Sunday, March 30, 2014

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Passing Through Cedar

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

Traveling to a Different Mental Place

Yakushima Island
Life Phase 3 means I get to travel for a few more weeks while Dwight returns to The Cities and Work World.

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

Our (Rented) House on Hawaii Big Island

The family that built this house in 1947 still owns the house. We get to rent it for a week, something we've been doing every other year since 2010.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2014

We keep coming back to this park. There's trails at sea level, there's a trail going to almost 14,000 feet to the snow-capped summit of Mauna Loa, and there's plenty trails in between.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Honoka'a after Dark

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.