Dancing Demoiselles of the desert

| Feb 17, 2013

Dancing Demoiselles of the desert

In a dry, dusty, desert landscape, the clamoring of cranes seems so surprising. I am used to the great winter assembly of more than 10,000 cranes in Kyushu at Izumi, where they congregate on winter-fallow rice fields; and I regularly frequent the winter gatherings ...

Impossible forests where tides ebb and flow

| Jan 19, 2013

Impossible forests where tides ebb and flow

A ripple flows gently inland across an expanse of dark-gray mud. It washes in, then drains back, dampening the surface; it briefly fills, then empties from, tiny holes made by innumerable small crabs. The ebb is over, and the flow tide has begun. The ...

Journeying to the ends of the Earth ...

Dec 23, 2012

Journeying to the ends of the Earth ...

Travel is an addiction for which there seems no cure. Once under its sway, it is best just to ride out the alternating fevers and chills and see where they take you. Around nontravelers or infrequent travelers, I find that my tales of far-flung ...

Beware: Devil birds at work in the woods

| Dec 16, 2012

Beware: Devil birds at work in the woods

The final months of the year seem something of an afterthought following the delightful palette of autumn colors; they offer only fickle moods and fickle weather. On November or December days of crisp, cold sunshine, when distant views beckon and late-flying dragonflies and late-flowering ...

Lake Shikotsu: a Hokkaido wonderland awaits

Nov 4, 2012

Lake Shikotsu: a Hokkaido wonderland awaits

I have spent the last four hours perspiring under the summer sun, moving slowly and photographing wildflowers. Having hiked the circuitous, twin-peaked route around the caldera of constantly active 1,041-meter Mount Tarumae, I then loped up and down a small peak known only as ...

Singing the praises of greenery

| Oct 21, 2012

Singing the praises of greenery

This year’s annual hop between the hemispheres in my capacity as a globetrotting nature-tour guide took me to my namesake country, Brazil, with strange and unusual hopes. Following the almost unprecedented heat of this year’s August in Hokkaido, I wondered if, for once, September’s ...

Living the botanical high life

| Sep 16, 2012

Living the botanical high life

Japan, though it has a very different image, is on the same latitude as southern Europe and North Africa, while my nearest city, Sapporo, is oddly enough on the same east-west parallel as France’s boisterously cosmopolitan second city of Marseille on the Mediterranean. Tokyo, ...

Man on a mountain

Sep 2, 2012

Man on a mountain

In the very center of Hokkaido lies a landscape so far removed from the urban sprawl of much of lowland Japan that you might be forgiven for asking: “Is this really Japan?” Far more reminiscent of the higher latitudes of Kamchatka and Chukotka (northeastern ...