Christopher Johnson

For Christopher Johnson's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

A swim with turtles (maybe)

Sep 14, 2013

A swim with turtles (maybe)

For snorkelers, there’s perhaps nothing better than hanging out underwater with a hawksbill sea turtle. Safer than sharks, they are graceful and beautiful, ancient and wise. But sightings are rare. Of my hundreds of snorkeling adventures, I’ve only seen turtles, from a distance, in ...

Cook Islands paradise isn't plain sailing for all

Apr 28, 2013

Cook Islands paradise isn't plain sailing for all

They span an area the size of western Europe, but the Cook Islands may seem like the ends of the Earth when viewed from Japan — an 11-hour flight away south to New Zealand, followed by a four-hour “local hop” to the capital, Avarua, ...

A Pacific idyll where some go to escape, others to connect

Apr 28, 2013

A Pacific idyll where some go to escape, others to connect

A woman from western Japan, who calls herself “Amy,” couldn’t find paradise in Thailand, Cuba, Brazil or French Polynesia, so with the last of her $300 savings she bought a one-way ticket from Tahiti to Rarotonga. Then, claiming to be penniless, she walked from ...

Appi's snowy joys await seekers of late-season thrills

Apr 7, 2013

Appi's snowy joys await seekers of late-season thrills

With degrees in fine arts, Akiyoshi Osumi used his creative talents to coin a perfect slogan for the Appi Kogen Snow Resort: “Be Happy in Appi.” Appi, which is open for spring skiing until May 6, really is an oasis of happiness in northern ...

Fukushima's powder paradise

Jan 19, 2013

Fukushima's powder paradise

I seem to have the whole mountain to myself. The vast majesty of Fukushima Prefecture spreads out below me, all around. Up here, skiing on powdery snow, zigzagging through challenging moguls, it’s easy to forget about the nuclear reactors 120 km away. Say what ...

There are 'snow monsters' who can help save Tohoku

Dec 9, 2012

There are 'snow monsters' who can help save Tohoku

Yes, it’s true. Spending some money on skiing among snow monsters and soaking in hot-spring baths is a good way to help the Tohoku region of northeastern Honshu recover from the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, the terrible tsunami it triggered ...

The Marshall Islands: Tropical idylls scarred like Tohoku

Jun 10, 2012

The Marshall Islands: Tropical idylls scarred like Tohoku

With all its American, European and Asian cultural influences, it’s easy to forget that Japan is also an island nation in the Pacific. Japan’s connection to another Pacific nation, the Marshall Islands, hit home to this writer one Sunday morning in the fish market ...

Paradise found in Renaissance man's footsteps

Jun 10, 2012

Paradise found in Renaissance man's footsteps

Continental Micronesia airlines operates an island-hopper run to Majuro in the Republic of the Marshall Islands via Guam, Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae and Kwajalein — a great way to see fantastic scenery and sample the flavors of each airport. Descending into Majuro in the Marshall ...

Lone holdout's first nuclear winter looms in Tohoku

| Dec 18, 2011

Lone holdout's first nuclear winter looms in Tohoku

As bitter winds blow around cesium and other radioactive particles spewed from the nearby Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant’s reactors, Naoto Matsumura lights a cigarette, which he considers relatively good for his health. “I would get sick if I stopped smoking; I have ...