Book Review: 'Industrial Scars' The Beautiful Toxic Scars of the Earth

Ancient word of the day: Landschapspijn

Landschapspijn comes from Dutch and translates to “landscape-pain”, “place-pain” (Dutch). This is a word with no real equivalent in English.

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Film Review – Utopia directed by John Pilger

Film Review – Utopia directed by John Pilger

Utopia is veteran and respected journalist John Pilger’s attempt to tell an extraordinary story, one hidden from the eyes of everyday Australians, of Australia’s first people. Pilger uses words like apartheid and hidden genocide to describe it. And the evidence he presents in this documentary is overwhelmingly convincing. It’s difficult to do justice to this…

Adventures on the Isle of Skye

Franz Kafka on reading books

A book must be the axe to crack open the frozen sea within us. We need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves. We need books like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. Five Creepy Islands in…

Travel: Himeji Castle, Japan

Himeji Castle was the first place in Japan to become a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993, after this there were dozens of others named. It’s actually the largest and arguably most impressive castle in in Japan and has 83 buildings. It takes hours to walk around inside of it, like a medieval Disneyland,  it's…

Ambient album review: The Fifty Eleven Project by Kasper Bjørke Quartet

Just a few weeks shy of his 35th birthday, Kasper Bjørke, a Danish ambient producer, discovered a tumor. The next five years of his life were spent in the clinical surrounds of hospitals and clinics. So he decided to document his feelings into his newest release, The Fifty Eleven Project. It's deeply moving, fragile ambient…

Travel: Tenryu-ji temple and gardens Arashiyama Kyoto

Travel: Tenryu-ji temple and gardens Arashiyama Kyoto

Tenryū-ji is a temple and gardens founded by Ashikaga Takauji in 1339. It's purpose at the time was to venerate Gautama Buddha. It's considered as one of Kyoto's so-called Five Mountains. In 1994, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tenryuji dates from the Muromachi period in Japan's 14th-16th century. Among its many…

Why I write my blog…why do you write yours?

I've been doing this for over five years or longer. Every single week, three times per week, for more than five years. Holy shit it's a long time. It makes me think, why has there been this longevity? What has kept me doing this all of this time? It's got to do with me just…

The ancient and elusive fairisle of Hy Brasil

Hy Brasil is a mysterious phantom island that was thought to exist off the west coast of Ireland in the Atlantic Ocean for hundreds of years. The area being nautically challenging for seafarers, it was an elusive and mysterious place, hailed in pre-Christian times as being the Celtic Elysium or land of promise. During Christian…

Ancient word of the day: hedgehog

Ancient word of the day: Hedgehog

The ancient word for today is hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus. In the Middle Ages, writers didn't make reference to hedgehogs, but to urchins. A term still favoured in some English dialects. It's also associated with the sea urchin, which is literally a sea hedgehog. The word urchin came over to England with the Norman invasion and…

Te Ao Maori and the aesthetics of cosiness

An indepth exploration of the aesthetics of cosiness

There’s a lovely subreddit I recently found called Cosy Places, which calls for people to submit their log cabins, hideaways and cosy loungerooms. This is a veritable treasure trove of different ideas for cosiness. Someone even parsed the photo content in the subreddit and came up with the recipe and criteria that make up a…

So long, Marianne: Leonard Cohen and his muse Marianne Ihlen

So long, Marianne: Leonard Cohen and his muse Marianne Ihlen

In November 2016, the singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, renowned for his melancholic and romantic ballads, died a few months after the woman who inspired many of his famous songs - his Norwegian lover and muse, Marianne Ihlen. On the summery idyll of Hydra, Greece in 1960, there was a bohemian community of artists and musicians living…

What New Zealand native species are you? Southern Right Whale

The connection between curiosity and happiness

A lovely blogger friend on here Jonelle recently did an article on where to see the lotus blossoms in Tokyo. She had witnessed a little kid blowing soap bubbles through the stem of a gigantic lotus blossom and decided to do it herself. This is something I would love to do too. Many adults wouldnt…

Ambient Album Review #2: 'The Disintegration Loops' by William Basinski

Ambient Album Review #2: ‘The Disintegration Loops’ by William Basinski

American avante-garde composer William Basinski created The Disintegration Loops by a serendipitous and heart-wrenching series of events in his life and in the history of the world. This led to one of the great classics of the ambient and avante-garde genre – a four album opus called The Disintegration Loops. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjnAE5go9dI Basinski recorded some loops…

Netsuke & Gashapon toys Ancient Japanese treasures and modern collectibles

Netsuke are uniquely Japanese and sublime in their beauty. They are tiny objects carved of ivory, ceramic, wood, tortoise-shell, gold or many other materials. They tell the story of the culture of Japan during the old Edo period and before. Netsuke featured fishermen and farmers, who rubbed shoulders with scholars, samurai warriors, royalty and even…

Travel: A roadtrip through the remote Eastern Cape, New Zealand

People seldom visit the Eastern Cape of the North Island because of its complete isolation from the rest of the country’s bustling travel routes. It’s quiet in terms of other cars – there are none, except for the occasional local farmer and logging truck ferrying wood from forests to the port in Gisborne.  It’s an…

Pagan date: Winter solistice

Pagan date: Winter solistice

Today is winter solistice in the southern hemisphere. This is a time of rebirth and a triumph of life over death. It's a reflection and renewal.  Winter solistice  Incantations Tonight is the night of the Solstice,the longest night of the year.As the Wheel turns once more, I know thattomorrow, the Sun will begin its journey…

Book Review: Life in a Medieval Castle

Book Review: Life in a Medieval Castle by Frances and Joseph Gies

Life in a Medieval Castle is one of a series of compelling historical reference books written by acclaimed husband and wife historians Frances and Joseph Gies in the 1970's. Life in a Medieval Castle (along with companion books Life in a Medieval Village and Life in a Medival City) were re-released in 205 under the weight…