Steve John Powell

For Steve John Powell's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Kintaikyo: A bridge reincarnated over troubled waters

Aug 30, 2014

Kintaikyo: A bridge reincarnated over troubled waters

Below the bridge, flat-bottomed boats are ferrying people across the Nishiki River, just as they did centuries ago — back when commoners were not permitted to walk over its wooden arches, and even centuries before that, when there was no bridge at all. The ...

Yabusame archers of the lonely Chugoku Mountains

Jul 19, 2014

Yabusame archers of the lonely Chugoku Mountains

What are those peculiar scarecrow figures, lolling about the villages of the Chugoku Mountains? Is that a man fishing from a bridge? A couple leaning against a railing? A whole family in a field? Some are dressed in kimono or peasant costumes, others are ...

Dazaifu dalliance reveals curious case of a plum-struck deity

Feb 15, 2014

Dazaifu dalliance reveals curious case of a plum-struck deity

It’s all thanks to the Spanish ambassador, really. Angeles and I were at the Spanish Consulate in Fukuoka, Kyushu’s biggest city, to pick up her new passport. By midday, we’d done the business, slurped our way through the obligatory bowl of Hakata ramen, and ...

Fabled strand of 500 pines

Dec 7, 2013

Fabled strand of 500 pines

Beautiful beaches, we’ve all seen our share, right? But a beautiful beach that’s also historic and sacred? That sounds worth driving out of our way for — especially as the way takes us over a span I’ve long yearned to traverse: the Ondo Bridge, ...

Hats off to Chiyoda's rice-field rites

Jul 6, 2013

Hats off to Chiyoda's rice-field rites

I can’t quite believe we’re getting up just after dawn on a Sunday morning for an event that doesn’t start till lunchtime. But our Japanese friends all assured us we’d regret it if we didn’t arrive early. After all, this is no run-of-the-mill event: ...

The Oki Islands: where time seems to have stood still

Apr 14, 2013

The Oki Islands: where time seems to have stood still

Before he left Japan after several years spent in Hiroshima, the multi-award-winning English novelist David Mitchell advised me: “If you only make one trip while you are here, make sure it’s to the Oki Islands.” They were, he assured me (in not quite so ...