|Charcoal maker's stand near Hachioji.|
My latest assignment was to explain to readers why charcoal is an effective deodorizer and dehumidifier. Japanese people have long used it to prevent mildew in kimono closets and keep rooms from smelling musty or particularly stinky after a meal of grilled fish. After loads of reading, an interview with a friendly scientist, and a basic science lesson, I learned that there's more to charcoal than just grilled meat!
Read the full article Japanese Charcoal: How and Why This Natural Deodorizer Works Its Magic to get the full scoop.
Photo Note: Taken during a hike out near Hachioji, we came across this little stand. I, of course, thought it was a vegetable stand at first, but it instead belonged to one of Japan's last few remaining charcoal makers. At the time I had no idea I'd get this assignment, but I simply took the picture because it looked fascinating. Now that I know what I do, I wish I'd bought a bag of his charcoal for the house or the bamboo charcoal vinegar for the garden.