| Jun 17, 2004

Some pictures worth 1,000 words

I take my hat off to those folk who can draw and paint. What a wonderfully inspiring skill. And when they can illustrate living creatures in lifelike form then I am in awe. What has prompted this outpouring is the fact that I am ...

| Apr 15, 2004

Fungal alchemists snatch bodies to live

Step back in time a mere 1,000 million years and the three great domains of the Plantae, Animalia and Fungi shared a common ancestor. What’s even more surprising, though, is that fungi are more closely related to animals than they are to plants. That ...

The wonder that is winter

| Mar 18, 2004

The wonder that is winter

The seasons have a powerful effect on me, which perhaps explains my need to anthropomorphize and personify them. Temperate Japan’s six distinct seasons roll on inexorably: spring, rainy, summer, typhoon, autumn and winter. Though battered and bruised by the perceptible effects of global climate ...

Distance lends enchantment

| Feb 19, 2004

Distance lends enchantment

Take a look at a map of the west side of the Pacific and you’ll find a fractured scatter of islands from the Kuriles south of Kamchatka, through Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea and New Caledonia all the way to New Zealand and ...

An island alone that is worlds apart

| Jan 15, 2004

An island alone that is worlds apart

If it were possible to view the Japanese archipelago rising from the Pacific in profile, a distinct, lonely, broad cone would be immediately apparent between the high peaks of the Japanese Alps of Honshu and the even higher peaks of Taiwan. That cone is ...

Cold feet over winter camp

| Dec 18, 2003

Cold feet over winter camp

Camping is a wonderful way to unplug from the computer and e-mail, catch up on sleep, and escape the never-ending round of deadlines and commitments. While summer and autumn camps offer opportunities to “shoot the breeze” around a campfire, on dark evenings in the ...

Relicts of the distant past

| Nov 20, 2003

Relicts of the distant past

Time passes; it flows on, sometimes seemingly at breathtaking speed like a mountain torrent, at others crawling like a meandering backwater. Personal time expands and contracts. Geological time is relentless; grinding, shaping, wearing; sufficiently prolonged to isolate islands, to raise landmasses, for sea levels ...

| Sep 4, 2003

Labrador tea and forests to walk on

During the heat of a Honshu summer it is hard to imagine that there are hints of tundra here, or that refreshing tea might come from an unusual source. However, the alpine regions of high-altitude Japan, and small areas of the cool, fog-shaded regions ...