Showing posts from March, 2016


Our love, free as it is,
Is stronger than any chain. Nothing visible joins us, But bound we are. As night is woven into day, We are entwined; Inseparable and eternal: A flame and its oxygen, Burning with passion, Melding...

I don't remember writing this, and it seems to have been around in draft form forever. But I do return to it from time to time, usually to pare. I just pared some more, and it now seems to be finished, so...


(Princess) Hana graduated (much too quickly) from elementary school yesterday. Junior high school next, and barely a beat missed.

Back from the dead

My final visit to the Tohoku region last week, coincided with the 5th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Having visited this area a few times over the past 6 months, I was happy to be around to mark the occasion and pay my respects to those affected.

My visits have (I mentioned in an earlier post) shown me that the painfully slow/non-existent recovery I noticed on my first visit (4 years ago), has finally started to gather something that might be called momentum.

On each of my visits, I've noticed more and more new buildings popping up all across the city and, even more encouragingly, dozens of plots are marked out for imminent future construction.

Added to this the fact that the transport infrastructure is now not only fully repaired, but also improved and in the process of being added to, with a new expressway being almost complete, and it can be said that, although progress may be slow, Kamaishi is very much back from the dead.

My local colleagues point out that it'…

Lake walk

So, managed to get out for a few hours the other week and headed for my local lake for an afternoon round. It's been a while since I was here, and never to catch the sunset.

It was a beautiful late winter day; bright sunshine and a light fresh breeze. I caught the old boys playing their (second-childhood) games of mahjong in the park, took in the expansive views of the lake from the south side, then headed back towards the park to complete my cycle just as the sun was going down.


Bear with me

It's funny how things go isn't it? The capacity of coincidence, the ability of the seemingly serendipitous to surprise us never ceases to amaze.

I was moaning about it for several days after, my nose being out of joint, but it could be that the curmudgeonly climber who dressed me down in front of his friends the other week, has just saved my skin. Who would have thought that the first time I go on the mountains with my bear bell, I would actually see a bear? I'm pretty sure they don't work how it now appears. Yes, I'm certain that bears, on hearing a shiny new bell, don't coming running out to play. What a coincidence; my first climb after buying my first bell... and I see my first bear. At the time of the sighting, I almost made like a bear and shat in the woods, but now that I've had time to calm down, I can already feel the cold sweat panic sliding into a pub tale.

As I had done a month before, I caught the early train to Kamaishi in the hope of climbing a…

Bear baiting

About two months ago now, I got bollocked by an over-equipped octogenarian at the top of a mountain in Yamanashi. There was a whole gang of them actually, already at the top of the mountain when I got there. A genki bunch they were too and, by the looks of it - what with stoves, cooking pots and condiments all about them - seasoned and skilled mountain-top feasters.

It was really nice of them to reach out across cultures and offer to share their food with me, and I gratefully accepted. Delicious it was too.

One of their number was sitting a little way from the others. In fact, at first I didn't realise he was with them. As I looked around for somewhere to sit, he udged up and beckoned for me to join him on his bench. We talked mountain stuff while we ate; the view, the weather, other great walks nearby, then a little about Scotland, where he'd walked some 50 years before... fascinating stuff and a real connection I thought I'd made... until we all got up to leave.

There was a…