Two Wolf Statues Outside Japanese Building

Localism & Localists

Human-sized experiences are more and more appealing to me, and seem important to report; we may recognize global patterns and movements, spread often by social media and digital news, but in a moment, an interaction in a particular place, with its flora, fauna and minutely local cultural signposts, can change our perception, even of the larger picture.

Having lived all over the US and also in Tokyo and Miyamacho, Japan, I’ve thought a lot about what it means to “be a local”. Here in Petaluma, California, after more than a decade, I think I understand a little bit about it. It means to care about your community, and to know things that outsiders won’t notice, because they don’t even know what questions to ask. It was a joy to live in a foreign country, because I was allowed to ask those questions. Each of these pieces (some books, some magazine or web articles) depends on place, on history, on community.