Airing Your Laundry in Public

When I first came to Hong Kong, one of the most perplexing of park rules was “No hanging of laundry.” Surely that isn’t a problem, I thought. Do people really bring their wet laundry to the park to dry? As it turns out, they do. Though most people here have a washing machine in their […]

Tokyo, Two Weeks After the Earthquake

March 2011 I arrive in Tokyo on a clear, crisp afternoon. As my train makes brisk progress from Narita Airport to the city centre, I stare out the window at the country fields giving way to suburbia and then a densely crammed cityscape. The city seems calm. Kids run freely through an asphalt schoolyard. Uniformed […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Environment, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Tokyo, Two Weeks After the Earthquake , , , ,

Make Your Own Public Space

No cycling. No ball-playing. No gambling. No remote-controlled vehicles. No walking on the grass. No fun. Hong Kong’s public parks are burdened by so many rules, they end up discouraging the very thing that parks are meant to provide: an escape from the many stresses of urban life. The same is true for many of […]

The Masked Metropolis

Why do so many Japanese people wear masks? The question became stuck in my mind almost as soon as I arrived in Tokyo late last month. Everywhere I went, on the streets and in trains, nearly half of the people around me were wearing surgical masks. I already knew part of the answer: people wear […]