Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

About Samurai Dave


I’m a vagabond traveler currently teaching English in Japan. I like travel, history, festivals, culture, and good beer. I’ve been to about 30 countries though some no bigger than a kitchen table. I’ve run with the bulls of Pamplona, hiked the Inca Trail, got mugged in Mexico City, floated down the Nile in old boat, climbed the Great Pyramid of Egypt, got ripped at Oktoberfest, and rode the Tokyo Yamanote Halloween Party Train.

This blog is a chronicle of my adventures both current and past along with socio-political commentary and stories on cultural activities. I’ve also recently got into video editing so I’ll be posting more of my video tales here. Ronindave YouTube Site

Enjoy! Tell your friends, leave comments, better yet leave money! This traveling stuff ain’t cheap even though I travel on shoestring that would barely fit a gnat’s shoe!

2018 Update – I’ve neglected this site for several years after many of my images bit the dust because I was using image bank which apparently went bust and took a lot of my images with it. Will try to update those old blogs as I get to it.


  1. Hi, I am from the Yahoo answers and I need your help in my Kyoto itinerary. Remember?? Would appreciate that you could email me back. Thanks!

    Clarie 🙂

    Comment by Clarie | April 2, 2007 | Reply

  2. Dear Samurai Dave,

    I noticed you have some great video content online and I’m inviting you to submit to the NextGen TV Competition 2007.
    We’d love to see your best short video between one and six minutes. We’re on a mission to find and showcase emerging talent to traditional and emerging media development executives, so give us your best shot!
    We’re accepting one to six minute video shorts for the following sponsors:
     Fremantle Media North America (Comedy, Drama, Game Show, or Alternative including Reality and Unscripted): Offering a 6-month fellowship and $26,000 stipend (no full-time benefits)
     MSN (Comedy, Drama, Action, Mystery, Animation, Commercial / Promotional): Offering $10,000 and a meeting with MSN Development and Distribution
    Best of all, there is no entry fee!
    Festival selections will be showcased online and at the LA TV Festival, an industry celebration reception in Los Angeles on July 25. The winning entries may also be screened at NATPE’s annual gathering of over 8,000 television executives in January 2008.
    I invite you to visit our festival website for official rules, guidelines and submission instructions. But do it now—submission period ends June 29, 2007.

    We look forward to seeing an entry from you!

    Best of luck,
    Grace Fraga
    NextGen TV Competition

    Comment by Grace | June 28, 2007 | Reply

  3. Dave,
    I LOVE your site…it’s terrific. Did you send your video clip entry in to the competition? I hope so, because you certainly do have serious talent.

    Comment by Jan | July 9, 2007 | Reply

  4. Greetings O Swordy Dave.

    My nephew is currently in Japan studying for 12 months. He finished
    school in Australia last year and is jumping into Japanese culture
    before he returns to University back home. He’s a country lad – similar
    to a mid-western type from the U S of A – shy and retiring ! He’s set up
    a blog, to which I have been responding under many guises. I would
    greatly appreciate it if you could have a look and make a comment every
    now and again, throwing in a few appropriate Japanese words/phrases.More
    power to you. The boy’s at

    Comment by Uncle Roland | August 2, 2007 | Reply

  5. Samurai Dave,

    I am an editor for The Issue (a recently launched Blog newspaper), and I wanted to let you know that we’ve featured your blog post on the pyramids in today’s Issue. You can find an excerpt and a link to your post in the Arts and Culture Section at

    We scour the Blog-o-sphere for the best posts out there and present them in the form of an online daily newspaper. So congratulations! If you would like a badge “featured on The Issue” to promote your blog, just send me an e-mail.


    JB Cossart

    Comment by JB Cossart | September 20, 2007 | Reply

  6. hey there, loved your blog about the golden fleece inn. i’m actually planning on going to Great Britain soon. I was wondering if you had any suggestions on where to go and what to do. any tips on how to spend as little money at inns and hotels as possible? I’ll be flying all the way from hawaii, so that’ll be enough money spent right there:) i’d love to hear back from ya! Thanks!


