month or several months, you can use this book not only to plan your travels but also to explore further once you are there.
Where available, the web page address, physical address, and travel tips will enable you to obtain current, detailed information for each venue.
If you love Japan like I do, then you have probably already read a number of guidebooks on this beautiful country, most of which touch on all of the main areas of Japan in general terms, with pictures we've all seen in many publications. However, this newly published work by Kristine Ohkubo is by far, one of the best guides to Japan that I have come across! She has managed to compile content from her travel blog into book form, with pictures sprinkled throughout highlighting the detailed information she provides, city by city, region by region. It is both easy and fun to read, and will provide you with insights that are normally only known by the local residents. I'm taking this book with me on my next Japan vacation for sure!
More than a travel guide, the reader is immersed in the culture and fascinating world that is Japan. Also a great reference resource.
The Sun Will Rise Again
World War II was without question the deadliest war in history. Of the estimated 70 million people killed, 50 to 55 million were civilians.
The United States managed to stay out of the war that was ravaging the rest of the world until the day when the Empire of Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, “a date which will live in infamy.”
What prompted the Japanese to wage war with the United States? Was the attack really a surprise or was it a carefully orchestrated event by Washington to anger the American public enough to want to go to war?
Did the Japanese government truly believe that they would prevail against the military might of the United States? The losses the Japanese military experienced during the Pacific War were unforeseeable. The suffering endured by the Japanese people was unimaginable.
By the end of World War II, Japan had persevered through eight years of war, taking into account the Second Sino-Japanese War which began in 1937. The country lay in ruins and the morale of its people was at an all-time low, but in the land of the rising sun, THE SUN WILL RISE AGAIN!
Follow Japan’s journey from a nation vanquished to a nation victorious in this book that details the grim realities of war, politics, racism, and blind devotion.
I have been wanting to read a book about Japanese history for a long time, and happened to discover this one. I found it a very interesting read, with some surprising details that helped me see just how little I knew about World War II history. I also appreciated the anecdotes from survivors or relatives of survivors that put a more personal face on the suffering and struggles of Japanese and Japanese-Americans during this era. There are also photographs of people and areas affected by the use of nuclear weapons. I think it is an excellent read to remind us of the horrors of war, the unspeakable destruction that comes from the use of nuclear bombs, and hopefully, why we should never use such weapons again.
Thanks so much for writing this book, Ms. Ohkubo. I hope many more people will have the opportunity to read it as well. I highly recommend.
This book tells a story of the Second World War and its aftermath that is unfamiliar to most British readers - the story of Japan, its involvement, and the effects it had upon Japanese civilians and upon the Japanese-American community. We all know about the suffering of British POWs in Japanese camps, but how many people know about the equal suffering of Japanese POWs in Russian camps? Or about the ordinary Japanese people left starving and traumatised in the ruins of their cities? About the peaceful, settled Japanese-Americans, suddenly shunned by their neighbours, who lost their homes, farms, businesses, and everything they'd owned and worked for, forced into internment camps with no more than a single suitcase? About the Japanese-American men who despite this joined the US Army and became the most decorated unit? . . . Particularly valuable are the accounts drawn from personal interviews with those people who were there, recounting their own experiences, or tales they'd heard from parents or relatives - internees, civilians living in the Hiroshima region, the war bride, people living through the aftermath in a devastated country - human beings living through strange and terrible times . . . .
Asia's Masonic Reformation
Shrouded by mystery, misinformation and conspiracy, Freemasonry remains one of the least understood organizations of all time. Two common beliefs endure among all Masons. The first is that each man has a responsibility to improve himself while being devoted to his family, country, and fraternity. The second is that each man has a responsibility to help make the world a better place. These beliefs have been the basis which have enabled Masons to be catalysts for change throughout history.
As Western culture and influence penetrated the far corners of the world, Freemasons were notably at the forefront, ushering in rapid change, modernization, and enlightenment. Was this merely coincidental or was it by design?
You are invited to follow along and reach your own conclusion as we explore everything from the Opium Wars in China to the Meiji Restoration in Japan in “Asia’s Masonic Reformation.” Find out what Freemasonry is, and most importantly, what it is not.
Asia’s Masonic Reformation is definitely not another conspiracy book threatening to expose the secrets of Freemasonry. It is a well-researched work which first focuses on the key religious/political philosophies that have helped shape China and Japan over the years, and later provides the details of the significant periods in the histories of those countries which point to the involvement of Freemasons. After providing a great overview of Freemasonry and an explanation of the underlying factors which have formed the basis for the various theories surrounding the secretive brotherhood, the author provides you with the key pieces of the puzzle to help solve the mystery. Overall, a great book for those who want to discover what Freemasonry is and what it isn’t.
Nickname: Flower of Evil
When Japan transitioned from 264 years of rule under the military-led Tokugawa Shogunate to the restoration of imperial power during the Meiji era, it embarked on a path of rapid modernization. This modernization came at an enormous cost, a cost that was borne primarily by the already repressed members of Japan's society – the impoverished rural women, the female factory laborers, and the sex industry workers.
Born during the latter part of the Meiji era, a former geisha and prostitute, Abe Sada was elevated to celebrity status after committing the most heinous crime in 20th century Japan. After being convicted and imprisoned for strangling and emasculating her lover with a kitchen knife, she became the subject of countless articles, books, and movies. Although she remains very famous in Japan, not much is known about her life outside of Japan except for what was depicted in the sexploitation film In the Realm of the Senses. Of the countless works produced about her, very few have dared to faithfully examine her life or to discuss the series of tragic events which pushed her to commit the crime.
In Nickname: Flower of Evil, you are invited to travel back to the newly modernized, male-dominated, misogynistic, post-Tokugawa era in Japan, where women were deprived of their economic independence, subjected to the will of the household heads, and sold into the sex industry. This was the world into which Abe Sada was born, raised, and forced to survive.
If you’ve ever read anything by author Kristine Ohkubo, then you already know that she’s a prolific writer with an incredible gift for words. Her ability to take a complicated, real-life character like Japan’s notorious murderer, Abe Sada, and convey her story so that any audience, anywhere, can easily understand it--speaks volumes about her talent.
Ohkubo’s exhaustive research is relentless; and, her conclusions are deep. That Japan's patriarchal society turned a precious female child into the crazed killer that Abe Sada became is indicated in Ohkubo’s quest for the truth.
No matter what your nationality, this book about an infamous Japanese woman is a must-read for anyone with a passion for humanity.
Women often have been (and in some instances, still are) regarded as the underclass in various cultures around the world, and Japan is no exception.
Although Japan's populace is well educated and its economy is highly developed, the country’s adherence to outdated principles and traditions create an environment that is less favorable for women overall. The author uses the 83-year-old Abe Sada incident as a jumping off point to discuss Japan’s past and present social settings where women are often placed at a considerable disadvantage both socially and economically. She paints a clear picture of what life was like for Abe Sada and discusses in great detail the social patterns which contributed to what became the most “heinous crime of the 20th century in Japan.” In the end, the reader is left asking, “How much have we changed?”
Overall, the book is an easy read and provides a very good overview of Japanese history and culture as it encourages us to think about social responsibility.