Beneath the Surface – What Is In The Water at Seaworld?

Two killer whales off the south side of Unimak Island, eastern Aleutian Islands, Alaska By Robert Pittman via Wikimedia Commons

The question needs to be asked, what do retired whale trainers do? Especially once they have skewered the private industry whence they came. Write about it. Such is the case of fourteen year veteran Orca trainer John Hargrove who, in the course of working with 20 different whales on two continents and at two of […]

Ginkaku-ji – The Silver Pavilion Born from the Ashes of Kyoto’s War

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Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺) has so many names it’s best to keep it simple. Translated as Temple of the Silver Pavilion, it makes more sense once you know its official name: Jishō-ji (慈照寺) or the Temple of Shining Mercy. Because for one, where’s this so-called silver pavilion? you may wonder to yourself as you stroll through the […]

The Homeless Makeover of Miyashita Park in Shibuya

Tokyo - Home of the 2020 Homeless Olympiad

Miyashita Park, depending on your point of view, is an emerald oasis in the midst of a concrete desert blooming in the most crowded mile in the human world, Shibuya Crossing. One of the few green spaces within the city center, Miyashita is a microcosm of the larger setting of Tokyo. Built in the 30s […]

Now Tsukiji, Now You Don’t

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Photographs by Bahag de Guzman Words by Erin Emocling “Now Tsukiji, Now You Don’t” is an accidental photo-series that explores a closed-for-the-day Tsukiji Fish Market: a visually saturnine preview of its scheduled relocation in preparation for the Olympics in Tokyo on 2020. You’re standing in the middle of this alleyway, living in the present, and […]

Sakurajima Erupts – Kyushu Citizens Recite Poetry – Get Drunk – Life Goes On

Sunrise over Sakurajima in Kagoshima, Kyushu circa 2008

Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods. —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Kubikiri Jizo – Decapitation Buddha – at Enmeiji Shrine

A small stone Buddha at Enmeiji Temple

Located in a nook just below Minami-Senju Station in little-traveled Arakawa, Tokyo is Enmeiji Temple. The temple, just down a sidestreet beneath the station, is located in the southeastern part of Tokyo’s northern ward of Arakawa, one of the poorest sections of the city. A few blocks to the east of the Sumida River in […]

Okochi Sanso Villa

Okochi Sanso Mandala

The former villa of the silent actor Denjirō Ōkōchi (大河内 傳次郎 — 1896-1962)–most famous for starring in Akira Kurosawa`s Sanshiro Sugata, among many others and at his peak, was one of the top jidaigeki stars–lies lost in the back of Arashiyama’s bamboo groves. Called Ōkōchi Sansō (meaning Ōkōchi mountain villa) the estate of one of […]

The Bamboo Groves of Arashiyama

The Bamboo Groves of Arashiyama

In the western part of Kyoto along the Katsura river lies a heavily templed area known as Arashiyama. Most famous of all the beautiful century old wooden structures is the Tenryu-ji Temple complex. Tenryu-ji Temple (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), head temple of the Tenryu-ji Rinzai Zen sect, was built in 1339 by Takauji Ashikaga […]

Hunting Shiitake mushrooms inside the belly of the Earth

A trip to the Iron Mine of Kiruna to hunt Shiitake mushrooms

The Kiruna underground iron mines should be appreciated and (un)known as a place of many tours and detours. They hide many treasures. Though in fact, to be honest, they do not. They hide iron ore, a bit of copper and probably a lot of unworthy stones of assorted kinds. That is exactly what they hide. […]