    Comment by Candice | October 13, 2007 | Reply

  7. Dear Samurai Dave,
    I was wonering whether you would be able to send me a copy of the clip on hastings? I would ask that you look kindly on my request once I have explained my circumstances.

    I am a serving officer with the Queen’s Royal Hussars in Sennelager in Germany. I am taking 15 guys from the Regt back to Hastings to do a small battlefield tour. We chose 1066 and all that as our subject as so many of the guys were oblivious as to when and where it all started. The campaign has lots of lessons for us from Williams Logistics,his use of combined Arms and other features that match military doctrine of today. Each of the guys has been given parts of the battle or characters to study and they will then give a presentation to the other guys in the Regiment. The presentation is on the 22nd of this month and they will travel back for a weekend of “study” plus a few beers in the local area!

    You will be aware that Wellington describe his Army as the “scum of the earth” and we still today recruit from all of the same areas. Most soldiers don’t have the best education. This is a homegrown attempt to add some education. They will have to research (much easy now with the internet), prepare a brief that will be given to 150 of their peers before submitting an essay at the end for marking by the Army Educators!

    The Regt are now in their Operations year (we came back from Iraq in Nov 06!) and will be training for Ops in Afghanistan or Iraq which will begin in earnest at the end of 2008 so this will be their last chance to do something like this for atleast 16 months.

    Can I ask that you make the clip available to us to add some serious credibility to our presentation rather than the usual “Death by Powerpiont”

    Yours sincerley

    Ian Wilkins


    Comment by Ian Wilkins | January 10, 2008 | Reply

  8. Sure! How do I send it to you?

    Comment by samuraidave | January 11, 2008 | Reply

  9. Your photos seriously rock. What’s your camera?

    Comment by Nestor the Chronicler | January 14, 2008 | Reply

  10. Hey Samurai Dave!!
    I was just browsing and I came across your page. I wanted to let you know that your pictures are amazing and your stories are riveting. I also really respect what you’re doing so keep it up!! (of course it’s always easier to leave respect than money! but as a grad student, I can’t help ya’ much there!) The point is that I’ve been studying up on Japan and your pictures were so great! Usually when people take pictures of places they’ve been they’re horrible quality or dark or too far away and yours were perfect! I’d love to travel there one day and I had no idea how much one can see there. So thanks for brightening my day! Looking forward to more pictures and more stories. Good luck!!

    Comment by Ashley | March 14, 2008 | Reply

  11. Hello again Dave,
    I just wanted to leave another comment about how I love the fact that everything on your blog is indexed on the side here for easy access. How did I not discover this blog sooner?! I also really liked your piece on the haunted inn at York. I’ve been to England but never made it to York (funny because my hometown is York, PA). I will have to make the special trip. I also wanted to shed some light on the whole baked beans for breakfast… COME ON!! THEY EAT BLOOD PUDDING– a dish composed primarily of blood and congealed fat!!! But seriously, I have friends from England and they just love baked beans! for them, it’s their morning starch like we may have hash browns. Funny though right?? I believe that since we Americans like putting ketchup and mustard in them and eat them with our hot dogs, we would never presume to eat the baked beans for breakfast, but they don’t have the same associations as we do. Hope that helps some! Thanks again!

    Comment by Ashley | March 14, 2008 | Reply

  12. are you the same dave from the site “dave in japan” if you are, its awesome to see you still around. youve got some fun stuff here keep up the good work.

    Comment by asher | March 19, 2008 | Reply

  13. Hi Samurai Dave,

    Could you recommend any iaido dojos in the tokyo area that are open to foreigners learning
    the art for just a couple of weeks, thanks!


    Comment by Nick | March 20, 2008 | Reply

  14. Hi Teacher,

    We at have found your videos on the web, and we feel you’d be great for our website. Please feel free to upload your video.

    We help ESL teachers in Taiwan, China, Japan and Korea find teaching jobs.

    We are VIDEO!

    Hurry and be one of the first to get your video introduction uploaded.

