It’s Almost Like Being in Love

When I’m in Japan, people seem nicer, the landscape more beautiful, the mundane more interesting. The giggling groups of young women enjoying each other’s company help me to appreciate how fleeting youth is.  The laughs I share with new friends are more frequent. The reds are redder, the golds more golden. Respect for and tolerance…

Traveling with Robert

There’s always something wonderful waiting at the end of the drive when you’re lucky enough to join Robert Yellin on a visit to a few potters. I met Robert many years ago when he helped to guide tour groups to ceramic areas. We’ve remained friends, and each time we visit Kyoto,I look forward to meeting…

Tourists Be Gone! Children Can Stay.

After almost four weeks here, we finally tore ourselves away from the allure of Kyoto  Several Kyoto friends seemed surprised that we had never been to Hiroshima and the close by ancient and celebrated shrine on the island of Miyajima. It was a relatively simple overnight trip that easily met our expectations,  once the crowds…

I’m Sorry, What’s Your Name??

You think you have trouble remembering names? Just try remembering the names of a few dozen of the 1600 temples that are here in Kyoto! After dozens of years of visits, I’m still often in a state of confusion when it comes to identifying which temples I’ve visited. It frequently happens that I don’t think…

Less than Two Miles in 4.5 Hours

When Danny suggested that we walk to an antique store we like to visit here on the opposite side of town, it seemed like a fine idea.  The weather was mild, the mid-November sun warm and inviting.  And we both could use the excercise. Taking an A to B walk in Kyoto is hypothetically an…

Meanwhile, Only in Japan at Takarazuka

Who and What is Takarazuka?? Yikes!  This really exists! (for full affect, do watch the videos.) Part of what endears Japan to me is the seemingly never-ending discoveries to be made at both ends of the spectrum from the sublime to the ridiculous.  A few days ago we travelled out of Kyoto to attend a…

Serendipity Strikes Again

A small blurb in a local magazine caught my eye and I  thought it would be worth checking out: Autumn Book Fair is held by the Used Book Society of Kyoto which consists of many of Kyoto’s used booksellers at Chion-ji Temple in Sakyo-ku, Kyoto city. Throughout the event, the usually quiet temple compound is…

Morning Blessings Received Years Ago, Not Forgotten

(This is a recently found account of a tour to a morning service at a Zen temple in Kyoto.) It was still a dark and cold early spring morning when we arrived a bit nervously at the impressive Zen temple in Kyoto. A young monk greeted us pleasantly. His obvious assignment was to instruct us…

Today, I Pack!

I have been lingering for several weeks now at the foot of the mountain I spoke about in an earlier blog (Top of the Mountain).  I’ve been in a mellow, dull state, most definitely uninspired. Days passed, I napped most afternoons. Early to bed, late to rise.  My husband requests Alexa play the music from…

RIP, My Friend Betsy

  Several years ago I joined a tour group to see a part of Japan that’s relatively hard to get to as a foreigner.  I’d requested a single room when I traveled because I’d learned from taking other tours I needed “time off” from the rest of the group when the day was done. At…

Welcome to Paradise.

    “Welcome to paradise,” announced the flight attendant, without a hint of irony, as we landed in Key West, Florida after a brief but glorious flight from Miami.    OK, I thought, let’s see what you’ve got. We’re here for several days, in this promised land. It’s quite beautiful here, despite the intense heat…

What’s so “Funny?”

As far as I can tell, Japanese possess a keen sense of humor. It’s even evident in  the anthropomorphic paintings by master artists on paneled screens painted hundreds of years ago.  A dragon who’s lost his spark or maybe his viagra?  A tiger looking sheepish. An ancient scroll reveals frogs and rabbits frolicking, for what…