Showing posts from 2016

Photographs from the Silk Road

I took too many photographs of buildings and landscapes along the Silk Road. My overland journey took me through China, Central Asia, Russia, and Europe, from May to September 2016. A full set of pictures can be found on Flickr . See the Silk Road on Flickr >>

Letters from the Silk Road

Central Asia has always held out to me a special enchantment. There at the Jaxartes ended the empire of Alexander; there in the trackless steppe gathered the hordes which plagued the ancient and medieval world; there on dusty plains lie Samarkand, Kashgar, and a scattered constellation of cities where the meandering trade roads between East and West converge. The term “Silk Road,” though not coined until 1877, announces an older half-imagined adventure of camel trains in haunted wastes, of turbaned merchants in covered bazaars, of danger and romance by starlight. Archaeological evidence suggests that commerce between China and Europe never matched the vision of orientalists. Nevertheless, the transcontinental route that we call the Silk Road changed history by transporting and transforming the culture, religion, art, and technology of every civilization it touched. My own journey along Silk Road—from a ferry embarked in Kobe harbor on 10 May to a final flight from Madrid on 9

A Brief Guide to Osaka

Four years living in Osaka helped me to appreciate the nuances of a foreign culture, but also allowed me to build up a routine of places where I loved to walk, eat, drink, and play. Tourists often skip through Osaka on their way to Kyoto, which is forgivable, and Tokyo, which is not. Here is a city worth living in, with places that are amazing but hard to find. Now that I am leaving it, here are my recommendations for anyone wondering what to do in Japan's second megalopolis. North / Umeda Go to the roof of JR Umeda Station for a view of the city. There is a nice hike north of the city at the Minoh waterfall. Check out the bars and restaurants around Fukushima Station on the JR Loop Line. Central / Shinsaibashi Walk around Amemura ("Americatown") near Shinsaibashi Station, especially on weekends, and unforgettably on Halloween. The Semba Center is a row of shops and offices built under 10 blocks of highway. In the basement of building 9 there are a lot