Power outage in Chiba Prefecture continues…

When I first came to Japan in the nineties, I taught English through a governnment program called the JET Programme. The JET Programme sends foreigners to public schools all over Japan. I was placed in a public junior high school in the countryside of Chiba Prefecture.


Where is Tokyo Disney Resort (Disneyland/Disneysea) located?


It is actually located in Chiba Prefecture.

(Chiba Prefecture is east of Tokyo. It’s home to Disneyland and Disneysea. It’s also home to what was officially named New Tokyo International Airport, but nobody called it that because it’s in Narita, which is in Chiba Prefecture.)

Below is a photo of me with some of my students. I didn’t usually wear a suit, but it was the day of graduation.

Chiba Prefecture is a peninsula. There was one small town between my home and the coast. Chiba Prefecture has a lot of coastline.

My home there was also under the flight path for Narita Airport. If you’re flying from the east to Narita Airport and you look down and see the coast, that’s Chiba Prefecture. And as you descend to the airport, you can see the buildings, fields, roads below. That’s where I lived. Like I said, it’s a rural area. But it’s a great location: near Tokyo, near Disneyland, near the airport, near the beach!

Looking out at the sea from Chiba Prefecture.

My beautiful boss!

Today it is Sunday afternoon, September 14, 2019. A week ago, a typhoon hit Chiba (and Tokyo and Yokohama. But sticking out into the ocean the way it does, I think Chiba may have gotten the worst of the storm.)

The storm caused many trees to fall in that rural area. Those heavy trees hit power lines and caused severe power outages in many parts of Chiba Prefecture.

My boss (above photo) still lives in that same spot. Worried about her, I tried to call her on Wednesday, but couldn’t get through. I called her on Friday, and she answered and said she was fine, but did not have electricity until Thursday afternoon. (So she did not have electricity for about four days.) She also did not have water.

She said parts of our town still did not have electricity. That was Thursday. Today, the Japanese news reports that parts of Chiba Prefecture STILL does not have electricity! 😦

Tokyo Electric Power Company (the same company that owns the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, but doesn’t provide electricity to us here in Fukushima. We get it from Tohoku Electric Power Company) is the company that provides electricity to Chiba Prefecture. They, and along with the Japanese military, have been clearing the trees and repairing the power lines.

And still today, Sunday and also a full week after the storm, electricity is out in parts of Chiba Prefecture. The two above photos are taken off my TV (Japanese news.) The bottom shows a business. Not only is it hard to live daily life without electricity, but businesses can’t run, either.

It’s been hard for these poor people!

I hope things get back on track for Chiba Prefecture soon. (Meaning: Immediately!)

I know the island countries near Florida also were hit by a hurricane, and have it much worse than Chiba Precture. Many people have been killed due to Hurricane Dorian.

Hurricanes and typhoons existed when I was young, of course, but I don’t think they were as severe in intensitiy. Global warming seems to be making temperatures rise, thus causing the hurricanes and typhoons to be stronger than they once were.



Bus Festival in downtown Fukushima City 2019

This morning I went to Fukushima City’s yearly Bus Festival.

It’s an opportunity to look at different kinds of buses and step inside them to look around.

I took three very short videos:

In the above photo, I’m in an Iwaki bus. (Iwaki City is on the east side of Fukushima Prefecture.)

Amy! Keep your eyes on the road!

We were allowed to flick the little switchies.

If the driver wants the bus to sprout wings and fly over the city, he/she/they will press the Big Red Button.

The Big Red Button is not often used.

It’s an automatic, not a manual transmission.

I asked.

This bus was neato! It’s a mobile library that travels through the rural areas of Fukushima Prefecture so that people who live in the smallest towns can check out books.

This particular bus travels through western Fukushima Prefecture, I was told.

This was my favorite bus of them all.

I spent a lot of time looking at the books in the mobile bus! I do know the books get changed around, and people can make requests.

Which do you like more, busses or books? Booses or Buks? Subs or Koobs?

A Fukushima City local bus. The bus that I see every day in our neighborhood!

Vegetable/Fruit Vending Machine

Yesterday I rode my bicycle over the river to the south part of Fukushima City. I was headed to a coffee shop that also was a bit of an art gallery. I wanted to check it out!

Alas! While this coffee shop was surely charming in its heyday…it has gone out of business.

I found that to be sad.

The building was getting run-down…

…surrounded by lovely–but overgrown–vegetation.

I thought the plant in the photo was especially interesting.

I ended up getting a canned coffee from the vending machines right next to the former coffee shop.

The sign says: Don’t toss your litter on the ground. Keep your town beautiful.

I know that Japanese vending machines are famous in other countries. People have heard about them through the internet.

Yeah, lots of coffee. I chose the red Wonda.

100 yen for a can of coffee is super duper cheap for a vending machine. (Vending machine prices are higher than the prices in a regular grocery store.)

Mountain Dew! I never see that in Japan. Somebody tell my brother he can visit Japan—they’ve got Mountain Dew here, so he’ll be fine.

And now….do y’all know what’s in the photo above?

This is a vending machine that sells vegetables and fruit. (I’ve also seen eggs.)

A flower shop might have a fresh flower vending machine.

