Tag results for: Japan

Isolated for 350 years, the mountainous Iya Valley is often called the Tibet of Japan. They share an ancient allure. With time for only one hike in the Iya, we chose Mount Tsurugi, one of the 100 Famous Japanese Mountains. On a clear day the view from its  summit reaches to the Pacific Ocean, the Seto Inland Sea and mainland Japan. A yinyang (inyo in Japanese) mountain, Mount Tsurugi is Japan’s “most dangerous mountain climbable.“ But it’s also Iya’s most popular hiking destination when you approach it like we did from the western side and take the Yuhodoh, the “promenade” hike from Minokoshi Station, even easier when you ride the ancient chairlift.

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Rolling and rising across the country, the fourth wave of the pandemic and the wake it’s leaving behind is dampening not only our travel, but our slippery grasp on feeling gratitude this Thanksgiving. Poetry to the rescue!

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O-sa-KA! O(h) we’d like to return. A realization we came to while there. Japan’s culinary capital, the country’s rebel, Osaka is an exclamation of colour, a city calling out, “Stay longer! Come Back!”

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I was kicking myself.

Three years ago in Seattle there was an exhibition of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors. Six individual rooms, small and dark. Each one painted with polka dots and pumpkins illuminated by hundreds of LEDs reflecting endless pinpricks of coloured light onto mirrored walls immersing you into a kaleidoscopic wonderland. But I was too late. The exhibition sold out quickly and without tickets, you had to queue for hours with little hope of getting in. I felt even worse when Gail, Ginger and Carol Ann talked about how spectacular it was, despite the fleeting time (only two or three minutes) you had in each mirrored cubicle where only two or three visitors were allowed at a coveted time-slot. So you can imagine how excited I was to discover the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter at Høvikodden outside Oslo has one of Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors on permanent display. Even better, it was a slow day—Magellan and I had Infinity Mirrored Room, Hymn of Life to ourselves for as long as we wanted!

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Pumpkins. Mushrooms. Persimmons. Mmmm…

Late autumn ripens my memories of Japan.

To the night Lynn, Ward, Magellan and I, dressed in kimonos, ate kaiseki at Ryokan Kurashiki. “Dishes of October, The feast to do the sight of autumn colors,” served by a kindly Japanese woman in the autumn of her life who Ward nicknamed “Ryokan Mommy.”

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Cherry blossoms in Japan

More than three decades ago when we lived in Calgary, Magellan and I thought we’d go to Japan in the spring for the sakura (桜), the Japanese word for cherry blossoms derived from saku , which means to bloom. I even studied Japanese in anticipation. For some reason that I don’t recall, we didn’t go. How foolish we were to even think we had to travel that far for hanami—viewing cherry blossoms—you only need to go as far west as Vancouver, which now has its own Sakura Festival every April. Since April is also National Poetry Month, we’ve curated a collection of our favourite sakura haikus, adding Spice’s own attempt as well.

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