Saturday, March 22, 2014
A Shared Culture
When I'm in Japan I feel happiest and most comfortable when I'm hiking.
When I pass another hiker in rain gear on the trail, a cheery "konnichiwa" is enough said. We look at each other, knowing we are sharing the same experience.
A shared culture across different cultures lets me belong.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
For the past 10 days we've been with family, vacationing together within an agreed zone of comfort.
Traveling by myself, with 14 pounds on my back, and both arms swinging freely, I can welcome some discomfort; I'm responsible only to myself when spontaneous plans fall short of expectations. I get to constantly solve problems of my own making.
This week I move from an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to an island on the edge of the East China Sea: from Hawaii Big Island to the little island of Yakushima, Southern Japan (195 square miles, population 13,178).
Starting in Yakushima I can travel spontaneously. I'll travel without a specific plan in a country where I do not understand the language and barely understand the culture. It's a safe enough place: the political and legal systems are familiar, and the infrastructure is wonderful.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Friday, March 7, 2014
Saturday, March 1, 2014
The hotel duty manager warned me: Honoka'a shuts down by 8:00 p.m.
That's why I'm here.
It's time to go out on the town. At night, this old sugar cane town takes on an unfamiliar hue, reminiscent of sepia-toned photographs from a different time. I wonder what is going on.
The sodium street lights seem different from the high-pressure sodium lights of the mainland. But why?
There was some layer to be peeled back, so I Googled and learned these are low-pressure sodium lights. And there is a really good reason for this unusual lighting.