Fuchū, Japan

My teaching assignment in Japan, in fall of 2008, with a recruiting company that hired and placed foreign English teachers in Japanese universities, came with housing in Fuchū, about a half hour by train from Shinjuku, a major Tokyo hub. It’s a small city in Tokyo prefecture with an urban neighborhood feel, west of TokyoContinue reading “Fuchū, Japan”

Jigokudani Monkey Park

When a Japanese friend learned that I was planning a winter trip to see the snow monkeys north of Nagano, she told me she had always wanted to see the Hokusai museum in nearby Obuse, so, although she was not fond of cold weather, she agreed to accompany me for a few days. It wasContinue reading “Jigokudani Monkey Park”

Hiking Mt Fuji

The recommended way to climb Mount Fuji, or Fuji-san as it is called in Japan, is to begin at midnight in the summer months when the weather is less volatile and extreme. Hikers carry flashlights or don lighted headbands to illuminate the trail. The goal is to arrive at the top for sunrise, then descendContinue reading “Hiking Mt Fuji”

Lotus of Ueno Park, Tokyo

The Zen of lotus leaves: graceful, reaching, curling, budding, nurturing, blossoming, caressing, open and welcoming, hiding, labyrinthine, blanketing. Several of my fellow bloggers have recently written about Ueno Park in Tokyo and others about the concept of wabi-sabi (Travels and Trifles, Albatz Travel),  and some of my older photos popped up on Facebook to remindContinue reading “Lotus of Ueno Park, Tokyo”

Armchair Historians podcast: Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami

I had the pleasure recently of being interviewed on Armchair Historians podcast about my personal account of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Although I wasn’t in one of the disastrously affected areas, I was living twenty-five minutes west of Tokyo at the time and it literally shook my world and impacted the lives ofContinue reading “Armchair Historians podcast: Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami”

A Japanese treasure

I first become interested in Japan in my college days, when, along with a generation of hippie potters, I was inspired by the works of Shoji Hamada. Declared a Living National Treasure, Hamada and his twentieth-century contemporaries created functional stoneware vessels. Sturdier-looking than decorative ceramics, in simple but graceful shapes, but with a strength andContinue reading “A Japanese treasure”

Fate or coincidence

A visitor to the Georgetown Heritage Center, the old restored schoolhouse that hosts our Plein Air art show (A labor of love), told me a story about visiting a schoolhouse museum in Victoria, British Columbia. (I won’t repeat the story here; it’s his story.) He mentioned the Empress Hotel, which reminded me of my ownContinue reading “Fate or coincidence”

India: Sheroes

She + heroes. But I’ll get to that later. You have to keep on your toes in India; everyone has an angle. I’ve learned to be cautious, as an international traveler, with anyone who approaches unsolicited and offers a taxi. At the Delhi airport last spring, a taxi hawker beckoned for me to follow him.Continue reading “India: Sheroes”

Nepal: Milk Mothers and Happy Holi

I may not travel again any time soon, grounded as we all are by the coronavirus pandemic, but I still have travel stories in my head… A year ago, I joined a Habitat for Humanity build in Nepal, arriving in Kathmandu a day earlier than scheduled to explore on my own, after a five-day stopContinue reading “Nepal: Milk Mothers and Happy Holi”