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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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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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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The Other Fork in the Road

Several years ago, I taught a course entitled ‘Life Stories in Autobiography’ at a university in Japan in which students read selected published autobiographies and wrote stories about themselves, their experiences, their journeys and their family history. Every two weeks we’d read and write under a different study theme.  During the week in which we covered the theme “Before I was Born”, students were required to talk to their family …

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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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Laureline, Day 1091

  Today, on March 7th, 2014, 1091 days after the Great East Japan Earthquake, Laureline Gatellier, a violinist and scientist originally from Bastogne, Belgium, talks about the snowball effect of volunteering work after a national catastrophe, and having the courage to take action when things around you fall apart. Trang:  Where were you on Friday March 11th, 2011 at 14:46pm when the earthquake hit and the tsunami struck? Laureline:  I …

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Joji and the Midnight Call

I find it intriguing how a Canadian with a Japanese name who was born in West Lafayette, USA, is now working as a derivatives trader at a foreign investment bank in Tokyo.  Perhaps, that’s another story.  Here, Joji, Chairman of the non-profit organization (NPO) Nadia, tells us about his afternoon on March 11th, 2011, and explains why annoying phone calls in the middle of the night can sometimes be a …

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Trang, the Mynah Bird & Verse 33

Which books transformed you, stopped you midway in your steps, making you pause and see things differently, so that in the end they enabled you to understand in an altered light? For me, the books which marked distinct turning points in my life and which have sustained me include: * Le Meunier, Son Fils et l’Âne (The Miller, His Son and the Donkey) by Jean de la Fontaine; * Hoa …

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