This question has been answered hundreds of times on the internet by hundreds of other veterans and service members, but this is the question I keep getting. What's the verdict? Answer these four simple questions and you'll be on your way!
What is amazake? It is a cheap, healthy, tasty Japanese beverage made from rice. The old-timers in Japan have been drinking it for decades and now the younger generations are discovering it. Here's why...
Why do Japanese people live longer than everyone else? Here are seven reasons that you'll die before them.
What is Caspian Sea yogurt (a.k.a matsoni)? How did it get all the way to Japan? Find out one of the newest secrets to Japanese longevity—and the tastiest!
One day you're a soldier and the next you're a veteran. Life as a veteran is different, but in an unexpected way. How? For more information, take a look at this article.
It’s hard to believe but, once you're discharged from the Army, there are regrets because nobody sat you down, got in your face and told you a few simple things. A few years down the line, you’re thinking “Why didn't anyone tell me?”
Mugi gohan is barley and rice. This simple duo is an ancient secret in Japan for its taste and health benefits. Is it a myth or does it deliver? Read and find out!
I'm not talking about stuff like how to read a map or how to clean a rifle. I'm talking about important life lessons everybody learns but nobody sits down to teach us.
It's the end of a long day. I just got home and I'm tired and hungry. Quick, refreshing and healthy--it's soba to the rescue!
Cabbage smoothie? Seriously? That's right! Here's how...
How do I start a day with a cheap, quick, healthy breakfast? With my oatmeal smoothie recipe!
Hours of flowers at the Kurokawa Dahlia Park. Here at the park in Kawanishi, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan a visitor can relax amidst the countless dahlias.
The Akame Shijuhachi Taki is one of the best experiences in Kansai Japan that isn't swarming with tourists. Why is that? What makes it so great? Is it worth the trip?
Who lives the longest? Look anywhere and you'll find that it's the Japanese people that consistently tops the list. Why is that? Here are a few reasons that nobody tells you
Over the long haul, the stock market is your best friend. It beats every other investment out there. Here I'll remind you how and where to start investing.
I've had my Hempmania hemp wallet for over a decade. It's been with me everywhere and it's impossible to imagine life without it. Here's why.
The gravel crunched under my feet and cleanest, purest air filled my lungs, I finally made to the shrine of shrines: Ise Jingu. Ise Grand Shrine is now one of my favorite travel destinations.
I've been to Kyoto a few times but I've never been to Miyako Odori. I've never even heard of it. But the more I learned about it, the more fascinated I was. I couldn't wait to go.
V Jump Festa is held every summer in Osaka. Here fans of can get a closer look at what's hot this year and what's new for next. This includes anime, movies, manga, toys and video games.
When we think of travel tips we think "safety first." At the same time there are a few things we don't think about because it seems like second nature back home.
The onsen experience is the best thing about Japan. You have to come here to enjoy it. Now before you get started with the pitchforks and torches, keep reading and you'll see what I mean.
Japanese is written three different ways: hiragana, katagana and kanji. Thanks to "Kana Can Be Easy" by Kunihiko Ogawa, hiragana and katagana are under control.
I have epilepsy, also known as seizure disorder. Living with epilepsy is different but possible. For those who have been recently diagnosed, here are a few things to expect.
My girlfriend and I visit Seoul with our Nikon D5300 digital camera. How did it go?
I first saw "Grave of the Fireflies" when I was a teenager. When I saw it again--as an Army veteran and an expat in Japan--it had a completely different effect on me.
What is Engrish? Engrish is English gone wild! Engrish is when English attacks! Engrish is English destroyed in seconds! Keep reading and find out more!
"Catch-22" is the best war movie you've never heard of. Directed by Mike Nichols and released in 1970, it is based on the novel of the same name by Joseph Heller.
"The Original POINT-AND-SPEAK Phrasebook JAPAN" by Toshiya Enomoto stands out as my favorite and most essential book when braving everyday life in Japan.
1,000 Places to See Before You Die? Seriously? Now that's a tall order. After all, the world is a big place and there's a lot to see. Does she live up to her title? It depends on how you see things.
As soon as I heard of Petomato, I knew I had to have one. The idea is simple: grow a plant in a PET bottle. I don't drink soda anymore but I knew I could dig one up. Let's see how this goes!
Is Basic Training easy? Short answer: no. It was the toughest experience of my life. But as soon as it was over, I realized it wasn't nearly as painful as I thought it would be. Why is that?
People in Japan love tea, coffee and soup throughout the day so it's vital to have hot water on hand at any moment. Go for the electric kettle. Keep it full and it won't let you down.
Barack Obama's campaign and presidency has fired up Japan. The "Yes We Can" that brought optimism to many Americans also took hold of the Japanese people.
While most guests collapse on their beds as soon as they arrive in their hotel rooms, I'm rummaging through the desk to find the hotel stationery. My stay is not complete until I get my prize.
Kaminarimon Gate is huge, red and beautiful. It leads the way to Senjo-ji Temple, the oldest and most famous temple in Tokyo. Until you visit, here's a quick look.
