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C.W. Nicol
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Mar 30, 2020
We live in neither East nor West
With COVID-19 pulling the world apart, it's the people, from healthworkers to thoughtful neighbors that can bring it back together.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Dec 30, 2019
The fallen apples of Typhoon Hagibis
When the Typhoon Hagibis floods hit Nagano, it near-destroyed the apple farms for which the area is famous, with contaminants in the floodwaters making it impossible to salvage any of the surviving fruit.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Sep 29, 2019
A fine tree that's worth getting to know
In postwar Japan, the government's Forestry Agency claimed that the Japanese beech was a useless tree. That's utter nonsense — beech wood is great for interiors and the tree is not only important for wildlife water management, but it also produces edible leaves and fruit.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Jul 28, 2019
Will our insects keep on disappearing?
With concern, but little surprise, I read an article by Daphne Rousseau in The Japan Times on July 2 about a mass extinction of insects in Krefeld, Germany, near the Dutch border.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Apr 28, 2019
Growing old as the new era dawns
C. W. Nicol relects on more than 35 years of working to conserve the environment in Japan.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Dec 30, 2018
Young eco-warriors use their smarts to combat environmental concerns
The 7th AEON Eco-1 Grand Prix environmental competition highlights school kids' inventive solutions to environmental issues.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Oct 28, 2018
All hail Caesar's wild mushrooms
Many people make that distinction between 'good' mushrooms and 'bad' toadstools, though there's no scientific difference between the two — and there are some branded as 'toadstools' that are, in fact, delicious.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Aug 5, 2018
Living the slow life can be a religious experience
CW. Nicol visits Zenryoji temple in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture for a Candle Night public event, led by chief priest Tomonobu Narita, for a slow-life-themed evening.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Apr 29, 2018
A wetland works wonders in battered Tohoku
A proposed wetland nature center in Miyagi Prefecture would give wild birds a new home while attracting bird-loving tourists to Tohoku.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Feb 11, 2018
There's no business like snow business
A few weeks ago I had things to do in Tokyo and Yokohama, so I had a ticket booked for a late-afternoon train from Nagano on Jan. 22. Then that morning my manager in Tokyo phoned to tell me I should come early because "heavy snow" was expected during the day, meaning trains would be delayed and taxis...
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Oct 29, 2017
A return to Resolute: Exploring the wintry climes of northern Canada
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Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Jul 30, 2017
Don't be fooled, pests are a problem — no matter how cute they appear
I recently went out to my friend John Harris' country home in the Isumi district of Chiba Prefecture, about 100 kilometers southeast of Tokyo. His house is midway down the Pacific coast of the Boso Peninsula, close to the small town of Onjuku, which is known for its surfing and its (formerly) bare-breasted...
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
May 28, 2017
Come what may, we're doing just fine
Rain had started pelting the cherry blossoms when I returned from Tokyo last month, squelching the plans of countless would-be outdoor revelers.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Apr 1, 2017
Lypa's art speaks of life 'out on the land' in the Arctic
On the wide wooden sill of the large window in my living room here in Kurohime, Nagano Prefecture, sits a soapstone carving of a gyrfalcon by one of Canada's most famous Inuit artists, Lypa Pitsiulak.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Mar 4, 2017
Macaques might make monkeys of us all
In 1980, when I came to live here in Kurohime in the hills of northern Nagano Prefecture, we had neither deer, wild boar nor monkeys in this area because — so the locals said — there was too much snow in winter for them to find enough food to survive.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Feb 4, 2017
What's life without a sip and a song?
First of all, I'd like to thank so many readers for your kind messages to me over the past two months. I raise a toast to all of you.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Dec 31, 2016
Miyagi school opening aids 3/11 recovery
The official opening of Miyanomori Elementary School on Jan. 10 represents an important stage in restoring some normalcy to the city.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Dec 3, 2016
An adventure I'd rather not be having
The time had come. I checked into the Japan Red Cross Medical Center in central Tokyo's Shibuya Ward on Nov. 7 and was shown to the eighth floor, where my airy private room has a shower and a sofa beneath the big picture window and a wonderful, multi-adjustable bed I'd love to have at home. Add a minibar...
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Nov 5, 2016
Campfire pleasures both old and new
My father went off to war and never came back to us. My mother remarried when I was 10 and my new Dad was in the Royal Navy. Until I was 13 he was mostly at sea, so lots of chores came my way.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT / OLD NIC'S NOTEBOOK
Oct 1, 2016
Passing on ancient steel production techniques
When the first Portuguese merchants and missionaries reached Japan in 1543, the warriors they encountered were armed with steel swords that were equal to, or better than, any being produced in Europe.

Longform

Traditional folk rituals like Mizudome-no-mai (dance to stop the rain) provide a sense of agency to a population that feels largely powerless in the face of the climate crisis.
As climate extremes intensify, Japan embraces ancient weather rituals