Finding Peace at Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine

Finding Peace at Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine

A few white robed monks were silently raking the gravel, and there was no sound but birdsong. We were in the Outer Precinct of the Meiji Shrine, a massive forest with trees of every species. The morning was bitterly cold, and there was hardly anyone about. A far cry...

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Springtime in Tokyo’s Shinjuku National Garden

Springtime in Tokyo’s Shinjuku National Garden

According to ancient tradition, Spring in Japan begins at the start of February. We had seen people with their cameras, eagerly snapping pictures of early narcissi, but this did not stop the snow from tumbling down. The snow was still on the ground when we visited the...

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Tokyo: Urban Sprawl or City of Beauty?

Tokyo: Urban Sprawl or City of Beauty?

It is said that the Japanese have a great sense of beauty, but no sense of ugliness. I pondered this as I took the airport train to Tokyo, a brief stopover on my way to New Zealand. From the window I could see a hotchpotch of houses, some elegant and well designed,...

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Sightseeing in Malacca, Malaysia

Sightseeing in Malacca, Malaysia

Malacca, on the south-west coast of Malaysia, has a rich and varied history. It occupies a strategic point on the Malacca Strait, which runs between Malaysia and Sumatra, and has been home at various times to the Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and British. In the middle...

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Pirates of the Malacca Strait

Pirates of the Malacca Strait

The Malacca Strait, which runs between Malaysia and Singapore and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, has been a favourite haunt of pirates for over a thousand years. The problem persists to the current day, with 40% of the world’s pirate attacks taking place in this...

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