Yachiyo-za Theater: jewel in the crown of Yamaga

The late nineteenth/early twentieth century in Japan was a time when kabuki as an art form was liberalized, becoming more popular than ever. As a result, many communities built their own theaters. By the end of the Meiji Period (1868-1912) there were between four and five thousand such theaters across Japan. Only a few have … Continue reading Yachiyo-za Theater: jewel in the crown of Yamaga

Historical transit port Hizen Hamashuku

While Japan was fundamentally closed to the outside world during the Edo Period (1603-1868), it still maintained a robust domestic economy. This economy was largely centered on agricultural production that led to production of secondary food products all of which fed the entire nation, allowing other economic activity also to flourish. Central to all this … Continue reading Historical transit port Hizen Hamashuku

Kumano Magaibutsu: immoveable in more ways than one

In last week's blog post, I introduced a temple founded to house a statue of Fudo Myo-o, the great immoveable deity, carved by no less than the great Kobo Daishi (774-835). But Kobo Daishi is not alone in his admiration of Fudo Myo-o, whose image is found and worshiped across Japan. Even the earliest Buddhist … Continue reading Kumano Magaibutsu: immoveable in more ways than one

Let it wash over you: A sampling of Kyushu waterfalls

There is something amazing and energizing about a waterfall. That is a scientifically-proven fact. The tumbling of the water generates negative ions, which research has shown to reduce depression and stress, boost the immune system and improve metabolism, among other benefits. Volcanic Japan has innumerable waterfalls, great and small. It doesn't take a lot of … Continue reading Let it wash over you: A sampling of Kyushu waterfalls

Entrepreneurs on the Rise: Second Career Women in Regional Japan

I'm fortunate that in my travels I often get to meet local people who are doing interesting and creative things.  I was able to write a profile of a couple of groups of women in Kyushu and Shikoku who have become successful small business entrepreneurs, producing condiments featuring local produce and local flavors.  (Archived article … Continue reading Entrepreneurs on the Rise: Second Career Women in Regional Japan

A Goto Island of Quarantine: the perfect place to hide

Since everyone is thinking quarantine, isolation and hiding away these days, I thought it might be appropriate for this month's travel article to be about a place in where such things happened in the past.  Enjoy this as "armchair travel" now, and perhaps get there yourself sometime in the future.  (Archived article originally published by … Continue reading A Goto Island of Quarantine: the perfect place to hide