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Plates, dishes, bowls, cups, glasses

Plates, dishes, bowls, cups, glasses

At an onsen hot springs resort in Hakone, the bath, the bed, the bamboo outside the balcony in the afternoon sun were all perfect. After soaking, napping and reading all afternoon, dinner started arriving at 6:45 promptly, just as the waitress said it would when she showed us to our room. The waitress carried in… Continue Reading

Beauty Blossoming

Beauty Blossoming

Cherry blossoms must be the most written about flower in history, and certainly the most photographed. But since thousands of people, perhaps millions in Japan, keep taking photos, I suppose writers can keep writing about them, too. Continue Reading

Bone Sake

Bone Sake

I tried to sip a bit more, but it wasn’t like drinking exactly. The entire effect was something else altogether–a bone to bone connection, as if being punched or struck by a hard object. Continue Reading

Tokyo Arrows

Tokyo Arrows

How many total arrows are plastered over station walls, signs, street corners and sidewalks in Tokyo? As many as there are directions, as many as there are people to follow them. Continue Reading

Two Boys on the Train

Two Boys on the Train

Two boys bumped me as I was reading on the train last week. They were about nine or ten, with no school or shopping bag, in sports clothes, on the way home, I guessed, from soccer practice… Continue Reading

Motions and Moments Gold Honoree

Motions and Moments Gold Honoree

Motions and Moments was selected as a Gold Honoree at the Benjamin Franklin Digital Awards, an annual award for e-books sponsored by the Independent Book Publishers Association. The award examines e-books for creativity and innovation, design, use of technology and content. They are also one of the few contests that provides you with a detailed… Continue Reading

A Clean Ending

A Clean Ending

The last day of the year in Tokyo, my neighborhood fills with the hum of machines and the splash of water. The swish of brooms and clink of laundry poles echoes though the air. Everything, inside the houses and out, is getting cleaned. It’s “O-soji,” big cleaning, a ritual of energy and activity that brings… Continue Reading

My Toe in Tokyo

My Toe in Tokyo

A few weeks ago, I accidentally smashed my foot against the bookshelf in my hallway at home. My two littlest toes, and then my foot, turned blue, then purple, then green. I iced it, took aspirin and elevated it. It was another end-of-the-semester exhaustion-induced injury, the worst one, it turned out, ever. Continue Reading

City of Eyes

City of Eyes

The other day, for the first time, a young woman on the train won the contest of “who will look away first.” In the past, I could always stare longer than anyone in Tokyo, but this Tokyo woman outstared me. I felt surprised, and maybe a little humiliated, that she could hold the eye contact longer than me–a westerner! Continue Reading

Hanami, and Just After

Hanami, and Just After

After the clamor and crowd of hanami (cherry blossom viewing) has dissipated and people have eased back into their spring routines, everything changes under the blossoms, for the better. Continue Reading

Seeing Fuji

Seeing Fuji

From my backyard, officially, I can see Mount Fuji. The iconic volcano rising from the plains southwest of Tokyo and Yokohama, is a stunning site no matter where you stand. But when I say I can see it from my house, I draw jealous gasps of “Really?” from Tokyoites. Continue Reading

Learning to Love the Crowd

Learning to Love the Crowd

Walking around Tokyo one of the first days of January, I decided to veer away from the crowds. Instead of spending more money on sales, sake or noodles (the holy triumvirate of the new year in Tokyo), I thought I’d store up some karma by restfully escaping to one of Tokyo’s greatest shrines, Kanda Myojin. Continue Reading

Essay on Essays

Essays should probe, question and clarify; they do not have to finalize, conclude or prove. They should open up dialogue; they do not pass judgments. They might transform beliefs, but mostly they are about seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary. Continue Reading

Why Tokyo?

Why Tokyo?

Tokyo is a place full of hidden meanings and provocative experiences. It’s a city whose hugeness refuses simple metaphors and passing conclusions. Tokyo is an imaginary construct, and does not really exist in any single place or in any exact way. Continue Reading

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