The changes that come what may

| Sep 16, 2004

The changes that come what may

by Mark Brazil

The arrival of just one dramatic, even devastating, typhoon, storming to the center of the seasonal stage like a massively overblown diva with a case of bad timing, is enough to signal autumn is on its way. This year the global signs of the ...

Down in the grim intertidal zone

| Aug 19, 2004

Down in the grim intertidal zone

by Mark Brazil

A coffee-shop friend of mine recently summed up his appreciation of our local lowland forest just outside Sapporo, saying: “You know, it’s wonderful here; every season is the best season.” And, you know, he has a powerful point. I believe, though, that it is ...

'Hideous alien' had an exotic past

| Jul 15, 2004

'Hideous alien' had an exotic past

by Mark Brazil

Sometimes accidentally, sometimes to order, we humans transport a bewildering array of species about the world. Many of them wither under the regimens of their new environments; alas, some thrive to the detriment of the locals. A beloved native in one part of the ...

| Jun 17, 2004

Some pictures worth 1,000 words

by Mark Brazil

I take my hat off to those folk who can draw and paint. What a wonderfully inspiring skill. And when they can illustrate living creatures in lifelike form then I am in awe. What has prompted this outpouring is the fact that I am ...

The wonder that is winter

| Mar 18, 2004

The wonder that is winter

by Mark Brazil

The seasons have a powerful effect on me, which perhaps explains my need to anthropomorphize and personify them. Temperate Japan’s six distinct seasons roll on inexorably: spring, rainy, summer, typhoon, autumn and winter. Though battered and bruised by the perceptible effects of global climate ...

Distance lends enchantment

| Feb 19, 2004

Distance lends enchantment

by Mark Brazil

Take a look at a map of the west side of the Pacific and you’ll find a fractured scatter of islands from the Kuriles south of Kamchatka, through Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea and New Caledonia all the way to New Zealand and ...

An island alone that is worlds apart

| Jan 15, 2004

An island alone that is worlds apart

by Mark Brazil

If it were possible to view the Japanese archipelago rising from the Pacific in profile, a distinct, lonely, broad cone would be immediately apparent between the high peaks of the Japanese Alps of Honshu and the even higher peaks of Taiwan. That cone is ...

Cold feet over winter camp

| Dec 18, 2003

Cold feet over winter camp

by Mark Brazil

Camping is a wonderful way to unplug from the computer and e-mail, catch up on sleep, and escape the never-ending round of deadlines and commitments. While summer and autumn camps offer opportunities to “shoot the breeze” around a campfire, on dark evenings in the ...

Relicts of the distant past

| Nov 20, 2003

Relicts of the distant past

by Mark Brazil

Time passes; it flows on, sometimes seemingly at breathtaking speed like a mountain torrent, at others crawling like a meandering backwater. Personal time expands and contracts. Geological time is relentless; grinding, shaping, wearing; sufficiently prolonged to isolate islands, to raise landmasses, for sea levels ...