Americas Cup Heda (photo: expansive views over Suruga Bay from the roof top hot spring bath at Isaba Ryokan, Heda. Views of Fuji in the distance on a clear day) 1851. A precocious American schooner by the appropriate name of America thrashes the British fleet on their home seas. The world's eldest continuous international sporting … Continue reading Americas Cup Roots at Heda
Hamamatsu Castle Japan's most famous Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, was Lord of Hamamatsu Castle for 17 years, from age 29 to 45. Here he is said to have matured as a samurai leader, and lessons he learnt protecting this local realm no doubt helped him in his eventual quest to unify Japan after two centuries of … Continue reading Hamamatsu Castle
Arai is Japan's only surviving feudal era checkpoint. Nestled on the west bank of Lake Hamana in modern day Shizuoka Prefecture, in feudal times access eastwards (to and from the capital Edo, modern Tokyo) was only by boat. Bridges were prohibited by the Shogun to make it difficult for any would-be upstart from the provinces … Continue reading Arai Checkpoint
Towards the close of the 19th century, Japan was adding Okinawa and small islands to the southwest to its territory, followed by the not-so-small island of Taiwan. Then, at the dawn of the 20th century, the unthinkable happened. Japan engaged the mighty European empire of Russia in war and won convincingly. The infallibility of the white man to the yellow man had been challenged.
Daily our headlines give us horror stories of more species sent to extinction by the destructive activities of our species. But did you know that one tree species at least, the Ginko, has enjoyed the reverse experience?