Ostensibly, I am an English teacher. My students do everything in English at my after-school facility, and we teach a brief lesson in English, in addition to having them do worksheets and read aloud from a series of graded readers.

But really, we’re taking care of the kids for a…


A clear plastic garbage bag filled with discarded trays from ready-to-eat food

The forty-liter clear plastic bag bulged and looked ready to burst, its surface stretched taut like the skin of a drum over the contours of its irregular contents. …


Tokyo is about losing one of its most iconic buildings. Its fate now sealed, the Nakagin Capsule Tower, with its parallel stacks of tiny pieds-à-terre in capsule form, will disappear from Ginza, where it has stood since nineteen seventy-two.

It is instantly recognizable. It looks like nothing else. And it…


It was either the wind or the cat and, between the two, it seemed more likely to have been the cat. The big spider plant wasn’t sitting on the upturned bucket as it usually was, with its dozens of green tendrils cascading toward the floor. Instead, it was mostly upside…


A quiet neighborhood street after rain, the street wet and shining

People in Japan still commonly use kerosene space heaters in their homes. Enough so that, in the winter months, kerosene trucks drive slowly through neighborhoods in the evening, making their presence known with a repeating announcement played over a loudspeaker, accompanied by the tune of an old children’s song.

Before…


When I visit the local shrine, it is not an act of religious devotion, though it might look that way. …


The street running past my apartment building has no name. This is neither a fluke nor uncommon. Most roads in the area, and in fact most roads in Japan, aren’t named.

Those that have names generally have (or had) some sort of special significance, such as the old Nakasendo, a…


Perfection is a dull proposition. It represents a fool’s errand in human pursuits and is as about as common as hen’s teeth in nature. …


It had been a beautiful, mature zelkova tree. It had a high canopy that spread beautifully over one corner of the park like an immense, lush green parasol. …


We’d have been fools not to take hold of it and run. An errant fragment of summer that turned up in the wake of a typhoon. We stole away with it, taking the train two prefectures over and setting up shop on a stretch of sand fringed with driftwood.

Sand…

David R Munson

Photographer, essayist, wanderer, weirdo. Compulsive creator, interested in everything because everything is interesting. 🇺🇸 in 🇯🇵

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