From Fukui, with Love

The slow, slow escape to Kyushu

Posted by in Mike's blog

“Why did you come to Kyushu?” Our host asked me this great question on our second night in Fukuoka prefecture.  We spent our golden week holidays (almost) as far away from home as the highways across Japan can take us.  It was an ambitious road trip, but the places we went were unlike any we have seen before. The plan “Golden week” is what we around here call a group of national holidays in late April/early May.  Most of the country gets time off of work, and it’s the busiest travelling…read more

A bento a day keeps the nutritionist away

Posted by in Mary's blog

I have recently been exploring the world of bento making. Bentos are a common part of Japanese cuisine. There are two types of bentos: cute bentos and everyday bentos. For a long time I believed bentos were too difficult and took too much effort to make. But I really wanted to learn how to make bentos because they are super nutritious, convenient, and their overall attractiveness makes you want to eat them up. This blog helped point me in the right direction.  She makes everyday bentos that don’t require hours on end…read more

Adventures in snowy Nagano

Posted by in Mike's blog

Nagano is like our home away from home in Japan.  One of my former students has generously made her vacation home available for our family to visit as often as we can.  So far we’ve been there 4 times – once in each season. The 1998 winter olympics put Nagano on the map, and now we know why.  It’s snowy in a way that Vancouver and Sochi are not.  Taking photos of the scenery was one of my goals for our trip, but we visited some cool places too. So…much…snow……read more

The geekiest way to go sightseeing

Posted by in Mike's blog

There was a day last fall when the way we see the world around us totally changed.  Places that once were uninteresting became much anticipated attractions.  We started seeking out nooks and crannies in our city that other people couldn’t care less about.  We began to go for long drives with the kids (while they nap) with no set destination, far into the mountains, through tiny villages, and often in circles. Mary and I got involved in a little game called Ingress. Except it’s not little.  There were more than 500 000 active…read more

Coastal drives along the Noto Peninsula

Posted by in Mike's blog

We picked a spot and went on an impulse road trip for 3 days. We realised recently that it had been a full year since we had gone anywhere in Japan that required an overnight stay.  2014 was a busy year with work and the kids.  We were also suffering from a small lack of inspiration – when we open maps, we only see places that we’ve already been to/are too far away/expensive/not kid-friendly. The spot that we picked was the Noto Peninsula (能登半島) in Ishikawa, just one prefecture north…read more

What’s on top of Hakoshima on Fukui’s Echizen coast?

Posted by in Mike's blog

Today is our 8th anniversary. This is a special day, so we never have to work.  Really!  It’s a national holiday because December 23rd is also the emperor’s  birthday.  Since it’s a holiday…we will always have the kids all day long. Recently we have given up on trying to get the Bunny and the Turtle to take their naps at home, so we have been driving around the city and/or prefecture because they almost always fall asleep in the car.  Today we decided to celebrate 8 years of marriage by stopping…read more

A vine bridge in the middle of nowhere

Posted by in Mike's blog

Today we ventured far, far away from our normal surroundings and routine. Every Sunday is the same for us.  We wake up, clean, make breakfast, prepare a grocery list, review our budget, go grocery shopping, fill our car with gas, make lunch, try and fail at naptime for the kids, then go to church. Every Tuesday my Japanese teacher asks me what we did on Sunday…and I always have the same response.  We realised this morning that we haven’t done anything different for almost 3 months – so instead of…read more

More fun than being a passenger: The SDF Blue Impulse free air show above Komatsu

Posted by in Mike's blog

After our long journey to Canada and back (through China), we were surprised that the Bunny said “YES!” when we asked her if she wanted to see some airplanes.  We had a chance to see a free air show in September at the nearby Komatsu airport, and it was fun to watch! Komatsu is a small town about an hour north of Fukui.  It has a very small international airport and a Self-Defense Force air base.  We left a little late, and when we arrived in Komatsu there was very little parking…read more

Banking in Japan without bankbooks

Posted by in Mike's blog

I discovered a new app called Moneytree a few months ago, and in the past few days I finally got it set up the way I like.  Now I can bank like it’s 1999 again (as opposed to 1989)!  This isn’t a sponsored post…I just really really enjoy the way this app has made our lives easier. A bit about banking As much as I’d like to be an expert on different countries’ financial systems (OK, not really), I’m not.  What I know is what I and other normal people…read more

We spent a month in Canada. So, how was our trip?

Posted by in Mike's blog

Last month, we embarked on the biggest trip of our lives so far.  We were away for longer, we spent more time in the air, and we travelled farther on land than we ever have.  We also did it with more children – the Turtle endured his first airplane rides and he saw Canada for the first time. We have family and friends in several different Canadian cities.  We organised our trip so we could go to as many of them as possible.  This turned out to be more tiring than…read more