Preview: The Sun Will Rise Again


The Sun Will Rise Again

ISBN-13: 978-1540747952

Without question World War II was the deadliest war in history. Of the estimated 70 million people killed, 50 to 55 million were civilians.

The United States managed to stay out of the war that was ravaging the rest of the world until the day Imperial Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, “a date which will live in infamy.”

What prompted the Japanese to wage war with the United States? Was the attack really a surprise or was it a carefully orchestrated event by Washington to anger the American public enough to want to go to war?

Did the Japanese truly believe that they would prevail against the military might of the United States? The losses the Japanese military experienced during the Pacific War were unforeseeable. The suffering endured by the Japanese people was unimaginable. 

By the end of World War II, Japan had persevered through 14 years of war. The country lay in ruins and the morale of its people was at an all-time low, but in the land of the rising sun, the sun will rise again. Follow Japan’s journey from vanquished to victorious in this book that details the grim realities of war, politics, racism and blind devotion.

Please also check out my travel guide released in November of 2016, “A Blogger’s Guide To Japan,” available on, Amazon Kindle and CreateSpace eStore: (




Seeking Interview Candidates For Upcoming Book

I have not been posting to my blog very often as of late and the reason is because I have been busy working on my second book.

The new book is on track to be published by Fall 2017.  I am seeking individuals willing to share their stories about the Pacific War.  These stories will be featured in interview format at the end of the book.

The interviews will be conducted via email.

Potential interview candidates include:

(1) Japanese civilians who survived the bombings of Tokyo, Nagasaki or Hiroshima (or their family members).

(2) Former members of the Japanese military (or their family members).

(3) Former members of the 100th/ 442nd Battalions / MIS (or their family members).

(4) Japanese War Brides who traveled to the United States or Australia.

(5) War orphans in Japan (Orphaned either as a result of being mixed race babies/ children of the occupation forces or orphaned due to their parents becoming war casualties.)

Please post a comment, if you are interested in sharing your story.  Thank you for your support.

(Photo: Werner Bischof/ Japan 1951)

Japan: Nagasaki (Lantern Festival) 長崎ランタンフェスティバル

Nagasaki City (長崎市) was home to Chinese sailors and traders during the 15th – 19th centuries and today boasts having the oldest Chinatown in Japan.  Known as Shinchi Chinatown, Nagasaki’s Chinatown exhibits a Chinese flair not felt in any of Japan’s other major cities.   Shinchi Chinatown with its 40 plus restaurants serving the signature Nagasaki noodle dishes, champon and sara udon, confectionary shops and souvenir stores, draws visitors from all over Japan. However, each year more people flock to Chinatown for one event in particular.  This event is the Nagasaki Lantern Festival (長崎ランタンフェスティバル).

The Nagasaki Lantern Festival was originally organized by the Chinese residents of Nagasaki to welcome the Chinese New Year. Arguably the largest Chinese festival in Japan, it takes place on the first day of January on the Lunar Calendar and continues for 15 days (With additional days added in February). Spread out across several city blocks and with seven different venues for viewing various performances throughout the day, the festival draws over one million visitors to the port city. Approximately 15,000 Chinese lanterns decorate Shinchi Chinatown and the surrounding areas and there are various events scheduled throughout the festival which should not be missed. These events include the Chinese Lantern Ornaments, the Mazu Procession, the Emperor’s Parade, the Dragon Dance, the Chinese Lion Dance, the Chinese Acrobatics and the Erhu Event. If you plan to arrive by train be sure to pick up a copy of the Nagasaki Lantern Festival program at the station!

There are various locations for viewing the lanterns but if you are pressed for time, try visiting the top venues: Chuo-koen, Minato-koen and Shinchi Chinatown. By far, these locations have the most elaborate displays of lanterns.

Do dress warmly for the event as the cold breezes off the ocean can chill you to the bone.

Location(s):                      Shinchi Chinatown, Chuo Koen, Tojin Yashiki, Kofukuji, Kaji-ichi, Haman-machi Arcade, Koushi-byou (Confucian Shrine)

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New Book: A Blogger’s Guide to JAPAN


Friends, good news! My book is now available to purchase online. Please note that if you purchase the book from the CreateSpace eStore, you can use the discount code (YVW7YCQG) to receive $3 off the list price. Worldwide shipment is available.

Further, is offering a special limited time holiday discount.  Use the following code to receive $10 off the list price at check out:  HOLIDAYBOOK

Thank you so much for your support!

•CreateSpace eStore: Now available

•Amazon Europe:

JAPAN: Nagasaki (Shinchi Chinatown)

Having previously covered Japan’s Chinatowns in Yokohama and Kobe, it is now time to focus on the third Chinatown located in Nagasaki City’s Shinchi District.  Shinchi Chinatown, is Japan’s oldest Chinatown, established during the 17th century. This was possible because even during the Edo Period (1603-1867), when Japan was isolated from the rest of the world, the port of Nagasaki remained open to foreign trade with China. It is estimated that there were 10,000 Chinese residents, mostly merchants from Fujian, residing in Nagasaki City during this period. These residents were restricted to living in the hills of Nagasaki and it wasn’t until 1859 when Japan opened its doors to foreigners that they transferred to the Shinichi District forming the Chinatown we know today.



Today, Nagasaki’s Chinatown is a collection of over 40 restaurants serving the signature Nagasaki noodle dishes, champon and sara udon as well as confectionary shops and souvenir stores. The restaurants are typically open between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM for lunch and from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM for dinner.





