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Living and Exploring in Rural Japan

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Hanamiyama TanukiJapan. When you hear the word, what do you think of? What images come to mind? Do you think of small villages, farms, and tiny rural schools? Do you feel a yearning to visit places like Setana, Imakane, Ashibetsu, or Hobara?

Since coming to Japan in 2004, I have spent most of my time in places that are not mentioned in most English-language travel guides. These pages and articles were created to introduce some of these places to friends and family, and anyone else who is interested.

Regarding the east Japan disaster, a relative of one of our Fukushinma students asked me to include a link to his blog:  “Ateliertono from Fukushima.”  It has some personal observations about the radiation leak and its effect on the people of Fukushima (in Japanese), and also a poem which we translated into English for him.

Newest Articles:

Finished Articles:

Downtown Kitahiyama street Setana and Southwest Hokkaido – Part 1 (added October 2011)An introduction to Setana and a walk around central Kitahiyama.  Just some ordinary everyday things that you can see around town.
Clock March 11, 2011: East Japan Earthquake – Part 1 (added March 2011)“Experience the worst natural disaster in the country’s history” was NOT on my list of things to do while in Japan. But here we are.
Crack at community center entrance March 11, 2011: East Japan Earthquake – Part 2 (added March 2011)We adjust to the new post-disaster situation, and take a look at some of the damage.

Water at community center

March 11, 2011: East Japan Earthquake – Part 3 (added March 2011)Post-disaster life.
Coop Mart March 11, 2011: East Japan Earthquake – Part 4 (added March 2011)Life goes on.  Shortages of gasoline, empty shelves in supermarkets, and worries about radiation from the nuclear power plant, but overall not too bad in my town.  But the knowledge of what happened on the coast casts a shadow over everything.
 Unsafe notice  East Japan Disaster – Two Months Later (added May 2011)Things are slowly returning to normal, although the new “normal” is likely to be different from before.  Damaged buildings are being inspected, and either repaired or torn down.  Still a few shortages of goods here and there.
House in Kitahiyama My House in Kitahiyama (added February 2011)A photo tour of the house where I lived during my time as an ALT (assistant language teacher) in Kitahiyama.
Rice Monsters Hobara Countryside at Harvest Time (added January 2011)Rice field scarecrows, an autumn walk in the country, rice monsters.
Hiyamizu Gatepost Hiyamizu Elementary School – part 1 (added December 2010)Closed in 1985, this small rural school has been abandoned and almost forgotten. But the building is still standing (mostly).
Hiyamizu Entrance Hiyamizu Elementary School – part 2 (added December 2010)Having completed its life’s work, the building is enjoying a rest as it slowly returns to the ground from which it came.

More to come…

This blog is updated at irregular intervals, depending on how much time I have. And how often is that, you may ask? Well, in March 2011 I had a lot of unplanned time off from work due to the disaster, so I was able to do four posts. But the summer was very busy (partly to make up for March), so the total for June – September was zero. Things calmed down in October, and I was able to finish one.  In January 2012 I did three! But those were mostly text, not many photos. We’ll see what the rest of the year brings.

Written by hobara09

2010-12-20 at 11:20 pm

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