Speed Traps

The fact is that the US has nothing over Japan when it comes to speed traps. A speed trap in the US usually involves one patrol car staking out an area known for speeders and catching one car at a time. Highly inefficient. Let me tell you about Japanese speed traps. They do have a couple of similarities to their American counterparts. They are set up in an area where the speed limit drops and there is a fairly open stretch of road without too many lights and not too heavy traffic, so drivers have a tendency to pick up a … Continue reading

Sounds of Summer

I love the sounds of summer. I love the sound of the frogs in the rice field in front of our house. The chorus of frogs’ voices is a nice way to fall asleep. I don’t even really mind the frogs so much, but that does not mean I will touch one or that I want the kids to bring them to me. I also love the sounds of the cicadas. Their voices really make me feel like it is summer. Glorious long, hot summer days. But the cicadas themselves? I despise them. I have two problems with cicadas. One: they fly. … Continue reading

Shishimai: The Lion Dance

Shishimai (獅子舞) is a lion dance for good luck. In our area, there are a few guys who go around in the spring and do shishimai. There is usually one guy who is the lion, one who plays a flute and one who plays a drum. The lion is supposed to bite you on the head for good luck. It is also a way for the shrine to earn some money, since once they do the lion dance for you, you are expected to give them a donation. Regarding the “donation”, I always feel awkward and never know how much to … Continue reading

Summertime… Creepy Crawlies

Well, summer is here. And the only thing that I really don’t like about summer in Japan (other than the humidity) is the bugs. Last week, Tak found a centipede in the house. Ugh. But it’s the first time a centipede has been found in the house by someone other than me. Last year, I managed to find all three of the little nasties. I’m hoping that’s the only one this year, but somehow I’m doubtful. Last week, the first cockroach of the year was also spotted. It went running up and around the back of the toilet. When I … Continue reading

A Little Girl Playing in the Street

I fell asleep in the “English Room” last night and ended up sleeping there all night. This morning I’m still in the kotatsu thinking I should get up, when I hear someone come to the door. Tak went to the door to see what he wanted. “Excuse me. But there’s a little girl playing in the street all by herself and it’s dangerous.” Tsubaki.   She put her rainboots on and went out all by herself to play in front of the tulips. She really likes flowers. Since Tak put the magnet on the front door, she can’t open it … Continue reading

Onsen Moment

So, I went out today with just the girls. We went to Matsue Castle to see the cherry blossoms which hadn’t bloomed yet. But it was fun and we met new friends. On the way back, we went to our favorite onsen – Yurari in Hirata. Tsubaki was a bit wound up and crazy. I had to keep chasing her down until we finally got into the bath and she settled down a bit. Hana was being a good girl, as usual. Tsubaki may make me a bit crazy sometimes, but she is so much fun. I really like taking … Continue reading

The Never-Drying Laundry

One thing about being back in Japan is hanging the laundry. For a while, I was kind of groaning about it. But hanging up the laundry isn’t so bad. It doesn’t wrinkle as much as in the dryer. You can flatten out any creases at the bottom of your shorts before you hang them up and they’ll dry out nice and smooth. On the first day we were back, Tak said he figured we do really need a dryer. I’m the one who said maybe we really didn’t. They use a lot of electricity. But that was the first day … Continue reading