December, 2012

Snowing Too Fast to Keep Up

The snow is falling too fast to keep up with the photos. These are from a few days ago, and it has been snowing constantly until yesterday. Two mornings ago I was on yukifumi toban duty so had to get up at 5:30 AM to shovel the community shared spaces in the hamlet – this [...]

Christmas, I guess

I often don’t know what date it is, so I barely noticed that it was Christmas, or rather Christmas eve here, until I began to wonder why all the Facebook traffic stopped. I thought maybe it was the Mayan end-of-the-world thing. Come to find out, that was several days ago, and then I got a [...]

Snowman & Bath

Mona enjoyed playing outside to make this (slightly racist looking) snowman, and then a bath in the hot spring. Tonight we were the only ones there so I was able to sneak into the women’s bath for a photo of Mona and Mom.

Christmas Tree Hunting

Took Mona out of school Wednesday to go Christmas tree hunting in the forest near our house. We opted to go to a local shrine to avoid inadvertently cutting down a neighbor’s tre by accident. Mona picked out the two Charlie Brown style trees you see in the photo above. I spent the afternoon with [...]

Comparing my village

Above is an google map of Sakae Village. The place I live. To be precise, I live just about in the middle of orange road (rt 117) and train track pass through the village in the North. It is difficult to estimate scale by looking at this image, but we will get to that later. [...]

Fresh, Near Organic Koshihikari Rice For Sale: 2,500 yen / 5kg

We have harvested way more rice than we can possibly eat this year again. Partly because we were obligated to farm more fields than we had originally intended, and partly because we planned to use it for Tomoe’s bread. Tomoe has been very busy with some other work, so has not had a chance to [...]

One Last Monkey

Forgot to add this last monkey to the previous post about monkeys. Mona won a raffle at a festival a while back, and brought home some super high-class beef for the family. A few nights ago we enjoyed some rare yaki-niku. Just like once you taste good beer it is hard to go back to [...]


I often take customers to see the famous Japanese snow-monkeys in Shibu-onsen/Yudanaka. I always take photos, but until recently haven’t really shared them much because they all seem cliche, with a multitude of photographers taking the same shots. This time, though, I was a little bit happy with the results. Durring the winter I will [...]

More from last bike trip

I finally got around to finishing the photos from the last bike trip. I have been too busy recently battling the snow in time to build the snow shed to keep the snow off of our windows and wood pile. In previous years I shovelled a trench in front of the window and wood, but [...]


Its a time of contrasts. This is the scene from nearby our house a few days ago, and then two days ago. There is even more snow now. We already have a Michigan winter and it is only December 1. To make even more contrasts, see the photos from the bullet train and a friend’s [...]