Echoes of the footfalls of soldiers

| Dec 12, 2008

Echoes of the footfalls of soldiers

by Burritt Sabin

I was looking for a pillbox pockmarked with bullet holes in the Kudanminami district of Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo. That’s what an elderly friend told me I’d find in front of the area’s Kudan Kaikan hotel. He used the Russian loan-word “tochika” for pillbox and ...

Awash with beauty

| Oct 24, 2008

Awash with beauty

by Burritt Sabin

The escalator at the Keikyu Line’s Misakiguchi Station transported me to a windswept hilltop where a booth provided information on places to pick mikan (tangerines) and shops sold tuna, toasted laver bread and horse mackerel seasoned with mirin (a rice wine). I boarded a ...

The Parnassus of Surugadai

| Sep 5, 2008

The Parnassus of Surugadai

by Burritt Sabin

Ochanomizu, the Tokyo neighborhood stretching from Yushima, Bunkyo Ward, to Kanda, Chiyoda Ward, gives good vibes. Jazz, rock and reggae spill from music stores and guitar shops lining Meiji-dori as it drops south toward Yasukuni-dori. Mid-slope is Meiji University’s Liberty Tower, where one drizzly ...

Romancing the hotel

| Aug 1, 2008

Romancing the hotel

by Burritt Sabin

The symmetrical beauty of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, the meditative colossus of Kotokuin, and the Zen-inspired splendors of Kenchoji and Enkakuji may win Kamakura inscription on the World Heritage List. Comparatively unknown are its Western-style buildings constructed after Kamakura became accessible from Tokyo by rail ...

A grande dame on the waterfront

| Jun 6, 2008

A grande dame on the waterfront

by Burritt Sabin

Urban planning can be a zero-sum game. A case in point is Yokohama. The city redeveloped the waterfront to create Minato Mirai (Port of the Future), where visitors shop in boutiques, revolve on a Ferris wheel and whoosh in one of the world’s fastest ...

High in the Mampei

| May 2, 2008

High in the Mampei

by Burritt Sabin

In mid-April, Karuizawa is quiet but for the buzz of saws and taps of hammers readying shops for the tourist season. Many shops, few of which rise higher than two stories, remain shuttered until then, and the streetscape surprises after the lofty skylines of ...