Traveling: One Day Sightseeing in Niigata

© J // Washing Rice Blog

© J // Washing Rice Blog

I ventured up to Niigata Prefecture for the Fuji Rock Festival, but I scheduled my return bus for a Sunday night departure/Monday morning arrival so I could have a little time to check out Niigata City.

Wanting to be a frugal as possible, most of the stuff I did was either free or easy on the wallet. If you’re looking for good recommendations for a short trip in Japan or are curious about what Niigata has to offer, click below!

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Music: Fuji Rock Festival 2014

© J // Washing Rice Blog

© J // Washing Rice Blog

So Fuji Rock Festival, ya’ll!  Fuji Rock, held at the end of July, is arguably the big daddy of all music festivals in Japan.  It and the Summer Sonic Festival, held mid-August, compete for the biggest international headliners, although either one is great if you’re new to the Japanese music scene and want to sample some new artists within the safety net of more well-known international acts to fall back on.  So how do you pick?

Fuji Rock is set amongst the lush mountains and greens of the Naeba Ski Resort located in Niigata prefecture.  On top of the music, it prides itself on being an eco-friendly event and that depends on volunteer help along with hired workers to keep everything running smoothly.  Most people camp out as long as they’re attending, so expect to encounter a lot of hippy and mountain girl/boy types.  There’s a lot of drinking and bonding with others/the earth going on over good music and eats.

Summer Sonic, on the other hand, is pretty much about music and music only.  Summer Sonic tends to feature more pop and billboard/oricon chart acts than Fuji Rock.  There’s no camping on premises or any extra frills.  That said, Summer Sonic’s one-day ticket is almost half the price of Fuji Rock.  Fuji Rock can really add up with all the extra traveling, camping, parking, etc. expenses tacked on to the original ticket price.  One of the girls I was chatting with at the festival blew about half her month’s salary on transport, 3 day festival ticket, and 3 nights at the nearby Prince Hotel.  Reasonable accommodation outside of roughing it is few and far between.

But if you know me, you know I like doing things on a budget and I’m not very outdoorsy.  So without further ado, here’s my take on how to do Fuji Rock for one day as a single, female traveler, and as cheaply as possible without camping. 🙂

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Music: Tegan & Sara Mugen Fest 2014 & the After Show

Tegan & Sara, an indies act who’s become fairly popular and mainstream with their latest album, Heartthrob, performed three shows in Japan last weekend.  Western musicians come and go all the time in Japan, but their tour stop in Japan was particularly notable because 7 years had passed since their last visit.

A couple of my friends and I made the the trip out to see them play in Yokohama & Tokyo, and both times definitely topped my list of memorable concernts.  So for any other Tegan & Sara fans, or those interested in the Mugen Festival put on by Asian Kung-Fu Generation every year, keep reading!

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Getting Your Glam On: Exfoliation for Your Feet

Smiley Foot

Summer is just getting started, and you know what that means:  barefoot beach weather!  I’m not really big on covering my feet more than I have to, so every since I was little I’ve always looked forward to sandal season.  Or that is, I used to look forward to it until I first moved to Japan.  After a few years of teaching on my feet for 8 hours or more a day, my feet were starting to look pretty gnarly, and I didn’t really have time to take a pumice stone to them every week.

Then a really nifty little product came out by Liberta brand, called Baby Foot.  It works by using fruit acid to peel layers of dead skin, corns, and bacteria off your feet.  It’s easy, safe, and natural.  I tried it once and was hooked!  In fact, it became so popular in Japan it’s been internationally released and many other companies have started putting out their own versions.  So I thought I’d use today’s blog update to show you how Baby Foot works along with a couple of its copycats.

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Sailor Moon 20th+ Anniversary, New Remake & Musicals

© Jacko W Castillo

© Jacko W Castillo

So I don’t know about any of ya’ll, but I was a total moonie growing up.  One year I went to summer school to take courses to get ahead in school, and the girl that sat at the desk next to mine first introduced me to the show.  Sadly I never saw her again after our summer courses finished, and I can’t even begin to recall her name now, but her love of Sailor Moon she shared with me that summer wove itself into my future endeavors, and is still with me today. Needless to say the anniversary had me pretty stoked!

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