HOW TO buy groceries in Japan

I think one of the most daunting places in Japan for tourists and expats who can’t read and speak Japanese is the supermarket. I know that from my experience. The first few times I went to a supermarket I stood in the aisles staring at the products on the shelves for minutes as if that would make the unfamiliar Japanese characters understandable.

Looking at the pictures helped but only rarely and not when I was looking for something particular – like butter instead of margarine or cheese. One time I bought 2 liters of clear liquid in a PET bottle, thinking it was mineral water only to find out when I got home that I ended up with 2 liters of sake.

It didn’t help that I’m mostly a teetotaler.

Naturally, I found ways to decrease the chances of my buying things I don’t need and I’m going to share two methods I discovered and love because they work.Read More »

Best Shrine in Kyoto

Kyoto Prefecture is home to at least 400 shrines, which makes it almost impossible to choose the best one. Almost impossible because I have done it. It took a lot of deliberation because every shine I’ve been to has its own charm and beauty, but familiarity won me over so I’m giving the “Best Shrine” title to…

Nagaoka Tenmangu Shrine

Torii Gate

Sounds familiar? Probably not.Read More »

BOOK REVIEW: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist.(Goodreads)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Considering how high this book’s rating is in Goodreads, I feel like giving three stars is going to raise some eyebrows and roll some eyes. Thing is, I understand why this book has gotten high reviews. First, it has a diverse set of characters that aren’t flat and have interesting relationships. Second, the plot has twists and turns and unexpected corners. Finally, the worldbuilding wasn’t complicated so it was easy to follow the characters through their adventure and to understand why things happened as they did.

Here are what I didn’t like about it:

First, although the characters weren’t flat, they weren’t exactly not stereotypes. I liked Inej and Jesper because they had layers. They had valid fears and unexpected strengths, and they had thoughts and made decisions that sounded human. Sadly, the rest were nothing more than stereotypes; mannequins with shiny accessories and fancy dresses.Read More »

BOOK REVIEW: The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

The Colour of Magic (Discworld, #1)The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

On a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There’s an avaricious but inept wizard, a naive tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist if you believe in them, and of course THE EDGE of the planet…(Goodreads)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here’s what happens to my brain during a reading slump: it forgets words and how to string them together. So when I started to read The Colour of Magic I was wondering why it was so complicated and when it would end.

But I plodded on and eventually my brain remembered how stories are told, and I reached the top of the hill where I got a view of the Discworld. It was a great view. It was magical, hilarious, exciting, and unpredictable with two unlikely heroes (and an unforgettable Luggage) right in the middle of it.

It takes some effort to understand the Discworld, and the myriad of characters, monsters, and creatures can be confusing, but who cares. This book took me out of my reading slump and that deserves credit.

View all my reviews

2017 Reading Challenge

So. I made this list for my Goodreads group and I was supposed to start reading in January, but look at the calendar. It’s March already and I still haven’t started. Reading slumps are the worst. I guess I won’t be able to complete this year’s Reading Challenge. Again. 😅