Author: kuri
  • RIP, Yatsufusa

    RIP, Yatsufusa

    Yesterday morning, Naomi texted me the sad news that Yatsufusa, captain of the Monaca Border Guard, had passed away. She and Fujii-san were on the way to the hospital to collect him. I shared the news and tried to explain to our visiting friend, Rob, that our plans to go sightseeing were on hold for […]

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  • Foliage & forage

    Foliage & forage

    There are so many plants at 555. Some look like weeds, but aren’t. Others are definitely weeds. Some are mysterious. I have been photographing and trying to identify what I encounter. This is a roundup of some of the late summer botanicals and things that caught my eye. We have a lot of useful or […]

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  • Groundbreaking


    This morning, the sun came out in the midst of typhoon weather to shine during our jichinsai, the groundbreaking ceremony. I have to back up a little bit and explain why we held a Shinto ceremony at 555. First of all, it’s the tradition to invoke the local spirits and get them to bless the […]

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  • Prepared


    Typhoon No. 14 (Nanmadol) is a Category 4 storm blowing through Kyushu right now, and we are expected to get the tail end of it on Tuesday here in Chiba. That did not stop today’s weather from being blustery and wet enough to destroy rice fields, swell rivers, and cause a power outage this evening. […]

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  • Mascot


    I think I can keep up with the 71 year olds who are my crew. But I truly cannot. I arranged rocks in the gabions for about 45 minutes yesterday morning. It was hot (87F/31C) in the sun and the work was hard. My heart started beating its experimental jazz rhythms, which at first feels […]

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  • Getting going with gabion

    Getting going with gabion

    Yesterday we started building the retaining wall. This is going to be a lot of work. But it was a fairly easy start. The first step, after leveling and tamping down the ground with gravel, was to roll out protective sheeting and a thick non-woven mat. Then we started to assemble the cages and set […]

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  • Where new meets old

    Where new meets old

    There are complications where the new stretch of ujiko meets the old. Unlike the new part, which is measured carefully and levelled, the old section heads off at an angle, at a lower level, and on a slope. Trying to decide how to connect one to the other has involved a lot of discussion, measurements, […]

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  • Grass cutting

    Grass cutting

    I have been learning a lot about how to effectively wield the grass cutter, thanks to working with the Monaca team at 555. This morning, I cut the grass at home. This is the neatest I have ever managed to make our yard. I’m sure to be feeling pain in my shoulder tomorrow. Swinging the […]

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  • Moon viewing

    Moon viewing

    Last night was お月見, the traditional moon-viewing night. The September full moon is said to be the most beautiful. This is the start of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, where they eat delicious moon cakes to celebrate. In Japan, we have tsukimi dango (a pyramid of small mochi balls) and restaurants put fried eggs on everything. […]

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  • Phoenix vase

    Phoenix vase

    The Kawasakis have been piling up metal junk for recycling – old siding, rusty tins, bent wire fencing – and on Tuesday they came over to load it into the k-truck and take it away. Amongst the odds and ends towards the bottom of the pile was a vase. Mr. Kawasaki thumped it to listen […]

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