“Futuristic” Tokyo Lodged in the Past

Tokyo Bay at night

I want to share a few Tokyo discoveries with you as I catch up on the year’s travels by posting long overdue blogs.

It’s a city I know well. I lived there from 2000 to 2002, and I go back nearly every year for a visit.

Summer Festivals in the Barbarian North

Hidaka Hibuse festival in Mizusawa

Local festivals are big in Japan. It’s one of the great things about Japanese summer.

There’s the food, of course. My favourite festival foods include yakisoba (fried noodles), yakitori (grilled chicken on skewers), okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes), and of course gallons of draft beer.

Adrift in Europe’s Capital of Cool

Is this what it’s like to live in Berlin…?

A group of four shirtless guys sat on the grass, smoking pot and rolling a soccer ball in slow listless circles. Across the clearing, a man in a leather costume, with a mask and a long graceful tail, was pulling a two-wheeled cart. The lingerie-clad driver smacked him with the reigns and urged him to trot faster.

Not a Hazardous Sport

Not a Hazardous Sport by Nigel Barley

Not a Hazardous Sport brings to a close Nigel Barley’s series of anthropological journeys that began with The Innocent Anthropologist and continued in A Plague of Caterpillars.

A Plague of Caterpillars

A Plague of Caterpillars by Nigel Barley

Nigel Barley returns to Cameroon in this hilarious follow up to The Innocent Anthropologist.

“Returns” is a bit of a misnomer. In truth, he’d only just left.

Getting the Drift in London

The Great Court of London’s British Museum…

I’d only been in London for a few hours, and I was already thinking I’d have to scrap a year’s work.

The Innocent Anthropologist

The Innocent Anthropologist by Nigel Barley

Nigel Barley was a rather unhappy “desk anthropologist” at a British university.

His fieldwork-hardened older colleagues never stopped reminding him of this, because back in their day, it wasn’t enough to camp out in a library cordoned off by stacks of journals. You had to get out and live with the natives.

Adrift in Berlin

Outpost Winter 2019… Berlin, baybee!

The latest issue of Outpost hit newsstands across Canada a few weeks ago.

This time in my Adrift on the Continent column, I’m taking you to Berlin. Well, I suppose I should say “bringing you to Berlin”, since I live here.

The Best Books I Read in 2018

Best Books 2018

It’s that time again.

I typically read about 100 books a year. Everything from travel literature to poetry, history, psychology, fiction and memoir.

I love reading lists and recommendations, and I bet a few of you do, too. So at year’s end, I like to take a moment to share my top reads of the past twelve months.

A Shift in My Trajectory

Batten down the hatches… Hate mail on the way…

I’ve started writing a series of articles for an independent Maltese news site called The Shift.

One of the paper’s founders contacted me at the beginning of November to ask if I would comment on things that appear completely bizarre to an outsider, but which are accepted as normal in Malta.