Japanese Emperor Steps Down

The Japanese Cabinet approved legislation to allow Japan’s emperor to abdicate the throne, just this once.  Emperor Akihito wishes to step down and give his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, “time to rule”. This is big news since Emperor Akihito’s abdication will be the first in 200 years.

Of course, there is the opinion for and against this action.  Supporters welcome the idea of letting emperors retire (they did pre-1889 law).  Opponents fear permanent change in the Imperial Household Law would lead to changes eventually allowing women to also be rightful heirs to the throne, although Japan had female emperors in the past as well.

One thing is certain–change.  Somewhere I heard the phrase “Change is inevitable; growth is optional”. This certainly seems to be a time for Japan once again to embrace the challenge of change in its laws governing emperors.  It will be interesting to watch!

 

Spring Cherry Blossoms Celebrated in Japan and the U.S.

 

Visitors can get a head start and enjoy early-blooming cherry blossoms in Kawazu, Japan, that start blooming in February, about a month before most of the cherry blossoms in the rest of Japan. The climate in Kawazu on the Izu Peninsula is generally warmer than other parts of Japan even though it is still winter.  Then, you can extend your cherry blossom adventure by moving north.

For example, in Hikone on the eastern shore of Lake Biwa in Central Japan, Continue reading

Keep Your Dreams Alive

私は日本に行きます。Nihon ni ikimasu. I am going to Japan.

Since childhood I have wanted to go to Japan. I don’t know why. Perhaps the lure of things that interested me such as the intrigue of a strangely written language, the beautiful photo depictions of gardens and flowers, the gorgeous kimonos or simply the exotic and very different culture. Keep in mind, I grew up before the Internet, before easy access to information; the world seemed even larger then. Before Internet connection, different cultures were more mysterious and faraway places  more exotic. Add a child’s imagination, and the exciting dream gets painted with even more vibrant colors. Continue reading

The Popcorn Tree

In Japan I was pleased to see a familiar tree, a loquat tree just like the one in my yard in the U.S.  While gazing at the familiar tree during my visit to Japan, my mind wandered off to a story  I once wrote about my grandson and his first encounter with the lovely, white blossoms on my tree at home.  I’ll share the story below. Continue reading