In October Matsue has a festival called the Water Lantern Festival or Matsue Suitoro. This year it started on October 1st and is ending on the 31st. It takes place on the waterways around the Matsue Castle and along the Shiomi Nawate Street. Shiomi Nawate is a street lined with preserved middle class Samurai Houses. You can actually go into these houses and see what they looked like since they are still in their original state from the Edo Period (1603-1868).

When you first get to the front of the castle many food stands are up and selling traditional Japanese snacks such as Takoyaki and Yakitori! They were also selling candy apples, and no Momma…I didn’t eat one. They also had chestnut fried cakes as shown below, they seemed to be dough with a chestnut in the middle, simple enough (on the far left is Yakitori, then candy apples then the chestnut fried cakes)!

The group I was with didn’t know food would be here so we ate curry at an Indian restaurant beforehand. But I am actually glad we did that because it was a bit expensive. I didn’t really wanna pay $5 for a piece of meat on a stick.But it did smell really good!

So when we walked further in a few of us wanted to ride the Horikawa Sightseeing Boat so it was only 500 yen which is about $5 so not bad at all! And so we all took our shoes off and got in, we found out the boat doesn’t usually run at night. I think the tour guide said they only run at night twice a year and one of those reasons was for this lantern festival so I am really happy that we got to ride it on one of those rare times. It was absolutely beautiful seeing the lanterns alongside the road at night. Japan is so quiet and still that you really get the chance to just sit and soak it all in. Also shoutout for this blanket, it’s starting to get a decent chill in the air and my feet were thankful to be covered.

So the boat only took you about 20 minutes from the castle just far enough down so you can see the lanterns along the side, but the catch you have to walk back. But this time I was not upset about it, even though the chill was nipping at my ears and nose, the sight of the lanterns was enough to quell the cold.

People from Shimane made these lanterns. Ive seen photos on a wall at my school and some of my students made some of these.


These cute cats lined the steps up the castle!




McDonald’s we meet again. 

I know it seems like I’m eating at McDonald’s every week! I keep posting about McDonald’s this and McDonald’s that. BUT to my defense McDonald’s in Japan is the wildest thing I’ve ever experienced. Every new product they release I wanna try it so bad. So on this McDonald’s adventure it’s the other Halloween themed French fry. So the first fry to be released this month was the pumpkin and chocolate fries which I did a review on earlier this month. This time though it’s the Chocolate and Purple Sweet potato version!!

So first I’m going to brag. Look at my McDonald’s!!! I keep saying that Ronald McDonald actually lives here. IT’S AN ACTUAL HOUSE! How is this even a McDonald’s???? My Japanese IC or helper didn’t understand why I thought this was the craziest thing. I don’t know how she thought this was normal, but again she may never see the McDonald’s we have in the West, they don’t look this fancy.  Coolest McDonald’s ever. Okay, but back to the fries.

So after a thorough investigation (thanks Google) the chocolate and purple sweet potato are apparently the Witches version of the fries and I love it. The friend I went with said they missed a WONDERFUL opportunity to make the fries purple….which is true that would have been waaaaaaaaay cooler looking.

I actually really love these fries. The sweet potato isn’t overbearing it’s a subtle sweet taste. Not like the strong artificial sweet flavor of the pumpkin, I am glad I tried the pumpkin but I think this version is the only one for me. The purple sweet potato is  a hard flavor to describe but if you’ve ever had anything taro flavored it’s got that same soft and subtle vanilla-ish taste to it. It’s my favorite McDonald’s treat so far. I can’t wait for the next thing they come out with! Also shout out to the chicken nuggets here, I know I didn’t get them this time, but they are AMAZING. America needs to let McDonald’s step up their game.




So while walking to the station I just happen to see drummers playing traditional music. It’s so strange to see with the cars passing. It’s almost out of place. This is one distinct example of how Japan is both modern and traditional. 


Halloween Fries

So I went to McDonald’s JUST to get those Halloween Fries I’ve been seeing go around the interwebs….and maybe also a melon Fanta.

So for those who haven’t seen the advertisement.

Japan’s Halloween promotion is Pumpkin-Choco fries! Just 60 extra cents to add it in. Not too bad for a novelty fry. So when in Rome…why not, or maybe when in Japan…why not. Yeah, that’s better.

So you get a combo chocolate and pumpkin pack and you squeeze it all over your fries. It actually makes it look nicer then if I would have just had to drizzle them on one by one. Japanese magic here. They always have a way to make their food look A1.


So after you decorate….you have to come to terms that you just perhaps destroyed a McDonalds fry. And then try it.

I would give these a…7/10. It got extra points just for the novelty of the idea. But these fries have a taste unlike any other. Not only do you have the rich chocolate taste but this pumpkin is also sweeter and it taste almost like a real Kabocha pumpkin.

And then add that with the saltiness of the fries it’s just a bit much going on. My mouth was so confused. I think if it was just chocolate I would have liked it a lot more. But that pumpkin sent my taste buds to a place they’d never been before and never wanna go again. But to be honest next Halloween…I still may get them. It’s got the Pumpkin Spice latte effect. I’ve gotta hold on to seasonal things to really feel like that season is happening.


Gacha Sushi! 

So where I moved I have another ALT that lives in my apartment building  and he offered to show me all of the hot spots in our area.

So for lunch we went to Gacha Sushi! It’s a sushi train!!! So it’s conveyor belt sushi, but the difference is that for every 5 plates you insert it into a slot and you have a chance at a few games where you can win or lose. And if you win you get a mystery gacha. And they update the toys every so often so it’s always different. It was so cool and now my favorite new spot.

Hamburger Sushi





Winter is Coming. 

So winter is coming……literally. When I first got to Matsue on October 3 it was in the low 80′ and high 70′. But now it’s starting to fall into the high 70’s and the lows in the 50’s and I am freaking out. And I didn’t think about it but now I am. I am living at the very north of western Japan. It’s about to be cold. 

Being a Georgia/Florida girl you know my winter wardrobe mostly consist of a long sleeve shirt, a few pullovers and sweatshirts and a denim jacket. Many of times during Christmas I have worn shorts and t shirts. 

So out of fear of the rapidly falling tempature I went on a winter wardrobe shopping spree.

I bought a few things called Japan Heattech. Uniqlo sells them and it’s lightweight clothing that generates heat to keep you warm. And the Heattech comes in Jackets, leggings, Turtle necks, V necks, crew necks and even pants. I also picked up a few sweaters.

 Now people who know me know this won’t be all of the winter clothes I buy. But these will hold me over until the next pay day. 



This is a very late post but I wanted to still share it.

On September 22 I went to Destruction in Hiroshima! It’s was a NJPW match which means New Japan Pro Wrestling. It is the largest professional wrestling promotion in Japan and the second largest in the world.

I attended  the match where Kenny Omega was defending his title for the match at the Tokyo Dome.

It was the hands down one of the coolest things I’ve seen in Japan so far. It’s so interesting to see the differences and similarities between American and Japanese pro wrestling.