What’s In A Name? Probably More Than We Think

Tonight I saw a film about Minoru Yasui, who sued the US government during World War II for its racist treatment of Japanese Americans, including their incarceration for being Japanese. Families were separated and lost everything — their homes and businesses and farms. Mr. Yasui never gave up, even when he couldn’t get anyone to support him. https://www.minoruyasuifilm.org/film

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Kanazawa and Awazu Kiyoshi

Chillin in Kanazawa’s Kenrokuen Garden, considered among Japan’s most beautiful.

History matters and the Japanese City of Kanazawa has been lucky that way. The city’s good fortune began before it was a city when a farmer found flecks of gold in Kanazawa’s water as he was digging for potatoes. Things went uphill from there. The powerful Maeda family moved in during the 17th century and, for 300 years, invested in the arts, infrastructure, and education, creating a thriving, beautiful city. Also lucky — in the 20th century, Kanazawa was spared the devastation of WW II.

The result of all that good history is a wealthy, modern city with a focus on the arts, parks, historic neighborhoods and local foods.

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Magical Prague

The towers of St. Nicholas Church in Old Town Square.

I spent a few days in Prague this week with good friend and refugee family “mom,” Anne-Lene. I don’t think I have ever been to a place that felt so light and uncomplicated. The city lived up to everything I had heard about it — wall-to-wall charm, stunning architecture adorned with elegant detail of all kinds, walkable streets, friendly Czechs and a lot of very happy tourists. It is the kind of place you want to visit when you want to forget about “it.” Continue reading

Proust. And What (I Think) Every American Should Know about the Rest of the World

I have always wished I had the intellectual acuity to read In Search of Lost Time, the 4,000 page novel by Marcel Proust about, er, refer to the book title. And this easy-to-read article:  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tldr-prousts-in-search-of-lost-time_us_559e8cb1e4b0967291558d31. One of these days, I will commit. In the meantime, I am happy enough with Proust’s wonderful observation about travel:

       “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

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