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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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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...
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Zoned Out – Day 6

Zoned Out – Day 6

Today in Kyoto we had cloudy humid weather, light traffic around town and a radiation reading of — oh, wait, Kyoto isn’t even in the “zone”.   Every day in the Japan Times, on the second page I think, there is a map of about 1/2 of Japan with concentric circles radiating out (ha!) from Fukushima.  Today’s reading for Tokyo was .064 microseiverts per hour.   Today’s reading for Sendai was .074.   Today’s reading for Nagano was .041.    Today’s reading for Shizuoka was .040.   And that’s as far west as the circles go...
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Festive Kyoto – Day 5

Festive Kyoto – Day 5

Today was an unusual confluence of festival events, with the annual Aoi Matsuri and the Mifune Matsuri both falling on the same day.   Matsuri is basically the Japanese word for Festival and Kyoto’s festivals are some of the most elaborate in Japan, with spectacular costumes, floats, horses, drums, and more.   They’re not festivals in the sense of all day eating. carnival booths, fireworks, etc.   The festival activities are, like much of Japan, quite structured and predictable.  We took in both in a whirlwind day. Starting at promptly 10:30, the first...
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Taking it Back – Day 4

Taking it Back – Day 4

OK, so I have to take some of yesterday’s observations back.  Today we explored Kanazawa and the further we get from Tokyo, the more we are finding things as we’d left them.   In Kanazawa, we ran into our first experience of the busloads of tourists we’d come to expect in Japan at some tourist stops. Our day started off with Kenroku-en garden, a famed strolling garden in the center of the city.   We always advise our clients to go early to avoid the bus crowds.  I tried to take our advice, although I’m admittedly not a morning person.  But...