I am in Japan, and I announced it in this blog. Years ago, I put a Tokyo by-line on the blog and watched the readership drop every day. On a much lower readership base, today, I'm still seeing the readership drop because I am writing from Tokyo
Actually today, I'm writing from Kyoto. An ancient city I visit once every 35 years. Last night I had dinner with a writer who writes about the Kyoto area for magazines. I told her how much I loved a spectacular fire event years ago. It was in a rural area near Kyoto, at the August time of year when fires are lit to welcome home the gods. In a forest clearing, a 70 foot pole was erected with a large pile of dry wood and kindling on top. Men swung small burning bundles in a circle, like a sling, an launched them to the top of the pole. Some finally caught the pile on top on fire. This led to a giant bon fire in the sky with sparks cascading down. I never had seen such an awesome display before.
I suggested the writer find out about Burning man, the annual fire village in the Nevada desert.
I am the connection between the two. I and my girl friend of the time (Carole Rae).
After seeing this primeval sight in the Kyoto area I wanted one in San Francisco. So after Xmas, at New Years, Carole and I and a few friends filled a rental truck with dried Xmas trees from the street. We took them to the beach, where we had about 200 friends gather, built a pile of dried trees and lit them. It was a 40 foot high pyre. That became a San Francisco event. Now, every year there are hundreds of smaller fires at New Years on the beach.
A few years later, a close friend of mine, John Law did the same thing at nearby China beach and added his own touch... a wooden man outlined in neon. (John is a neon artist). That event grew and lasted a few years, until it was too big and moved to the Nevada desert as Burning man.