Drinking to health and history in Kagoshima

Aug 25, 2017

Drinking to health and history in Kagoshima

Passengers flying into Kagoshima Airport in Kyushu pass over verdant mountains and lush agricultural fields just before landing. This rich terrain, fertilized by ash from a nearby active volcano, partially explains one facet of the prefecture's reputation: Kagoshima is famous for healthy cuisine. Centuries-old seaports ...

More than fare trade: backstreet by taxi

| Mar 25, 2017

More than fare trade: backstreet by taxi

A combination of rain showers and tax prep in March signal Tokyo's segue into spring. Cherry blossoms are nearly in bud, but cold, damp days of crunching fiscal figures can put people in dour moods. After wandering a wet backstreet, absorbing little more than precipitation, ...

East of Meiji Shrine, west of Jingu Stadium

| Feb 25, 2017

East of Meiji Shrine, west of Jingu Stadium

It's a brisk February day, with a neoprene blue and cloudless sky. I alight at Harajuku Station and head northeast, threading narrow alleyways filled with cute guys and kawaii gals browsing boutiques. Full disclosure: I'm in search of the creative marketing agency UltraSuperNew. Its upcoming ...

Good fortune in the Tokyo suburbs

| Jan 28, 2017

Good fortune in the Tokyo suburbs

The Tokyu Setagaya Line, a sweet little tramline, makes stops between Sangenjaya and Shimotakaido stations. A mere 5.1 kilometers long and one of only two trams left in Tokyo (the other being the Toden Arakawa Line), the Setagaya Line boasts a sleek fleet in ...

It's a small world after all in Komagome

| Dec 24, 2016

It's a small world after all in Komagome

On a crisp and cloudless winter morning, the streets outside Komagome Station in Tokyo's Toshima Ward scintillate with shards of sunlight cutting between sharp shadows. I bundle up against the cold, and set off to seek out an artisan that I heard tell of ...

Graves and gods of Otsuka

| Nov 26, 2016

Graves and gods of Otsuka

It's a bright fall morning when I return to Gokokuji Temple, an Important Cultural Property in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward. Exiting Gokokuji Station, it only takes me a few minutes to find the two monks who promised to help me when I visited here earlier: ...