Birds of fine feather -- and taste

| Apr 7, 2005

Birds of fine feather -- and taste

The Green or Common pheasant was adopted as the national bird of Japan in 1947, and a pair of these kiji used to decorate the 10,000 yen note. Recently however, the noble pheasant, symbol of masculine might and courage — and, through its sudden ...

Unique 'twin' woods branch out

| Mar 3, 2005

Unique 'twin' woods branch out

Our little Afan Woodland Trust here in Kurohime in Nagano Prefecture is twinned with the Afan Forest Park in South Wales. Most folk have heard of twinned cities (though I believe that Americans call them “sister cities”), but as far as I know, our ...

Buckwheat booze lifts locals' spirits

| Jan 6, 2005

Buckwheat booze lifts locals' spirits

The first flurries of snow usually fall here where I live in Kurohime in mid-November, just at the start of the hunting season. As I write this we are already into December, and although the top of the “Black Princess” (Mount Kurohime) is dusted ...

Apres le deluge

| Dec 2, 2004

Apres le deluge

As I write this it is 4 in the afternoon of a mid-November day, a fine, clear, crisp day, with the sun now gone down behind Iizuna mountain to leave the massive bulk of Kurohime looming black against a sky of blazing silver, its ...

Captivity conundrum over spared bear

| Nov 4, 2004

Captivity conundrum over spared bear

In August 1985, I was in Tokyo awaiting the birth of my youngest daughter. One evening, I got a telephone call from Yoshio Kazama, my friend and next-door neighbor in Kurohime — the beautiful corner of Nagano Prefecture where I live. “Can you look ...

Ravens, shamans and 'shrooms

| Sep 2, 2004

Ravens, shamans and 'shrooms

In 1988 I made a documentary with the Hokkaido Broadcasting Co. We filmed on the Kamchatka Peninsula in northeast Siberia, in Alaska and in Japan. Our main theme was the raven and the many raven legends that link the peoples of the Pacific Rim. ...

Woodland beauty there for all to sense

| Aug 5, 2004

Woodland beauty there for all to sense

Just about the time when the wild wood irises burst into glorious purple around early July up here in Nagano Prefecture, high in the treetops there is a dancing, fluttering ballet of countless white-winged creatures. For a few years after I first saw them, ...

| Jul 1, 2004

Tucking in to alien outcasts

IN MAY, I was invited to Vancouver to give a keynote speech at the Fourth World Congress of Fisheries. The congress in that beautiful city in southwest British Columbia was attended by about 1,500 delegates from 80 countries. Its theme was: “Reconciling Fishing with ...