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 ...

Too much snow for a snowman

| Mar 4, 2012

Too much snow for a snowman

The winter of 1946-47 saw record snowfalls in Britain. As a 7-year-old boy in hilly Wales, it was sheer joy — and never mind the transport shutdown and electricity crisis as power stations ran out of coal. We went tobogganing, we had great snowball ...

Waxing woody as winter nears

| Dec 4, 2011

Waxing woody as winter nears

This will be my 32nd winter in Kurohime, way up in the hills of northern Nagano Prefecture. Yesterday I was stacking firewood for the Afan Woodland Trust Centre, which has a fine, baronial-style stone-and-brick fireplace. There really is nothing like a room heated with ...

The far-out Ogasawaras

| Aug 7, 2011

The far-out Ogasawaras

The Ogasawaras are a group of lovely subtropical islands about 1,000 km due south of Tokyo, from where they are administered. As there is no airport, you reach them by taking the 6,700-ton liner Ogasawara Maru from Takeshiba Pier in Tokyo — a 25-hour ...