November, 2011

Castle Ruins

Spent the morning with some folks from the village walking to the castle ruins in the mountain behind our house. There is no castle there anymore, but the geographical features are evident. This is one of several in the area which was on the border between two waring clans back in the day. We were [...]

Brown-Rice Bagels

Anyone who is also subscribed to my flickr account may have noticed that it is being flooded with photos of food and bread. My recent fixation on food is partly because I have run out of perspectives for fresh outdoor countryside photos, partly because Mona has learned to quickly turn away when I have the [...]

Spindle Tree & Bog Rhubarb

A photo of the apparently highly toxic berries from the spindle tree we have growing in back. It serves no purpose for us other than there is a certain insect that tends to love gathering on the bush in summer, and the chickens love hunting those insects, so we have not cut it down. Having [...]

First Sticky Snow

Note to self for next year when I am looking back to see when this year’s first snow was: First snow that stuck past my morning wake-up time was November 22. It stuck long enough for me to get out into the back-yard with my camera, but not long enough for Mona to see. By [...]

More Komatteiru

Yesterday I was komatteiru about receiving too many vegetables from the neighbor, but what we have been even more komatteiru about for a while now is figuring out what to do with Mona. The deadline to sign her up for pre-school starting in April passed a few weeks ago. Yes. It is crazy. The kids [...]


Komatteiru is Japanese for “in a bind”, or “don’t know what to do”. Today we were komatteiru because our neighbor called us up to his field where he has rows of cabbage and daikon that he doesn’t want because it has a tiny little bit of brown on some of the leaves. We accepted more [...]

Kapi Paste & Brown Rice Balls

Its been so long that I almost forgot what it was, but some weeks ago I prepared these photos for another “What Gaijing Eat” post, and never found the time to sit down and write-up the details of the food. Just off the top of my head I recall that we came across some cheap [...]

Back From Vacation in Yudanaka

Tomoe, Mona and I just got back from a night in the famous Yudanaka/Shibuonsen hot-spring area – home to the famous hot-spring monkeys. Thanks to the earthquake in our village, several inns in the nearby Nagano area have been offering Sakae Mura residents free packages to show their support through our hardships. This time was [...]


I have a customer who ordered a customized budget self-guided bike trip from here to Hiroshima or Kyushu if time allows. The estimated one-month trip will have her camping out in parking lots and parks for much of the journey I just received a message from her telling me she is spending the night in [...]

What Gaijin Eat: Rice-Crust Rhubarb Apple Pie

Another thing that I am certain all foreign barbarians living in Japan partake in at least once a week – rhubarb apple pie made with brown-rice crust. That is unless their half-barbarian daughters get to it first…