You’ll see these sorts of vending machines more out in the rural areas where the farmers live.

A field was next to the vending machines. This is a quiet neighborhood with houses (it’s not the true countryside,) but Japan tucks fields into available spaces. I’m guessing a farmer owns this patch of land and is still farming it.

Me and my coffee

Despite being disappointed that the charming coffee shop had gone out of business, it turned out to be a lovely day.

“Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster”

Recently I read a book called “Fukushima The Story of a Nuclear Disaster.” It details the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant that happened in 2011.

When I say “details,” I really mean it! I bought this book a couple years ago at a bookstore in Sendai City, then started reading it. It was very dense and scientific…so I put it down and didn’t come back to it.

Recently, however, I picked it up again. I told myself, “Just read it slowly, Amy. Try not to get bogged down.”

So this time, I made it through the book. It’s a good book (though not most reader-friendly (?)) It’s definitely a book for adults, or for kids who are mature enough to handle the subject matter.

I went to the Fukushima Prefecture Art Museum over the weekend. The exhibit was photography Yanagi Miwa (Yanagi is her family name. Miwa is her given name. This is her website: http://www.yanagimiwa.net/e/  )

One room was filled with large photos of Fukushima peach trees. And so then when I exited the art museum, I bought some peaches from a farmer. I asked about business. She said that it dipped after the quake, but now it’s back again. That’s good.

Fukushima blamed for Russia’s mistakes…..

This weekend I was reading some Japan Times newspapers (ink and paper versions) at our local library here in Fukushima City. I came across an article about the explosion in Russia (August 2019) which evidently released radiation.

Imagine my surprise when I came across this paragraph of the article:

It seems that Russian officials were brushing aside signs that Cesium-137 (a radioactive isotope) had entered patients’ bodies by saying that the Cesium-137 was due to having eaten Fukushima crabs.

According to this article: https://gizmodo.com/russian-health-officials-blame-fukushima-crabs-for-cesi-1837541107 seven people in the area of the Russian explosion have died. Obviously, something is going on. And how dare they blame it on Fukushima!

The previous article says the quote about Fukushima crabs comes from this Russian newspaper: https://meduza.io/en/feature/2019/08/22/there-s-no-danger-get-to-work

I was looking at Twitter last week and saw a photo of a badly deformed baby with the caption of “Tokyo Olympics Do you want babies like this?”

I live here in Fukushima and I definitely am not seeing any deformities.

The woman  is anti-nuclear–and she posts a photo of a deformed child and links this to the Tokyo Olympics? (And please note that I am ninety-nine percent sure the baby was not even Japanese. It was just a random photo of a baby with a deformed face.) So she’s implying that if you are pregnant during your two week visit in Tokyo to see the Olympics…your baby will be born deformed? None of that adds up, not at all.

Deformities in babies can be caused by lots of things, but Tokyo has a normal amount of radiation and thus that will not affect one’s pregnancy.

If a person wants to be against nuclear energy, that’s fine and good. But please do not start lies or spread lies.

Regional treats

Each region of Japan has its own delicacies. When people here visit other parts of Japan, they will usually buy a speciality from that area.

In the following link has a map of Japan that you can click on. I’m sorry that the regions of the map are only labeled in Japanese, but if you click on each little prefecture, you can see a specialty of that area.


Thus, if you click on my region of Fukushima Prefecture (blue rectangle at the bottom of the blue area,) you’ll see photos of Mama D`Or. It’s a snack that is so so so SO famous here! It’s the number one treat that tourists purchase to take back home to Yokohama or to Nagoya or to Sapporo or to Naha…

Here are some treats from Tohoku:

Macaroons from Sendai City (in Miyagi Prefecture)

Dried peaches from Fukshima…I buy this for my son because he adores peaches. Fresh peaches are only in season during the summer, so these dried peaches are nice to eat during other times of the year.

“Rusk” from the Aizu area of Fukushima Prefecture (in the western part of Fukushima Prefecture.)

Rusk is a popular treat in Japan. I’d never heard of it before coming to Japan and so I was a little confused by the name. It seems that “rusk” is basically a sweet toast. (Occasionally garlic flavored.)

I looked at Wikipedia and it says that it’s Melba Toast! I’m familiar with dry tasteless Melba Toast… Sort of.

Rusk in Japan has more flavor than Melba Toast, definitely.

These milk cakes are from Yamagata Prefecture (my husband’s home prefecture.) They are hard and slightly sweet. Not my favorite, nor my husband’s favorite.

Some more rus–maple on the left and plain on the right.

They are from Aomori Prefecture. I’m not familiar with Aomori at all, and I just googled “Nambu.” It’s a region of Aomori.

Meringue bites from Niigata Prefecture.

Kinako Mochi ball—Kinako is sweet soybean powder or um something like that. Whatever it is, it’s really delicious.

And these little soybean mochi balls are from Akita Prefecture.

White cream “sand” from Nagano Prefeture.

Sand is a kind of cookie here. I think the “sand” comes from the English word sandwich. It’s two cookies filled with creme–so it’s a “sandwich cookie.”

By the way, Nagano is not in the Tohoku area!

(Neither is Niigata, but it is sort of an honorary member of Tohoku because it’s so close to us geographically.)