The exotic look created by traditional Japanese homes shadowed by gothic-style cathedrals and a Dutch Trading Post with stone port facilities, makes Hirado a great attraction on the Western island of Kyushu. Fortunately, Hirado is only a 40- to 50-minute drive along Route 22 from Sasebo Naval Base.
An amazing experience awaits nature lovers and curious travelers alike in the Hakkoda Mountains. Breathtaking vistas amid snowcapped mountains and emerald forests are guaranteed to inspire, while crisp air, babbling streams and chirping birds refresh. Then there are all the old-world hot springs.
Lake Shoji is a hidden gem at the base of Mt Fuji. The smallest of the Fuji Five lakes, it is beautifully quiet and serene, and completely removed from the rest of the bustling, touristy scene surrounding the famous volcano.
Service-members often have difficulty overcoming language barriers, but that didn't stop these Sailors and their families from experiencing Japanese culture firsthand with a traditional Kimono fitting and tea ceremony.
You see, Osaka leaves an impression of this contemporary, vibrant and a bit boisterous city. It has a reputation for being a food mecca and entertainment central with tons of great restaurants and the famous Universal Studios attracting lots of crowds.
You can’t even talk about – much less taste – Okinawan food without letting soybeans, or a soy-based delicacy, cross your lips. Soybeans really are “the magical fruit” here where traditional wisdom transforms them into a myriad of foods with a variety of colors, shapes and smells.
Weeks after finding out our next assignment would be Camp Zama, Japan, and shortly before our arrival in the Land of the Rising Sun, I happened upon a cookbook co-authored by Naoko Takei Moore and Kyle Connaughton.
Japan, aka the nation of noodles, offers more than just ramen. In The Land of the Rising Sun you can taste virtually any type of noodle – hot or cold, white or grey, flour or rice, and with or without broth.