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Aha Falls offers water enthusiasts a chance for relaxing in the cool, dark waters of the swimming hole or swimming across to relax on the rocks on the side of the waterfall. Photo by Matt Orr/Stars and Stripes

A-ha!

Let me start with this: I had no idea that I would stumble upon a beautiful oasis when I went looking for a strenuous hike through the lush...

The Kan Art Museum sits on the mountainside about halfway up the mountain to the falls. The former traditional Japanese hotel, now in disrepair, features the works of storied Japanese artist Kozaki Kan.

RYUTOSEN

High above me, water spewed forth from the heavens in the form of a waterfall called Ryutosen. In front of me, a deep green pool of mountain...

Visitors eat and drink at Yasukuni Shrine to escape the intense heat of the summer day.

Good day for a shrine

To be honest, I didn't want to be at Yasukuni Shrine that day. The humidity was visible (not an exaggeration) and I was already drenched in sweat...

A Japanese father hangs from a vine which stretches over the creek. There were quite a few families that were hiking the creek, some even doing the trek in flip flops.

SLIPPERY SLOPE

During a scuba diving adventure last year off beautiful Kerama Islands, a fellow diver was singing the praises of a river trek he had done...

A carpet at the Yebisu museum is adorned with the image of Yebisu, the Japanese god of fishermen, luck, the working man and guardian of health and small children.

Beer the reason to be Here

Getting to Yebisu Gardens Place should have been easy. I know because I wandered around for two hours looking for it even though there are signs...

My friend Kanako Kobayashi prepares for her very first flight attempt at a paragliding school in Izu.

Where the winds take you

Whenever I seek a new adventure here in Japan, I normally just go in the direction the wind takes me.

Recently, the winds swept me to Atami...

After measuring and milling the grains, we put them in a large stainless steel kettle to boil them and extract their sugars.

C'mon get hoppy

Japanese breweries used to be required to produce at least two million liters of beer per year to get a license. But in 1994, the laws were...

Japanese surfers surf the shallow reef that extends about 100 yards from the walkway.

Got time?

If you were to ask anybody who has been stationed here about the Sunabe Seawall, they would not only be able to tell you where it is, but they...

Three geishas perform a traditional Japanese dance for Nagasaki's Okunchi festival.

In Pursuit of Geishas

Since my arrival at the sleepy Navy base in Sasebo five months ago, I have sought adventure and the "Japan experience" at every turn.

In...

Mikasa Park hosts a statue of Admiral Heihachiro Togo, Comander-in-Chief of the Japanese Grand Fleet during the Russo-Japanese War.

Time at Mikasa Park

After moving into my house off base and getting settled in, it was time to get to know my surroundings.

There are plenty of festivals,...

Nihon-ji Daibatsu (great Buddha statue); which stands at a colossal 31.05 meters.

One big Buddha & one big climb

It never ceases to amaze how many wonderful sights there are to see in Japan.

On a recent day trip to Mount Nokogiri -- sawtooth mountain...

The hiking trail in Nago Mountain

Atop Nago Mountain

I like to think that when I wrap up my current three-year tour in six months, I will have made the most of my opportunity to explore the wonders...

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