Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Recently while out on a hike I shot this rock face gushing water.  I think a typhoon that came through the week before explains the water source, but by the looks of how established the plants are, it's probably a regular occurrence.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Soon after I arrived to Japan a year ago I remember admiring these spidery red flowers.  They were hard to miss, their bright redness dotting the edges of soon-to-be harvested rice fields.

As it turns out the flowers have a purpose.  Red spider lily (Lycoris radiata) is a member of the amaryllis family, the bulbs being toxic, help to keep unwanted critters out of the rice fields.
Known as  higanbana in Japanese,  the flowers pop-up like clockwork around September 23, marking the shift into from long summer days to longer autumn nights.  Autumn equinox also is the time of year when people pay respects to their ancestors.  Happy Autumn, Everyone!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

it's all about what you call it

Still trying to wrap my head around this.  Is it a greeting or a statement?

Monday, September 19, 2011


Yesterday, while getting my shoes repaired I stopped into Daiso only to find that Halloween has arrived.  From what I can tell the Halloween is considered a Western novelty more of a happy-orange-and-black party, than candy-filled scarefest.

In this version the monsters look more confused than scary, pumpkins are eaten rather than carved, and kids don't walk around collecting candy from strangers.  Man...Halloween was the best.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

the candy aisle

I recently posted a video giving a glimpse of the prepared food area at one of my local supermarkets.  I probably should've mentioned that I got busted while filming - a very polite security officer approached me and asked me to stop recording.   Ouch. 

At any rate, I've received a few requests of the candy aisle.  While I don't have any footage, I do have some photos that include a sweet wee shopper.

 Notice the kid-sized shopping baskets and step stool for easy access.
 Finally, on the bottom shelf; that's where Popin' Cookin' lives.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

off with their heads

It's the time of year when the rice fields are bearing fruit and farmers do their best to keep critters from eating their precious crop by putting up the best scarecrows EVER.
Call me macabre, but I just love these impaled heads. 
They're simple, pragmatic, and dotted in a sea of green; just stinking cool.
This one's my favorite.  It's got mange.

Monday, September 12, 2011

How to Eat a Hanbaagaa

1. Admire the generous amount of lettuce.

2. Notice that these particular french fries come with a tool.
3.  Use said tool.
4. Smile like a goof.  Hesitate for a moment before dipping your fry.  Repeat.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

a simple ritual

Last night, friends whisked us off to neighboring Matsuyama 松山市 for an evening of onsen luxuriating.  Onsen,  Japanese for hot spring is a tradition that dates back to days before indoor plumbing and used  public bath houses. The ritual is simple - scrub down in civilized bathing areas complete with soap and shampoo, then soak in hot spring fed baths.  Most onsens have a variety of pools at different temperatures and the vibe is quiet and communal, despite what you may think about being naked with a bunch of strangers (all women, sexes are separated.)  If you're ever in Matsuyama I definitely recommend Sora to Mori Higashi Dogo a posh onsen that does a lovely job of marrying tradition with modern chic.  We'll definitely be back.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ack, Stop slurping so loud!

I love learning about new things.
Today in the New York Times I learned of a condition called misophonia.  People with the condition are sensitive to sounds of people eating, their reactions range from annoyance to uncontrollable rage.  I can only imagine a misophone's reaction to an udon shop; where it's considered rude not to slurp. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

a year later

It's sort of hard to believe but it's been a year.  A year ago that I took this video riding the train with some apprehension, doing my best to see into my future and what would be my new life in Japan.  I would've never predicted the kindness of strangers and the otherworldly beauty of some of the places I seen.  I also would've never predicted having the support of so many on my adventures.  Thanks.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Anyone there...?

Hot dang, it's been a long while.

Getting hitched makes for a busy summer, but I'm back and planning to make more regular appearances on this ol' blog.  Let's get to it, shall we.  Today on my way home from work I stopped by the supermarket and did my regular perusal of the candy aisle and came home with this:
It's a new Happy Kitchen kit called sofuto kukki or soft cookie.  Look for a new video soon.  Alright, I'm off to get some shut eye.  おやすみなさい Oyasuminasai

p.s. - Please feel free to leave comments - I love hearing from the black depths.  Blogging can be a lonely pursuit and sometimes all it takes is a thoughtful comment to reinvigorate a thumb twiddling blogger.