Summertime Be Gone!

Ah yes. The cool Hokkaido summers. Where temperatures stay pleasant and mild. No need for air conditioning. No humidity. These lies still get pushed upon us. Those lies gave us an Olympic Marathon and the ridiculousness of the Run-Walk. (Come on. This is a sport?) These lies kill quite a few elderly people up here. […]

Ainu Language Playing Cards

On a recent camping trip south to Shiraoi, we stopped by the Poroto Mintara (ポロトミンタラ) Tourist Information Center, not far from the Upopoy National Ainu Museum and Park, where I managed to pick up these playing cards with Ainu vocabulary. I must admit that I am still rather ignorant of the history of the Ainu […]

Kyoto Hanafuda

As the cherry blossoms begin blooming, let’s look at a unique hanafuda set featuring the heritage of Kyoto. Visually this is one of the more stunning sets in my collection, but it’s best to compare it to a standard deck to see the artistic license taken. Most hanafuda follow these traditional motifs. The red borders […]

East Asia ESL Teacher Tall Tales

We all fib. Some white lies here and there. I exaggerate on this blog, just for effect. But in my 20 years in the ESL racket spanning two countries (South Korea, Japan), I have heard some amazing backstories from fellow foreigners explaining away their current predicaments with yarns so shoddy it’s laughable in retrospect. Back […]

[Review]Chinaman: The legend of Pradeep Mathew

Chinaman: The legend of Pradeep Mathew by Shehan Karunatilaka My rating: 3 of 5 stars Not for the cricket novice, despite what the narrator claims near the books beginning. If you are like me, and have followed international cricket from the periphery for many years, this book can serve as a useful jump start to […]

Ice Fishing Recap 2021

With three ice fishing trips under our belt this winter, it’s finally time to update on some of the progress we have made into this new subsurface world. A lot of gear has been purchased, locations have been explored, and holes have been drilled in the last couple of months! The destinations: Lake Shumarinai, about […]

Heiwa Waterfall Snowshoe

This past year I explored the trails and waters around Heiwa Waterfall quite a lot. I took the trail up the backside of Mt. Teine in early summer and caught iwana (Arctic Char) above the waterfall on both bait (salmon eggs) and hand tied tenkara flies. I even did some low-level stream climbing (sawanobori) to […]

Nakamura General Store (Old Sapporo Buildings #3)

Every day on my morning walk I pass the Nakamura General Store (中村商店), or shouten as they say in the common parlance. It primarily sells Japanese sake and other alcohol. Somehow they are hanging in there, even with a massive Sapporo Drug Store right on its doorstep across the street. Less and less of these […]