Skip to main content


100K Announcement


Thanks to everyone who has read and followed my journeys in Japan from 2011 to 2017. Your support of my adventures and observations means the world to me.

In celebration of Riceandramen finally hitting 100k views, I am pleased to announce that I will be running a giveaway!

I will send one lucky person a custom box of goodies from Japan that could include (but isn't limited to): snacks, stationary, character goods, traditional Japanese crafts and more. The only limits are weight and size and your imagination (I'll be keeping everything small and light to keep the shipping costs down).

Without further ado, the details and rules of the giveaway are as follows:


The giveaway will run from today, February 25 2018 JST/ February 24 CST to March 11, 2018 JST/ March 10 CST.You don't have to be in Japan to enter: since almost all of my readers are international, this giveaway will be, too. The winner will be picked at random and notified via p…
Recent posts

Taking a Breather

Sometimes when you're in Tokyo, as wonderful as its bustling atmosphere is, you just want to forget you're in the middle of Tokyo.

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a guy from Sweden who regularly came to Japan on business and he said that despite how much he loved Tokyo he could never live here because of the lack of green space. Tokyo has its parks, of course, like all major cities, but if you want unspoiled greenery you have to be willing to head at least forty minutes outside of the sprawling metropolis limits. In winter this desire to surround oneself with greenery might not matter as much, but now that spring is seeping into the atmosphere and the upcoming sakura season is on everyone's mind (NHK even puts out an annual "forecast" for sakura!) the neon lights and concrete jungle start to feel a little oppressive.

That's when little hideaways like the Sato Sakura Museum and Kohmeisen come in handy.

The Sato Sakura Museum is a small museum in Nakameguro…

Mapping Claire's Weekend: Liberal(ly) Experienced Arts and Sciences

I've discovered a few perks to working in the Life and Culture division of a publication.
I'm definitely on top of the arts scene in Tokyo: if it's a major museum I probably know what exhibit is on display at the moment (and probably even what's coming up next). I also get to spend a lot of my working day reading about said art, if not new restaurants, new books, or interesting places to travel within Japan. It's almost enough to make me wish I wasn't gainfully employed so I'd have more time to take advantage of all these opportunities!

We are, however, occasionally given opportunities to preview exhibits and I decided to take advantage of one of those invitations. So it was with a mix of excitement and trepidation that I sent back my reply that, yes, I would be attending the opening reception for "Mapping the Invisible" at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum.

There were quite a few people milling about in the main lobby drinking wine or Yebisu Beer…

Short Hair, Don't Care: Model Behavior

I like to think I have a wide range of accomplishments under my belt:

Accidentally over-caffeinated myself conducting ethnographic research--check
Read 3+ books in a single day--check
Never (yet) pulled an all-nighter--check
Sung at Carnegie Hall--check
Published a poem--check

But now I can add a decidedly interesting item to that list:
Been a hair model in Japan--CHECK.

It's a bit of a long story.

It all starts with coffee, actually, like many of my adventures here in Japan do. I was checking out a coffee shop in the too, too cool area of Daikanyama (no, seriously, that entire neighborhood is just Too Cool for me, I don't even know why I was there). There I met stylist Yusuke, who asked if I wanted to appear in a PR photoshoot for the opening of his salon brand's newest branch, boy Tokyo, Harajuku. They're (wisely!) making a site to appeal to foreign clientele--it's a smart move because it's really hard to find a place that has stylists who truly are comfortab…

People in Japan Have Interesting Hobbies

Disclaimer: for those of you who are squeamish, the latter half of this post might not be for you. Read to the end at your own risk. The first half is fine, I promise.

Yoyogi Park has Bubble Guys.

They probably don't call themselves "Bubble Guys," to be fair, but it's what they were. Yoyogi Park, a sprawling green space that abuts the trendy Harajuku neighborhood as well as Meiji Shrine, is known for attracting performers on the weekend: colorful casts of musicians, magicians, dancers, and other miscellaneous artists. After a relaxing cup of coffee from Little Nap Coffee Stand, I was simply wandering through the park when I literally ran into the bubbles:

It was a little bit like something out of a fairy tale, or at least a kid's cartoon show. Maybe that one scene from Disney's "Cinderella," where she's scrubbing the floor amidst a sea of bubbles.

Men with specially-crafted chains and what looked--and smelled!--like a homemade bubble mix made fr…

The Joy of Weekend Life

Even though January is (already!) almost over, it still feels like the year has just started for me.

Maybe it's because I just started a brand-new job? That's right: just last week I started my new job at the Japan Times where I'm now working as an Assistant Editor in the Life and Culture section. I have a lot to learn, both in terms of editing (I've done a fair amount of freelance writing, but it's my first time on the other side of the publishing equation) and adjusting to a new work environment. Right now I'm doing a lot of fact-checking, copy editing, and working with the weekly arts openings: a perfect job for someone who spends nearly as much of her free time at museums as she does coffee shops. The office is relaxed, everyone is super nice, and I really do look forward to going to work each morning.

Having the weekends off isn't a bad perk, either: it means I can see more art.

This past weekend I visited two museums, the National Museum of Modern Art…