I LIVE IN JAPAN / Sophia Appelbaum / Writer

Which places in Japan do you recommend that foreigners see?

Maybe Nagano! I know it’s a popular prefecture among Japanese vacationers, but it tends to be an afterthought for anyone coming from overseas, and I think it deserves to be better appreciated. Matsumoto Castle has one of the oldest original castle keeps in Japan, and it even has the cool nickname “Crow Castle”! Nagano’s onsen-loving snow monkeys are also adorable, and the wasabi farms in Azumino are fun to visit. Plus, basically everywhere you look is green and gorgeous.

I LIVE IN JAPAN / Nicholas Gardiner / Senior Wine Ambassador

What do you do in Japan? Can you talk about your job in Japan?

I first came to Japan to do Karate! I was lucky to have a Japanese instructor at my university and he recommended that I train in Japan. I trained with 2 of the most famous masters and have a 3rd-degree black belt. I studied Japanese very hard and got a very good job working for the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry promoting Japanese crafts and culture overseas as well as helping with press releases and media communications. I studied wine with the Japan Sommelier Association and the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and changed my career to working with wine. I now teach WSET courses at a famous wine school in Tokyo and am a Senior Wine Ambassador for Pernod-Ricard. I do training for staff, educate consumers and sommeliers, do wine-tasting events, and promote wine in general. My dream is to become a Master of Wine (Japan only has 1 MW at the moment).



Tsuda Umeko, selected for the new banknotes, founded the Women’s Institute for English Studies, “Joshi Eigaku Juku,” now known as Tsuda University. She dedicated her life to the education of Japanese women. Let’s take a closer look at her life and the environment in which Japanese women lived during that time.

JAPANESE SAMURAI / Hokusai Katsushika

Katsushika Hokusai was a prominent Japanese ukiyo-e artist active in the late Edo period. He lived to the age of 90 during the Edo period (1600-1860), a time when the average life expectancy was less than 50 years, and created approximately 30,000 works before his passing. Many of his works, produced over about 70 years, continue to be highly acclaimed even 170 years after his death.


Hanaoka Seishu was a doctor active during the Edo period. While studying Chinese herbal medicine, he also mastered Dutch-style surgery and other cutting-edge medical techniques. After repeatedly mixing various medicinal herbs, he perfected the anesthetic “Tsusensan,” composed mainly of mandarage (datura alba) berries and other ingredients.

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