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. […]

Send In The Clowns – Absurdity and the Japanese Radical – Part 2

Absurd Figure Yukio Mishima - HESO Magazine

4 Japanese radicalism and the absurd was certainly not only the preserve of the Left. Yukio Mishima was the most famous living Japanese writer in the Fifties and Sixties, even better known than the older Yasunari Kawabata, who ultimately nipped him to the coveted Nobel Prize. But Mishima wore many masks. He was a novelist, […]

Send In The Clowns – Absurdity and the Japanese Radical – Part 1

Ishihara Nuke Face at Koenji Protest © Sean Lotman

1 Since the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11th, 2011 and the resulting Fukushima maelstrom, the western media has frequently reported a spectacle that appears to surprise them: Japanese people, the “quiet people”, are taking part in demos. Seemingly for the first time, petitions are being signed online and off, angry protests are being […]