Hello, FIRES OF EDO !

Hello, FIRES OF EDO !

Edo, February 1566: When a samurai’s corpse is discovered in the ruins of a burned-out bookshop, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo must determine whether the shopkeeper and his young apprentice are innocent victims or assassins in disguise. The investigation quickly reveals dangerous ties to Hiro’s past, which threaten not only Edo’s fledgling booksellers’ guild, but the very survival of Hiro’s ninja clan. With an arsonist on the loose, and a murderer stalking the narrow streets, Hiro and Father Mateo must save the guild—and themselves—from a conflagration that could destroy them all.

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Edible Lilies: a Tasty Way to Welcome the New Year

Edible Lilies: a Tasty Way to Welcome the New Year

In early December, I paid a visit to my friends Elizabeth and Satoshi at their lovely ryokan, Mori-no-yado Gableview Forest Inn, in Nikko. At dinner, Satoshi served a delicious appetizer I’d never had before: sautéed lily bulbs. I was so excited when I found them in the market, so I could enjoy them at home too!

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Egrets! and Meiji Shrine

Egrets! and Meiji Shrine

A few weeks ago, I ran an errand in central Tokyo that took me within a short walk of Meiji Jingu (Meiji Shrine). Since I doubted the shrine would be busy on a weekday morning, I headed over for a visit. Meiji Jingu sits on 70 hectares of forested land in central Tokyo; the shrine was established in 1920, after the death of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. Although the Emperor and Emperess are buried in Kyoto, they were posthumously enshrined at Meiji Jingu as protective Shintō deities. Emperor Meiji played a major role in the modernization (and

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New Year’s Eve on Mt. Tsukuba (筑波山) (2021)

New Year’s Eve on Mt. Tsukuba (筑波山) (2021)

In December 2018, I established a new, personal New Year’s Eve tradition: I climb a mountain. In Japan (as elsewhere) New Year’s Eve is a time for personal reflection, and I reflect on myself, my year, and the world around me better on a mountain trail than just about anywhere else. The New Year’s Eve climb is also my way of expressing my hope that I’ll keep moving forward (and upward) and keep returning to the mountains in the coming year. This year, I chose to go back to the proverbial “scene of the crime”–the site of my original, 2018

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A Visit to Yokohama’s Red Brick Warehouse Christmas Market

A Visit to Yokohama’s Red Brick Warehouse Christmas Market

Bavarian Christmas markets are a hallmark of the Christmas season in Tokyo. Less than 1% of the Japanese population identifies as Christian, but a huge percentage of Japanese people celebrate “Christmas” as a secular holiday, and even those who don’t seem to enjoy the lights, tastes, and general joy of the holiday season. Given the Japanese love for seasonal decorations, special food, and gifts, the popularity of Christmas really comes as no surprise. And the Japanese take on Christmas markets is so much fun that I look forward to seeing them every year. The Christmas Market at Yokohama’s Akarenga (Red

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Hiking Mt. Muine (Sapporo, Hokkaido)[#140]

Hiking Mt. Muine (Sapporo, Hokkaido)[#140]

Last September, I headed up to southern Hokkaido for a week of traveling and mountain climbing with my friend Ido. He knows Hokkaido far better than I do, so when he was extra excited about our climb of Mt. Muine, near Sapporo, I knew to expect something special . . . and as you’ll see, Muine delivered.

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A Holiday Tea With Snow White at the Hotel Intercontinental Tokyo Bay

A Holiday Tea With Snow White at the Hotel Intercontinental Tokyo Bay

n late November, when I learned the theme of the 2021 Christmas Tea at the Hotel Intercontinental Tokyo Bay was “Snow White, Awakening With Strawberries” (which is doubly clever, since strawberries are just coming into season–i.e., “awakening”–in Japan), I immediately bought tickets for the very first sitting on the very first day.

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A Hidden Bamboo Grove on Mt. Inari

A Hidden Bamboo Grove on Mt. Inari

oto’s Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is among the most famous–and, as a result, most crowded–options, and while it’s definitely impressive (even more so, if you happen to visit at a time when there aren’t many other visitors), I prefer the less-known, but equally beautiful, natural bamboo forest on Mt. Inari (Fushimi Inari Shrine).

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