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 ...

Here's herbs with a cherry on top

| Jul 3, 2011

Here's herbs with a cherry on top

“Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme” is the refrain to one of my favorite songs, the traditional English ballad “Scarborough Fair,” which was made famous when Simon and Garfunkel released it in 1966. Though I do like folk songs, I’ve never been to Scarborough (in ...

Beauty and the noble beech

| Jun 5, 2011

Beauty and the noble beech

The first time that Japan’s nature really made me stop, stand, stare and listen, totally lost in wonder, was — I clearly remember — in the early summer of 1963. I’m not so sure where in Japan that wondrous occurence took place, but I ...

Rethinking Tohoku's rebuilding

| May 1, 2011

Rethinking Tohoku's rebuilding

The March 11 megaquake and tsunami, and the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that they triggered, has sideswiped all of us. Nagging worries about the dangers of the radioctivity leaking from that crippled facility and concern for those brave ...

Apr 24, 2011

Building hospital ships for disaster response

An earthquake of unprecedented magnitude, followed by a terrible tsunami, devastated the northeast coast of Japan on March 11, setting off a nuclear emergency that is having global effects.The combination of these calamities has also plunged Japan into a kind of national depression that ...

Every day ought to be Earth Day

| Apr 3, 2011

Every day ought to be Earth Day

I usually avoid large gatherings of people, even though it has become my job to give lectures and to attend seminars and meetings and such. However, you would never see me anywhere near a rock concert or a rugby, soccer or baseball match. Our ...