Obuse Elementary School Sports Festival

The town of Obuse’s only elementary school, called Kurigaoka Shogakko in Japanese, will hold it’s annual sports festival on May 30th.   As part of activities leading up to the event, my sixth-grade son drew this picture to capture the fighting spirit between rival “red” and “white” team runners as they cross the finish line. […]

Climbing the Walls at Artwall

  My son wanted to go bouldering over Golden Week in #Nagano, #Japan so I took him to Artwall.  Amazingly, he had the place entirely to himself.  All the regular climbers must be out fighting the crowds at some Buddhist temple or amusement park.  Hey, no complaints here!  I would be on the wall too […]

Zenkoji Temple Gokaicho Celebration

  The Zenkoji Temple in #Nagano, #Japan is holding its once-in-seven-years Gokaicho celebration.  It is the only time a sacred statue of Buddha can be viewed by the public.  People have travelled from all over Japan to experience this rare event.  You had better hurry if you want to see it.  Gokaicho wraps up the […]


Are Tiny Homes the Wave of the Future?

Many of us grew up in the U.S. with the expectation that, if we studied and worked hard, we too could realize the “American Dream”… owning a large home, getting a new car every few years, raising a couple of kids and putting them through college, and doing it all with an enjoyable, “lifetime” job that paid a decent living wage plus benefits.  Fast forward to 2015 with millions of unemployed and underemployed people, many of whom are past their prime working years, unable to afford to rent, let alone buy, even modest housing.  Starting around the turn of the century, tiny homes have gained increasing popularity around the globe as people have become more concerned about skyrocketing costs of living and about the negative impacts of their environmental footprints.

Australian filmmaker Jeremy Beasley spent two years documenting the tiny house movement in Portland, Oregon for his film, “Small is Beautiful.” In it he documents the lives of four people as they adjust to new lifestyle paradigms.  Although tiny homes average only about 186 square feet in size, their average cost is only about $23,000…a fraction of the typical suburban residence.


Evening Rugby Tag at Nagano High School

   The Nagano Rugby School is practicing rugby tag this evening.  The kids are really enjoying the opportunity to stretch their legs after a long spell of cold rainy weather.  It’s a great sport for getting exercise, and building teamwork skills so valuable in the adult world.

How To Get Rid of Fat…Consume More Oil!

Now that I’ve got your attention I guess I’d better explain before you are tempted to go out and start guzzling cooking oil…or worse…motor oil.      My daughter recently learned that one of her favorite models consumes copious amounts of  coconut oil in her foods and drinks in order to stay trim.  Apparently, some […]

Northern Nagano Says Sayonara to Cherry Blossoms

The cherry blossoms were beautify while they lasted although the cold, rainy weather made it difficult to stay outside very long to enjoy them.  Here is a photo taken at Garyu Park in Suzaka, Nagano prefecture, last weekend when cherry trees were at full bloom.


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