Mochi is a popular rice cake snack. It's made many ways and called many things throughout Asia. In Japan, it is especially important during New Year's Day.
The Instant Ramen Museum is a fun day for all in Ikeda, Japan. It's surprisingly interactive and even has a "Hands-On Workshop" where anyone can make his or her own pack of instant ramen.
Every December crowds gather in Kobe as it holds its last festival of the year: the Luminarie. For eleven days straight, over 200,000 colorful lights bring cheer to visitors and residents alike.
Kinro Kansha No Hi is a Japanese national holiday honoring the work we've done all year. So, it's like Labor Day back home, right? Well, sort of...
Going somewhere this weekend? Grab your backpack and go! But why? Unless you're camping what's the point? Why bother packing at all?
What happens when an extraordinary cast gives its best with an extraordinary script? The answer is clear in "Glengarry Glen Ross."
In Japan, nearly all funerals are Buddhist ceremonies, this includes the funerals of pets.
Like many other cultures, honoring the dead is taken seriously in Japan. However, unlike many other cultures a visitor is expected to do this by a ritual that consists of tasks done in special order.
I bought my Bugout Bag by Sandpiper about ten years ago when I was in the US Army. The first time I used it, I was sure it would outlast and outperform any rucksack the military would issue me.
Ikeda Castle was once the site of a mighty hilltop fortress that stood during Japan's Feudal Era. Today, it is a smaller reconstruction, part of a beautiful, peaceful park: Shiroato Koen.
Are you in the US Army? Do you hate every waking moment of it and want to get out? Keep reading and I'll get you out quickly and quietly. Then we can all move on with our lives.
These simple products go above and beyond. The customers are surprised and delighted and they keep coming back. Before you know it you've got a global phenomenon.
"Support the Troops" everyone says without a second thought. Well, if everyone is supporting the troops why are they so poor?
Have you heard about the Sagano Scenic Railway? Also known as the Sagano Torokko, it is a train that wanders through Arashiama near Kyoto, Japan offering a scenic tour of its natural beauty.
One of the last summer festivals in Japan is the Gangarabi Matsuri. It honors the god of Satsuki Mountain by setting it on fire. It is held annually on the evening of August 24 in Ikeda, near Osaka.
I won't sugar-coat it: Basic Training in the Army is tough. But if you have some time before you ship off there are a couple things to do that will give you an edge and make things a lot easier.
The Army is a fascinating experience. But now and then things get very bizarre--the only thing to do is shake your head and laugh.
On the 3rd Saturday of every August, Kawanishi and Ikeda gather at the banks of the Inagawa River for a night of summer festivities and fireworks. Will the weekend's rain and thunder ruin the event?
With the cost of higher education soaring more students are turning to student loans than ever before. But how is that affecting America as a whole? And what can we do about it?
The speed and safety of the Shinkansen is unmatched when traveling throughout Japan. And there's no better way to compliment this experience than with a Shinkansen bento.
The Hoshi Kudari is a summer festival held every August 9 at the Nakayama-dera Temple in Takarazuka, Hyogo, Japan. This celebration is a hidden gem of tradition and fun.
The izakaya is a small snack bar where friends or coworkers get together to hang out. They're all over Japan to help the locals get their weekly dosage of cheap food and drink.
If you're thinking about joining the Army then your recruiter will tell you just about anything to get you to sign the dotted line. Still, there are some goodies he'll never tell you about.
Visiting Japan is a magical experience that will change your life. Living here can be just as wonderful but it has its own surprises.
The Army can be an amazing experience, and some people consider it to be one the best experiences of their lives. However, there's no need to go rushing in without some extra knowledge, and despite its good points, there are awful aspects of the army that everyone forgets to talk about.
Every summer, on the third weekend of July, people from all over the Kansai area gather at Osaka's Tsuyunotenjinsha Shrine to enjoy its biggest festival: the Ohatsu Tenjin Natsu Matsuri.
Whenever I'm somewhere new or interesting, I look for a local postcard. When I see something I like, I slap on a stamp and it send home.
No matter how different we are, when we raise our voices as citizens we all win as Americans. The more action we take, the more power we take from the lobbyists and corporations.
There are plenty of reasons to quit soda or at least slow down. The more I think of them, the harder I try. There are also reasons it'll be tough.
"Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?" Shakespeare (As You Like It Act 4, scene 1, 115-124)
This article does not support any particular political view or party. However, I may bring up politicians and races but this will be for example only. Who you support is entirely up to you.
Just like everything else, there are do's and don't's in making yourself heard in policy. These are the things to do to make a difference. It won't happen overnight but stay focused and keep at it!
Did you finish college? Feeling overwhelmed? Don't know what your next step is? Not a problem, your college is here to help.
How does the soldier handle himself in a country always at war? What does he think of himself as the nation around him puts him on a pedestal?
Why Rutgers? Rutgers is the "State University of New Jersey." Tens of thousands attend each year. It's a great place to go but before you make your decision keep reading!
I DON'T WANT ANYONE TO LEAVE THE MILITARY UNTIL HIS TIME IS UP. However, the only thing worse than turning your back on your country is doing it in the worst ways possible.