Apr 6, 2020
Right now I am in voluntary self-quarantine after returning from overseas. When I flew into Kansai International Airport from the island of Bali on March 23, Indonesia wasn’t on the list of countries with known coronavirus infections, and local authorities had not yet asked returnees from abroad to self-isolate for two weeks. Although I am back home in Japan, I have checked into a hotel to self-isolate because I feel I pose too much of a risk to the community of 450 people, most of them elderly, where I live.
Jan 27, 2020
Sep 25, 2019
When I first came to Japan, I was stunned by the beauty of the Seto Inland Sea. Its thousands of peaked islands look as if they'd dropped straight from the sky and settled like gum drops on the water. Stretching 450 kilometers from Osaka to Kyushu, I also soon learned of the infinite varieties of seafood this location offers. It took me a little longer to really get to know the process of how that bounty ends up on my dinner plate.
Aug 25, 2019
Jul 21, 2019
As I made my way up the steep road to Kakurin Temple — aka Temple No. 20, I realized how foolish I had been to have bought a bicycle. Rising at dawn, I had ticked off temples 18 and 19 of the 88-temple Shikoku Pilgrimage on foot. I was hoping to make it to Temple 34 over the next few days. However, I was limping by No. 19 (Tatsue Temple), so I searched for bicycle shops on my smartphone. There was a Yamaha shop just 2 kilometers away. Now I had wheels!
May 29, 2019
Apr 21, 2019
It's April on Shiraishi Island in Japan's Seto Inland Sea. The nights are still crisp, dipping to 4 degrees Celsius, but the sky is clear and the stars arc over the beach like thousands of glittery sequins on a pop idol's stage dress. The constellations are so prominent, even a young child can pick out the Big Dipper.
Mar 20, 2019
Feb 20, 2019
Jan 20, 2019
On a recent bus trip in Indonesia, I struck up a conversation with the man sitting next to me who told me he was Malaysian but living in Australia, which prompted me to admit that I was American but living in Japan. This seemed to pique his interest as he next said, "I am very interested to see how Japan deals with its aging problem." He went on to tell me that nations such as Malaysia were watching to see how Japan copes with aging and that it would predict how other Asian nations deal with the same issues.
Dec 30, 2018
On the small island where I live in the middle of Japan's Seto Inland Sea, new year celebrations are stalwart traditional. Preparations start a week before when the holiday spirit wafts in on sea breezes tinted with chilling temperatures. The island holds a community rice-pounding event to make kagami mochi adornments for inside our homes and a few businesses set out classic kadomatsu displays — bamboo and pine branches engaged with a shimenawa rope — outside their doors.
Nov 25, 2018
The cleanliness of the Japanese is known worldwide. Thanks to the internet, videos of Japanese students cleaning their schools have gone viral, as well as a memorable clip of how the JR staff clean an entire shinkansen train in under seven minutes. The Japanese have further left their indelible mark at world sporting events by taking their garbage away from stadiums, something unthinkable in most other countries.