Writer: Joel Neff

Joel came to Japan for a year out between jobs in October, 2000.  That year turned out to be so full of fun and adventure that he stayed.  And then stayed some more.  Now, he divides his time between teaching, and writing, with a little bit of photography thrown in for good measure.  He loves to travel both inside and outside Japan and is currently planning where to go next.  More information can be found on Twitter .

Let's Play Shiritori (or Word Chains)

Let's play a word game. I'll start with the name of a place, like a city, state, province, or country, and you tell me the name of a different place that starts with the last letter of the city I mentioned. For example, if I say Rome, you might say Ethiopia. Which would mean I need to say someplace that starts with A. So, I'll use Aichi, which is a prefecture here in Japan. Then you start with I and so on and so forth.

New Year's Cards: Karuta and Hanafuda

For many families, the bonding and togtherness aspects of New Year’s culminate in gathering around the kotatsu, a low, heated table, watching t.v., eating, drinking, and playing games. The two most common, and perhaps most traditional games are Karuta and Hanafuda.

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