Take a walk on the wild side Down Under

Nov 21, 2015

Take a walk on the wild side Down Under

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It can be hard to hear an Australian accent while walking along the waterfront esplanade in the far northern city of Cairns on the Pacific. Tourists from across the globe flock to Cairns for easy access to the Great Barrier Reef and some of ...

Nishinoshima: Oki's island of sanctuary

Nov 14, 2015

Nishinoshima: Oki's island of sanctuary

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Were it not for the well-nourished faces of the passengers suffused with keen expressions of expectation and purpose, the supine bodies, unpacked food, luggage and blankets strewn across the hard flooring of the ferry’s modern equivalent of steerage class resembled those of a migrant ...

Poland's Ksiaz Castle holds WWII secrets

Nov 14, 2015

Poland's Ksiaz Castle holds WWII secrets

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If you are fascinated by World War II secrets, treasures and ghosts, then Ksiaz Castle is the place for you. A breathtaking site, it sits on a wooded hilltop in the city of Walbrzych, in southwestern Poland. The area drew worldwide attention recently, when ...

Cheers to Hirosaki's latest use of its apples

Nov 7, 2015

Cheers to Hirosaki's latest use of its apples

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If you ask someone about Aomori Prefecture, it is likely that the subject of apples would pop up in conversation sooner or later. The city of Hirosaki boasts the title of holding the highest apple crop yields in Japan, producing 160,000 tons of apples ...

Sewing the seeds of new craft ideas

Nov 7, 2015

Sewing the seeds of new craft ideas

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‘I never thought I’d be taking over my father’s position. At first, I wasn’t even interested in the tradition of the stitching,” says Sadaharu Narita, president of crafts company Hirosaki Kogin Kenkyujo. “But now that I’m in that position, I feel grateful that I ...

Sensory overload in Aomori's capital city

Oct 31, 2015

Sensory overload in Aomori's capital city

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I nearly walk by Aomori’s Furukawa market on the first pass, expecting something akin to the cacophony of Tokyo’s central wholesale fish market (known casually to most as Tsukiji). Sliding open the door to the squat building, however, I am assaulted with the not ...

Ireland's County Wicklow is a slice of heaven

Oct 31, 2015

Ireland's County Wicklow is a slice of heaven

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The road winds across the spine of the mountains, past a seemingly endless wilderness of heather-covered bogs, lakes, waterfalls, pine forests and trails. There is an eerie desolation to the beauty — lonely and lovely, no buildings or people, just bog cotton, heather and ...

Grave company at Zoshigaya Cemetery

| Oct 24, 2015

Grave company at Zoshigaya Cemetery

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When persimmon leaves and the tips of maples take on color, and chilly air rattles windows, composer Yoshinao Nakada’s haunting song “Chiisai Aki Mitsuketa” (“A Bit of Autumn Found”) floats through my mind. Having just learned that the song’s lyricist, talented poet Hachiro Sato ...