On the radar

Tag: africa

1 Feb


It has always been about storytelling. Childhood is made magical by storytelling and impoverished by the lack of it.  Romance floats  on the...

26 Nov

Royal Chundu

At 3,540 kms long, the Zambezi River is the fourth-longest river in Africa and the largest that flows into the Indian Ocean from Africa. It...

8 Sep


Swift, solitary, elegant, fragile.  The cheetah is my favorite cat in Africa and one that I had the privilege of living with over the course...

7 Sep

Nairobi Vignettes (1)

6 Sep

Scouting for Kuba Cloth

The traders came from the Congo laden with Kuba. Gorgeous pieces, we laid them out in the garden and began to negotiate.

1 Sep

Nairobi Life

    Coming back to Nairobi is to come home. The smell of early morning fog, birdsong transected by the passage of small aircraft,...

29 Aug

African Heritage (2)

28 Aug

Alan Donovan – African Heritage

On the eve of my departure for Kenya, my heart place, I offer you a glimpse of what makes this country and this continent so unique. I first...

25 Jun

Meditations #36

Luxury in travel is defined by who you meet what you see when you have the encounter and how it comes to pass… a reward at the end of a...

30 Jan

Meditations #31

Our travels begin in the imagination, long before the body is set in motion; and they do not end when we return home.  The sounds, sights and...

18 Dec

Meditations #30

His daughter had died, he told me, tears running freely down his cheeks.  He went alone into the desert in search of himself, to touch the...

25 Sep

Africa’s Legendary Leaders

For me as a New Yorker, the greatest compensation for the passing of summer and long days spent outside are the new art shows that draw me into...

12 Jul


I went to university to be an anthropologist.  As the most insightful of my professors quickly observed, my motivation stemmed more from my...

18 Jan

The Gulf: Dubai

I couldn’t quite believe it. 36 hours after I had left the snows of New York, I was dining beachfront en plein air, in an Italian restaurant...

17 Nov

MAD Goes African

The Museum of Arts and Design has opened its Global Africa Project, a blockbuster show of African and African-inspired art and craftwork.  Many...

5 Oct

Elephant Wisdom

20 Aug

Bridging the Gap

Say the word, bridge, and what comes to mind?  It might be a beautiful span like the one that links the Rhode Island mainland to  Newport....

13 Aug

Preserving Traditions

I was an anthropology major in college and grad school. Old loves never die. When I came across One Fine Thread, Anna Haber’s blog on global...

28 Jul

The Tree Where Man Was Born

On the open plains of the southern Serengeti stands a massive fig tree.  It’s trunk measures over 20 feet around, and its capacious limbs,...

12 Jul

Another Time

Kenya’s Maasai Mara, 1974-1976:  camped between the Olareorok and Njagatiak Rivers, a 4-hour, Maasai-stride from Governor’s Camp;...

Follow the road

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Kusama’s piano
Rabbits (huge  French rabbits), squirrels, hedgehogs and beavers all together in this animal cafe
Wonderful Art Deco house built for Prince Asaka’s family in 1933. After the war the Asaka family was demoted to commoner status and the house became a State guest house and now a museum. The demotion of Asaka and other princely families is part of a current discussion regarding the current Imperial succession line which is tenuous. One solution would be to allow females to succeed. Another is to reinstate some princely families to strengthen the succession options
And, finally, the sword guard which a metalworker might spend a year making. Each depicts miniature worlds reflecting the artist’s soul
Next is the hilt, made from a core of magnolia wood, wrapped in the skin of Asian stingray, and then bound with threads, generally In a diamond pattern to provide a firm grip.
I ended my very warm day (94F feels like 104F) in the sleek, cool, new Japanese Sword Museum. Who would have thought it would be so pleasing to the senses?  Here are the sword story pieces In separate postings as the photos look better singly. The katana, with blade curved upward (first photo) was carried by Samurai on horseback. The Tachi, blade curved downward, was carried by Samurai on foot and usually had a groove carved into the blade to lessen the weight.  They are forged, tang and blade, in one piece. These are prize winners from “jewel” steel and signed by Masters.  It is the tip, I am told, that is the most challenging part of the blade to make.