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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Traveling: Singapore Days 3, 4, & 5

© J // Washing Rice Blog

A view of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel from the waterfront.
© J // Washing Rice Blog

Hopefully you were here for last week’s post!  Today’s entry is where the heart of all the action is.  Read on for lots more Singapore sightseeing highlights and pic spam! 😀

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A Fleeting Look at the Cherry Blossoms

It’s that time of year where winter’s chill is carried away by large gusts of spring breeze, leaving the cherry trees free to blossom in its wake.  As the season usually coincides with school and company entrance celebrations, you’ll find many Japanese camping out under the cherry blossoms with beer and picnic lunches in tow.  This custom, called hanami, literally means flower viewing but nowadays you’ll find the blossoms serve more as a nice backdrop for boozing and chatting than the actual focal point of the outing they once were traditionally.

Because I took a trip to Singapore right as the blossom petals were first opening, and then went to the Kanamara Matsuri (NSFW) the following weekend instead of joining in on any parties when the cherry trees were blooming at their fullest, I’m sorry to say I don’t have a lot to report about this year’s hanami.  Still, I was fortunate to spend a small amount of time surrounded by their beauty and snap a few pictures .  And hey, who doesn’t love seeing cherry blossom photos?

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Conveyor Belt Sushi

Called kaitenzushi in Japanese, this fast food-style sushi is usually something most first visitors include on their list of things to do while in Japan.  Believe it or not, the first time I went to one was about three years after I began living here, to a big chain Kappa Sushi restaurant.  Besides the little sushi bullet train that comes and delivers your food, I wasn’t too impressed.  The taste was mediocre at best, and that’s really saying something because growing up in a family that never ate seafood I still can’t even tell a difference in taste between most kinds of fish.

But the day before Setsubun (Spring Equinox), my husband and I decided to pay a visit to another chain restaurant near our apartment.  We both had work on Monday and weren’t planning on eating the now-traditional ehōmaki.  Kaitenzushi‘s become a lot more appealing since my first visit; it’s even more convenient now and the dish options are infinitely better.

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