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A Thankful Nation

A Thankful Nation

Here’s a lovely video of the natural graciousness and gratitude of the Japanese as they are continuing to recover from last year’s earthquake.   It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 10 months, but this video shows the hope that has come out of the...
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Autumn in Kyoto

Autumn in Kyoto

We are often asked to recommend the best dates to see cherry blossoms and fall colors. and indeed, there is ample “factual” information available on the Internet on the subject.  However, nature doesn’t always co-operate with published schedules. This fall, for example, the peak of the maple colors is at least 2 weeks “late”. The hot summer is much talked about as the reason.   Whatever.  Kyoto is beautiful in any season, and one brilliant red tree at Kokedera (also known as Saihoji, the Moss Temple) today was thrilling...
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Masa Fujiwara

Masa Fujiwara

I visited the home of an artist today, who lives in a traditional wooden merchant house. I had a “Kyoto moment” enjoying the view of their tiny, sun-dappled garden from their living room. Later , I had dinner with my friends Sarah Brayer and Masa Fujiwara last night at their house in north Kyoto. Masa, who had spent a long day guiding happy Esprit clients, foraged in his garden for fresh greens and other vegetables, and then, in about 30 minutes, created this beautifully present, gourmet masterpiece meal. Note the flowers in the basket behind Masa. In addition...
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Visit to Mori-san

Visit to Mori-san

Yesterday, on my first day back in Japan, I unexpectedly found myself in Yasu, about an hour from Kyoto. I visited the Mori family, who are one of the last families who do the traditional indigo dyeing process from start to finish: growing the indigo plants, composting the leaves to make the “tskumo” the dyestuff, and then dyeing both silk threads and washi paper.  His son is the 5th generation to continue this work.  It is always such an inspiration to see the great pride that Japan’s traditional artisans take in their work, the careful and precise...
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Tokyo vs. the World – Radiation Reports

Tokyo vs. the World – Radiation Re...

Graphically presented information is often a lot better than just the numbers.  One of the most difficult situations that the Japanese have been trying to overcome is the perception that the entire country is living in a cloud of radiation (with Godzilla running through the streets we guess).   We were recently forwarded this graph showing the different levels of radiation on a given day in major cities around the world.   Note where Tokyo is falling…   below New York, Hong Kong and Berlin.   I investigated the source of the data, just in case you want to know. ...
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Boaring… :It’s Just Different Here

Boaring… :It’s Just Differen...

AWWWWWK, AWWWWK, AWWWWWWWWK – a high-pitched screeching blast of sound broke our hurried silence as we were rushing to get to the theater for the Kamo-odori.   I looked around to see that someone was taking their “pet” out for a “walk”.  Apparently wild boars are all the fashion – regardless of the fact that your apartment is the dead center of a busy city.   Here’s a shot that I managed to get as she tried to steer her wild boar down the street by shuffling it between her legs.  Frankly, the boar was getting away from her,...
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Thank you for Coming – Day 8

Thank you for Coming – Day 8

In Las Vegas, where I live, when we see tourists arriving we say to each other “Thank you for paying our taxes” since LV is a tourist town.  It is designed to cater to tourists and the more there are, the better it is for the economy.  But in Las Vegas, when tourism turns down and visitors stop arriving in droves, they let go of thousands of workers and staff is reduced throughout the industry. Japan is different.   When tourism drops, the Japanese continue with their strong history of full employment and keep on their staff.  They figure out how to make it...
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Children go to School – Day 7

Children go to School – Day 7

The Japanese play it safe a lot.   It’s one of the things that makes travel here so refreshing.   The streets are safe from most crime, the building codes are strict, the food is clean and carefully marked, the people are polite and there is a general social cohesion.  That means there are a lot of things about Japan that the occasional visitor may not notice – especially when the visitor is a member of the media looking for “news”. This comes to mind since there had been some reporting about Japan that, as a somewhat frequent visitor, I found...