Archive for the ‘rural’ Category

Eric Cunningham is a graduate student keeping a fascinating blog of his time in Otaki, a mountain village in Nagano with a population of just under a thousand.   Recent posts include accounts of ice fishing for wakasagi, traditional roof construction in Otaki, and a neighbor’s water wheel, used to grind rice flour. 

Eric’s research, as far as I can tell, focuses on the relationship between modern Japanese forestry practices and the country’s declining upland communities, seeking in part to uncover traditional approaches that might alleviate some of the problems arising from 21st century pressures on local resources.  That by itself would interest some readers, but the blog also offers expansive meditations on hikes to frozen summits, including wonderful photos of alpine shrines wreathed in windblown snow, some drinking stories, and illustrated passages from Dogen’s “Mountain and Water Sutra.”  Especially for readers interested in Japanese folkways, from making soba to twisting shimenawa rope from rice straw, In the Pines is a real winner.  Here or from the sidebar.


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A consistently interesting peephole into the mind of an American yoga teacher and self-described “internationalizationer” living in the Kyoto area.  Includes local events, the odd haiku, long and thoughtful  posts on the author’s ramblings around Japan and farther afield, and a number of entries that are obviously 3 a.m. seismic rumblings at the base of the skull.  Good stuff, not least of all the most recent entry, a surprise announcement of his marriage.

Here or from the sidebar.

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Pure Land Mountain

Pure Land Mountain is the online journal of Robert Brady, offering almost daily dispatches from the Japanese countryside.  One of the founders of the wonderful Kyoto Journal, Robert’s writing is often lucid and lovely, sometimes cantankerous or just funny, but hardly ever dull.  And his willingness to write unselfconsciously about topics ranging from shopping for the perfect faucet handle to his ongoing battle as a gardener against marauding monkeys is really refreshing after all those Japan oriented blogs that focus on the English found on candy wrappers and drink cans.

Found on the sidebar or by clicking here.

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