Bunnies and Poison Gas Factories

Okunoshima. An island located in the sea near Hiroshima. Packed with bunnies. And abandoned gas factories from World War II. Sounds interesting right? And so we took a 2 hour train to a tiny village somewhere between Hiroshima and Kobe, and took a boat to this beautiful island. It looks really tropical, turquoise waters and …


The Tallest Tower in the World

With its 634 meters, the Tokyo Skytree is the tallest tower in the world! That’s one impressive building, especially when you realize it’s built in the middle of an earthquake-heavy area… We didn’t climb it (yet), but made some beautiful pictures as the sun was going down. Tall isn’t it!!! :-p     And the …


Ishigaki: Japan’s Tropical Paradise!

Golden Week is the only long holiday in Japan and so this was our chance to go on a tropical holiday to the southern Okinawa island, Ishigaki. Flying to Ishigaki takes two hours from Osaka, and the subtropical island is located almost next to Taiwan. Ishigaki is surrounded by smaller islands, some formed by coral. …



We visited the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo and saw our first panda ever :-) They look extremely cute I have to say, sitting there on their butts and eating bamboo all day.    They’re so cool! They are the main attraction of Ueno Zoo, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any other exotic animals around: …


Sakura blossoms and more

I just love how Japan changes in color and atmosphere during the year. The blossom time is fantastic, in February the plums are all blooming bright and around the end of March the beautiful cherry blossom trees go in full bloom. Everyone is having fun and sitting underneath the trees, barbecuing, drinking beer, having a good time :-). …


Birthday Party on the 52th floor!

♪Happy(。´_●`)ノ┌iiii┐ヾ(´○_`*)Birthday♪ March 2nd was Wards birthday and we celebrated it with a lot of delicious foods :D We started the day by going to Takano, a very famous fruit and delicacies store that sells strawberries for 100 euros a box (!). If you don’t want to pay that much but want to have a chance to …


An inspiring trip to Singapore

I went to Singapore for 5 days to attend the FZD workshop “concept art for next-gen videogames”. I went with a colleague and we really had a wonderful time, learned a crazy lot and  even had some time to do some sightseeing in this amazing city.   During the day, we were attending a concept …


The Abandoned Railroad Tunnels

Armed with flashlights, we did a scary hike this weekend that followed the tracks of an abandoned railroad, right through the mountains and with several long, dark and creepy tunnels! It was a very exciting trip, and beautiful too since the old tracks follow a wild river that flows through a green valley. The railroad …


Mountain Hiking

    We didn’t climb mount Fuji, but we did hike to the top of Takaosan, a slightly smaller but also beautiful little mountain in the outskirts of Tokyo!   Japan’s steepest train tracks took us to halfway up the mountain from where we walked all the way to the top.     The view …


Red Autumn

Yes! It’s autumn again and that means an explosion of bright red leaves! Today I went with some friends to Minoo, a lovely place in the mountains north of Osaka, and a famous momiji viewing spot (momiji being the bright red leaves). It was amazing! These photos have not been altered, these were the actual …


A Happy Birthday!

Yay this weekend was my birthday and I had a wonderful time! Lucky it was ” Health and Sports Day ”  here in Japan so I had an extra free day to enjoy. Last year I celebrated my birthday in a real traditional Japanese way by dressing up like a Maiko, this year I wanted …


Tokyo Game Show 2012

We went to the Tokyo Game Show!! This massive and popular game event shows all the new and upcoming (Japanese) games and is ofcourse a must-see for us :-) All the big Japanese game companies were there, showing their new stuff: Square Enix… Konami… With Hideo Kojima ofcourse :D Level 5… And ofcourse: CAPCOM! I …


Kobe Port Town

This weekend was holiday-time, since monday was de day of the elderly and all of Japan had a day off! Jurgen, Carlijn and Ward came to Osaka and  together we went on a daytrip to Kobe! Kobe is not so far from Osaka (about 30 minute trainride) and it’s a lovely town with a big …


Festival of Lights

Summer in Japan always means lights; whether it’s amazing fireworks shows or lanterns floating on a river. This weekend, the park around Osaka castle was lit up with thousands of small lanterns. You could buy your own lantern and place it in beautiful patterns on the fields around the castle. There was live music and …


Comiket Cosplay

Today I went to Comic Market. The biggest comic event in Japan, and maybe the world. It’s absolutely massive, there where so many people! I took some shots of a couple of cosplayers for everyone to enjoy :D!  


