little snail, slowly slowly climb Mount Fuji @Lonely Planet Pathfinders: The trail glows bone white under our boots. Konohana, the Shinto spirit of sacred Fujisan, smiles on us mountaineer-wannabes in the form of a harvest moon and cloudless sky. On short notice, I’m attempting an early, out-of-season ascent of Mount Fujisan – an overnight dangan tozan, bullet climb – with two friends from Tokyo, David and Naomi. The weather forecast looks good; the crowds on the most popular — read easiest — trail should be thinner. So far, we’ve been right. With a moon like this to light our way, we have no need for headlamps. Eight thousand feet below, Mount Fuji’s triangular moonshadow turns the Aokigahara, the so-called “Forest of Suicides,” a deeper, darker shade of green. At the top waits the promise of the fabled goraiko, the so-called “honourable arrival of light:” sunrise from the summit of the highest point in Japan.
Shinjuku’s Golden Gai: Down the Rabbit Hole in Tokyo’s Best Nightlife District @Lonely Planet Pathfinders: Tokyo has more than its share of popular nightlife areas. Shibuya draws the club kids. Roppongi caters to the international crowd. Kabukicho is the largest blue-light district in Asia, a disconcerting mix of hostess clubs, brothels, and straight-up bars and restaurants.
Still, in the twelve-plus years I’ve lived in Tokyo, it’s to Shinjuku’s Golden Gai I go to meet interesting locals and, increasingly often, tuned-in travellers.
William Gibson wrote that the soul, like lost luggage, needs time to catch up with the long distance traveller.
Maybe that’s why I feel… discombobulated as I wake to the scrunch of rain turning to ice outside an unfamiliar window. This is not my bedroom in Tokyo. Then some part of my jetlagged soul catches up, and I remember: I’m back in Toronto, my first trip “home” for Christmas in 15 years.
Continue to Read (full text reprinted on Medium.com)
Rabbit Stew the sequence of stories I wrote for my MA in English/Creative Writing at Concordia University in Montreal. This appearance online doesn't really count as a publication, since the National Library of Canada "publishes" every graduate thesis produced in the country. Still, I was surprised to find this old work online, and to catch up with my old characters Rabbit and Baby Judy. By the way, some of these stories did appear in earlier forms in real print publications, such as Acta Victoriana. Just so you know... The stories start on page 8 of the pdf:
"c'est la vie, c'est l'amour, c'est la guerre:" A warm wind, spun from the flaming top of a volcano half a world away, is sent loping across seas and ice-rimed continents by the random tilt of the earth. This same wind has thawed winter's first snow, so that the ice will now tamp down hard instead of resting lightly on top of the grasses and moss that feed the patchy herds of caribou adrift in a landscape of oil refineries and pipelines and cottage industry sculpture studios.
Check back soon, as I continue to update this page with my "back catalogue," so to speak, of essays and stories online!