Kamakura, less than an hour by train from Tokyo, is a popular day tripper destination because of its abundance of things to see and do. A city built in finger valleys radiating from a small bay, one of its many fascinating features is the hiking trails that connect the different valleys. Recently a few friends … Continue reading Hiking the Hills of Kamakura: a spring day’s walk from Kita-Kamakura to Hase
Little remains of Japan's famous cherry blossoms except a few pale pink petals caught by the wind and swirling in the gutter. But as I watch these petals dance, in the corner of my eye I catch sight of a burst of color--a vivid shade of magenta smiling at me from the hedge that divides … Continue reading Amazing Azaleas
Japan has many traditional performing arts, each with its own origin and style. Noh, which dates back to the 14th century, combines music, dance and drama, as well as the distinctive feature of performers who are often masked. The plays are often historic legends and the language used is often so old that even native … Continue reading Which part of “Noh” don’t you understand?
In the opening scene of the 1968 movie, "Admiral Yamamoto", starring the great Mifune Toshiro, Yamamoto is being ferried across a river in his hometown and is challenged by the boatman to make the crossing standing on his head, thereby demonstrating his superior balance and seamanship. Perhaps because I know there was a time in … Continue reading A traditional river crossing…and meandering old neighborhoods
Not long ago I was visiting my friend Maki’s house. While using her toilet, I glanced down and realized with horror that I was wearing my house slippers. Quel faux pas! Most people are aware that Japan has a tradition of removing street shoes upon entering a home, or any other establishment with tatami mats … Continue reading Footfaults: [Mis]adventures in footwear