Yasukuni Shrine:  Enshrining Japan’s War Dead

Yasukuni Shrine:  Enshrining Japan’s War Dead


“I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal.”  ~Colonel Curtis LeMay, Chief Architect of the Allied Strategic Bombing Campaign against Japan As Jody and I approached the Shrine from the west, my instantaneous thought was that its impact, physically, spatially and emotionally, was effusively worthy of … Continue reading

Kawaii Monster Café: Monstrously Adorable!

Kawaii Monster Café: Monstrously Adorable!


“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”  ~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland The Kawaii Monster Cafe Harajuku opened not too long ago, but apparently it’s already become a “must-see” stop for locals and visitors alike in Tokyo.  Created by well-known Japanese avant-garde artist Sebastian Masuda, the mastermind behind the famous “cuteness-fashion” store … Continue reading

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto:  Jody’s Birthday at the Robot Restaurant of Tokyo

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto:  Jody’s Birthday at the Robot Restaurant of Tokyo


“An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.”  ~Mae West Jody takes leave every year for her birthday, and this year was no different.  Planning a trip to mainland Japan in celebration, I set our trip’s itinerary to be in Tokyo for her actual birthday after a short stay in Kobe.  I must admit, … Continue reading

Shukubo:  Sacred Stay atop Mt. Koyasan

Shukubo: Sacred Stay atop Mt. Koyasan


“The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.”  ~Matsuo Basho, 17th century Japanese philosopher and poet “Here is our drink menu,” our apprentice monk says as he prepares one of our suite’s tatami rooms for our first vegetarian shojin ryori (vegetarian) dinner.  Picking out a nice white Riesling, … Continue reading

Mt. Koya:  A Pilgrimage of “Eat, Pray, Bathe”

Mt. Koya:  A Pilgrimage of “Eat, Pray, Bathe”


“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” ~Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher Jody and I have only just arrived at Koyasan atop Mount Koya and we already feel like we’ve cheated on the pilgrimage…that we knew so little about.  It’s not long before we spot Japanese pilgrims dressed in mostly white, sporting … Continue reading

Water Safety Stand-Down, or Punitive Stand Around??

Water Safety Stand-Down, or Punitive Stand Around??


“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.  We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly.  We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”  ~Aristotle Okinawa, as well as the wider Pacific basin (Korea, … Continue reading