Kompira is a small very special mountain overlooking Tokyo and when Hugh Paxton’s blog was based in Japan I lived near its modest summit with wild boar, raccoon dogs and giant flying squirrels as intimate neighbours. There was a rather persistent plan to demolish half of it to build a school but locals and foreign residents campaigned successfully for this insanity to be prevented. A tough slog but we won! It stands as it did, a lovely mix of deciduous trees and evergreens, with a splendid variety of wildlife, a small shrine, and, in its roots, caves that once housed a subterranean WW II aircraft factory (allegedly haunted by the restless spirits of Korean slave labourers). Kompira, largely due to the campaign to preserve it, remains a hub and focus of cultural creativity and international exchange. If you are in Tokyo it offers a refreshing glimpse of natural Japan. Richard Evanoff, a buddy of mine, organizes regular bowling sessions in Takao (the nearest JR station to Kompira), and hikes, and other events. These are always great fun, open to anybody and a great way to meet both foreigners and Japanese. I’ll post his newsletters regularly. Here is his latest. Incidentally if you want to see the aircraft factory cave you’ll need to ask Richard or one of the Kompira crowd. Nobody else knows it exists or if they do don’t talk about it.