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Abe Statement on the 70th Anniversary WWII’s End: A Missed Opportunity

Japan iii: Osaka in One Day

Osaka can, in fact, be done in a day.  Had I worn appropriate footwear I really would have checked everything off my list and have been off to Kyoto for Friday, but I opted for flats and that was not the brightest idea so my advice for you if you're just here for the pictures is to wear runners and get Osaka and Kyoto done in 2-3 days on your mini-break.

Japan ii: The first night

Japan i: Fly Peach

Weekend Warriors iii: Typhoon Nangka

I'd like to preface this post with the fact that we have been VERY lucky in Busan.  We have had some rain and high winds but even that has not deterred us from heading to the beach and swimming in the rain.

How Japan Manages to Hang Tough in History Debates with Korea & China

More on South Korean ‘Anti-Japanism’ and the Intra-Korean Legitimacy Contest

The challenge to South Korea this picture represents is my argument for where South Korea’s extraordinary national hang-up about Japan comes from.

Last month, I wrote about ‘anti-Japanism’ in South Korea. I tried to make an argument for why I thought it went beyond just what Japan did in the colonial period. Remember that North Korea does not villainize Japan the way South Korea does.

Seodaemun Prison in Seoul

With the kids in vacation, getting up late, keeping me busy and messing up by perfect schedules, I decided enough is enough and pulled them out of the home to experience a bit of the Korean heritage. We just happened to choose to go and visit the Seodaemun prison which was built by the Japanese to confine the Korean freedom fighters. It was an interesting but somber experience.

It’s the 50th Anniversary of Japan-Korea Normalization, and Abe Conceded…Nothing

Sometimes Japan just brings these troubles on itself…

Anyone who’s read this blog for awhile knows that I get a fair amount of flak from Korean nationalists who tell me that I should stop pointing out how South Korea manipulates Japan and history for its own domestic purposes – no one denies it, mind you, they’re just furious when I point it out – or that I am too friendly to Japan, and so on.

So this post is for you.

Japan Trip Part 2 

Japan Trip Part 2 

Went on a long weekend trip to Japan with my friend Megan! ^^ 

Went on a long weekend trip to Japan with my friend Megan! ^^ 

Abe, the US, and ‘Korea Fatigue’: How Interested is the US in the Korean ‘History Issue’?

That is Wendy Sherman in Korea before the flap over her ‘history’ remarks.

The following essay was originally posted here, at the Lowy Institute.

I dream in Skyscanner part I

22 Things To Do in Tokyo, Japan

I came up with 3 Ps to describe Japan – more specifically, Tokyo. And they are “precise, pristine, and polite”. As a young, fanatical judo guy back in the day I quickly became enamored with Japanese culture but I never took the chance to visit. Well, I finally went and it is better when you’re older.

Tokyo is still a top travel destination in East Asia.  Let’s find out why.  Here are 22 things to do and see in Tokyo, Japan.

See you later Osaka! Had a fabulous time in Japan!...

Bamboo Forest at Arashiyama. #arashiyama #bambooforest #japan...

Bamboo Forest at Arashiyama. #arashiyama #bambooforest #japan @meganstuckey22

Enjoying Japan so far! #japan #kyoto #travelingram

Enjoying Japan so far! #japan #kyoto #travelingram

When I first moved to Korea in 2010, I ate Lotteria several...

When I first moved to Korea in 2010, I ate Lotteria several times admittedly for the mere novelty of it (e.g. lady burger and red & white burger). In Korea, Lotteria is seen as a mediocre fast food at best. With McDonald’s and Burger King in every neighborhood, it’s hard to compete. It is an entirely different story in Japan.

Documenting Dokdo: 10 Questions with Matthew Koshmrl

Do you know Dokdo?

If you’ve ever spoken to one of the locals in South Korea, chances are you will have been asked that very question. In case you don’t know what Dokdo is I’ll explain it very briefly: It’s an island that both Japan and South Korea lay claim to. It floats about in the Sea of Japan, which Korea would like to be called the ‘East Sea’. Technically the uninhabited island is Korean territory, but the Japanese – who called it Takeshima – occasionally reassert it has always belonged to them even before the colonisation of Korea.

