2 Things I Love About Japan

I recently returned from an extended trip to Japan. I was there to visit my wife’s family and do a little research for writing projects that will—hopefully, eventually—see the light of day.

This was my second trip since living there circa 2003, and I was reminded of the many things that make the country such a great place. Here’s a couple that stand out.

1. The biggest hobby shop in the world (it must be)

I don’t know for certain if the above statement is true, but the flagship store of Tokyu Hands (in Shibuya, Tokyo) is eye-poppingly large. I generally think of a decent craft supply or hobby shop as having one, maybe two floors (if you’re lucky).

Tokyu Hands in Shibuya has not 2; not 5; not 10; but twenty-four floors of hobby and craft supplies (housed in a triangle of three linked buildings, eight floors each). Not only does it boast its own wood, leather and bicycle workshops, but there’s a whole floor entirely devoted to “Science Lab Supplies.” Check out the floor plan:

3 x 8 floors of eye-popping goodness.

2. A zillion different Kit-Kats (or maybe less than a zillion, but still a lot)

If I were pressed, I would have to say my favourite thing about Japan is probably the food. The country has incredibly diverse regional cuisines. Nowhere is this more evident than in all the Kit-Kats.

I used to think there was one basic kind of Kit-Kat: the lowly chocolate. In a pinch, I might hope to find the comparatively uninspired “white-chocolate” or “dark-chocolate” versions. Not so in Japan.

At any given moment there’s at least twelve different flavours available, sometimes as many as twenty. These are limited edition confections that change from season to season and town to town. Green tea, cinnamon, corn-on-the-cob, toasted red-bean sandwich, pear, cherry blossom, salted watermelon, wine, lemon cheesecake—all totally legit and surprisingly delish—among many others. Here’s a few I brought back for sharing:

Clockwise from top: Toasted red-bean sandwich, yubari melon, strawberry, zunda (green soybean), cherry blossom.

If you’re interested, Nestle maintains an online museum of the top flavours they’ve produced since the mid-1990s. You can access it here.

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2 THOUGHTS TO " 2 Things I Love About Japan "

  1. Kaitlyn Kelly says:

    Hello Mr. Weston,

    You visited us last year at Mary-Gardner school in Chateauguay and I really liked Zorgamazoo!

    I loved it so much that when my teacher ask me to write about an author, I chose you.

    In the many questions she asked me to answer, there is two I couldn’t find the answer on the internet.

    How and why do you started writing books? and
    Where does you get you inspiration for stories?

    If you have any extra information that I could share with the class I’m sure I’ll get extra points! 🙂

    thank you in advance

    Kaitlyn Kelly

    p.s. I ask for Dust city as a birthday gift! I can’t wait!

    • Hi Kaitlyn, thanks for your comment; I’m so glad you enjoyed Zorgamazoo…and it has made you interested in Dust City (a very different book, mind you). To answer your questions, first, why did I become an author? It’s because I’ve always enjoyed hearing and telling stories. I think that’s why I wrote a book like Zorgamazoo, a novel you’re meant to read out loud. How did I become an author? Let me answer like this: A lot of people think writing, playing the piano and solving math equations have little in common, but in fact, they’re all the same: They all require lots and lots and hard work. That’s how I became a writer, with lots of hard work…and a bit of luck. Where do I get my inspiration from? From the muses, of course. By that, I mean music and museums. Seriously. It’s right in the name. I’m also inspired by travelling, reading the newspaper, the people around me, and from reading books by writers I admire. Hope that helps! rpw