Tohoku and 3/11: Looking Back and Ahead

Five years go, I was sitting in my kitchen in Okinawa, playing cards with a friend while my infant daughter slept at our feet, when the messages started coming through: "Are you alright?" "Oh my word, how devastating!" "Is everything ok????" "PLEASE tell us you're alright." They had every reason to be concerned. A 9.0... Continue Reading →

Review: A Tale for the Time Being

A visit to the library the other month landed me with a Japan-related book I'd never heard of (I always love stumbling across surprises like that). Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being had an intriguing premise. A lunchbox washes up on a Canadian beach, filled with the diary of a young Japanese girl. What... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Ishinomaki

It was a jarring juxtaposition to find this manhole cover in downtown Ishinomaki earlier this month:   Colorful, isn't it? Ishinomaki is known for its summertime fireworks display, where 15,000 rounds light up the night sky over the city's bridge. Aside from the Sendai Tanabata fireworks, it is one of Tohoku's best-known hanabi festivals. But since... Continue Reading →

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