Hiroshima 70 Years Today

Today August 6th, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Last night on the eve of the Atomic Remembrance Day, I came by the Atomic Bomb to remember, to learn, to think and to pay my respects. The local suffering of one people can have global consequences. Every time I stand beneath the Atomic Memorial Dome, I feel weighed down by a heaviness, a sense of despair. The Atomic …

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Four Years Ago

Today, March 11th 2015, marks the fourth year anniversary of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake. The Japan News reports that as of yesterday, Tuesday 10th March 2015, 2,584 people remaining missing as a direct result of the earthquake and the ensuing tsunami. The National Police Agency of Japan document that 15, 891 people throughout twelve prefectures in Japan perished due to this disaster. Although huge efforts have been undertaken throughout …

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Musashi’s Final Battle

The last battle that Miyamoto Musashi ever fought was on April 13th, 1612, when he was twenty-nine years of age. This final duel was between Musashi and an equally renowned swordsman of the Edo era, Sasaki Kojiro 佐々木 小次郎, on Funashima Island, Funa-jima 船島. Known as Ganryu in battle, Sasaki Kojiro is recognised as the founder of the Ganryu 巌流 kenjutsu 剣術 school of traditional samurai Japanese swordsmanship. April 13th, 1612, was also …

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彌生草間 Eternity of Eternal Eternity 永遠の永遠の永遠

For the past several months, the center of Kumamoto City has been covered in dots.  From Louis Vuitton to the corner bookstore, everyone seems to have become dotty. Bookstore shopfront. Café interior. It is difficult to understand the reason for this Dots Obsession until you discover the stimulating work of 彌生草間 Yayoi Kusama and her amazing art. 彌生草間 Yayoi Kusama’s Eternity of Eternal Eternity 永遠の永遠の永遠 exhibition has been held in …

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宮本武蔵 Musashi’s Final Years

宮本武蔵 Miyamoto Musashi had been invited by Lord Hosokawa Tadatoshi 細川 忠利(December 21, 1586 – April 26, 1641) to visit and stay in Kumamoto 熊本 as his guest in the year 1640. Kumamoto was a flourishing town at the time Musashi arrived to take up his post as retainer and guest of Tadatoshi Hosokawa, daimyo ruler of Kumamoto. The time Musashi spent in Kumamoto would prove to be the final five years …

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夏目礎石先生Natsume Soseki Sensei

Natsume Soseki had majored in English at Tokyo University, the foremost Imperial University of Japan and taught English language and composition at a time when Japan had only just opened up to the West. Natsume Soseki pictured with his students at the Fifth High School. Soseki taught at the Fifth High School in Kumamoto, one of the elite educational institutions during the Meiji Era, from 1896 until the turn of …

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夏目礎石Natsume Soseki at Home

Natsume Soseki’s home in which his daughter Fudeko was born on May 31, 1899, three years after Soseki had relocated to Kumamoto. Soseki and his wife Nakane Kyoko. Natsume Soseki lived with his wife and child in this home located by the Tsuboi river and surrounded by a lovely garden.  The property remains beautifully kept. Views of the house from the garden.  Standing in the garden.  Flowers in bloom in …

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Accepting Imperfection

Have you ever practiced shodo, writing calligraphy with a brush dipped in black ink on delicate rice paper? Recently, I attended a shodo exhibition and participated in the calligraphy workshop that was held in conjunction with the exhibition.  The workshop was led by the artist whose work was being exhibited, and pictured above. I arrived to the workshop empty.  My hands held no equipment, and my head was void of …

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宮本武蔵 Miyamoto Musashi In the Spirit Rock Cave

 It was in this cave in which Miyamoto Musashi wrote the Book of Five Rings 語輪書during the year 1645. Reigando霊巌洞, or Spirit Rock Cave, is located on Mount Iwatono in present-day Kumamoto prefecture, west of Kumamoto city. During Musashi’s time, it was known as mountain Iwato of Higo. Higo was the name of the  region that later became Kumamoto Prefecture. A temple later was established as part of the entrance …

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Kosuke on the Silent Street

  Born and bred just outside of Osaka, Kosuke Hasegawa, attended university in upstate New York then somehow ended up earning his tips and wages in the big, busy resorts of Las Vegas, USA.  Little did he know that his master’s degree in telecommunications from Denver would lead him one day back to Japan to smash walls, shift mud and fetch bags of rice north east of Tokyo.   Here, Koss, …

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