Monday, September 24, 2007


Antique shops are all very well, but you have to get used to handing over sums of money where the decimal point seems to be at least one digit too far to the left. Call us cheap, but when we buy old junk, we like to pay old junk prices too. On the coast road between Hojo and Imabari, we spotted not one but two junk shops, and I believe we picked up or otherwise touched every last item in both shops.

We bought;

Two wooden stools

Some drawers

Some more drawers

A crab

And a lantern

These characterful items all fulfil our household needs at a fraction of the price of similar new items, and they offer a reminder of the beautiful things people used to make when they had more time for that sort of thing.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Man cannot live by bread alone

My initial aim was that everything we grew would be edible. But not everything edible delights the eye quite like brightly coloured flowers.

In our perambulations around Matsuyama, we see gardens that are full of beautiful flowers. I'm not keen on the trend for 'English gardens' with their carefully pruned roses and hanging baskets. The gardens that I like are generally found around old Japanese houses. There are low trees interspersed with flowers native to the warm south sea islands, with rich dark leaves and bright flowers, typified by the hibiscus. There's often a spray of dark pink or a vine with orange trumpets hanging over the fence onto the street. These gardens manifest a spirit that goes beyond the need to fill one's stomach.

The area around our postbox was a mess, so I raked the gravel into a little path and planted some ground cover and flowers. The effect is not a little bourgeois, but it's an improvement on bare dust, random gravel and weeds.

Again, the ryu-no-hige recommends itself as a hardy green space filler

Saturday, September 01, 2007


We see some good ones. Some weeks I want to record the sunset every night. But this one was a ripper. There were different cloud formations in each quarter of the sky, and they changed colour as the sun got lower.