Japanese Version

Taro Update

So far, we have learned that Taro residents and Esprit friends, temple abbot Eisei Takahashi-san and taiko drummers  Masaru Sasaki-san and Yamazaki-san are safe from harm. Our host, Eisai Takahashi-san, abbot of Soto Zen Temple, Jounji, is safe from harm. Taiko drum group. So far we have heard that Yamazaki-san (second from left, front) and Masaru Sasaki-san (third from left in sleeveless shirt) are safe from harm. The view of the...

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Happy New Year, 2011 from the Beimels

Family “photo”: Steve, Ritsuko, Ron, Mami (the cartoonist) and Casper (age 21) 2010: The year in review: The year in Kyoto began with one snow storm and ended with another one. Here is the river behind our house as seen from my office window . Early in January, I visited Koyasan, a village that is home to a large tantric Buddhist monastery in the distant mountains of Wakayama. There are over 100 architecturally interesting...

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Sukiya Colors

The sukiya aesthetic that we admire in restaurants and ryokan and much of Japanese residential architecture, is most easily found in mud walls and bamboo fences. It was the great tea masters of the Momoyama period in the late 16th century, most notably Sen no Rikyu, who were so taken by the natural warmth and subtle beauty of humble farmhouses, that they elevated those textures and colors to one of the highest levels of Japanese...

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Just an Ordinary January in Paradise
Jan11

Just an Ordinary January in Paradise

January, 2010, began with a whirlwind of activities. A few days after joining tens of thousands of people celebrating New Years Day at various Buddhist temples and Shinto Shrines, I began touring with a group of architects and artists. We visited all three Imperial villas in town: Katsura, Shugaku-in and Sento Gosho. We interviewed several Buddhist priests and drove out to see both I,M.Pei's Miho Museum and the stunning Sagawa...

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Stay tuned!
Jun24

Stay tuned!

I am just now completing a month-long whirlwind trip through Japan on two separate small group tours.  We visited Tomonomura, an ancient fishing village on the Japan sea and stayed in an old, restored house.  Miyajima, Japan's iconic 1500-year old shrine on the shore of an island near Hiroshima was as beautiful as I remembered from my 1971 journey there.  White Himeji Castle was brilliant on a sunny day.  We saw potter friends and...

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What’s blooming on my street? Early June, 2009

Though Japanese yards tend to be tiny, many houses display a wide variety of blooming plants throughout the year.  In addition to planting in the ground, flower-pot culture is also very popular...

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