Amy Chavez

Amy Chavez lives on a Shiraishijima, a small island in Japan's Seto Inland Sea, with 563 other crazy people. She also writes for the Japan Times, blogs for HuffPo, and has authored two books: Japan, Funny Side Up and Running the Shikoku Pilgrimage: 900 Miles to Enlightenment. She loves running really long distances, skiing super steep mountains and sailing the calm waters of the Seto Inland Sea. Her motto in life is: "Surround yourself with beauty and peace."

All Stories by Amy Chavez

On a small island of 570 people, 92 are named “Amano” But, why?!

When we think of an Asian country where many people have the same last name, Korea usually comes to mind. With just 250 surnames in use, half the Korean population bears one of three names: Kim, Lee or Park. Compare that to Japan that has over 100,000 surnames. So when we hear of a place in Japan where over 20 percent of the people share the same last name, it’s enough to pique our curiosity.

Meet the Amanos: Amano-san the ferry port manager and Amano-san the grocer; Amano-san who owns the liquor shop and Amano-san who serves curry lunches; Amano-san the plumber and Amano-san the carpenter. They’re all different people who live on the same small island and who, believe it or not, are not related.

How can this be? We bet you can’t guess why!

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Vegetables are smarter than fruits: Three high IQ Japanese veggies

I’ve lived among Japanese fruits and vegetables for 17 years and one thing I can say for sure is that vegetables are waaay smarter than fruits.

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