    Cheers, and good luck

    The Team

    Comment by | June 30, 2008 | Reply

  15. Hi Samurai Dave.

    I’m an assistant producer with Diverse TV in the UK. We may be making a documentary about Samurai very soon. Is there a n email address I can contact you on?

    All the best!


    Comment by Catherine Phillips | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  16. Hi Samurai Dave,

    I saw your Wet Samba Parade video on Youtube and it looks like a great parade. It is possible for you to burn off a DVD for me of all your raw footage from the Parade, cos I would like to obhtain a full version at full dvd quality instead of the highlights version. You mention you need donations for your travel expenses, so I would be willing to send you a $100 donation for your time and trouble. Just email me at and tell me your address to send the donation, or if you have a Paypal account where I can make an online transfer to you.

    Mark in Florida.

    Comment by Mark Kelly | October 17, 2008 | Reply

  17. Hi Dave.

    I watched your youtube video I am new to Shakuhachi, I really liked the song. Do you know the name of it or is there written music for it?

    Best wishes,

    Comment by Scott D | October 27, 2008 | Reply

  18. Hey there Dave,

    Like many others that have visited your site, I simply stumbled upon it by chance while researching and getting some ideas for my future trip to Japan. I have just a few questions, and I would really like to pick you brain if you can find some time. First off, I am concerned about cost, I am a student and I don’t have much of a budget (save for a small inheritance), any suggestions on how to cut costs? Second, I have been toying with the idea of teaching English in Japan just like yourself, but I really have no idea how to get started, can you offer some assistance?


    Comment by stevo | November 3, 2008 | Reply

  19. Hi – we met at Kurama Hi Matsuri last month – I have a short spot on your YouTube vid. We met the next day in downtown Kyoto, in the footsteps of Sakamoto Ryoma.
    Loved your Fire festival report, and the tone and content of your site.
    I am back in Sydney now, but may be up in Japan next year leading a samurai battlefield tour; most likely if if the exchange rate could just loosen up a bit. If so, I will send you a line. Best wishes, and stay warm in winter!

    Comment by Ian | November 19, 2008 | Reply

  20. Jamie here – nice blog man. Had no idea you wrote so prodigiously. You do realize, though, that you’re using the WordPress Classic theme. My Grandmother uses the WordPress Classes theme. And she’s been dead for years. Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein and both George Bushes use the Classic theme.
    Seriously. Go to Appearance on your dashboard and click Themes, and for the Love of God just click on something. Anything. Then loads more people will be able to read all the fine content without throwing up on their keyboards. I could make you a custom “Ronin Reports” theme but I think you have to pay 15 bucks to get permission to customize your theme.
    Whatever you do, lose the Classic.
    Good work though mate.

    Comment by junkenjim | December 28, 2008 | Reply

  21. Hi Samurai Dave!
    Great site. I have a question about a Japanese television series produced over ten years ago featuring puppets not unlike Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds. It was quite realistic and the miniatures were incredible. My wife’s puppetry teacher showed it to us years ago on VHS but alas, she has since passed on. I have no idea what this was called, but it was a Samurai epic to be sure, full of banners and puppet horses and traditional Edo period, nothing modern. I’ve searched Google and come up with nothing, searching Bunraku, NHK Tokyo Television, Puppet Samurai, all without luck. Any steer in the right direction would be most appreciated. Happy New Year Samurai Dave!

    Comment by Jim | January 21, 2009 | Reply

  22. hello, i stumbled across your blog when looking a picture of samurai in full armour kneeling. by any chance would you have anything like that?? 😛 im getting my guitar sprayed with a samurai kneeling at a graveyard, and the painter can only do as well as the reference picture, can you help?

    Comment by lino | March 12, 2009 | Reply

  23. Dear Samurai Dave,

    I like your blog and your great photos. I just started my blog which will play in part in the same league, but will soon be oriented towards a different angle about any events, social, corporate or cultural. I was living in Kyoto last year and will slowly publish some great memories and photos and then move on on with my own interests.
    I put your blog in my links and hope you will get some more visit.
    Thank you for sharing your time.
    Denis :

    Comment by denisevents | March 13, 2009 | Reply

  24. Dave,

    I stumbled upon your Komuso video on YouTube while searching for “Shakuhachi” (

    I have watched and listened to it repeatedly and was simply awestruck by the astounding beauty of the music. Can you please tell me exactly the source of the music? I would also love to hear some more from you about your motivation and ideas to produce this video.

