Happy new Year of the Snake

| Jan 6, 2013

Happy new Year of the Snake

Before long now, coming hot on the tail of a Year of the Dragon, it will be a Year of the Snake in the Chinese zodiac; a year that’s supposed to be lucky. Obviously, though, you shouldn’t push your luck with any snakes you ...

Minamata: a saga of suffering and hope

| Oct 7, 2012

Minamata: a saga of suffering and hope

The last job I had that paid me a real salary was with the Canadian government’s Environmental Protection Service in the mid 1970s. Back then, as an Emergency Officer responsible for the Pacific west coast and British Columbia, I had a very fine office ...

A lesson in respecting river life

| Jul 1, 2012

A lesson in respecting river life

I recently had the pleasure of my eldest daughter, Miwako, coming to stay at my Kurohime home in the Nagano Prefecture hills together with her partner, Don McCubbing, and their 4-year old twin daughters Aila and Zanti. Miwako and Don met when she was ...

Long journey home for a soldier-journalist

Jun 17, 2012

Long journey home for a soldier-journalist

MARCH FORTH, by Trevor and Debbie Greene. Harper and Collins, 2012, 272 pp., $29.00 (hardcover) On March 4, 2006, a Canadian patrol led by Capt. Kevin Schamuhn was on security operations in the Gumbad Valley, in the Shah Wali Koi District, an area known ...

Small fry spawn big dreams

| May 6, 2012

Small fry spawn big dreams

The Shinano, at 374 km the country’s longest river, empties into the Sea of Japan at Niigata City. Salmon still migrate back from the open ocean to this river of their birth to breed and die, but a few decades ago they would arrive ...