Summer in Japan means fireworks and festivals! And not just any fireworks, the bigger the better! Each fireworks festival attracts thousands of people and the viewing spots are already full with people hours before the show starts. We went to the Tokyo Sumigawa fireworks show, one that has a long history and is said to …


Summer in Osaka

It’s been a month since I moved to Osaka, time flies! So many things happened, I moved to my own apartment, started a new job and became an aunt! :D In the meantime summer kicked in, and that means temperatures of above 35 degrees during the day (and it does not cool down at night). …


Osaka Shopping

A couple of days ago I arrived in Osaka, which is completely different from Tokyo! Osaka is a harbour town, the people are more rough but also friendly and open. Also, Osaka is not nearly so big as Tokyo, so I can basically go everywhere by foot. That’s pretty nice since  the public transportation costs …


Green Tokyo

Today I went for a stroll in the neighbourhoods Meguro and Ebisu, and came across some very nice parks and green areas. On a hot day like today, these are the best places to go! The National Science Museum of Tokyo has an institute for Nature Study, which basically is a huge park filled with a …


Together in Tokyo

We’re spending a week together in Tokyo before Marthe goes to Osaka to start her job! The first day, we went together to the area where Wards work is located, Odaiba. Odaiba  is near the ocean and harbours, and it’s a very wide and spacious neighbourhood with huge buildings and malls. We had beautiful weather! …


Back to Japan

Yes, we succeeded in fulfilling our goal, we both got a job as a concept artist at a Japanese game company! Marthe will work at a huge gamestudio in Osaka, and Ward will work on an exciting new gameproject  in Tokyo. We were interviewed about our adventures in Japan by Karel Millenaar and Niels t …


Plum blossom goodbyes

This will be the last post I’ll write from our lovely house in Kyoto! Tomorrow we are going back to the Netherlands. However, there is a big big chance we’ll return to Japan this summer :-p So it’s not really goodbye! March is the month of Plum blossom! Just as beautiful as the cherry blossoms! …



Even though we’ve lived in Kyoto for 1,5 years now, we still discover new and beautiful spots in the city. Today we walked to the river and crossed a secluded temple area where a wedding was going on. It was beautiful! Alongside the river we were surrounded by bird of prey trying to catch fish, …


Inaka ni itta

“We went to the countryside”! Our good friend Tokutaro-san took us to his grandmother, who lives in the countryside of the Kyoto prefecture. He took us by car through the most beautiful areas of Kyoto. First we went to Miyama-cho. This is a lovely village surrounded by misty mountains and water. The area is famous …


The Signs of Dotonbori

Dotonbori is a huge shopping/eating/drinking/partying area in Osaka. At night, the thousands of neon lights are lit and hundreds of people are walking around looking for a place to eat. Restaurants make the most elaborate signs on their walls to hopefully stand out amidst the neon craziness. Hmmmm where shall we eat… Maybe some takoyaki? …


Kaiseki Birthday

Yay happy birthday Ward! We celebrated by going to a “kaiseki” restaurant called Grotto, located near our house. Kaiseki is a very traditional Japanese multi-course dinner. Our dinner had 9 courses of the most delicious and real Kyoto style foods. Ofcourse we made a lot of pictures :-) We ordered some fantastic Japanese sake. Ofcourse, …


Snowy Kyoto

When we woke up this morning, Kyoto was suddenly covered in a big pile of snow! So we went outside and made some photos in our neighbourhood :-) Our neighbours made a snow Totoro :) The beauty of our neighbourhood: My attempt at making a snowman: And then the sun came out and everything melted …


Osaka Aquarium

Since we both finished our projects, we have some time to travel around! So, we went to Osaka Aquarium! Osaka Aquarium is a huge building filled with bigger and smaller tanks that hold the most magnificent seacreatures. You start at the top floor and walk your way down through the different aquaria. Here are some …


A Michelin-star Lunch and Piano Concert

Today was a very special day, first we had a fantastic lunch at a Michelin-star restaurant and afterwards went to a piano concert in the Kyoto Concert Hall! Kyoto has more than 100 Michelin restaurants (with a total of 149 stars) and most of them are very tiny establishments with just one cook and a …


Triple A score on the Japanese test!

Yaaaaaay we passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test we took in December! And both with a triple A score! This means we now have official proof that we can speak, read and understand basic/intermediate Japanese.   And this is how we celebrated :-)

The hidden dark alleys of Pontochō

Near the center of Kyoto lies Pontochō, a restaurant/bar area, and traditional Flower District, home to many geisha. There are secret alleys leading to all kinds of hidden bars and restaurant, we discover new things every time we go there!

Family part 3: The Setsubun Festival!

At the beginning of February Ward’s family visited us in Kyoto! Even though they were only here for a couple of days, we’ve seen so much fantastic things. First of all, the Setsubun festival! This festival is held to welcome spring, and is celebrated by lighting up huge fires, throwing beans and eating lucky sushi …


Long time no see!!