    I have always felt a sort of mystical Japanese culture: music, Hokusai, go, etc. After seeing your video I started digging around on the internet about Shakuhachi, and hope to learn and experience more. Thank you so much for sharing your creation, and I very much hope to hear some more details from you!

    Erik Johnson, in the Southwest, USA

    Comment by Erik Johnson | April 18, 2009 | Reply

  25. Dave, thanks for your recent comment on my ThreeSteps video. I need to do some editing – what do you use for video editing software?

    Comment by TSOJ | May 13, 2009 | Reply

  26. Dear Dave,
    Thanks you again for allowing your work to appear in No Dribbling the Squid: Octopush, Skin Kicking, Elephant Polo and Other Oddball Sports.
    We’re looking forward to a very exciting launch for the book in October, and we welcome the participation of all the organizations and photographers who are included in the book. I think you’ll be pleased with how the book turned out: it’s a vibrant compendium of a world of unwieldy sports!
    While you will be receiving a complimentary copy in late September, I hope you’ll consider the following options:
    Offer visitors to your Website, Flickr site, or blog the chance to purchase the book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble or an independent bookseller. Just use this link and it will provide those options:
    Join our Facebook page! Offer visitors to your site the chance to do the same; just post this link:, We’ve even created an app for the book, “What extreme, eccentric, or oddball sport is right for you?” It’s a fun quiz that Facebook participants can take.
    Likewise, we have a Website for our book, and you’re welcome to link to it, to post comments, videos, photos, or other links. We’re hoping to be a central hub for all sorts of unusual, eccentric, and extreme sports and competitions on the Web. It’s
    Finally, the publisher has offered a 50% discount on the book (so the $12.95 book would be $6.48) to any individual or organization who purchases 16 copies or more. (That would be $103.60—shipping included—for 16 books rather than $207.20). Just contact Judi Marshall in special sales:
    Since writing you originally, all these online promotional efforts have become more important to the viability of marketing a book. Unless you object, we would like to use low-res versions of an image that you supplied for this book as an icon or an illustration for the book’s promotion. It could appear on the Facebook page, Website, or quiz application. We’ll provide photographer credits wherever it’s possible. Again, this will be little more than backgrounds and reference materials (along with videos from YouTube, links to other sites, and comments from visitors) to energize the content of the sites. My thanks in advance.
    Best wishes and reiterated thanks,
    Michael J. Rosen

    Comment by Michael J. Rosen | September 15, 2009 | Reply

  27. I want to use some of your pictures on my site on page Is that okay?


    Comment by Jeff Hays | October 1, 2009 | Reply

  28. I want to use some your images on this page of my site Is that okay?

    Comment by Jeff Hays | October 1, 2009 | Reply

  29. Hi Samuri Dave…

    So my husband and I leave in 4 days to head off to Japan and my #1 priority for the trip is to make it to the Kurama Fire Festival in Kyoto. My concern is that we wont be able to find our way there. Am I worried over nothing or is there some advice/directions you can throw my way?
    Thanks for posting that video, I cant explain how excited I get watching it! (Your blog pretty much rocks over all)

    Thanks – Jessica

    Comment by Jessica B | October 13, 2009 | Reply

  30. Just happened upon your blog while writing my own post featuring a little blurb about goldfish scooping. Always nice to read stories from another English teacher in Japan. Keep up the awesome work♥

    Comment by Katherine | October 25, 2009 | Reply

  31. Nice pictures and report, Dave. I do really like your kiyomizudera picture in Kyoto with night lightings. When did you take the picture? Was it winter?

