Category Archives: Thinking

On Driving a Train Off the Rails in Japan

It was just after the morning rush on an April day in Amagasaki, a city of about half a million people close to Osaka. A JR commuter train was taking a bend on the track when it derailed, crashing into … Continue reading

Posted in Thinking, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 7 Comments

On Finding God in a Gourd in Naoshima (In Japan)

“Architecture appears for the first time when the sunlight hits a wall. The sunlight did not know what it was before it hit a wall.” ― Louis Kahn Freud claimed God was only the lingering memory of our parents, looming over us … Continue reading

Posted in Thinking, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

On Caring About Your Lonely Friends in Japan

Not everyone who moves to Japan is lonely when they arrive, but most are by the time they leave. One can’t reasonably complain about it, of course: We do it to ourselves. But we can try to understand how loneliness … Continue reading

Posted in Culture Shock, Homesickness, Thinking | Tagged , , | 46 Comments

On Festivals in Japan

If you really want to express your feelings, it helps to carry a one-ton shrine around the city at 5 in the morning while having cold water poured on your back.

Posted in Shinto, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

On Praying to a Fox in Japan

Nobody in Japan seems to know anything about Shinto.

Posted in Shinto, Shrines | Tagged , | 9 Comments

On Having No Comment in Japan

In July of 1945 the United States prepared to test the first atomic bomb in a dusty corner of New Mexico.

Posted in language, Thinking | 26 Comments