Chris Shaw sautés the eggplant for Obayashi Sam's Natto Pasta

Kitchen Stories: Obayashi San’s Natto Pasta

This month’s Kitchen Story originated in Japan and traveled all the way to Seattle ceramicist Chris Shaw’s kitchen in Beacon Hill. On a cold, drizzly Monday night, I stopped at Viet Wah to buy some veggies, and then hopped the 36 bus from the International District to Chris’ house. Chris showed me how to make […]
Mar 6, 2012

One year after Japan earthquake, a family that found refuge in Seattle heads home

Shizu Ishihara is saying goodbye to Seattle. She came here a year ago with her two young sons Eishin and Ryousei, fleeing the aftermath of 9.0 magnitude earthquake that hit northeastern Japan last March. The Tohoku earthquake, as it has since been named, triggered tsunami waves taller than 100ft, leaving more than 20,000 people dead or […]
Mar 10, 2012
Gourmet dog Japon

Japanese Fusion Hot Dogs take over Seattle

If you couldn’t make the trip to Tokyo for this week’s Mariners season opener, you could try celebrating here in Seattle with a Japanese twist on a baseball classic: Gourmet Dog Japon is a network of 3 food carts at 2nd and Pike, Belltown and Westlake Center, serving ‘Japanese Fusion hot dogs’. The most popular dog is the Matsure – a […]
Mar 28, 2012

Japantown’s Panama Hotel hides a treasure trove of history

In 1942, in a fervor of wartime paranoia, President Roosevelt ordered Japanese-Americans into internment camps for the duration of WWII. The internment had an especially large impact in Seattle’s Japantown, where Japanese-Americans, many of them US-born citizens, were forced to abandon their homes and businesses almost overnight. Before they were led away to the camps, some […]
Jun 6, 2012

Mariners in Tokyo to open MLB season on Wednesday

The Mariners will kick off the Major League Baseball season on Wednesday. But if you’re thinking of going to the game, drive right past Safeco and head to Sea-Tac. The team will be in Japan playing a two-game series against the Oakland Athletics at the Tokyo Dome on Wednesday and Thursday. The match-up in Tokyo has been […]
Mar 27, 2012
Japan earthquake

Tsunami debris arriving on Washington shores sooner than expected

Growing up, we had some prize beachcomber’s treasure in my backyard: a pair of antique glass fishing buoys that had broken free from a Japanese fishing net and bobbed their way across the Pacific. The floats stirred my young imagination about our mysterious watery connection with Japan, and incited a voracious streak of local beach-combing. It looks like […]
Apr 4, 2012
anime manga

Anime devotees pack Sakura-con, but longtime fans see the magic fading

Sakura-constarted back in 1998 as a humble gathering of 313 anime and manga fans at the Doubletree Inn in Tukwila. The 14th annual gathering last weekend at the Convention Center attracted 19,000. I waited in line for 5 hours on Friday waiting to get in the door. Sakura-con’s growth speaks to the rising popularity of […]
Apr 10, 2012

Cherry Blossom Festival this weekend connects Seattleites with their Japanese Roots

In 1912, Japan gave the United States a gift of 3,020 cherry blossom trees to represent the budding friendship between the two nations. In the century since, the relationship has seen some rocky times, punctuated by World War II and the internment of Japanese-Americans. But the Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival, coming to the Seattle […]
Apr 11, 2012

Obamacare upheld! Now can I buy into the Japanese health system instead?

They do it better in Japan. They do it better in Costa Rica, in Andorra, and even in Slovenia. No, I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about living itself. Americans just don’t live that long. We come in a shabby 34th in global life expectancy rankings. The average Japanese citizen lives to 83.5 years old, five […]
Jun 28, 2012

Bourgeois bakery brings flavor of “French Tokyo” to Queen Anne

The pace at Cafe de Lion is slow — a very deliberate slow that’s now as rare in Seattle as it is in Japan, where owner Daisuke Miura, his wife Tomoyo and their son Lion (the cafe’s namesake) moved from two years ago. Francoise Hardy and Serge Gainsbourg play in the background as young diners enjoy green tea […]
Jul 10, 2012

From workroom to runway, Wing Luke honors Asian influences on fashion

Remember a couple years ago when GQ named Seattle one of the worst-dressed cities in the United States? Well clearly, they weren’t looking in the right places. The Wing Luke Museum, in the International District, highlights the stories of local Asian Pacific American communities through imaginative exhibits and tours. It’s an unlikely place to find […]
Jan 14, 2013

Three lessons Seattle should learn from Boeing’s Dreamliner-gate

The worldwide grounding of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and its battery fire put everyone’s worst travel nightmare front and center. A local aerospace expert gave us three takeaways from the aftermath.
Feb 20, 2013

Beckoning cats invade the Bellevue Arts Museum

Those porcelain cat statues aren’t waving at you. They’re beckoning you to Bellevue for a lesson in Japanese culture.
Apr 23, 2013

True tales of teaching English abroad part one: Why it’s worth it

Some people think of teaching English abroad as some kind of paid vacation, or sight-seeing with a paycheck. It’s definitely not that easy. But in the end, it’s worth the challenge.
Apr 29, 2013
“Gosei” depicts Laura Kina’s daughter and is one of Kina’s five pieces at the new Wing Luke Museum exhibit, Under My Skin. (Photo via

You don’t have to be mixed-race to have a mixed identity

A new exhibit at the Wing Luke museum is part of a growing movement that says our identity is a personal choice, not a fact of birth.
Jun 24, 2013

UW students represent at worldwide video game olympics in Vegas

Most Seattleites look forward to spending their summer in the sun. But for a few UW students, being holed up in front of a video game is not just a waste of good weather — it’s a quest for ultimate glory in the world’s largest video game tournament. 
Jul 17, 2013
(Photo by Hailey Way)

Origami, shadows, and Hello Kitty: Japanese fashion hits SAM

The Seattle Art Museum’s new exhibit is a study in the cultural exchange between Japan and the US through fashion.
Jul 22, 2013
Promotional material for an International Studies Abroad program in Spain reflects the demographics that dominate study abroad overall.

Why I started a study abroad program for People of Color

The two most influential forces in my life have been writing and travel. Growing up I always wanted to see the world (any place outside of Wisconsin would do). Just before I turned seventeen, my mother took me Senegal.
Oct 27, 2014
A classroom full of students in Japan, where class sizes average around 30 students. (Photo by Shintaro Ozawa)

I-1351 tied, but global data shows one class size doesn’t fit all

What do Japan and South Korea have to say about the value of small class sizes?
Nov 7, 2014

Kobe Bell chimes as Seattle marks 20 years since earthquake

Seattleites joined sister city Kobe, Japan in marking 20 years since the devastating 1995 earthquake.
Jan 17, 2015