Attempt to hitchhike to the Fukushima Pacific coastline

August 6: Today I thought to visit the Pacific coast and take some photographs of the tsunami aftermath. Fukushima Prefecture is neighbor to Niigata Prefecture where I live. As the crow flies it’s about 185 kilometers from home to the Pacific. I hoped to hitchhike there and be back home the same day. Later I realized how unreasonable a feat that would be! I had no guarantee of a smooth ride back. A kind lady saw me hitchhiking on a … Continue reading →

Japanese traditional drink for the new year: Otoso


Every year for three days from January 1st, the Japanese drink Otoso as part of their celebration of the new year. It is made of spiced Japanese rice wine. Most Japanese don’t know the root of the meaning of the word Otoso which literally means, “something that was slaughtered and resurrected.” Yes! This name literally has Christian roots! It has to do with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! … Continue reading →

Adventure to Akita station

November 12, 2010: I needed to travel from Niigata to Aomori city for important business the following day. If I hitchhike, I like to give myself two days to be on the safe side to be on time for such matters. Aomori city is 470 kilometers from home and mostly by regular highway. I often can only get as far as Akita city – a little over half way – where I spend the night at a friend’s house. But … Continue reading →

Adventure hitchhiking home from Ajigasawa

I was invited to do some work for a hotel in the city of Ajigasawa on the northern coast of the Sea of Japan in Aomori Prefecture. The hotel people treated me like a king and served me a dinner of what the Japanese would consider to be a gourmet specialty – half of which was biblically unclean seafood which I couldn’t eat! But the breakfast was fantastic, a smorgasbord type of setting from which I could choose what I … Continue reading →

Nattou – fermented soy beans

Nattou in the styrofoam package it comes in

Recently I’ve been eating a traditional Japanese food called nattou nearly every day for lunch. Nattou is also known as “sticky beans. ” Click the photo to see why! Normally people eat it on top of rice, but I often eat it right out of the package with chopsticks after sprinkling on the soy sauce that comes with it. Nattou is very nutritious and good for health. When I first ate nattou shortly after coming to Japan, I didn’t like … Continue reading →