Cheering for cherries

| Mar 16, 2013

Cheering for cherries

If the Grinch — that well-known wet blanket of holiday mirth — were both a betting man and Japanese, it wouldn’t be Christmas he was after. Nor New Year’s, nor the Emperor’s birthday, nor Golden Week, nor National Toilet Day (Nov. 10. Mark it ...

| Mar 2, 2013

All lost in the lost-and-found

I’d lost my keys. Which is unsettling enough. For you do not begin to truly ransack your brain — where in the rising sun could they be? — until you’ve ransacked your house. And I mean ransack. Drawers emptied, floorboards pried, every pocket of ...

| Feb 23, 2013

Driving me crazy

Next to my house lies a carpet of land not flat enough to resist puddles and not sandy enough to attract cats. It just sits there. Empty. “Symbolic,” says a friend, “of the hole in your life.” He means the car I do not ...

| Jan 19, 2013

Signs of Kansai

At the end of lunch with an old friend, I point out yet another hole in my Swiss cheese knowledge of Japan. “I’ve never really understood this whole ‘Kansai/Kanto’ thing. I mean, sure, I’ve traveled to Kyoto, Osaka and so on. But I’ve never ...

| Jan 5, 2013

When in doubt, keep running

My buddy grinds his teeth and says, “You know what irks about this country?” And so I summon all the usual suspects . . . The insular mindset? The high cost of living? The crowded trains? The summer heat? “No,” he hisses. “It’s in ...

| Dec 15, 2012

A peek inside the cave

The term “man cave” has been added to the dictionary. At last. I’m referring to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, but surely those other country clubs of words and wisdom will follow suit. For once you’ve been welcomed by the language Vanderbilts, everyone else soon yearns ...

| Dec 1, 2012

When the past catches up

“Ha ha! I can’t believe it’s you!” The man extends his hand as if pointing a pistol. I spin around, just to check, but there is no mistaking. The target is me. He wrenches my wrist. “How long has it been, I wonder? Years ...

| Dec 1, 2012

When the past catches up

“Ha ha! I can’t believe it’s you!” The man extends his hand as if pointing a pistol. I spin around, just to check, but there is no mistaking. The target is me. He wrenches my wrist. “How long has it been, I wonder? Years ...