Hungry in Honshu – Japanese Food and Drink

Hungry in Honshu – Japanese Food and Drink

The Japanese have a real passion for food. More and more, this passion is spreading to all parts of the world. Most major cities around the world have sushi bars and restaurants. In some places, such as New York, they are practically on every corner. The popularity of Japanese cuisine could be partly due to the fact that, more than most any other national cuisine, it is considered an art form, where presentation, esthetic and ritual are as much a…

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Noh, Kabuki and J-pop – Music and theater of Japan

Noh, Kabuki and J-pop – Music and theater of Japan

Today’s Japan boasts the second largest music market in the world. The music scene has exploded to include Japanese styles of rock, heavy metal, hip hop, punk, and whatever else you can think of. A lot of today’s music from Japan would seem to be an adaptation of these styles, using the Japanese language. Yet there are also genres that mix western influences with Japanese traditions and structures such as Japanese Pop, or ‘J-pop. There are also many important classical…

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Temples, Shrines and Geishas – Kyoto

Temples, Shrines and Geishas – Kyoto

Next we take a look around the ancient capital city of Kyoto. Kyoto, in fact, means capital city. It was Japan’s capital for over a thousand years and was originally the country’s largest city. Located in a valley of the Tamba Highlands in central Honshu, Kyoto, with a population of around 1.5 million, is part of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe metropolitan area. The city, which was originally built using principles of Feng Shui, was destroyed in large part during the Onin War,…

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Honshu History

Honshu History

The history of the island of Honshu is basically the history of the country of Japan. It is the largest and most central of the Japanese islands and is where its current and historic capital cities are located. Before 300 BC, the early Japanese were for the most part, hunters, gatherers and fishers. Things changed quite a bit when around that time, rice cultivation was introduced. This caused a rapid evolution in the formation of social structures. One result of…

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Tokyo – The Eastern Capital

Tokyo – The Eastern Capital

For much of its history, Tokyo was known as Edo. Like so many island cities, it started out as a small fishing village. Today, however, it has grown to mind blowing proportions. It is the largest metropolitan area in the world and is actually much more a conglomeration of cities than just a city in the usual sense. Japan is divided into 47 ‘prefectures’ or districts. The ‘metropolitan prefecture’ of Tokyo makes up only a part of the  Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan…

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Honshu – Japan’s Main Island

Honshu – Japan’s Main Island

Our next destination is Japan. And, more specifically, since Japan is made up of four main islands as well as several chains of smaller islands, we will focus only on the main island of Honshu this time around. Honshu is the seventh largest island in the world and second only to the Indonesian island of Java in population. It makes up sixty percent of Japan’s land area and is home to 104 million people. It is where most of the…

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Wild Boar, Chestnuts and Corsica Cola – An Exploration of Corsican Food and Drink

Wild Boar, Chestnuts and Corsica Cola – An Exploration of Corsican Food and Drink

Corsica’s shared history and proximity to Italy is evident in the country’s cuisine. The common use of the chestnut goes back to a decree issued in the year 1548 during the Genoese Republic that each Corsican landowner must plant at least one chestnut, mulberry, olive and fig tree. A later decree, in 1619, upped the planting requirement to ten chestnut trees every year. This resulted in quite a number of chestnut groves and forests and secured the chestnut’s place in…

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Things to See and Do in Corsica

Things to See and Do in Corsica

With over 1200 miles of nature trails, over 600 miles of stunning coastal scenery, including long stretches of white sand beaches, glitzy seaside towns, fortified cities built atop cliffs and hills and ancient villages dotting the mountains of the interior, Corsica promises to deliver much to the visitor or adventurer. From the sea to the snowcapped mountains, Corsica’s wide variety of landscapes knows few rivals. Almost half of the island is part of a nature preserve – the Parc Naturel…

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A Short History of Corsica

A Short History of Corsica

Corsica’s location in the Mediterranean Sea has blessed it with unusual rugged beauty and more sunshine than almost anywhere else in Europe. Its location has also guaranteed lots of fighting, conquest and bloodshed as various powers sought control of this beautiful, yet strategically located place. For much of its early history, one power after another arrived, seeking to overthrow the previous one. In fact, when Corsica declared independence in 1755 under Pasquale Paoli, it had never been a nation of…

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Corsica – The Isle of Beauty

Corsica – The Isle of Beauty

Our next destination at island profiles is Corsica. This fourth largest of the islands in the Mediterranean Sea is the equivalent of a mountain in the sea. Two thirds of the island is a single chain of mountains which reach as high as Monte Cinto at 8, 878 feet. It is an island of jagged peaks, sparkling bays, and sophisticated towns and cities. Palms, olive and orange groves and vineyards dot the low areas by the sea, giving way to…

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