Three years ago, during our exchange, we met a very nice family here in Kyoto, the Okuda family. Yesterday, after all those years, we met up again! It was so nice to see them again! They took us out to dinner to eat absolutely delicious shabu-shabu (raw meat dipped in soup). Also we tasted crab, …


Relaxing From Busy Tokyo: Yokohama

To conclude our Tokyo trip we went to Yokohama, the second biggest town of Japan, and Tokyo’s neighbour. Actually the two towns are really intertwined,  so it feels like one big town. But where Tokyo’s city center is busy and flashy, Yokohama feels like a more relaxed place, with a lot of water, wide areas …


Tokyo Parasites

Oooo the Parasite Museum in Tokyo is really nasty… :-p The museum is filled with bottled up parasites, growing out of all kinds of animals and body parts… The museum shop has some funny souvenirs, including tapeworm keychains haha. We had fun, but I also felt a bit queezy afterwards :-) Parasite artwork!   So …


The Skyscrapers of Shinjuku

We visited Shinjuku, the business district of Tokyo. This area has the world’s busiest station (!!) and the area is filled with huge skyscrapers, really impressive!   The view from Tokyo Metropolitan Building, 45th floor, 202 meters :) The fantastic buildings of Shinjuku:   Tokyo Tower 2012! Tokyo is so big, even from the 45th …


Electric Town Akihabara

  Today we visited Akihabara, a lively, loud an colorful neighbourhood in Tokyo, completely filled with electronics, manga, anime and game shops! Here are some impressions of this hectic area.   Thousands of weirdly shaped buildings filled with games, dvds, books and electronics   Neon lights and signs everywhere   Extravagant manga cars   The …


New year in Tokyo

Happy 2012, the year of the Dragon!! We travelled to Tokyo to celebrate the new year! We took the shinkansen, the fast bullet train, and bought a nice ekibento, which is a lovely little lunchbox especially made for train travel. Kyoto and Tokyo have no snow, but the area in between was completely white! New …


Family in Kyoto

Our family visited us in Kyoto and again we discovered a lot of new and exciting places in our beautiful city! We ate Kyoto sushi with Jurgen and Carlijn. Because Kyoto is located far from the sea, the traditional sushi is not made with fresh fish but prepared fish and herbs.  This sushi has so …


Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas everyone! There are often nice concerts at Kyoto Station, and during Christmas we went to this one. Even the tiny girl in the middle sang a Chistmas song (in English even!). Really nice!

What have we been working on?

Well, the past couple of months we joined an online drawing class by James Paick, a very skilled and famous artist in the game industry. We both took classes in Environment Design. Because the classes were held in America, we had some time difference issues, and we had to get up at 4:00 am to …


Autumn colors!

Whoa it’s finally autumn in Kyoto! And wow, the city transformed into bright red colors, with all kinds of flowers and trees bursting with fruits. It’s really spectacular. Here are some photos we shot in our neighbourhood, which is one of the most beautiful areas to see the colors of autumn!

Friends and Family

    The past few week we had a lot of visitors, first my family came by and then our friends joined us for over two weeks. Together we discovered a lot of fantastic new things in and around Kyoto! Some highlights:   Arashiyama and it’s nature is fantastic. The bamboo forest is enchanting! We even saw a real …


From Marthe to Maiko

I celebrated my birthday in a very special way this year: me and my twinsister Dorith did a Maiko makeover! A Maiko is an apprentice Geisha, with a beautiful white face and red lips, elaborate hairpieces and a really colourful kimono. We’ve seen them strolling around in Kyoto, but what is it like to dress …



I know I post a lot of creepy creatures, so I promise this will be the last one: there was a huge snake next to our house!! (;゜0゜)

Asia-trip PART 3: Seoul

After visiting Busan we took the high-speed train right through South Korea to the capital Seoul. This city is absolutely amazing!! It’s almost unbelievable how this city has grown into such a vibrant metropolis, when you consider that it has seen so many devastating wars and it wasn’t before the 1990’s that is was properly …


Asia-trip PART 2: Busan, South Korea

After spending a couple of days in the west of Japan, we took the ferry to South-Korea. This boat only takes three hours to soar across the sea to Korea! Our hotel was located at the beautiful beach of Haeundae. Busan is a lively and huge port town, the second largest city of South Korea. …


Asia-trip PART 1: Fukuoka and Nagasaki

We have just returned from our amazing trip to Kyushu and South Korea! First we travelled to the far west of Japan to Fukuoka. This harbour town has the most delicious ramen (noodles) and a beautiful beach. We met there with Yoshiko, and she took us out to dinner for motsunabe, a hotpot made of …


