What can we learn from a grain of sand?

No matter how carefully sand is raked, it will change, dissolve and disappear. This is also true of the backdrop against which our lives are performed. Life is impermanence. People, places, material possessions, good times, bad times: Everything changes. But this too, of course, is the nature of sand. Without its fluidity and ability to…

A flame that has burned for seventy years

Seventy years ago today, a single US plane flew a lonely mission to drop a single bomb on a Japanese city. That city was Hiroshima. What fell from a clear blue sky at 8:15 that morning changed the world forever. We recently visited Hiroshima as part of our 10th Anniversary celebratory trip to Japan’s Inland…

What’s so great about Japan?

When I travel back to Europe and I meet with someone who finds out that I live in Japan, the inevitable first question is along the lines of “What do you like about Japan?” It’s a question I have fielded hundreds of times, and to be honest I tend now to try and just skip…

A hidden threat to health?

Grab a coffee – it’s another long one… I’ve just been reading a very interesting article about so-called gluten intolerance. Normally I have no truck with food fads, the latest food panics or indeed people who claim they are intolerant of/allergic to this, that and the other, when most of the time they do not…

Speeding up and slowing down

There is nothing worse than being stuck indoors when the sun is shining. Now the weather is really warming up, your humble scribe is itching to pull on his boots and head for the hills. But – alas – there just seems to have been one thing after another that has delayed my departure. I…

Chi-chi-chi – le – le – le

Well done Chile on a successful outcome to the trapped miner saga. I am looking forward to re-enacting the dramatic rescue later with the Mrs. I shall be playing the role of the Phoenix 2 capsule. Hopefully managing a few more than 33 return trips.

Samurai Blue bow out

Bitter disappointment last night at the Beerhound residence as Japan were so narrowly defeated by Paraguay. The end – by penalties – was especially difficult to cope with, coming as it did after such a hard-fought battle. Japan came close to scoring a couple of times – one blinding strike rattling off the crossbar just…

Twists and turns on the road to ruin

Well, I never thought that I would be anything less than overjoyed to hear that Brown had got the hint at last and slung his hook. But it has come to pass; it looks like the slimy toad has managed to hang onto power after all with the help of the even more slimy Nick…

Hung parliament? Not a bad idea

“I don’t think a hung parliament is a bad idea…who should we start with?” So said an unknown but pithy commentator on the recent UK elections. I think that comment sums up the mood of the country better than any post-election analysis. Your humble scribe couldn’t concentrate too much on work matters last Friday for…

A decade of shame

I personally believe that politics, like religion, should be ones own affair. Consequently, I made a conscious decision some time ago to keep whatever frustration and anger I felt about the present UK administration out of this blog. However, as we enter a new decade – and particularly as we enter what will be an…

Warmed by the prayers of others

Well, here we are at the end of another year and once again I find myself with the family queuing on a cold and clear night to clang the temple bell of our local shrine and offer a prayer for good fortune in 2010. Afterwards, we are treated to a cup of sake and a…