Iwate Prefecture in Japan's Tohoku (northeast) region is a beautiful and diverse area with much to recommend it to the intrepid tourist. Not long ago we were travelling the countryside between Hiraizumi in the interior and Ofunato, one of Iwate's coastal cities hard-hit by the 2011 earthquake/tsunami disaster, and decided to make a stop at … Continue reading Iwate Off the Beaten Track
I find the Ikegami area of Tokyo historically fascinating and generally interesting as a microcosm of residential Tokyo. I’ve written elsewhere about the neighborhood and about the o-eshiki ceremony that commemorates the life and death of the Buddhist saint, Nichiren (1222-1282) every year on the night of October 12. But this year, I was privileged … Continue reading An inside look at the O-eshiki commemoration of Saint Nichiren
While sericulture was first developed in China about 4,500 years ago, Japan has also been producing silk since around the third century. Silk's heyday in Japan was during the Meiji Period (1868-1912), when it became one of Japan's first industrially mass-produced export products. The center of Japan's silk industry has long been Gunma Prefecture, which … Continue reading The Tomizawa Family Farmhouse – late 18th century “cottage industry”
Not long ago I received a postcard from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police notifying me that, as my birthday was approaching, it was time to renew my driver's license. According to the postcard, I could renew my license during the period from one month before my birthday to one month after. Foreigners in Japan as visitors … Continue reading Time to renew my driver’s license!