Tuesday, August 14, 2007


One of the advantages of living in the sticks is that when it comes time to do those summer holiday activities like getting in the river, or going to the sea, you don't have to get in the car to do it. You just pack your Thermos flask of water and your snorkels in a bag, get on your bikes and ride for 5 minutes. And you're there.

The Tateiwa River is perfect for those baking hot afternoons of mid-August. Excitingly cold when you first get in, it's shallow enough not to be freezing. It's clean, clear and full of different kinds of fish. And it has deep pools where you can actually swim. After an hour immersed in the river, the exhausting summer heat is gone from your body, and everything is cool -- especially if you haven't bothered with swimming gear and just got in the water with your normal clothes.

And if you want a bit of saltwater for a change, the Tateiwa River runs straight to the sea with a nice cycle path along its bank. Another 5 minutes and you're there too. If it's too cold to swim, there are always rock pools to investigate.

During the summer holidays we took the boat across to the island Kashima which we can see from our house. We made our way round the base of the island, jumping in the sea wherever it looked good.

The water here is really cold, but there are some largish fish to be seen swimming around the rocks, so it's worth putting up with it.

It's strange to think that we used to have to travel for a whole day to get somewhere like this.

August provided some fantastic rain and thunderstorms. The thunderstorms are hard to capture with a camera, but the squalls over the sea can be seen in this pic.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


The efforts to prepare the soil by digging the rubble out of it and digging organic stuff in have borne fruit. Here are some pictures of it.

Tomatoes, green peppers, aubergines, okra, goya, and pumpkin. Keeping the pumpkin vine free of grass is a Sisyphean task. Okra do well in hot weather, and the flowers are very beautiful (for a vegetable).

Tomatoes, aubergine, sweet green chili peppers, and round courgettes. The courgettes took a hammering in a couple of typhoons and that solitary but precious courgette was all that two plants have produced. However, the plants look about ready again to produce. It's probably about time for another typhoon too.

Mulukhiya (moroheiya) . This nutricious green is very prolific and the cut and come again growth makes it very convenient. A plant popular in Arab countries apparently.
A handful of blueberries every morning. Good with yoghurt and honey. A handful like that would cost about 100 yen in the shops.

These seeds are from the one and only 'Cannonball' watermelon that we managed to harvest. The vines got swamped with grass, the melons split or we harvested them too early. But the one we did eat was delicious. I'm going to see if I can plant the seeds next year.

Oh, and an obligatory sunset.