Entries by David Shoup

Hakodate’s Goryokaku Festival and a Visit from our Friends at Sea

In May of 1854, American Commodore Matthew Perry docked in Hakodate with an imposing naval fleet and signed a treaty with the Japanese, opening Hakodate to foreign trade. With more Japanese cities following suit in the coming years, Perry’s arrival was one of several significant events eventually leading to the downfall of the 250 year Tokugawa […]

School Lunch in Nanae

The phrase “you are what you eat” was first coined by a nutritionist named Victor Landlahr for a 1923 beef advertisement in a Bridgeport, CT newspaper. Ironically, this household saying originated at a time when American food was becoming increasingly processed, and less of an ideal basis for a healthy self image. For the better part […]

Ice Fishing for Nemo

Nanae’s most unique winter activity, wakasagi tsuri, or smelt fishing, takes place on the frozen lakes surrounding Mt. Komagatake in the northern village of Onuma. With my mother’s family hailing from northern Wisconsin, I was already familiar with smelt fishing.  In fact, my great aunt was the first ever Smelt Queen in 1936 in Marinette, Wisconsin, a […]