Monthly Archives: January 2012

Instagram 1-10

This is the first set of Instagram pictures I’ll be posting.  Each week, I’ll post 10 photos, starting with my oldest ones.  These ones are from May 24th-25th, 2011.  What I’d like you to do is leave a comment stating which photo you like the most and which you like the least, and please give a reason.  Thanks!

1. Izumino station from the train (Izumi-ku, Yokohama)

2. Finally sunny again in Yokohama (Nishi-ku, Yokohama)

3. You must run through the exit!

4. Blurry train arrives at the station. (Asahi-ku, Yokohama)

5. Odakyu Shonandai station (Fujisawa, Kanagawa)

6. Food's all gone! (Big Boy)

7. Ecoる Coca-Cola (Fujisawa, Kanagawa)

8. Going up to the train. (Fujisawa, Kanagawa)

9. Lots of lines in Machida. (Machida, Tokyo)

10. Nakamise (Machida, Tokyo)

Once you’ve decided the best and worst photo, please leave a comment!

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Filed under Asahi-ku, Fujisawa, Instagram, Izumi-ku, Japan, Kanagawa, Machida, Nishi-ku, Tokyo, Yokohama

Yet another new blog

This idea has been in my mind for a while now.  I’ve wanted a blog I could write about my thoughts and opinions freely.  My current blogs are specialised, Japan photos and experiences, and being a foreign parent in Japan.  My new blog is about reading, writing and anything else I can think of.  I’m no longer restricted by a theme.  This Japan blog will be my main blog, though.  It’s my big project.  My Dad blog is more personal and smaller in scope.  But the new blog is about books, odds and ends.  Go take a look at I Read Encyclopedias for Fun.  Only one post at the moment, but it’ll grow.

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Filed under Blog Announcements, Writing

2012 Picture of the Week (4/52) – Tomoe

It’s rare that I post pictures of people on this blog. But this has been a very special week, and this picture deserves to be my picture of the week. It’s my favourite picture of my daughter at only 2 days old.

It looks like she's smiling.

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Filed under Picture of the Week

My daughter has been born!

Just a quick little post here.  I want to refer you to my other blog, Foreign Dad in Japan, to read about my experience over the past couple days and meet my daughter!

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Filed under Daily Life

2012 Picture of the Week (3/52) – Snow in Yokohama

Today was our first snow of the year. In Fujisawa, it snowed, but it didn’t stick around at all. However, when I got to work, I was surprised that the snow was staying around in Yokohama. In fact, it stayed all day!

Snowy rooftops from my classroom window.

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Filed under Asahi-ku, Japan, Kanagawa, Picture of the Week, Weather, Yokohama

Can bloggers be authors?

Recently, a well known Japan blogger self-published a book.  You’ve probably heard of him if you pay attention to expat bloggers in Japan.  His blog is Loco in Yokohama, and his name is Baye McNeil (more commonly known as Loco to his readers).  I’ve been a reader of his blog for more than 2 years now, and I’ve always found his writing very engaging.  He tells it like it is, no sugar-coating, and is very honest with his opinions about living in Japan.  His blog posts are sometimes controversial, but very thought-provoking.  But what separates him from most bloggers is his ability to tell stories through his blog.  He is a writer.  That’s the impression I get from his blog.  I highly recommend that you read it!

Now, he’s published his first book, “Hi!  My Name is Loco and I am a Racist” at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  It’s an e-book for now, but a print versi0n will be available.  The title stands out, doesn’t it?  I haven’t bought it yet, as I’m waiting for the print version (I wonder if I could make it to his book signing), but if his book is written as well as his blog, it’s definitely a must read!

The whole thought of publishing has been in my mind for years.  Ever since I was in university, I’ve wanted to write a book.  I’m interested mostly in fiction, but I have been considering writing about my experiences in Japan, focusing on the stereotypes and misconceptions of Japan, while comparing its culture to that of North America.  Loco went with self-publishing, which is incredibly easy to do these days.  For example, Amazon supports self-publishers, and there’s pretty much no expense to the author, other than a small cut of the price of the book.  A popular self-publisher can potentially earn far more than an author who goes through a traditional publisher.  It’s very appealing.  The problem with self-publishing, however, is getting word out about the book.  You have to do all of the advertising yourself.  But with a good network of people online, word can spread quickly.

I’m the kind of person who loves paper books.  I’d love to see any book I publish in print.  However, with the increasing popularity of e-books and the diminishing importance of books in print, bookstores and traditional publishers, it seems that e-books are the way to go in the future.  It’s a strange feeling, though.  I’ve never actually bought an e-book, though I do read some public domain classics on my iPhone.  But one of these days, I’m going to have to get Kindle and buy e-books.  My book closet (yes, a closet) is overflowing with books.  E-books take up no space and are easily portable.  Big advantage, isn’t it?  But I like to hold the book and not worry about the battery dying.

So, yes, I am planning to publish a book sometime in the next 2 or 3 years.  I have an entire story in my head just waiting to be put into words.  It’s been in my head for 13 years, but I never got around to writing it.  I have a lot of planning work done on paper, some of it written back when I was in university.  Soon, the time will come for me to start the book itself.

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Filed under Books, Writing

Oshogatsu 5: Sasuke Inari Jinja

Our final destination on January 3rd was Sasuke Inari Jinja (佐助稲荷神社).  Inari shrines are famous for the numerous red torii gates forming a kind of tunnel along the main path leading up to the shrine.  They also have guardian fox statues in front of the shrine, just like other shrines have guardian dog statues.  This shrine is near Zeniarai Benten, but it’s much less popular.  But when we were there, there were plenty of visitors.  This was my second time at this shrine.  Apparently, this shrine was the site of the hidden village of Kamakura, which was home to the predecessors of the ninja.  It’s in a well protected area, being difficult to reach except for one direction.  Enjoy the pictures!

This narrow path heads away from Zeniarai Benten.

We're coming up to the entrance of Sasuke Inari Shrine.

A bit closer now. Lots of red torii.

And the torii keep going for a long way.

Going up the hill, still more torii.

A small statue at the side of the path.

Yes, still going up!

The shrine is in sight!

Looking back down from the top of the stairs.

One of the guardian fox statues typical of Inari shrines.

Another path leads up to the left. We didn't go that way.

This is the main building of the shrine.

Yes, there are even more steps behind the shrine building!

This is another small shrine behind the main building.

The red maple leaves are still visible here.

And that’s it for the Oshogatsu pictures.  I hope you enjoyed it!

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Filed under Festivals & Events, Japan, Kamakura, Kanagawa, Shrines