Finding salt of the earth on Aguni Island

Feb 20, 2016

Finding salt of the earth on Aguni Island

There had been a delay in our departure for Aguni Island as we waited for a typhoon to spend itself. Two hours later, we finally boarded the ferry at Naha’s Tomari Port. As the wind picked up again, and more people retreated into the ...

The ink-stained road: 'age of experience'

Feb 20, 2016

The ink-stained road: 'age of experience'

In the new age of experience that defines the travel accounts on Japan from the immediate pre- and postwar periods, writers began resisting the easy enamor of the Orient. Instead of viewing Japan as an exotic wonderland, they took a more considered, critical view ...

Mount Nokogiri: a breathtaking climb to enlightenment

Feb 6, 2016

Mount Nokogiri: a breathtaking climb to enlightenment

It’s a moot point for those who live there that the name “Chiba” is, in many minds, synonymous with images of hot-rod gangs, peanut farms, car dealerships, pachinko emporiums, empty lots with chain-link fences and giant electric pylons marching across rice fields — a ...

Dotonbori: Where Osakans eat, drink and be merry

Jan 16, 2016

Dotonbori: Where Osakans eat, drink and be merry

Comparing Osaka with almost any other Japanese city is akin to likening a bloodied steak to boiled chicken. Its people, a sassy, friendly breed, with a legendary, often ribald sense of humor, carry a swagger you don’t see elsewhere. Unlike Tokyo, where the stranger ...

The ink-stained road: ‘age of adventure’

Jan 16, 2016

The ink-stained road: ‘age of adventure’

If foreign visitors to Japan in the Edo Period (1603-1868) ran certain risks by committing their impressions of the country to paper in a totalitarian state that worked hard to maintain its obscurity, the new Meiji Era (1868-1912) positively encouraged attention. July 4, 1879, ...

Bask in the warmth of Iheya Island

Dec 19, 2015

Bask in the warmth of Iheya Island

I thought I recognized the owner of the Iheya Kanko Hotel, her face fleetingly recalled as it passed over the screen at a Shinjuku showing of the 2012 film “Karakara.” Written and directed by Canadian, Claude Gagnon, and starring the seasoned actor Gabriel Arcand, ...