Choosing a Home or Picking Your Natural Disaster?

When I first came to Japan, I looked around at all the concrete-covered hillsides and concrete riverbanks and thought, “Ugh. How hideous. Why would they do that? Surely that prevents rain soaking into the earth, leading to inundations.” It was YEARS later that I read a tweet explaining that it was done to PREVENT disasters.Continue reading “Choosing a Home or Picking Your Natural Disaster?”

Green Tea Made Easy with Arigato Japan Food Tours

Fourteen years. Fourteen years I’ve lived in fear of making green tea for guests. That sounds dramatic, but it is honest-to-goodness something that has caused me anxiety. And not just green tea: My teatime anxiety extends to all kinds of tea. My nerves when British friends drop by for a visit become frayed the secondContinue reading “Green Tea Made Easy with Arigato Japan Food Tours”


My first few years in Japan, I tossed an awful lot of apples in the compost. You see, I’d slice into them and discover rot. It happened all.the.time. And apples here aren’t cheap! I was frustrated and confounded. And, it turns out, very, very wrong. Those apples hadn’t been rotten, they’d been top-quality fruit withContinue reading “Apples”

The Complicated Feelings Caused By Aquariums

Today, my husband and I took our youngest to a nearby aquarium. Unlike our older daughter who prefers people-watching to animal-admiring, our youngest is enthralled by creatures large and small. Watching her little face light up, and seeing her clap (and force me to clap) brings me so much joy—even as I struggle to sortContinue reading “The Complicated Feelings Caused By Aquariums”

Discovering Kamakura From Home

I live in a mid-sized city on Japan’s Pacific coast, approximately one hour south of Tokyo. My city, Kamakura, is one of Japan’s former capitals, and traces of its former splendour dot the city. Once a small fishing village, Kamakura became the capital of the first Japanese shogunate, the Kamakura Shogunate, in 1185 (recognized inContinue reading “Discovering Kamakura From Home”

Writing New Things

Well, it certainly has been ages since I posted anything. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing — I certainly have. Just nothing that’s ready to post. But I did write one thing that’s ready to go. And it’s a paid thing, too, which is always nice. I’ve never written about politics or elections orContinue reading “Writing New Things”

Rollercoaster of an Era

The ups, the downs; the quick turn-arounds and nervous anticipation: life in the Days of COVID-19 is a rollercoaster. A few weeks ago, I thought I’d adjusted to the new normal. After a whole month of doing nothing more than I absolutely had to to keep the house running and the kids alive, I feltContinue reading “Rollercoaster of an Era”