Getting started with a journal

I have always been a sporadic journal writer, only regularly documenting daily experiences while traveling, winding down during the end-of-day decompression in my room. Many years ago I made it 1/5 the way through a 5-Year Journal. This year, I’m giving journaling a serious try, and have found it to be like a delayed mindfulnessContinue reading “Getting started with a journal”

Island emergency broadcast system

Often on Twitter I will mention hearing about some local happening on the island like new coronavirus cases or massive snowfall stalling bus service. These updates come across the emergency broadcast system, or 告知放送 kokuchi hōsō. We are all familiar with speakers mounted on towers and buildings in every neighbourhood in Japan. But this isContinue reading “Island emergency broadcast system”

Pros and cons of waiting out the pandemic on a remote island

During the first wave of coronavirus cases in Japan we moved to Iki island thinking it would be safer than waiting out the pandemic wave in Kyoto. It was a good move. Since we came here last May, we have been lucky to lead a very normal life. The kids go to school, we ateContinue reading “Pros and cons of waiting out the pandemic on a remote island”

From the Ruins of Empire — a review

Books On Asia asked reviewers to pick their top books for 2020. I submitted my four along with the other contributors and gave a short comment. Below is a more fleshed out review. For more reviews, check out booksonasia.net Pankaj Mishra delivers a sweeping account of the intellectual history of anti-colonial thought in the earlyContinue reading “From the Ruins of Empire — a review”

The nearly 400 year legacy of a cutting edge ceramic coffee filter

This NY Times piece on a 1,020 year old shop in Kyoto has been making the rounds online. It got me thinking about other examples of products or skills that have traversed centuries, and a random discovery we made at a shopping stall: a paperless ceramic coffee filter. Last October we travelled to Imari andContinue reading “The nearly 400 year legacy of a cutting edge ceramic coffee filter”