Moving Through Japan

Here in Japan (the people say) it’s about the process. Life is about the process. Everything good is made better because of the process. Everything bad is made tolerable by the process. For “at least it was a learning experience.” Since all things are about the process, the long train ride, the strenuous airplane flight, … Continue reading


Remembering Hiroshima

We’ve heard about the bomb; we’ve heard about Sadako and the thousand cranes. We’ve read about Robert Oppenheimer, the Manhattan project, and 109 East Palace. We know about the end of the war and the nuclear arms debate. But we haven’t seen what happened at Hiroshima itself. Our group took the bullet train one-and-a-half hours … Continue reading


The Electric World

The eight-floor electronics mega store Yodobashi Camera took entertainment to a higher level with its 3D screens. Costing upwards of $1,700 USD, these flat-panel screens combined with 3D glasses provide a viewing experience that surpasses the movie theater. Concert performers seem to rise out from the screen. In the early afternoon the group was treated … Continue reading


Japan at first glance

With convenience stores at every corner, hundreds of noodle soup or ramen shops, and a population of black-haired, brown-eyed people, Japan resembles Taiwan in many ways. But the similarities should go the other way, for if Taiwan had a seemingly impressive infrastructure of buses, bullet trains, and personal service, Japan’s is the refined version. Everything, … Continue reading


A World Destabilized

The world is being shaken. We used to live isolated in our own neighborhoods, states, and countries. World news did not affect us. But the earthquake in Japan, the revolution in Egypt, and the publication of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother stir our hearts. In restaurants, buses, stores, and subways, Americans are discussing these … Continue reading


Karigurashi No Arrietty

I learned today that Studio Ghibli is producing a new movie about Arrietty from The Borrowers by Mary Norton. It’s interesting that they should pick this book, but then I see how Arrietty’s fascination with the world around her fits perfectly with Hayao Miyazaki’s philosophy that “the world is a profound, multifarious and beautiful place. He … Continue reading