Remembering Japan’s wartime occupation of Singapore

On the afternoon of February 15, 1942, Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival and members of his senior staff made their way under the Union Jack and a flag of truce from his headquarters at Singapore's Fort Canning to the headquarters of the Japanese Imperial Army at the Ford Factory on Bukit Timah hill.  There, following a brief … Continue reading Remembering Japan’s wartime occupation of Singapore

Yusuhara: the eco-friendly traditional mountain town

In these days of environmental concerns, it's not unusual to hear talk of green living and energy independence.  In the Shikoku mountain town of Yusuhara, it's more than just talk.  This town of less than 4,000 people has adopted various practices to generate its own power and reduce its carbon footprint while caring for the … Continue reading Yusuhara: the eco-friendly traditional mountain town

Ritsurin Koen: a classic garden and the teamLab touch

Ritsurin Koen, a classic "samurai strolling garden", is a treasure of Takamatsu, a Shikoku castle town facing the Seto Inland Sea.  With 400 years of history it is one of the most beautiful gardens of its type in Japan, with sculpted ponds and waterways, hills dotted with carefully tended pine trees, and landscapes that must … Continue reading Ritsurin Koen: a classic garden and the teamLab touch

Saitobaru: A Walk in Miyazaki’s “Valley of the Kings”

Sitting on a plateau above the Hitotsuse River valley in central Miyazaki Prefecture is a 58 hectare site covered in tumuli, the kofun burial mounds of the period from the second century to the seventh century AD, a period in Japanese history known as the "Kofun Period" because of this practice.  There are at least … Continue reading Saitobaru: A Walk in Miyazaki’s “Valley of the Kings”

Gunkanjima: an abandoned coal mining town like no other

Students of Japan's modern industrial history may have heard of Gunkanjima.  Fans of James Bond movies may recognize it as villain Raoul Silva's abandoned island hideout in Skyfall. Whatever it is, it sure is different! Gunkanjima's real name is Hashima.  Coal was discovered on Hashima, a rocky outcrop some 4.5 kilometers west of Nagasaki Peninsula, … Continue reading Gunkanjima: an abandoned coal mining town like no other