Northeast Asia 2015 Predictions: Another Year of the Repetitive, Uninspiring Status Quo

My Top 5 List for 2014: 5 Biggest Foreign Policy Events for the US in Asia


I love these hoky, end-of-the-year lists. But I don’t know much about genuinely interesting or cool stuff, like the top 5 classical music pieces or architectural masterpieces of the year. So before you read another list about the Kardashians’ top 5 lip glosses, or the 5 most repetitive comic movies of the year, here is an uber-wonky one that’s basically about the sustainability of the pivot.

Blatant Pimping: The Worst Motorcycle in Laos

We usually don’t demean the fair cyber pages of this blog by something as base as promotion, but screw it, I’ll shed my secret identity and let the cat out of the bag: I, Chris Tharp, aka “Mr. Motgol,” got a new book out YOU should stop what you’re doing right now, click on the link below, and buy it. Hey, it can’t be that bad. After all, these guys had some nice things to say about it:

“In The Worst Motorcycle in Laos, Tharp takes us on a wild ride from the neon streets of Tokyo to the dirt tracks of Indochina. The essays are insightful, humorous and unflinching. A great read for the active and armchair traveler alike.”

- Michael Breen, author of The Koreans

12 Things to Do in Osaka, Japan

One of the great benefits of teaching abroad is the ability to travel more. Not only is there more free time, but you are also closer to countries that you would otherwise never get a chance to visit unless for a unique circumstance.

Japan is always a common destination for travelers. I’ve been to Tokyo, but there are so many other cities to see. During one of my vacations I took a trip to Osaka. A common travel plan is to visit Kyoto while in Osaka because you’re just a short 20-45 minute train ride away depending on the type of train you choose.

I realized within the first day or two, however, that seeing what I wanted to see in Osaka would not allow me the time to get away to see Kyoto as well.  I visited for 5 days.

I decided to make this compilation video of my time in Osaka. There are some popular destinations in it, but also some that the general public would not think of to visit.  I hope you enjoy the ride.

On Dodko (for the U of N’s Blog Symposium on Asian Territorial Disputes)

Kiri-no-Sato Takahara Hotel: A Refuge on Japan's Kumano Kodo

This is my fourth trip to Japan, but something is different about this visit. I've bypassed the major cities and tourist hot-spots and ventured off the beaten path to Takahara, a small mountain village located in the heart of Wakayama Prefecture, about two hours south of Osaka.

I sit in my modest but comfortable room on an aromatic tatami mat that smells of herbs. I sip hot tea as I peer out my window into the motionless countryside. I listen. I hear only the quiet chirping of crickets.

The Ryukyu Islands, Japan.

My Lowy Post: Relax (again), Japan is Not ‘Re-Militarizing’


If there is any one trope in Korean and Chinese international relations writing I don’t like, it is the causal, constant, angry insistence on reading Japan as always ‘remilitarizing.’ In just about everything I read by Korean and Chinese authors on northeast Asia this is repeated relentlessly, as a truism, and usually in the worst possible normative light: not only is Japan ‘remilitarizing,’ it also apparently has neo-imperial designs on Asia.

The Weekend Warrior’s Guide to… Tokyo

Tokyo: a neon wonderland of might skyscrapers, solemn Shinto shrines, and serene parks. The samurai, sumo, robots, videogames, capsule hotels, anime, sushi and everything a Japanophile could ever want are right here in the capital. For the weekend warrior with only 48 precious hours to ramble through the world’s most populated city, time is of the essence. This guide will see you through.

A Weekend Warrior: A person who holds a regular job during the week which restricts their ability to party / go on trips / partake in awesome activities, and thus plans epic weekend adventures to compensate.” – Urban Dictionary

My Lowy Post on Japan’s Pointless, Self-Indulgent WTH? Review of the Kono Statement

This is a re-print of a post for the Lowy Institute on the recent Japanese review of the Kono statement on Imperial military sexual service during the war. (That’s Kono in the picture.)

My Lowy Post on Japan’s Pointless, Self-Indulgent WTH? Review of the Kono Statement

This is a re-print of a post for the Lowy Institute on the recent Japanese review of the Kono statement on Imperial military sexual service during the war. (That’s Kono in the picture.)

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