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…

The Weary Non-Traveler

I’ve been travelling a lot recently. Many arrivals and many departures.  Departures require a bit more thought and preparation. The return direction doesn’t require much more than throwing everything you’ve brought with you in a suitcase, and if you’ve bought anything, hoping your suitcase will expand just a bit more. I woke up early this morning to catch…

Bali Hai Redux

Do you know the song Bali -Hai from the musical South Pacific?  I loved every musical I saw growing up and knew the lyrics to all of them.  When I first saw the Florida Keys in 1958, I immediately began to sing Bali-Hai.  Not a perfect fit for the occasion, but close enough to satisfy my attraction…

The Foodie’s Heaven

Almost from the moment we set foot in Kyoto, my foodie husband is scouting for new restaurants in our neighborhood that have opened in our absence.  As hyped as I am to be sure to see the most intriguing gardens, sublime temples, cool museums and Japanese design shops, he’s on the edge of his seat…

Amen.

Who’s to say why I feel such a deep connection to Japanese places of worship, be they temples or shrines?  Is it the setting?  The architecture?  The gardens?  The rituals?  The air of mystery surrounding something I don’t understand very well? I can’t say for sure, but what I can say is that I am consistently…

Blissed out

Being here produces an almost constant high for me.  It’s allowed me to appreciate the drizzly days and foggy nights happening recently in Kyoto as being as beautiful and welcome as the sunny bright days. It’s admiring the magnificence of a huge polished wood counter when out for dinner at a neighborhood restaurant and the…

Must be Seen (again and again)

You are familiar with the statement, “Must be seen to be believed.” In the case of cherry blossom season, this is not an exaggeration.  It is truly a take – your – breath – away experience to be ingested and savored. The attachment the Japanese and I have to sakura cannot be overemphasized.  Weeks before…

A Half Day in the Life (cont’d)

If you ever need an excuse for overindulgence, just bring along some children for whom the word excess holds no meaning. So, the day began yesterday with our family gathering for breakfast at a small restaurant we’d discovered a few years ago.  It’s an Hawaiian import, specializing in taking a humble pancake and pushing it…

The Butterflies of Arashiyama

When we arrived in Arashiyama, the Kyoto landscape was still wearing its early spring colors, which is to say, mostly subdued monochrome gray.  Arashiyama (嵐山) is a pleasant, touristy district in the western outskirts of Kyoto. The area has been a popular destination since the Heian Period (794-1185), when nobles would enjoy its natural setting. Arashiyama…

Japan: Through A Child’s Eyes

One way we can recall what it’s like to be a child again, is to travel with children. It’s good if they’re thoughtful and curious.  It’s an added bonus if they have a good “eye” and catch sight of things you might overlook.  A willingness to try new things including unusual looking foreign food is…

Just Another Day in Tokyo

I usually judge my “amazement” temperature by the number of photos I’m inspired to take.  A trip to Japan usually means hundreds and hundreds of snapshots.  Thank God for digital.  The wonders of this remarkable city began appearing soon after we left our hotel.  In looking over my stash of photos from the day, I…

Rebounding!

If you’ve seen me recently you might have noticed a new twinkle in my eye and a new springy rebound in my step.  It would have been most noticeable if you had also seen me a few weeks ago when I was felled by a nasty respiratory infection and spent practically two weeks vegetating in…