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Jon Burbank

For Jon Burbank's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Travel May 22, 2001

Mists of time and fable fade at Janakpur

JANAKPUR, Nepal -- There are few places where history and allegory blur more easily than the Indian subcontinent. The line dividing fact and fable meanders and shifts like the great Ganges River that figures so prominently in both. Worshippers and pilgrims perform their dawn ablutions ...

Nepalese doctor offers hope to leprosy sufferers

General Apr 19, 2001

Nepalese doctor offers hope to leprosy sufferers

PASHUPATI, Nepal -- In 1980, when Hari Maya Kuinkel was 20 and pregnant for the third time in her arranged marriage, the shaman of her village in eastern Nepal diagnosed the tingling in her feet as possession by "new" spirits. It wasn't. By the ...

Environment Dec 13, 2000

Slowing down to the pace of nature

Looking for an unusual vacation this winter? How about floating along a river deep in the jungles of Borneo? Thick, fragrant bushes crowd the water's edge and delicate violet flowers float by. In the branches of the massive trees above a mother and baby orangutan ...

Travel Oct 25, 2000

Deep in the ancient forests of the U.S. northwest

A soft light glows from the emerald-green moss covering every tree trunk, rock and piece of ground. The glow feels brighter than the light filtering down through the massive Douglas fir and Sitka spruce trees towering overhead, whose crowns prick the silver clouds that ...

Travel Sep 13, 2000

Thunder god romps in Katmandu

For eight wild, magical and sometimes disconcerting days each September the great festival of Indrajatra turns Katmandu into a raucous celebration. A living goddess rides a massive thundering chariot through narrow streets crammed with worshippers. A god battles demons by turns fierce and comical. A ...

Travel Jul 19, 2000

A fishbowl smack in the middle of the Sulu Sea

SANDAKAN, Malaysia -- The last thing I ever expected to find in Sandakan was the Doraemon Drinks shop. Yet here it was, with that cute, roly-poly 22nd-century robot cat grinning over the door. Of course, I snapped a picture of my 8-year-old son, a diehard ...

Travel Dec 8, 1999

American tycoons leave lush legacy

In Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor, Maine, the National Parks Service just completed flossing "Mr. Rockefeller's teeth," the nickname given to the large chunks of granite edging roads built by John D. Rockfeller Jr. The "teeth" were in desperate need of a cleaning ...

General Nov 10, 1999

Walking the way of the gods

As long as there has been Japan there has been Shinto: the "way of the gods." Shintoism is not organized around any central religious text or authority. It is perhaps best described as an amalgam of thousands of local deities (kami) and beliefs observed ...

Travel Aug 11, 1999

Journeying to the feet of the gods

POKHARA, Nepal -- There are few places where you can relax more completely than Lake Phewa, in the second city of Nepal. You will not be able to resist its tranquil waters, the birds singing in the lush greenery, the cascade of hills and ...

Travel Mar 24, 1999

Kathmandu's bazaar of dreams

Some "old hands" are lamenting what they see as the passing of Asan Tole, that magical path through old Kathmandu where it seems Kipling's "the wildest dreams of Kew" really do come true. The old hands moan about concrete replacing handmade bricks and multinational logos ...