Posts by johneinarsen

Masala Chai

Text and photographs by Matteo Pistono

In India, the distinctive call of “chai, gaurum chai, chai” (tea, hot tea, tea) resonates from the urban alleyways of Delhi and Calcutta, to the dusty villages in Bihar and Gujarat, and from Himalayan outposts to the Kerala waterways.

Read More

DMZ Diary

by Lauren W. Deutsch

How does one casually “visit” such an area as a tourist? Should I be afraid of potential for armed attack? Is there a protocol of safe, reverential behavior? Isn’t it more a place of pilgrimage? I had 50 kilometers in Seoul traffic to think about it.

Read More

Edo Expansion in Hokkaido

The sheer lack of general information in English on the indigenous peoples of Hokkaido (formerly known as Ezo) and this book’s focus on two endangered intangible aspects of human survival – ecology and culture – attracted me. But this is no travelogue of pretty pictures and nifty rituals.

Read More

Tea Beyond Japan

I am not your typical or natural tea student: a left-handed, cross-country skiing, Jewish feminist. Studying chanoyu for the past 24 years has been both challenging and intriguing for all those reasons. I have been fortunate to find a great teacher who can teach me. I have been encouraged by her to make the practice my own within her very formal teaching.

Read More

Professor Sôl’s Theory

A man and a woman meet serendipitously at Panmunjôm, the site of the ongoing “Peace Talks” between the “two” Koreas since the “end” of the “conflict.” The man reflects: Two hundred years from now the term “Panmunjôm” will have become an archaism. An encyclopedia published then will contain the following entry:

Read More

Much Ado About Matcha

If you think that chanoyu, the Japanese tea ritual, is primarily about enjoying the flavor of matcha … I have a bridge to sell you! Let’s call it the ultimate Japanese “urban myth”. Making matcha – mixing of hot water and a tiny bit of carefully selected, hand-picked young green tea leaves in powdered form – is merely the premise for a refined social gathering.

Read More

The Korean Way of Tea

Korea has had a “Way” of tea but it hasn’t been widely seen, much less described or studied by foreigners. This new guidebook full of color illustrations, created by Brother Anthony and Hong Kyeong-Hee is a welcome edition to one’s tea or Korean culture library.

Read More

“The Fortunate Earth is Happy”


As I sat down to read On Freedom: Spirit, Art, and State, one of the first thoughts I had was how difficult it is to peg a term as loaded as “Freedom.” At about the same moment as I had this thought, the chorus of the jaunty Calypso song on my stereo sang out, “Always remember somebody suffering more than you.

Read More

In Memorium: David Jenkins

David Jenkins, a longterm resident of Kyoto, translated medieval Japanese poetry (with his co-translator, Yasuhiko Moriguchi) — and made it timeless. He passed away on April 10th, 2000, surrounded by fully-blooming sakura; is still missed by friends and colleagues here at KJ.

Read More

Emerging Futures from Tohoku

Bob Stilger interview Kyoto Journal Tohoku workshop

An Interview with Bob Stilger

Bob Stilger has been actively involved in creating spaces for people in Tohoku to gather and formulate new futures following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that transformed their lives.

Read More

The Magic Mirror Maker

Christ reflection Japanese magic mirror maker

When light is directed onto the face of sacred magic mirror, or makkyo, and reflected to a flat surface, an image magically appears. Kyoto Journal sits down with the man rumored to be the last remaining makkyo maker in the world — Yamamoto Akihisa.

Read More

Under Crooked Pine

Mark Dodds, interviewed by Ted Taylor
The songs all came from here, sitting in this little alcove in summer and winter and looking out on occasion at that tree, and it became symbolic for the struggle that we all take to get to where it is we ultimately have to go.

Read More

Nuclear Japan and the Four Noble Truths


Despite considerable inertia in a religion well known for its conservatism, the protagonists in this book are seizing this opportunity to apply Buddhist values in opposition to nuclear power, and also to respond to the crisis in ways that invest Buddhist values with new relevance to contemporary society.

Read More

Kyoto: The Forest Within the Gate

(Japan) ¥2500(International) ¥3000 Shipping & handling included   Published July 2017, 128pp. Kyoto Journal and White Pine Press     Second Edition (July 2017) Kyoto: The Forest Within the Gate A transcendent journey in photographs and writings to Japan’s ancient capital…   Resting on the earth who needs satori or faith? Embrace what holds you!…

Read More

In a Rocket Made of Ice

    Order this book: (Japan) ¥2800(International) ¥3900 Shipping & handling included   Published December 2013, 356pp. Heian-kyo Media (KJ’s media service agency)   Payments are via PayPal. If you do not have a PayPal account PayPal still offers a credit card option (click thru!).       Sampler   A new book from Heian-kyo…

Read More

Joel Stewart’s TONE POEMS


The sheer variety of images ranges between the hyper-realistic and the abstract: a gleaming white-and-blue ceramic sake ewer that could almost be plucked from the panel, a quiver of glowing vertical lines reminiscent of Star Trek’s transporter in mid-operation.

Read More

Japantown: Lancet’s First Novel


The novel, as the title indicates, is concerned with Japan, and this places it as one of those detective novels that aims to provide, in addition to the standard thrills and spills, an introduction to another country and culture…

Read More

Exiled – A Tibetan’s Tale


“I was concerned about the many differences between India and China — the ways of thinking, for one — and India was not really up to confronting China. If I stayed in India, maybe I wouldn’t be able to do the kind of things I really wanted to do to help Tibet.” He eventually set his sights on Japan, with its own brand of Buddhism and spirituality, as his next home in exile.

Read More

Chasing Deer


I had just cycled over seven hours through Mie Prefecture and was now stuck on this deserted mountain road somewhere in the Kasagi Mountains, approximately 10 kilometers northeast of Nara city, searching for a campsite I had circled in my Kansai Mappuru guidebook when planning the trip from home weeks before. I thought of home now back in Kanagawa, and my wife Rui, who would be sitting at the table eating dinner at about this time. Make sure you take pictures of the deer in Nara, she would remind me every evening.

Read More