IMG_7493.JPGRan into these cuties at Asakusa Sensoji Temple last weekend celebrating Shichi Go San. Aren’t they adorable? I just love seeing the littles in their gorgeous outfits!

I find it interesting that the girl on the right is wearing hakama, as girls often do for graduation here. I haven’t seen enough Shichi-go-san celebrators to know if that’s a trend or something normal, but I think it’s really nice to see. If you’re interested in learning more about the holiday, here’s a write up on Hello Kitty’s Shichi Go San from the archives!

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Ashikaga Wine Festival Sketches

This weekend was one of my favorite events of the year, the Ashikaga Wine Festival. What could be better than sitting on a mountain on a gorgeous fall day drinking wine with your friends?

While we were hanging out I pulled out my sketchbook, since one of the best parts of the event is the great people watching. (Also sketching + alcohol is kind of amazing, fun fact.) The girls behind is noticed and asked to see my book. When it came back it had this! We spent a while trading it back and forth drawing silly portraits of each other, and it was some of the most fun I’ve had. I think I may like other people drawing in my sketchbook more than I do myself! So fun!







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Starbucks Japan’s Holidays: Snow Maple Toffee and Cranberry Bliss White Mocha

starbucksUsually when Halloween is over, I feel a bit sad. I’ve always been a purist that the Christmas season shouldn’t start until Thanksgiving, but it’s not a holiday that requires much prep outside of the week of the event. There’s usually a bit of a blank spot on the calendar as visions of pumpkin pies dance in our head.

Japan has no such obligation, however–Thanksgiving is no speedbump on the highway to Christmas, and it’s pedal to the metal as we Continue reading

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Congratulations, Gunma-chan!!!

Gunma-chan won the Yuru-Kyara Gran Prix!! It’s official, he’s the cutest character in Japan 😀


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Happy Halloween!

Another great Halloween at school! I went all out, bringing even more candy than usual to hand out at lunch. This year saw a noticeable uptick in the number of kids that insisted on returning the favor, including a few girls that had their own plastic pumpkins that looked suspiciously like the one I bring every year. (This little guy was felted by my lovely coworker. 🙂

The best was a boy who had clearly prepared for my arrival with a little English speech. “Last year, Ms. Alice gave me chocolate. Very happy. This year, I give me chocolate. You! You! I give YOU chocolate!” It was adorable ❤


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Gunma-chan macaron at my School Festival in Japan!

I had a great time at my school’s Big Huge Once-Every-Three-Years Festival today! Because it’s a commercial school, our festival is different from the usual High School cultural festivals. This one is focused on SELLING. Some classes make things, and other classes make arrangements with local companies, like the bakery that produces these lovely Gunma-chan macarons.

It’s a great chance to interact with the kids outside of the normal classroom situation–they get to use their most persuasive vocabulary!

The best was the the budding salesman in the class selling fresh flowers. “Ms. Alice, so beautiful! Flowers, so beautiful! Together, MOST BEAUTIFUL.” Yup, that got my money!


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Today’s Watercolor AND Youtube: Tanabata!

tanabataThis past weekend was the third and final of my city’s big festivals! The first is the Daruma festival in early January and the second is the Tanabata Festival in July. I put together this little video about it for my panel at Otakon in August, and I’m happy to be putting it on YouTube for you guys to see!

Japanese festivals are a ton of fun, and Tanabata is one of my favorites. The decorations are beautiful, the food is delicious, the story is romantic…what more could you want? As a little bonus, here’s a watercolor that I did of Orihime, the princess in the stars, on the banks of the Milky Way. I hope you like it! 🙂


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