May 1st marks Crown Prince Naruhito’s ascension to the Japanese throne to become the 126th emperor of the world's oldest monarchy and the start of 令和 ("Reiwa"). The name for this new Reiwa era was announced on April 1st. The term Reiwa comes from Japan's oldest collection of poetry, dating from the eighth century, called the Manyōshū (“Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves”) …Read More
At the mouth of the Sumida River on the edge of Tokyo Bay, we live on a famous island called Tsukuda. Tourists from around Japan often flood our area to taste its history. Around 400 years ago, fishermen on the island of Tsukuda in Osaka provided the famous shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa and his army with a large amount of fish. As a reward, Tokugawa invited these fisherman to move to Tokyo, where he ruled all of Japan, to supply the castle with fish …Read More
Something...somewhere...always needs fixing! Many things in our world need fixing. Our countries, neighborhoods, homes, bodies, and hearts all break.
I personally will always carry around the pain and suffering of the people I worked with after the 2011 Great Japan Earthquake. One woman told me (I never did find out her name) how she lost her whole family in the tsunami, including all three of her children, ages 8, 10, and 13, as they came home from school. “I’m so sorry,” I mumbled weakly. Why did she lose her family while mine lived? It all seemed so arbitrary …
Kiyomizu Temple is my favorite temple in Japan. It sits on the edge of a cliff beautifully overlooking the city of Kyoto. It received its name “Pure Water Temple” from the water that pours out of the side of the mountain so clean that it does not need to be purified to drink. Every December, the head Buddhist priest of this temple draws the Japanese kanji character that best illustrates the sentiments of the past year. Last month, it was 災 (sai), a character that reflects both natural and man-made disasters. The year 2018 was full of disaster and brokenness in Japan …Read More
Since I was little, I have always loved the smell of turkey cooking in the oven on Thanksgiving. At breakfast, I would ask my mom, “Can I have some turkey?” She would answer, “It’s not ready yet.” I would ask again at lunch time, “Can I have some turkey now?” Again she would respond, “It’s still not ready.” The smell of the turkey made me long for the turkey …Read More
Driving west as a family across the United States, we decided to visit The Alamo, one of America's most famous stories of courage in the face of impossible odds and certain death. Sam Houston called out "Remember the Alamo!" in a battle afterwards, which eventually led to the annexation of the state of Texas in exchange for the life of President General Santa Anna. The Alamo holds special fascination for me, because it is one of America's most famous examples of foreign missions …Read More
Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis fifty years ago on April 4, 1968. On that same day this year, MLK50 events celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. King took place all over the city. You could feel the excitement in the air, reinforced by police escorts zipping famous people around the city, blocked-off streets, and a lot of security. All month long, we as a city have been talking about Dr. King in social media, schools, churches, and around dinner tables …Read More