Category: Japan
  • 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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  • 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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  • Ishida Tetsuo and the Bird-Tailed Chisel

    Ishida Tetsuo and the Bird-Tailed Chisel

    In the long-ago time when Edo was founded, there was a stone carver called Ishida Tetsuo. He came from a long line of quarrymen who lived on the Boso Peninsula, where stone was pulled from the mountains and turned into building blocks for the new capital city. He apprenticed with his father, who had left […]

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  • Goodbye, Tilly Good Car

    Goodbye, Tilly Good Car

    Tomorrow we say goodbye to Tilly, our 1999 Daihatsu Mira Gino. I have been emotional about this all week, because I anthropomorphise her. She is cute; she is stalwart. She loves to wait for us under the shade of trees. She is fearless on rocky roads. She delights in hooning – going a little too […]

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  • A Reflection on Sayonaras

    A Reflection on Sayonaras

    Today I said goodbye to a friend from our neighborhood who is leaving for new adventures. She’s been a colorful character in our area for several years and as the only middle-aged white American women in this part of Chiba, we’ve become close and had each others backs for the unexpected events of country living.  […]

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