Seek the Hemingway within at a concrete-jungle pond

| Jan 16, 2005

Seek the Hemingway within at a concrete-jungle pond

“It was light. We stood by the pond. The fish were biting.” I wonder how it would have been if Ernest Hemingway, fond of such clipped prose as he was, sojourned in Tokyo instead of lollygagging in places like Africa, assisting large animals toward ...

Kobe: picturesque city by the sea

Jan 14, 2005

Kobe: picturesque city by the sea

As last month’s terrible tsunami off Sumatra and the subsequent tidal waves showed only too well, the shiftings of the earth’s crust can lead to horrific natural calamities. Sitting atop one of the world’s geological hot spots, Japan is of course no stranger to ...

| Nov 28, 2004

So many deities for still many troubled lives

EIGHT MILLION GODS AND DEMONS, by Hiroko Sherwin. Plume Books, 2003, 320 pp., $14 (paper). When “The Name of the Rose” transformed Umberto Eco from obscure Italian academic to international best-selling author, a common complaint among readers of his dark novel was that only ...

Into Nagoya and onto Inuyama

Nov 26, 2004

Into Nagoya and onto Inuyama

As a destination, Nagoya is not the biggest tourist magnet, yet there is reason enough for dawdling here instead of just whisking through on the Shinkansen. Nagoya has its grand castle, ferroconcrete, yes, but grand nonetheless. Nagoya has Atsuta, one of the country’s most ...

Adventures abound in city's toy towns

Oct 29, 2004

Adventures abound in city's toy towns

It may be all Halloween pumpkins in the shops right now, but just around the corner is Christmas — the season of peace, goodwill and bank accounts plundered for presents, both for your own progeny and for all those nieces and nephews you’ve somehow ...

The way of the samurai

Oct 22, 2004

The way of the samurai

For the Hollywood view of what life was like for the old warriors of Japan, go down to the video shop and take out “The Last Samurai.” But for a more accurate glimpse of how the samurai lived and the kind of world they ...

A purrfect day out

| Oct 17, 2004

A purrfect day out

You’re kitted out with Kitty. You have your Hello Kitty toothbrush and pencil sharpener, your little lunchbox and tissue-holder, but still you have this odd impulse to spend some quality time with a real furry, warmblooded feline. You head for Cats Livin. Ever since ...

Northern delights of Sapporo

Sep 24, 2004

Northern delights of Sapporo

Despite its easy proximity, brought by the relatively short flying time from Tokyo, an air of remoteness still hangs over Hokkaido. Physically the island is more a last outpost of Siberia than an integral part of Japan. In Hokkaido, little rice grows, scant cherry ...

Japan's big Little Italy

Aug 27, 2004

Japan's big Little Italy

Local sobriquets are not hard to come by. A place that is home to a few dingy canals on which some dodgy craft manage to stay afloat gets tagged the “Venice of Somewhere.” A town in Japan that manages to keep some old houses ...