The Observer

Wood: Getting lost in translation

Learning Japanese can be rough for English speakers, especially because it uses a different character system.
December 8, 2017

After three months in Japan, I think I’ve learned only about two dozen words and phrases in Japanese. At the top of the list is always “arigato gozaimasu” (thank you), “sumimasen” (excuse me)...

Wood: Keeping up with kawaii culture

The columnist learned how to balance her all-black, minimalist style with Japan's pastel aesthetic. In Japan, adulthood and kawaii can coexist.
December 1, 2017

The first time my friends in Japan shouted “so kawaii” at something, I was deeply confused. I must confess that I came here with an extremely limited vocabulary. I haven’t progressed much, but “kawaii”...

Wood: Japan reacts to Donald Trump

November 17, 2017

American President Donald Trump arrived in Japan last Saturday, Nov. 4. Tokyo was the first stop of a twelve-day Asian tour. He was greeted enthusiastically by the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe....

Wood: Sushi’s great, but cheese is better

November 10, 2017

I know I’m in the land of sushi and ramen, but a girl can only go so long without a good cheese sauce. Yes, I know Tokyo is “so international,” and that it has the highest number of Michelin-starred...

Wood: The writing on the museum walls

The meaning of Paul Gauguin's
November 2, 2017

There is little more jarring than an art history major openly admitting to contempt for texts included in museum exhibitions. Curatorial text is everything you want in a good source; it is brief, specific...

Wood: 72 hours or less in Taipei

October 25, 2017

There’s something to be said for taking the time to really get to know one country well, for deciding to stay in one spot and exploring all its nooks and crannies. But when you’re already halfway across...

Wood: The case for solo travelling as a woman

October 13, 2017

“A woman should never ever travel alone,” is what my mom told me upon hearing of my weekend plans to travel from Tokyo to Nara, Japan alone. Little did it matter to her that Japan is one of the safest...

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Ginger in Japan