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 ...

A window on our woods

| Feb 6, 2011

A window on our woods

When I’m sitting at my desk working in my study, I can look up through a large window and enjoy the view of some woods with a meadow beyond. Except that I’m not too happy with the woods, that is, because they belong to ...

Anyone for a great green gourd?

| Dec 5, 2010

Anyone for a great green gourd?

Copying a Canadian friend, during spring for the last two years I have built tepee frames, not conventional trellises, for my cucumbers to trail around as they grow. This year, I built a frame high and wide enough for me to stand up inside, ...

Welsh worries for Japan's woods

| Nov 7, 2010

Welsh worries for Japan's woods

Larch trees were introduced to Britain from eastern Europe in the 17th century for their ornamental value in gardens — and the larch is indeed a pretty tree. A conifer with short, needle-like leaves that turn color in autumn and fall like golden rain, ...

Chickens at (almost) every turn

| Sep 5, 2010

Chickens at (almost) every turn

Go wherever you will in the world but you’ll never be far from a chicken. Certainly, the only inhabited places on the planet where I haven’t seen chickens running around somewhere have been in the Arctic. There were lots of ptarmigans there mind you, ...