    Comment by Elly | January 10, 2010 | Reply

  32. Hey, I’m wanting to go to the setsubun festival at asakusa tomorrow, but I don’t know what time to go. I have a class an obligation from 1:30 to 5:30, so i don’t know if I should go early during the day, or later in the evening. Any idea? I can’t find anyone around her who knows anything about it, and there are no times listed on any english websites that I’ve found. Hope you can help. I know it’s VERY last minute.

    Comment by Ethan | February 2, 2010 | Reply

    • I went there once or twice. They might have something with devils and kindergarten kids around 11. The bean throwing is at 1. Hope that helps

      Comment by samuraidave | February 2, 2010 | Reply

  33. hi hi~! i want to do the same thing you do when i grow up. problem is. i don’t know how. can you give me some pointers? btw how do you get from country to country isn’t that really expensive? please tell me more~! my email is if you can’t see it up there.

    Comment by Meru Suegi | February 5, 2010 | Reply

  34. Hey Dave,

    Greetings from the UK.

    Total accident that I stumbled upon your site. You get up to some cool stuff. I am fascinated by Japan and everything Japanese. My band are currently looking for influences for our ‘look’, I think your site is a goldmine of cool stuff, with your permission could we use some of your pictures? Please feel free to download our exclusive content and latest track, When Planets Collide.


    Dave T
    Royal County of Berkshire
    United Kingdom

    Comment by Dave Tyler | February 11, 2010 | Reply

    • Hey I can’t remember if I got back to you or not but sure go ahead. Just tell them where it came from and I’d like to see it as well!

      Comment by samuraidave | July 2, 2011 | Reply

  35. of the many video clips that i download, i always watch those that are very funny ,~:

    Comment by Gabriel Walker | December 4, 2010 | Reply

  36. Hi Dave. Wonderful site, and lifestyle you have chosen which most of us seem to only dream about. The komuso shakuhachi player video is perhaps the most beautiful I have seen. I play shakuhachi too, though not like the player in your piece, who is playing from nirvana. I studied and played in Kyoto, and also would occasionally come across a komuso (once with blonde hair legs)–apparently a gaijin sought to continue the tradition. Best of luck to you.

    Comment by Tashi Paljour | February 14, 2011 | Reply

    • thanks a bunch! It’s interesting if not sordid past

      Comment by samuraidave | July 2, 2011 | Reply

  37. Keep on making an idiot of yourself and maybe Hello Kitty land suits you because you are so dumb!

    May Allah wake you up in the land of no morals and jumping in front of trains.


    Comment by Hussein | June 15, 2011 | Reply

  38. Dave
    you are so fortunate to be able to travel like this! I am a new art student (weekend type). I saw several photos that I would love to use as a base for some of my drawings and paintings – may I? Thank you for your kind consideration – Mel – Florida

    Comment by melinda | July 16, 2011 | Reply

  39. Hey Samurai Dave
    sorry for the dumb question but whats you real name? 🙂

    Comment by Sergio | September 15, 2011 | Reply

  40. Hello Samurai Dave,

    While I used my drug (Google) to help me plan my Japan trip for this October to December, I happen to pleasantly stumble across your site and your youtube videos a few times.

    I especially enjoyed watching you hop on the Yamanote Line on Halloween and “chill” with the dolls in the Glitterball. Unfortunately, it seems that I can’t party hard in both of these events this year (I don’t think the party train will happen, thanks to all the disgruntled bitches).

    I will be going to the Chichibu matsuri and you are more than welcome to join me if you are interested. I do like to get your advice on one particular issue (yes, i know, I’m another one of THOSE people. Forgive me).

    When you visited Chichibu during that time, did you book a room or did you grab the last train home? I can’t find any accommodations for December 2nd and 3rd. And I do not want to stand in the train for two hours with a luggage. What should I do? Get drunk?

    Nonetheless, you are awesome. Keep doing what you’re doing.

    Comment by Grace | October 3, 2011 | Reply

  41. Dear Samurai Dave –

    Your site is great! I’m writing to ask your permission to use an image from the Nichimonai Bon Odori dances in my PhD dissertation on Hijikata and Butoh dance. I’m a grad student at Temple University in Philadelphia, and I live in NYC. I have a small note on the head coverings he uses in his dances and the connection between those and the Bon Odori dances of Akita.

