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The Chiiori Project

Writing this article back in 2003 was my first chance to interview Alex Kerr, author of two fantastic books on Japan: Lost Japan and Dogs and Demons. It would have been the second time I visited Shikoku too. (The first was to walk the 88 temple pilgrimage). I think I had to take the Shinkansen […]

A chokibune on the river in Koto ward, Tokyo.

The Last Boat-Builder

This is an article from 2003 about the work of Japanese-boat builder Douglas Brooks. Brooks was helping to preserve Japanese boat-building skills, which were rapidly disappearing. ‘All those guys are over seventy, five of them have now died. There were only two apprentices . . . three now including me. It looks like its going […]

The Shikoku Pilgrimage

This – believe it or not – was the first article I ever wrote about Japan. Still one of my favourites, and definitely the one that took the most effort to prepare. I wrote about the 1200km I walked to complete the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage. That was some time before I started working as […]