We’re now on Lanyu Island off the coast to southwest Taiwan. Douglas was invited to come here to learn about the indigenous boats used by the Tao people. That’s what I knew coming here, but now, six days later, I realize it could take a life-time to truly know what this is all about. Continue reading “Lanyu”



P1030754Museums are all about stuff, right? Famous stuff, beautiful stuff, stuff in service of ideas, new stuff, old stuff – you get the picture. Stuff is really important, but so is personality. This has been confirmed for me over the last few months as I’ve visited many museums.

Museums are like people.

Continue reading “museums”

tanba – a pottery town


Yesterday I headed out of Kobe to the hills beyond to visit a pottery town. Japanese towns and regions are often described by what they are know for, like crackers, knives, castles and the like. There are pottery towns too, and in the case of Tanba, it appeared that the town could not have had any other descriptor. Continue reading “tanba – a pottery town”

urban camping


When I tried out “urban camping” on some of our Japanese friends, they all laughed and nodded knowingly.

Living in a traditional house in Japan is like urban camping. Continue reading “urban camping”

easter thoughts


We’re arrived in Kobe, where we’ll be living for six weeks while Douglas builds a boat at the Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum. It’s a wonderful museum that I plan to write more about.

Yesterday the boatbuilding project began in earnest with a Shinto ceremony Continue reading “easter thoughts”

the act of practice


One of the goals I set for myself while in Japan was to practice throwing pots. With no temptation to be able to bring any home, I would just focus on the process, and try to become better at the wheel.

But it turned out that there was nowhere in Himi where I could use a wheel. Instead, I’ve been drawing more than usual — a practice. I’ve also struggled with a difficult knitting pattern and I built a stool using boatbuilding techniques. All have made more think more about the act of practice.

Continue reading “the act of practice”



It seems that the last week has been all about food – from collecting wild spring vegetables and putting by this season’s fish, to soy sauce and centuries old rice fields. Plus one of the ways it all comes together – the Welcome Party tradition.

Continue reading “food”

the next generation

I’ve mentioned that there are lots of small shops in Himi that are run, it appears, by older folks. These shops are wonderfully simple and unassuming, really just about getting what’s needed to the people who need it.

When compared to the growing number of big shopping centers located further out of town, you wonder if the small shops will soon go by the way side. It would be sad to loose not only the easy access, but also the passion and expertise of the shopkeepers too.

But there’s also a trend of younger people coming back to their home towns and doing what’s important to them. Continue reading “the next generation”

I can still hear the waves

Our most recent road trip was an exploration of the tip of Noto Hanto Peninsula, with overnight accommodations at an onsen that came highly recommended with one caution: anyone worrying about tsuanami probably shouldn’t go. Continue reading “I can still hear the waves”

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