THE ARDENT ENTHUSIAST

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I visited Kazakhstan during the summer of 2017, basing myself in the old captital of Almaty. I stayed in a dorm at the Almaty Backpacker’s Hostel, and it was about a twenty minute walk to the center of town. One of my first trips was to the Central Museum to see their collection of Scythian gold. Almaty is the cultural center of the country and it looks like a modern overlay on… Read More

I’m off to Central Asia next week and decided that my usual necklace is too valuable for adventure travel. Thus I created a new one specifically for this trip. One of my goals is to buy more ancient beads and I need examples to show the merchants. This necklace has a Bronze Age pendant–thogchag; from the Gobi Desert, approximately 500BC; a 2,500 BC ceramic bead from Balkh; Tibetan coral; Tibetan turquoise; Afghan… Read More

Matsuyama (松山市) is the largest city on the Japanese island of Shikoku. It has a population of 516,459. The city’s name means “pine mountain”. Matsuyama was founded on December 15, 1889. The city is known for the Dogo Onsen [hot spring], which is among the oldest in Japan, The current Onsen building is a Meiji Period wooden public bathhouse dating from 1894.  Matsuyama castle is on top of a scenic hill in a centrally located park. Eight of… Read More

Itoigawa City– Niigata Prefecture – Japan Golden Week; May 3rd-7th gave me five days to go south and hunt for Japanese jadeite. Part 1 of these notes covered my trip to the Oyashirazu Pier, the Jade Museum there and my interaction with the local jade hunters. In Part 2 I shall relate my adventures in the Kotakigawa Gorge and exploring the ancient Jomon village of Chojagahara. In about 2,500 BCE the Jomon… Read More

Itoigawa City– Niigata Prefecture – Japan Golden Week; May 3rd-7th gave me five days to go south and hunt for Japanese jadeite. I’d tried to get down to Itoigawa twice last year, but the weather was against me. I’d planned on camping, and was washed out the previous occasions. This time the weather was sunny, so, after an eight hour drive to the southwest along a quite scenic coast highway, I reached… Read More