Fuji meet wrestles with issues common to commons worldwide

| Jul 20, 2013

Fuji meet wrestles with issues common to commons worldwide

Last month, just before the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization announced Mount Fuji’s designation as a World Cultural Heritage Site for its religious and artistic significance, 430 learned visitors descended on its lower northern slopes. Dressed in saris and suits and with ...

Insecticides pit trees against bees

| Jun 16, 2013

Insecticides pit trees against bees

“That’s where they’re going to spray.” Organic farmer Naoki Tachikawa, 43, is standing on the edge of one of his tiny rice fields in the Shiga district of Matsumoto, central Nagano Prefecture, pointing at two low hills that embrace the upper reaches of the ...

Searching for Mount Fuji

Jun 2, 2013

Searching for Mount Fuji

Japan is full of good place names. Who can resist Utsukushigahara (Beautiful Field) in Nagano Prefecture, Ginza (Golden Seat) in Tokyo or the sad irony of Fukushima — Isle of Good Fortune?

The other costs of concrete

| May 19, 2013

The other costs of concrete

Where does concrete come from? The material has become such a pervasive symbol of human alienation from nature that it's tempting to assume it's just another brutish product of the 18th-century Industrial Revolution.

New moves to save Japan's sacred trees from a fiery end

| Apr 21, 2013

New moves to save Japan's sacred trees from a fiery end

Spend a while walking the streets of any Japanese city and you are bound to notice it: Here and there among the concrete towers, shops and bustling streets, you’ll find clusters of trees. In some places, five or 10 stately Japanese cedars provide a ...

Tohoku coast faces man-made perils in wake of tsunami

| Mar 17, 2013

Tohoku coast faces man-made perils in wake of tsunami

One day in October 2011, marine ecologist Masahiro Nakaoka donned his scuba gear, paddled into the waters of Funakoshi Bay in Iwate Prefecture, and braced himself for his first glimpse of its underwater communities since a massive tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan ...

Zen and the cross-cultural art of tree-climbing

| Jan 19, 2013

Zen and the cross-cultural art of tree-climbing

In the upstairs meeting room of a camping lodge in Komagane, Nagano Prefecture, two women and about 20 men walked slowly and intently in circles one rainy day last November. At the front of the room, a weathered and wiry Englishman intoned the sort ...