Candle Festival in Nara

The Japanese know how to celebrate summer! This time we visited the candle festival in Nara. Nara is the old capital of Japan, and is a very traditional town with a huge park filled with wonderful temples. For this occasion, the beautiful park was completely decorated with candles and lanterns! The atmosphere was amazing, wandering …


Otsu Fireworks

Yesterday we went to Otsu to view a fireworks show. Otsu is a city on the other side of the mountains from Kyoto, and is beautifully located next to a huge lake (the biggest in Japan). Every year there is a fantastic fireworks show above this lake, and this time we went to see it! …


Kibune Water Festival

Last week we travelled to the mountain town Kibune, north of Kyoto, to visit the temple there and see the water festival. During the festival, the temple is lit with hundreds of lanterns and people can write down their wishes and hang them in beautifully decorated trees. It felt like a fairytale walking there! Kibune …


Pumpkin eating

Today we went to Anraku-ji, a small but beautiful temple right behind our house, to the special Pumpkin Memorial Service. This tradition is over 200 years old. Visitors can eat special cooked pumpkin and drink cold tea while viewing the beautiful garden. It is said that by eating these pumpkins, you stay healthy for the …


Cicada noises

In Japan, summer is very noisy! This is the time when the cicadas emerge from the ground, climb in the trees and start making intensive noises that sound like electricity… Some sound like an alarm, but most remind me of engines or fridges or something :p It’s sometimes so deafening!! We managed to make a …


Gion Matsuri

Yes, it is July, so it’s time for Gion Matsuri again! Last time we celebrated Kyoto’s most famous festival wearing yukatas (summer kimonos), but this year we decided to go in our normal clothes :) Gion Matsuri is celebrated by a colourful parade of over 60 different floats. We went to the evening festival before …


Exchange Student Exhibition

  Yesterday was the opening party of the Exchange Student Exhibition at Kyoto Seika University! Our work can also be seen there. We printed some of the work we made so far during our stay here :) If you’re in the neighbourhood, come see, and if you’re not, see these photos :)    


We encountered this monster last night in our kitchen!!! The only way to kill these dangerous creatures is to poor hot water over them… Now it’s like a boiled shrimp :-s

Mountain temple

Today we went to a beautiful temple high up in the mountains! It was so secluded that no one was there, a really calming experience. Also there was a picture of the temple’s guardians, the monkeys that live there. Before that we had a delicious lunch in an old soba (Japanese noodles) restaurant.  We even …



I bought a nice children’s book about Japanese bugs :-D now I can look up the names of all the creepy, nasty and way too big insects we encounter here :-) …


Finally made a picture of a firefly (hotaru). June is hotaru season and a lot of them magically float next to our house.  

Art, gardens and insects

We don’t update this blog very often, mostly because we post on Facebook as well :-o SBut I will try to post those messages here too! We’ve been busy the last couple of weeks, mostly with our school projects, but also learning Japanese and working on our own art projects. Here is some art we …


Golden Week

Time goes by so fast! We’ve been here for over a month now and have been quite busy with school. Ward is drawing a 40-page manga for his class about Dutch folklore, and it will be exhibited in the Manga Museum next year! The story is about “de Solse gat” and it’s going to be …


Sakura Explosion

This week, the sakura (Japanese cherry blossom) started blooming! Since there are so many sakura trees, it is truly an awesome sight to behold. The trees, that are actually somewhat bland during the rest of the year, suddenly explode with pink/white flowers. The trees stay like this for about a week, and then the flowers …


Mountain Temple

Together with our friend Tokutaro, we had a trip to Lake Biwa, the biggest lake of Japan. Tokutaro has a car, so he showed us places we didn’t go before, and it was a lot of fun! One place in particular was fascinating, a mountain with a large temple build on to it. When we …


Seika Lip Dub

This is a very funny video, made by Kyoto Seika students. It shows the university’s library  and surroundings, but most of all it’s a very entertaining video :D So watch and enjoy and taste the atmosphere of Seika University!

Maiko Madness

Gotta catch ‘m all! While walking through Gion, the old entertainment district of Kyoto, we stumbled upon two Maiko. Maiko are Geisha apprentices. At the height of the Geisha era, the 1930’s, men came from all around the country to compete with each other to be with the most popular geisha. From what we saw …


Hello Japan!

Yesterday we arrived in beautiful Kyoto, and as the taxi dropped us of at our new home it started to snow! We live in a lovely tradtional Japanese house with tatami mats, futons and no chairs :-). The surrounding are amazing, there is a very nice and quiet temple in our backyard (Honen-in) and Ginkaku-ji …