Tohoku fisheries fight back from 3/11

Sep 9, 2012

Tohoku fisheries fight back from 3/11

“The facts about much of Japan’s social, political, and financial life are hidden so well that the truth is nearly impossible to know,” writes Alex Kerr in his acclaimed 2001 study “Dogs and Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Japan.” He continues, “A ...

Sea changes set in motion

Sep 9, 2012

Sea changes set in motion

Between 20 and 30 percent of Japan’s marine fisheries production was lost in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck the Tohoku region of northeastern Honshu on March 11, 2011, followed by huge tsunamis and explosions and reactor meltdowns at the ...

Vancouver fest offers a warm (but not humid!) welcome

Jul 29, 2012

Vancouver fest offers a warm (but not humid!) welcome

Summers in Tokyo, indeed in most of Japan except for Hokkaido or Okinawa, are often unbearably hot and humid, with temperatures in the mid to high 30s and humidity reaching as high as 90 percent. This summer, in the wake of last year’s Fukushima ...

Getting away from it all on Aguni

May 13, 2012

Getting away from it all on Aguni

Robert Burns, the hard-living 18th-century Scottish poet, lyricist and culture hero who died aged 37 in 1796, is one of the most oft-quoted writers with roots in the British Isles. However, as he often wrote in the Scots language, many of his most famous ...

A voyage of discovery from Tokyo to Naha

Feb 19, 2012

A voyage of discovery from Tokyo to Naha

On the Autumnal Equinox of 2011 I finished teaching a monthlong summer intensive course at a university in Tokyo, and had six days before I had to be back in my new hometown of Naha, Okinawa, for a meeting at my new university in ...

Chilling out in a warm Kume Island way

Dec 11, 2011

Chilling out in a warm Kume Island way

The first thing a good beach does is immediately make you want to take your watch off. But what makes a really great beach is when you do that — and then kick off your shoes as well. That’s exactly what I did when ...

Taking it easy on Tokashiki

Nov 13, 2011

Taking it easy on Tokashiki

In the days of the Ryukyu Kingdom, from the 14th to 19th centuries, Chinese envoys would come to Shuri Castle on the island of Okinawa to officiate at the coronation of the Ryukyu kings. When their ships were spotted from the 227-meter peak of ...

Shimi time is party time for Okinawans alive and not

Aug 14, 2011

Shimi time is party time for Okinawans alive and not

How would you like to spend a fun Sunday partying on a grave surrounded by hundreds of other tombs in a huge cemetery? Well, if you happen to be in Okinawa in April, shortly after the vernal equinox, you’ll find thousands of families doing ...

Serendipity set a course to fish the high seas

Jan 9, 2011

Serendipity set a course to fish the high seas

In 1969, I was living at Hapuna Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii. I was 25 years old and had recently taken a leave-of-absence from Southern Illinois University, where I’d been a PhD candidate and an instructor in the English department. As I’d ...