Showing posts from September, 2018

How To Take A Bath In Japan (1954)

Hilarious. Even today the mystery of the Japanese onsen is "explained" by all kinds of signs and images. It could not be simpler.

From The Bridges at Toko-Ri.

Flygdag på F10 Ängelholm, 1995, Draken

Swedish Draken fighter. How we managed to stay neutral during the Cold War. Read more about my visit this summer, to the F10 Royal Air Force Museum here.

And more from 2018: "Not an eye is dry" watching this unique formation of Swedish-built aircraft, including the Tunnan, Draken, Viggen and Gripen.

Radio Controlled: This is How Popular the Ki-15 is in Japan

New update in my novel:

 Then I went to watch this sad new movie, Osaka Elegi, about a girl and the city which I almost never had any time to venture into, with its neon lights and modern music and the Kansai accent that I found hilarious. But, I could not understand the ending.
    After that, I had the sense that Osaka would surpass anything, if left to its own devices. The new subway line from Umeda was in the movie, and I mentioned it in a letter to Tsukagoshi in Tachikawa. And he replied, “I hope to join you soon.”

You can order Kamikaze to Croydon here at Amazon as a paperback, and also at Kindle as an eBook.

I hope you will also be kind enough to leave comments and rate it.

Do click that link, and go through the easy steps.

These guys make the best radio controlled "scale flying" events, which in 2016 involved the Mitsubishi Ki-15 "Kamikaze-go" that was privately owned by Asahi Shimbun in 1937.

1985 TV Drama About the Ki-15 Flight to London

Just a few years before I first arrived on these shores, TV Asahi made a special dramatization about the events I cover in my novel, Kamikaze to Croydon.

Order it here at Amazon

The 1985 TV drama is a bit silly, but then so was a lot of TV back then.

These scenes, however, are really beautiful, filmed with a model airplane, set to the music by Brahms.

美貌なれ昭和 (Bibonare Showa) means something like "The Beautiful Showa" and the dramatization included segments about the female Japanese violinist, Nejiko Suwa, who was studying and performing in Europe during the 1930s until 1945. Enjoy.

Now, if seeing that makes you want to make a balsa wood model of the Ki-15, there are the drawings and lots of helpful advice, from Mike Stuart in the UK!

Thanks for finding, P.

Totoro and Forests You Can Visit West of Tokyo

When I arrived to these shores, I had almost no idea about anime or manga. 

This is where I learn my pottery, in Hibita, east of Tokorozawa.

And, when was Totoro set? 1958?

It is a major push for environmental education. Where? Tokorozawa.

This is one forest you can visit from Tokyo.

In April of 1990, with the objective of preserving the lush nature of Sayama Hills to future generations, the National Trust of Totoro no Furusato was born.  Due to the efforts of 5 initial contributors, including film director Hayao Miyazaki, a large amount of donations were received from all across Japan.
Sayama Hills is known as the inspiration of Mr.Hayao Miyazaki’s animation masterpiece, “Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro, 1988)”.  The Trust Fund was named in its honor.

Totoro Fund Website

We are a legally incorporated foundation with the purpose of preserving the beautiful natural habitat and cultural assets of Sayama Hills and its surrounding areas.

As of March 1, 2016

Castle in the Sky - Kimi o Nosete / Carrying You (HQ)

From one of the great Ghibli movies, how about it.

Castle in the Sky is a 1986 Japanese animated adventure film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It was the very first film animated by Studio Ghibli and was animated for Tokuma Shoten. It follows the adventures of a young boy and girl attempting to keep a magic crystal from a group of military agents, while searching for a legendary floating castle.

Music by Joe Hisashi.

Visiting Pilot Iinuma Masaaki Museum in Nagano

A couple of years ago while I was writing the novel Kamikaze to Croydon, I made the trip to a very special place.


While Japan has a lot of (small or medium-size) airplane museums, see Paul Thompson's excellent website, J-HangarSpace, I think this is the only one dedicated to a single pilot.

This is Iinuma Masaaki's birthplace, in what is now Azumino, Nagano Prefecture.

A wonderful old farm house located a short walk from the station, with the Japanese Alps as the backdrop. Not far from Matsumoto, it is worth the trip if you are interested in aviation history.

The exhibits are mostly a collection of items from The Asahi Shimbun, that sponsored his famous flight to London in April 1937. As you all probably know by now, he was a civilian pilot employed by the newspaper, setting records to Beijing and Taipei even before that famous event. The photo above shows his real Pilot's Licence from 1941.

The light wasn't the best, but here is a map he and his navigator, Tsu…