Japan’s Boxed Happiness – “O-Bento”

Perhaps it goes back to our childhood, when we were happy with very little things, like tiny boxes and the secrets we thought we might uncover in those mysterious containers. A box was also very often a gift given to us by someone very dear, like our mother or father, a brother or a sister. […]

Ode to a Tokyo Garden

Dream or reality? Is reality nothing but a dream? A pure product of our imagination? An illusion? The line between the two is often blurred. On the eastern edge of the Musashino plains, where much of western Tokyo lies, is the Sekiguchi Plateau, a scenic spot famous for its wild Camellias, since the fourteenth century. During the Edo period […]

Bathing in a Japanese Onsen During a Pandemic

To bathe or not to bathe in a hot spring these days, that is the question.  After Japan’s state of emergency was lifted, I decided I would soak if I could find an environment that seemed safe. For several months, this hot spring addict abstained from entering the sacred waters of Japanese onsens out of fear of contracting COVID-19. Finally, […]

The Night Train to Izumo

It’s 10:20 at night and I’m on my back, in underpants and a tee shirt, watching commuters wait in line at Yokohama Station. Ordinarily, that should draw looks of horror, possibly the attention of the police, but not tonight.

Niigata, Japan: Rice, Sake, Snow

As the bullet train works its way north from Tokyo, the capital’s high rise gradually gives way to a suburban sprawl increasingly punctuated by rural pockets of green. Then mountain ranges emerge on the horizon, and, but for the occasional blurred towns, civilization begins to give way to vast swathes of farmland.

Walking Japan

The Road: Temples, traditional inns—and the occasional vending machine—greet walkers on an ancient Japanese highway connecting Kyoto and Tokyo.

Southeast Asia by Sea: Hitting the Highlights on a 17-Day Cruise

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n the 1969 movie, “If it’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium,” a busload of tourists travels across Europe at a whirlwind pace, spending only a day in each country. At the time, seasoned travelers poked fun at the idea of such a madcap itinerary. After all, how could anyone experience a country’s culture in a […]

Oita Encounters

[dropcap]V[/dropcap]enturing outside of the usual tourist trail (Tokyo,Osaka or Kyoto) can prove to be vastly rewarding in Japan, for the inquisitive traveler. A simple visit, for instance to Oita prefecture on the island of Kyushu reveals lesser known little wonders. In Oita city, a stop at the newly built art museum (OPAM) is a must […]

A Japan Eco-Adventure…On Bike!

Kosenji temple in Shikoku Japan

A Japan eco-adventure, cycling through the Shimanami Kaidooffers, offers the active eco-tourist a breathtaking experience.  [dropcap]F[/dropcap]ew countries can claim to have a relationship as close to nature as Japan does. While casual visitors to Tokyo and Kyoto may view an endless sea of concrete at first, they soon realize how Japanese citizens find ways to […]