Hatsumode:  New Year’s Shrine Visit

Hatsumode:  New Year’s Shrine Visit


“Church is who we are, not where we go….” ~Unknown Jody and I headed out with every intention to visit our local Shinto Shrine on New Year’s Eve – one of the most important dates to celebrate in Japan and much of the Far East – to hear the ringing of the shrine’s bells.  Futenma … Continue reading

Diving Against Debris:  For A Cleaner, Healthier Ocean Planet

Diving Against Debris:  For A Cleaner, Healthier Ocean Planet


“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ~Mahatma Gandhi I decided to host my first Project AWARE “Dive Against Debris” event here on Okinawa at the turn of the New Year, and I must say, it was a smashing success!  At a local dive site called “Kadena … Continue reading

Toshikoshi:  New Year Noodles in Japan


“Noodles are not only amusing but delicious….” ~Julia Child Jody and I are lucky to have a delicious udon noodle restaurant, Marukame Noodle, just a few minutes away, and even more fortunate to have a terrific excuse to head out on New Year’s Day to feast on a steaming bowl of fresh Asian pasta in … Continue reading

Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum:  A Moving Visit

Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum:  A Moving Visit


“We learn geology the morning after the earthquake.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson On January 17, 1995 at 5:46 in the dark, cold morning, the city of Kobe and the surrounding area of Osaka, Japan, were rocked by a massive earthquake in what became to be known as “The Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake”.  The region, home to … Continue reading

Himeji Castle:  Top Secret Ninja School??

Himeji Castle: Top Secret Ninja School??


“There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.” ~Gilbert K. Ches James Bond:  “Do you have any commandos here?”  Tiger Tanaka:  “I have much, much better. Ninjas. Top-secret, Bond-san.  This [Himejijo] is my ninja training school.” ~You Only Live Twice Ninja training school or not, Jody and I recently made our … Continue reading

The Last Samurai’s Castle: Nijojo


“I’ll tell you how he lived.”  ~Nathan Algren, The Last Samurai A young Japanese Emperor Meiji is featured in The Last Samurai, surrounded by his court in an immense and minimally-appointed tatami-floored hall.  The palace is unquestionably Japanese, with sliding door panels adorned with gilded scenes of cranes in flight and tigers crouched for an attack … Continue reading