“Aimlessness is advisable.”

A quick quiz before reading:

  • What are the 5 senses? Can you name them all in English?
  • What’s the 6th sense? (not the movie)

This article from Quartz describes the concepts of biophilia (the affinity humans have for the natural world) and 森林浴 (shinrinyoku・literally, “forest bathing”).

‘Japanese “forest medicine” is the art of using nature to heal yourself—wherever you are’

When I was reading this, I read “bibliophilia” (the love of books/reading) instead of biophilia. I think reading has just as much power to heal as forest bathing, and you can certainly read wherever  you are.

Here’s some forest bathing I did in Kyoto a while ago. Definitely sublime.

Today’s post title is from this section of the article:

“To experience soft fascination, it’s necessary to meander through the woods. Forest bathing isn’t the same thing as hiking or brisk walking.Aimlessness is advisable. The tree tonic works best with minimal effort. Let your gaze be drawn wherever it wants to land.”


And on that note, I’ll be taking the rest of our spring break off from posting, to recharge my batteries.

The academic year begins again in April. I’ll be back then with more topics.

In the meantime, there’s plenty in the archives, if you’re looking for something to read, watch, talk or write or think about, in English.




Japan is famous for its fancy toilets, which are getting fancier all the time. But one problem with this modernization of bathrooms is that we don’t squat as much anymore. Is the increasing number of foreign tourists to blame? Even though many Westerners (well, Americans) don’t really get them?

Even if we lose the squat toilets, we still need to put squatting into our exercise routine, says this article: “What Western people stand to gain from squatting more often” (from Big Think)

Just dance around like Beyonce:


Fun block

Japan is famous for its great stationery. Here’s something new and unusual: the Omoshiro Block (“fun block”). According to Spoon and Tamago, right now it’s only available and the Tokyu Hands in Osaka and it’s pretty pricey, but it might make a fun graduation gift for someone.

Start with a full notepad block:

And as you use the notes, you reveal a famous Japanese landmark:

Click on any of the photos to see the end result.