Tokyo-wan Kannon: a surprising pantheon of peace

For many in Japan, Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of compassion and mercy, has also come to be associated with prayers for peace and the repose of the souls of war dead. Predictably, this association arose in the years after Japan's defeat in World War II, but the association remains these many decades after the war … Continue reading Tokyo-wan Kannon: a surprising pantheon of peace

Hitachino Nest: The Happiness of Beer on a Hot Summer Day

Craft beers have proliferated in Japan since the deregulation of beer production in the mid-1990s. One of the early leaders in micro-brewing is Kiuchi Brewery, an Ibaraki brewery that started making sake in 1823 and first produced beer in 1996. Kiuchi Brewery's beer is branded Hitachino Nest, with a cute little owl on the label. … Continue reading Hitachino Nest: The Happiness of Beer on a Hot Summer Day

A German Advisor and Japan’s Hot Spring Connection to Europe

During the late nineteenth century, when Japan was modernizing/Westernizing, many European and American were invited to Japan to advise the government and business. One such individual was Dr. Erwin von Baelz (1849-1913), a German physician who came to Japan in 1876 to teach medicine at the Imperial University (now known as the University of Tokyo). … Continue reading A German Advisor and Japan’s Hot Spring Connection to Europe

Fukiware Falls: unusual water bears the gift of negative ions

Waterfalls are well known to release negative ions that boost the spirits of mere mortals who visit them. Japan is blessed with many waterfalls and so lots of negative ion opportunities. One unusually shaped waterfall worth seeking out is Fukiware Falls in northern Gunma Prefecture (almost halfway between Minakami and Nikko). The falls is in … Continue reading Fukiware Falls: unusual water bears the gift of negative ions