I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Leanne Ogasawara

Cauldron Bubble

Fermentation is a familiar process in food preparation but has also long been used as a metaphor for societal change, cultural change, political change, economic change. Driven by bacteria, it is a force that cannot be stopped. It recycles life, renews hope, and goes on and on.

The Spirit of Cities

Cities are smells: Cairo is mango and ginger, Beirut sun, sea, smoke and lemons. But in many of our cities the waters are rising. In Bangkok the water is inexorably reaching up and those familiar fragrances we have loved ‑ of noodles, tiger balm and teak – may soon be washed away.

A World of Tears

A man finds himself in Antwerp with nothing to do. Then he remembers, among other things, that this is the town where the painter Peter Paul Rubens made his home. At first, this annoys him, because he has no interest whatsoever in the painter. But then he thinks, why not write a book about Rubens.

A Plump Pillow

Japanese poets have traditionally taken pilgrimages to locations of great scenic allure, seeking out wondrous places that are so inviting, so lovely, that poems wish to settle in them. A German professor wakes from a disturbing dream and journeys to such a site. Why? He has no idea.

Hell-bent

Imagination is essential for human understanding and compassion. But in Hannah Arendt’s words, the human heart must go visiting, otherwise we lose our power to be moral. The ability to look at the world from another’s point of view in an imaginative way.

On Quijotismo

Cervantes’s ‘Don Quixote’ was about a man who steps out of the matrix. Tilting at windmills, on a quest for a princess, he appears crazy ‑ and he forces us to consider that maybe we are crazy. This is why over four centuries he has remained an indispensable hero.