There are four vermilion lacquered gates erected in each of the four corners of Chinatown.  They were constructed by craftsman from Fuzhou, China who wanted to develop Nagasaki’s Chinatown to rival those located in Yokohama and Kobe. Each gate is adorned with a sculpture of a god representing the four directions.  The Azure Dragon can be found on the east gate, the White Tiger on the west gate, the Vermilion Bird on the south gate and the Black Tortoise on the north gate.













Shinchi Chinatown is a popular tourist attraction and particularly crowded during the Nagasaki Lantern Festival, the largest Chinese New Year celebration in Japan, held in February.   It is estimated that there are as many as 15,000 lanterns decorating the streets during the festival attracting tourists from all over Japan and abroad.






The Chinese culture has also influenced other events held year round in Nagasaki. Among these is the Shoro Nagashi (the Spirit Boat Procession) which takes place on August 15th, during the Bon celebrations in Japan and the Nagasaki Peiron Championships (Dragon Boat Championship) which takes during the last weekend in July in the Nagasaki Harbor.

You can easily reach Shinchimachi Chinatown from JR Nagasaki Station by taking the No. 1 tram to Tsukimachi .  From that point Chinatown is merely 2 minutes on foot. Trams run every 10 minutes.




Address:             12-7 Shinchimachi, Nagasaki 850-0842, Nagasaki Prefecture

Web Page:



Nagasaki City became the center of foreign influence in the 16th through the 19th centuries. It is home to one of Japan’s three Chinatowns and Portuguese and Dutch influences can still be seen throughout the town.

Today, visitors to Nagasaki can witness a 400-year-old festival, which incorporates different aspects of both the Chinese and Dutch cultures.  The three-day event is known as the Nagasaki Kunchi Festival and was originally a celebration of the autumn harvest in the late 16th century. Later on, the festival was associated with the Suwa Jinja.

The Kunchi Matsuri features dance performances known as Hono-Odori. These dances are performed by various groups, each representing a specific Odori-cho (district) within the city. There are fifty-nine groups who perform on a rotation basis once every seven years. In addition to the dances, the festival includes floats shaped like boats, gorgeous costumes and a fireworks display. One of the boat shaped floats features a boy who represents the son of merchant, Araki Sotaro.

Sotaro was a samurai who relocated to Nagasaki from Kumamoto in 1588.  He sailed to distant places like Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, eventually returning to Japan with a Vietnamese wife.  Sotaro and his wife later established a trading emporium in Nagasaki. The couple are buried in Nagasaki at the Daion-ji temple and their gravesite has been designated as a City Cultural Property.

The focal point of the festival is the Chinese Dragon Dance. It was originally performed on New Year’s Eve by Nagasaki’s Chinese residents and today maintains all the mesmerizing movements and energy from the past, which brings the dragon to life. The festival music known as Shagiri is played on traditional Chinese musical instruments.

Four venues play host to the festival including: Suwa Jinja, Otabisho, Yasaka Shrine and Kokaido.  The event is free of charge however paid seating can be secured at each of the event venues. Be sure to get there early as tickets sell out quickly and the venues get very crowded.

Reaching Nagasaki from Tokyo is relatively easy via the JR Tokaido/ Sanyo Shinkansen, exit at Hakata Station in Fukuoka.  From there, transfer to the JR Kamome Limited Express train to Nagasaki.


Float featuring Araki Sotaro's son

Float featuring Araki Sotaro’s son


Web page:

Korea: Hapcheon Image Theme Park

Up until now we have been focusing on the Japan/ Hollywood connection, exploring locations in Japan used for various Hollywood films as well as introducing you to a film theme park located in Kyoto. But now, let’s take a quick look at locations used by the Japanese film industry.

One such setting is located just across the Sea of Japan at Japan’s neighbor in the west, South Korea. I am referring to Hapcheon Image Theme Park located 200 miles south of Seoul.

With non-stop flights from Nagasaki, Japan lasting an hour and 25 minutes, it is close enough for overseas filming and a must see destination if you are a film/ Korean drama buff. But, be aware that there isn’t much else to do aside from the theme park in Hapcheon, so plan accordingly.

The theme park came into existence in 2004 and covers an area measuring 74,629 square meters. The park is divided into two sections, one section housing sets owned and operated by KBS ( and another housing sets owned and operated by MBC (

The KBS sets include reproductions of famous Seoul landmarks such as Seoul Station, the Chosun Governor-General Office, and the Bando Hotel, as they appeared in the 1930s -1960s. MBC’s sets primarily contain reproductions of streets from Sogong-dong, Seoul from the 1970s-80s. There are a total of 152 replica buildings housed here. Some of the buildings are constructed to resemble the ones that existed during the Japanese occupation of Korea and you can see Japanese signs throughout the park

As a matter of fact, two scenes from the 2013 Japanese war film directed by Yasuo Furuhata, entitled Boy Called H (少年H), were filmed here.

Other films/ TV dramas filmed at the Hapcheon Image Theme Park include: “Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War”, “Seoul 1945”, “East of Eden”, “Modern Boy”, “Jeon Woo Chi”, “Light and Shadow” and “Bridal Mask.”

The park is open from 9:00AM – 6:00 PM. By car, the journey will take you roughly 3.5 hours from Seoul. You can also take a bus from the Seoul Nambu Bus Terminal towards Hapcheon. There are five buses daily at 10:08, 12:00, 2:00, 3:00 and 4:45. From the Hapcheon Bus Terminal, you will need to connect to a local bus headed towards the Hapcheon Image Theme Park. (15 minute journey)

Address:          757, Hapcheonhosu-ro, Yongju-myeon, Hapcheon-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do