    Please let me know – my deadline is the end of February.

    I have some info about me up online on my dance-theater company website, if you want to know more.


    Comment by Tanya Calamoneri | February 9, 2012 | Reply

  42. Dear Dave–

    I am writing to request permission to reproduce an image from your site for our forthcoming publication “A Pictorial Handbook of Common Symbols”, which will be published by Vivays Publishing in the autumn of 2013.

    We envision this as a pictorial reference book, organized by topic. Text would be minimal and include a short explication of each entry, and captions for each visual. Entries would be illustrated with examples drawn from historical and contemporary sources, including: Greco-Roman art, Japanese “mon”, commercial trademarks, textiles, Chinese art, Amerindian sources, Western European heraldry, bookplates, military insignia, etc. The anthologized symbols will encompass the “real” as well as the mythic.

    The primary market for this book would be graphic designers and other visual artists—both students and practicing professionals. It is intended to be the kind of book that would be useful for graphic design history courses or even art history courses. It would also be a valuable resource for any design studio or advertising agency that developed trademarks.

    Please let us know if it would be possible to use your image if we credit you.

    Thank you in advance for your time.


    Angie Wang

    Adjunct Professor, California College of the Arts, SF
    Principal, Design is Play, SF

    Comment by Angie Wang | February 25, 2012 | Reply

  43. Stumbled upon your blog and I must say, you appear to have quite the success in the blogging world and in life in general (traveling to 30+ countries? Sign me up!) Wishing you many more traveling adventures! –Mere

    Comment by | March 2, 2012 | Reply

  44. Can you guys believe this…I was in Tokushima, for Awa Odori…and as I’m heading to my hotel room I see this guy with a laptop and camera gear, I give him a double take..and say this is “STEVE”….opps not Steve, but Dave…we had a great chat up and a few beers…rocking nice time! Dave, next time you are around here, give me some advance notice and let’s meet up. Take care and all the best~! Keep those videos flowing!

    Comment by Jose M. Cruz | August 21, 2012 | Reply

  45. your the best man

    Comment by killer.bee | September 25, 2012 | Reply

  46. i realy like ghost story

    Comment by killer.bee | September 25, 2012 | Reply

  47. Since you ran away like a gutless pussy candy-ass… supposedly took a “victory lap” after winning the delusional dumbass 500… and “left me to my own devices”… I decidied to go to your “device”… (pathetic, by the way, vagabond traveler, money beggar)… Since you accused me of dodging your question that I answered… and fled from the question I asked you… (libtard projection, 101)… I’ll repost it here… If the kids are going hungry because they don’t have enough to eat… how’s that “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010” working out? LOL

    Comment by yazchattiest | September 27, 2012 | Reply

  48. Hi Dave!

    I’m heading to Japan in September and been scouring the web to find any samurai festivals within driving distance to Tokyo or Osaka but haven’t had any luck. Having read your blog in the past I was hoping you might know of any Samurai related festivals in and around central Japan in September this year? I’m a life-long samurai fan having also studied Kendo and Iaido for years, I would love to watch a battle reenactment or any festival featuring samurai reactors. Thanks for any help you can give!


    Comment by J | July 26, 2013 | Reply

  49. Big tracker with movies

    Comment by Crorkicycloxy | July 27, 2013 | Reply

  50. 侍デイブ,

    The amount of videos you have are impressive and you’re knowledge is as well, I too have traveled the world quite a bit. I am a meteorologist here in Okinawa on contract for 1 more year, but I would like to get into teaching english so I can live in Japan permanently (and preferably in 本土). I was hoping to hear if you had any interest in sharing your profession and how life is up in mainland. I’ll be heading up to Kyoto next month, maybe we can meet up and have a few beers over yakiniku. Let me know, It’d be great to swap travel stories and knowledge.

    コーリー (Corrington Wheeler)

    Comment by corrington wheeler | September 5, 2014 | Reply

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