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 ...

Thrills on the hills

| Aug 21, 2003

Thrills on the hills

It happened again. Underfoot was the crunching tephra of Akan Fuji, black tinged with orange; it stretched away on either side of me, an arid, seemingly sterile environment. I’d zigzagged my way almost to the skyline and the distant view was opening up. Behind ...

| Aug 7, 2003

Golden 'weeds' of wondrous ways

It was a breezy day at Cape Notoro overlooking the Sea of Okhotsk on Hokkaido’s north coast. The sun was glinting on the waves below the cliffs and a skylark singing somewhere above was producing a cascade of summer sound. My previous visit had ...

Busy by astonishing design

| Jul 31, 2003

Busy by astonishing design

Earlier this year, I watched a number of bumblebees droning back and forth over the ground cover in mountain forest near my home in Hokkaido. They were seemingly oblivious to me. Occasionally one would land, and disappear beneath the leaf litter, or go down ...

Humble marvels of nature

| Jul 17, 2003

Humble marvels of nature

The mechanics of flight are beyond me, and I especially can’t imagine how bumblebees can become airborne. Images of a jumbo jet taking off without a runway spring to mind. Each time I see them, bumblebees remind me of banded, animated acorns, whirring on ...

What a week that was

| Jul 3, 2003

What a week that was

It was a week filled with surprises and excitement. What started out as a routine long-haul trip across Hokkaido to the Okhotsk Sea coast led to musings on migration and weird sexual practices, thoughts of Alaska and Siberia, and to sightings of endemic alpine ...

A world rich in avian resources

| Jun 19, 2003

A world rich in avian resources

From time immemorial, wild birds have been important food sources for rural populations. On the remote islands of the Bering Sea, for example, the massive colonies of auklets, puffins and murres are harvested in summer and stored to provide important supplies of nourishment through ...