Excalibur, Kanesoh Knife Shop, Tokyo

Some women fall prey to Manolos, while others lose their heads (and 401K’s) to Chanel or Louis Vuitton. I’m just not that kind of girl. For me, it’s kitchen stuff – wasabi graters made of sharkskin, spoons and ladles, stoneware, katsuobushi shavers. Above all, carbon steel, given a final bump and grind, while you watch, […]

Pilgrim’s Progress, Senso-ji by way of Nakamise-Dori

Senso-ji, dedicated to the bodhisattva of compassion, Kannon, is metropolitan Tokyo’s oldest temple. Most of the temple was destroyed during Allied bombing raids in 1945 and rebuilt after the war. Senso-ji’s history dates back nearly 1400 years to 628 AD when, according to legend, two brothers were fishing in the nearby Sumida river and dragged […]

Miyajima, Beyond the Gate

The vast majority of visitors to Miyajima remain on the island for only a few short hours, a day trip from Hiroshima. Not venturing past the torii gate, paying their respects at Itsukushima, they return to the ferry terminal, stopping along the way to shop on lively Omotesando street with its restaurants, food stalls, and […]

Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima

I overheard a tourist snipe, as she passed a group of fellow tourists waiting in a queue on the platform directly facing the famous orange torii, “how many pictures can you take of a wooden gate?” Every picture reveals a different torii as the tide rises or falls, or the light changes from morning to […]