Teacher in Minamisoma

Here is an article about a teacher from New Zealand who works in Minamisoma.  (You may see the name of this town spelled in English in various ways: Minami-Soma, Minamisouma, etc. Literally, the name means “South Soma.”)

Minamisoma is a small town that was hit by the tsunami, and many of its people died in that.  And then…most of the citizens had to leave because the town is/was too close to the nuclear disaster.  In recent times, it’s been declare safe, and its citizens have been returning.


A quote from the article by the teacher: “For comparison, spending a year in Minamisoma will expose me to about the same radiation as a single hip X-ray … I’m just about as close as it’s possible to be.”


UPDATE: If you click on the link below, you can see exactly where Minami Soma is. As far as a I know the map in the link is current. (It DOES not show how much of Minami Soma was forbidden soon after the earthquake.)




You have been warned.

Two Afghan Hounds strolling down a street near my home in Fukushima City. Oh my goodness, I feel like I stepped out of a picture book!  I talked to their owner human friend and she said she and they come from Iizaka Town (a small town just outside of Fukushima City.)

I told her that there is a Borzoi that lives in our neighborhood. She was impressed.

Google just told me that, while there are several languages in Afghanistan, the most common one is Dari (Afghan Persian.) In Persian (or Farsi) “dog” is “sag.”

And in Japanese, “dog” is “inu.”

The two dogs were very friendly. I asked if it was okay to pet them, and she said yes, they don’t mind at all. They were sweet! And just as soft as they look. (They are obviously well-groomed.)

Are Afghan Hounds really from Afghanistan? Google says yes–Middle East, Persia, and Afghanistan. But the modern ones in western society descended from Afghan Hounds which were brought to the United Kingdom.

Even though the photo looks like the Mr. and Mrs. are out on a walk, I was told by their human friend that they are both male, and the one with the wrap over his head is wearing it due to some sort of ear problem (or maybe not a problem, exactly. The dog’s ears are very long.)

Interesting article by two physics scientists who visited the nuclear power plant in Fukushima

This is a very interesting article written by scientists from the U.K. They visited Fukushima, and went to the Daiichi power plant.  (The one that is owned by a Tokyo company and supplied energy to Tokyo. It melted down.)  It is an area I NEVER go to.  (It’s off limits unless you receive permission.) It’s a long article, but I recommend it.



New York Times article: “A Maverick Former Japanese Prime Minister Goes Antinuclear”

Koizumi was prime minister several years ago, and he was very popular with the people. He has a rather charismatic quality about him, like Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton.

What’s ironic is that Koizumi is the same party as current leader Abe, a party that supports nuclear power, and also a party that is considered to be quite conservative. (Sort of Japan’s version of the Republican Party of the United States.)  (Koizumi’s switch to anti-nuclear feelings is recent, according to the article.)

Fukushima Children’s Paintings…

I wrote in my previous post that I went to the Bunka Center to see an exhibit of work by Yamamoto Nizou.

Next to that exhibit was a small exhibit of pictures by Fukushima elementary school kids. Photography WAS allowed.

Colorful pictures….

This one above says, “Thank you to the people of the world.”


All three of these say, “I love Fukushima.”

This one says, “(Fukushima has) a lot of nature…I love Fukushima.”

This one above says: “Fun Fukushima”

As we go down the exhibit, the artists are older (fifth and sixth graders in elementary school.)

Goodbye, Bunka Center! Thanks for the lovely exhibits!

Nizo Yamamoto

This is the Bunka Center in Fukushima City. (Prefectural Culture Center) It is about a twenty minute bicycle ride from the east side of the main station. (You can rent bikes.) Also, a one hundred yen bus stops near it (not directly in front of it. You won’t be able to see it from the bus stop, but is is a five minute walk away.)

I went to the Bunka Center yesterday to see an exhibit on its third floor.

Top left–It’s an exhibit of the famous movie animator, Yamamoto Nizo (山本二三).

I had not heard of him, but saw the poster downtown. The poster was beautiful, and made me want to go. My husband says Yamamoto Nizo is very famous.

This way! Follow me to the third floor! Don’t get lost!

As you can see, the exhibit runs until January 28, 2018.

Stop looking at the vending machines. You can get a drink later.

Here we are!!!!!!!!!  Exciting, isn’t it???

The exhibit costs 1,000 yen for an adult to enter.

Entrance——–> That way

This is the lobby, and photos are okay here. (The sign says Syashin OK in red.  PHOTOS OK)

However, once I stepped in the actual exhibit, photos were prohibited. I put my camera away, and concentrated on the artwork. It was amazing! Such detail…

It’s set up movie by movie, with some Ghibli movies like Laputa and Mononoke. There was also Grave of the Fireflies, reputed to be one of the saddest films made. (It’s about a boy taking care of his young sister during World World II, although I have not seen it.)

Towards the end, there were paintings (? Is that what this artwork is called? I am not sure.) Anyway, there were paintings of Rikunzentataka, where the tsunami devastated the community. One tree was left standing. Yamamoto is trying to get a film made called “The Tree of Hope.” In Japanese, “希望の木”.


If you would like to see sample of Yamamoto’s art:




Kimono vs. Yukata in Fukushima

Today is “Coming of Age” Day in Japan. It is a national holiday, meaning there is no school and no work (except certain jobs like police officers and nurses, who are needed every day of the year.)

Coming of Age Day is a day that celebrates when a child becomes an adult. This is is considered to be twenty years old. On Coming of Age Day almost all twenty-year-old women wear beautiful kimonos. Twenty-year-old men usually wear suits, but some might wear kimono.

You’ll see these young people in Japan during this second Monday of January–the young women very noticeable in their elaborate kimono. (The men less noticeable in their suits.) I asked my husband what they do all day, and said, “Nothing. Drink.” I think they hang around with friends. Japanese high schools don’t have school dances so this is a great time for young people to really go all out and dress up.

The following photos are current photos. They show KIMONO.  Real kimonos, which are very expensive (and are thus often rented by the wearer.) They bear NO RESEMBLANCE to what Americans call “kimono” which is usually a cheap polyester robe with a dragon on the back.  Authentic kimonos are not always elaborate, though–in olden times, peasants wore plain kimonos. The following photos show gorgeous kimonos, not “every day” type kimonos.

See how very gorgeous it is?

And notice the young man is wearing a suit. Because the Coming of Age Day is in the midst of winter, the woman on the far right has a white stole.

The following photos were taken during the summer, and they show YUKATA. These in the photos are festival yukatas. These are worn for festivals in warm and hot months. They are less expensive than the kimonos in the above photos. These yukatas are most likely owned by the young women, not rented, because they are affordable. Young men also wear these festival yukata, but not as often as women or girls.

着物 (kimono) literally means “a thing that is worn.”(Ki=wear Mono=Thing) (Please remember that word dates back long ago when western clothing did not exist in Japan.)

浴衣 (yukata) literally means “bath clothes” So you can tell by the word itself that a yukata is less formal than a typical modern kimono.

What a lovely yukata….

Pretty pretty girls in their pretty pretty yukatas

I took all photos in Fukushima.