Talking About A Revolution

On my first backpacking trip to China I witnessed what can only be called a revolution – although an unsuccessful one – and it is certainly among the moments of my life that will forever stay with me. I had only very little information about the situation in China before I went on my trip […]

Memories: Ocean Liners

Memories… is a random series of memories of my trips to Asia in the late 80s and early 90s. One of the very unexpected features of backpacking around China in the late eighties and early nineties was how frequent I would end up booking a passage on an ocean liner. Just these words alone feel […]

Where Every Bamboo Stalk Is Different

Katano near Osaka is one of those very typical small towns that surround the major cities in Japan – big enough to retain their status as an independent city, but too close to a major megalopolis to ever attract any of the spotlight. We are here on a regular basis since we have family in […]

Hoshigaoka’s Secret

We found this place several years ago, unlikely enough only a few miles away from where my parents-in-law live near Osaka, and we’ve been back this year since it had left such a great impression on our first visit. The Hoshigaoka Sewing School must have been closed many years ago but it was then reopened […]

Around the World in 1936

A while ago I bought this item on eBay – it was essentially a random find that intrigued me. It is the guest list of the 1936 round-the-world trip of the S.S. President Monroe out of San Francisco. (link to full scan of all pages on Flickr) The annotations on the actual guest list are […]

Infinite City

I recently finished reading Rebecca Solnit’s excellent “Infinite City” (Amazon), and for somebody like me who likes maps, history and San Francisco it was a pleasure throughout. If you love San Francisco, buy it now. One of the main themes of the book is that every person has a very different mental map of the […]

Memories: On The Yangtze

Memories… is a random series of memories of my trips to Asia in the late 80s and early 90s. In 1989, just weeks before the Chinese government breakdown on the Democracy movement, I bought passage on a Yangtze river boat from Shanghai to Chongqing – a distance of more than a thousand miles. For the […]