Singing the praises of greenery

| Oct 21, 2012

Singing the praises of greenery

by Mark Brazil

This year’s annual hop between the hemispheres in my capacity as a globetrotting nature-tour guide took me to my namesake country, Brazil, with strange and unusual hopes. Following the almost unprecedented heat of this year’s August in Hokkaido, I wondered if, for once, September’s ...

Living the botanical high life

| Sep 16, 2012

Living the botanical high life

by Mark Brazil

Japan, though it has a very different image, is on the same latitude as southern Europe and North Africa, while my nearest city, Sapporo, is oddly enough on the same east-west parallel as France’s boisterously cosmopolitan second city of Marseille on the Mediterranean. Tokyo, ...

Rock on down to a geopark near you

| Jun 17, 2012

Rock on down to a geopark near you

by Mark Brazil

To naturalists and hikers, the renown of 810-meter Mount Apoi near the southern tip of Hokkaido towers mightily above its lowly elevation. For the view alone it offers of the Pacific coastline south to spectacular Cape Erimo, it’s worth the easy trek up this ...

The wonder of feathers

| May 20, 2012

The wonder of feathers

by Mark Brazil

A soft flake of seeming sky falls, wafts and floats earthward catching the light. Lightly, and soft as gossamer, it lands to add a splash of color to the greenery of spring. It may be no more than a tiny feather that’s fallen from ...

Wild Watch turns 30 this month

| Apr 15, 2012

Wild Watch turns 30 this month

by Mark Brazil

As April 2nd’s 30th anniversary of my first Wild Watch column in The Japan Times neared, I was in India — teeming Delhi to be precise, with its cacophony of people, honking traffic and barking dogs, though a tailorbird would stop and call outside ...

Birds of a feather

| Mar 18, 2012

Birds of a feather

by Mark Brazil

A crescent moon is just visible through the treetops, with Venus, Jupiter and Saturn aligned diagonally above it crisp and clear in a frost-sharpened sky — planetary heralds of the peppering of stars soon to be revealed as night falls. The mercury is plummeting ...

Sealing a connection with nature

| Jan 15, 2012

Sealing a connection with nature

by Mark Brazil

The cliff-ringed cape known as Notoro Misaki stands as a massive natural breakwater west of the city of Abashiri in northeastern Hokkaido, sheltering it from some of the might of the ocean. Under a summer sun and a vast near-cobalt sky, the white-flecked, blue-green ...