July 28, 2017

Every summer in Japan, the spirits of dead ancestors come home.

In mid-August, as the sweltering humid winds blow in, Obon Festival or "The Festival of the Dead" is celebrated throughout communities in Japan to pay respects to family members who have passed away.

In this...

July 27, 2017

Rear Admiral Minoru Ota as a child no doubt had heard the story of how the Mongolian Armada tried to conquer Japan in 1274. But from the mouth of Goddess Amaterasu, the Divine Winds, the Kamikaze, destroyed the Mongol fleets under command of Kublai Kahn.  Would the God...

July 25, 2017

In January 1834, while Chief George of the Makah tribe took possession of the Japanese castaway Otokichi and his ship the Hojunmaru on the shores of Cape Flattery, Chief Superintendent Napier of the British tribe was dreaming of a bigger catch. 

William Napier declared,...

July 24, 2017

Art is Knowledge at the service of emotion.” – Jose Clemente Orozco

Long before discovering the story of Otokichi in Japan, I was in Mexico where I encountered the muralist Jose Clemente Orozco whose story is more cerebral than that of the world-traveled Otokichi.


July 18, 2017

In August 1825, Cyrus Shepard had a dream. 

In it, he was on a ship sailing towards the African coast, the hot wind blowing his hair back.  He was wearing his neatly tailored double-breasted frock coat, the latest from France, for the occasion.  From the bow of the ship...

July 15, 2017

When we think of Japan now, we think of it as the land of the latest technology, cutting-edge design and innovation, but when Japan restricted its borders (opened only to the Dutch and Chinese) during the Edo Period (1603-1868) and to limit the movement of its people t...

July 12, 2017

In the photo that reportedly shows Amelia Earhart squatting by the docks with her back towards the camera supposedly “in custody,” it’s hard to believe that such a rare sight as a white woman in an isolated island of Japan did not garner more attention from the people....

July 11, 2017

The obstacle is the path. -Zen Proverb

Here there are no scenic photo opportunities of ancient castles or crumbling Shinto shrines. No magnificent selfies of sunsets nor cascading waterfalls in the background. No sign of any bustling Japanese pubs to quench my thirst.


July 8, 2017

When Monica and Keitaro started going out, they did all the obligatory things couples do in Tokyo: shopping trips to Shibuya, long strolls on the boardwalk at Odaiba, swan boat rides at Ueno Park. But Monica realized there were places that Keitaro avoided altogether: n...

July 7, 2017

After deciding to go against the wishes of her father, Monica flew to Japan. In the cabin, she had all the time to think whether her decision was the right one—not that it mattered anyway as the plane, almost twenty hours later, landed in Tokyo in the middle of winter.


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