The First Ume of 2023

The First Ume of 2023

Since moving to Katsushika (one of Tokyo’s northern wards) last September, I’ve spent a lot of time walking by the river in Mizumoto Koen (Park), not far from my new home. The park is particularly lovely on sunny days, when flocks of ducks swim in the Edogawa (Edo River), and sometimes kids fly kites — you can see one in the picture below, on the far side of the river – which is technically in neighboring Chiba Prefecture. This afternoon, while walking in the park, I noticed a pair of ume (plum) trees beginning to bloom – a traditional harbinger

Read more

Happy New Year from Tokyo!

Happy New Year from Tokyo!

I’ve been on hiatus for a while, traveling and recharging the batteries, but it’s time to restart the engines for the year to come! I spent the New Year with family members visiting from the USA; at sunset, we rode the elevators to the 31st floor of the Tokyo Solamachi Skytree Center, hoping to catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji as the sun went down. As you can see, we got lucky: Wishing you and all of your families a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year filled with delightful surprises!

Read more

Riding the Akechidaira Ropeway to a Bird’s Eye View of Nikko’s Kegon Falls

I love Japanese ropeways (the Japanese term for gondola lifts), and last month I checked another one off my “to-ride” list: the Akechidaira Ropeway in Nikko (Tochigi Prefecture), north of Tokyo. The ropeway sits in the mountains, not far from Lake Chuzenji in Upper Nikko, and is accessible either by car or by bus from JR Nikkō or Tobu Nikkō Station. Since my ride was actually the start of a day hike through the mountains, I hopped the bus from Tobu Nikkō station for the 30-minute ride. The only thing at the bus stop is the ropeway itself, a parking

Read more

“On Badger Mountain”: Hiking Nikko’s Mt. Mujina

“On Badger Mountain”: Hiking Nikko’s Mt. Mujina

Two weeks ago, I headed up to Nikkō, in Tochigi Prefecture, for what I suspect may be my last mountain hike before autumn. While it’s possible that the weather might cooperate long enough for me to sneak in another ascent before September, I’m not a fan of climbing in the extreme heat and humidity of Japanese summers (read: I hate it), and since the rainy season is already under way, this hike was probably the swan song for spring 2022.

Read more

In the Land of Shmoo…

In the Land of Shmoo…

I am now officially 1,200 photos “behind” in terms of posting, and at least thirty times that many “behind” on my promise to get on top of the image backlog before the end of 2022. (Important, because of a new project I’ll unveil later in the year.) While I’m down the rabbit hole, please accept this photo of Shmoos in Fog. (Taken at the Teamlab Planets exhibition last weekend.) On the positive side, I’m making progress on the photos and on a new novel I’m quite excited about. I hope to be able to share more about that in the

Read more