Too much snow for a snowman

| Mar 4, 2012

Too much snow for a snowman

by C.W. Nicol

The winter of 1946-47 saw record snowfalls in Britain. As a 7-year-old boy in hilly Wales, it was sheer joy — and never mind the transport shutdown and electricity crisis as power stations ran out of coal. We went tobogganing, we had great snowball ...

Waxing woody as winter nears

| Dec 4, 2011

Waxing woody as winter nears

by C.W. Nicol

This will be my 32nd winter in Kurohime, way up in the hills of northern Nagano Prefecture. Yesterday I was stacking firewood for the Afan Woodland Trust Centre, which has a fine, baronial-style stone-and-brick fireplace. There really is nothing like a room heated with ...

The far-out Ogasawaras

| Aug 7, 2011

The far-out Ogasawaras

by C.W. Nicol

The Ogasawaras are a group of lovely subtropical islands about 1,000 km due south of Tokyo, from where they are administered. As there is no airport, you reach them by taking the 6,700-ton liner Ogasawara Maru from Takeshiba Pier in Tokyo — a 25-hour ...

Here's herbs with a cherry on top

| Jul 3, 2011

Here's herbs with a cherry on top

by C.W. Nicol

“Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme” is the refrain to one of my favorite songs, the traditional English ballad “Scarborough Fair,” which was made famous when Simon and Garfunkel released it in 1966. Though I do like folk songs, I’ve never been to Scarborough (in ...

Beauty and the noble beech

| Jun 5, 2011

Beauty and the noble beech

by C.W. Nicol

The first time that Japan’s nature really made me stop, stand, stare and listen, totally lost in wonder, was — I clearly remember — in the early summer of 1963. I’m not so sure where in Japan that wondrous occurence took place, but I ...

Rethinking Tohoku's rebuilding

| May 1, 2011

Rethinking Tohoku's rebuilding

by C.W. Nicol

The March 11 megaquake and tsunami, and the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that they triggered, has sideswiped all of us. Nagging worries about the dangers of the radioctivity leaking from that crippled facility and concern for those brave ...