Chishaku-in: a Kyoto garden of deep repose

Mar 29, 2014

Chishaku-in: a Kyoto garden of deep repose

As a garden, Chishaku-in has many of the attributes of Japanese landscape design that should attract a good number of visitors. The fact that the temple in Kyoto’s southeastern Higashikawara-cho district is rarely crowded, and that scant attention is paid to it in guidebooks, ...

Go potter in Mashiko

Mar 22, 2014

Go potter in Mashiko

If a visitor to Mashiko had any doubts about the town’s dedication to pottery, the giant, iconic stoneware jar that stands near the station ticket barrier, would dispel them. Exiting the station, the large photographic images hanging on the walls — some representing renowned ...

Scandal

| Mar 15, 2014

Scandal

When a respected Catholic novelist by the name of Suguro meets an inebriated woman at a party, he is astounded to hear that she recognizes him from a portrait hanging in a club she claims he patronizes in one of Tokyo’s more sleazy night ...

The Ruined Map

| Mar 1, 2014

The Ruined Map

Angela Carter wrote that Tokyo possessed the “indecipherable clarity of a dream,” one in which you might think you are in control, but have, in fact, been “precipitated into somebody else’s dream.” A similar sensation occurs when reading Kobo Abe’s novel, “The Ruined Map,” ...

The Tattoo Murder Case

| Feb 1, 2014

The Tattoo Murder Case

Still reeling from the effects of war, Tokyo, in 1948, was ripe with intrigue, not to mention men and women capable of plotting monstrous crimes. Akimitsu Takagi’s crime mystery “The Tattoo Murder Case” was first published that year and his gritty scenes of the ...

Exploring the realm of Lewchew

Jan 18, 2014

Exploring the realm of Lewchew

When I told the Japanese woman with whom I’d struck up a conversation in central Tokyo’s very handy Haneda airport that I was flying to Lewchew, she looked puzzled. The invading Japanese, struggling with the Chinese reading of the characters, pronounced the name of ...

Kitsuki's double visions of delight

Jan 4, 2014

Kitsuki's double visions of delight

The guesthouse I was staying at in Kitsuki was named after the owner, a tough but warm-hearted example of Kyushu womanhood, someone who had learnt to stand her own ground on an island known for its almost theatrical levels of machismo.