rice paddy in Katagami

Rice run – the burden

Moving to Canada from Japan was a huge adjustment for my husband and I. Besides the weather, crazy drivers and the necessary evil of cover letters (a requirement in Canada with many job applications), our beloved Japanese rice caused some of the greatest strain. We managed to run out of rice more than once. To do…

cute dog

Being sick and (cultural?) disagreements on how to get better

Ugh! Hitoshi is still getting over suspected influenza and I’m in the thick of a super coughy, sinus headachy like-my-brain-is-going-to-be-squished-out-of-my-ears nastiness. Nice. Getting sick far from the familiar Getting sick in an international context can be the pits. You might be far from remedies you’re used to and sometimes have weird things thrust at you to “just…

wedding rings from Japan

Wedding rings in Japan and that mismatched couple

Mismatched wedding rings and the stranger “Why are your wedding rings different?” The young woman had a wide open face with an easy smile that stretched from ear to ear. Her lanky frame arched over a crossed leg that swung back and forth. Everyone in the registry office could hear her business as well as her question.…

rice growing in the mountain's shadow

Succession planning in a more traditional Japanese family

Hitoshi’s family has agricultural roots. Much of his extended family still lives in rural communities and maintains land for growing rice, vegetables and fruit. While Hitoshi’s family no longer grows food for sale, the land remains part of the family reach. Land is crucial to succession planning. It is so important in Hitoshi’s family that…

shrine roof, Akita, Japan

Hiking and love in Japan – Mount Shinzan, Akita

Photography 101 is done! My skills have improved dramatically over the last month thanks to the course prompts and lots of practice. The inventors of digital memory also get my gratitude, allowing for hundreds of mistakes and experiments at no cost. This course has helped me see that even the photos I thought were worthless have value…