Prologue to photo series “Flowers Year Round in Fukushima City”

The posts over the next several days are a year-long project for me (and for you 🙂

Like many people who use the internet, a few years ago I saw a photo of mutated flowers in Japan. They were taken by a man who lives across the border from Fukushima Prefecture (in the south) and thus he lives fairly near the nuclear power plant. (Although NOT in the exclusion zone.) There is absolutely nothing at all wrong with him taking these photos and displaying them on the internet. He is free to do as he wants, and say what he believes.

The man who took the photos believes that the flowers’ mutations are a result of radiation from the nuclear meltdowns.  He may be right. He may be wrong. One of the frustrating things is that scientists can not pinpoint exactly what causes a mutation (as far as I am aware, not being a scientist myself.)

Mutations happen naturally. So we don’t know if a.) the flowers’ mutations are a result of extra radiation from the meltdowns or b.) the flowers’ mutations occured naturally (called fasciation,) and were not the result of nuclear meltdown radiation. Nobody knows. If they say that they do, they are lying. People can have opinions, though, as to what caused the flowers’ mutations.

Here is a link to the photos of the man’s photos of flowers which have mutations. (I am not going to post the photos here directly because I don’t own the photos, nor do I have permission to post them.)

So anyway, I saw these photos when they were originally viral, and then later saw them again. The second time I saw them, I thought, “Hmmm… I wonder if it is true that there are deformed flowers in Fukushima City? I have not seen any. But I don’t pay much attention. What’s true? What’s not true?”

So starting in September of 2017, I took photos of flowers when I saw them–for an entire year.  (This is the way I chose which flowers to take: it was completely random. If I rode my bike by some flowers and I had my camera, I snapped a picture. I didn’t think anything at all other than “Oh, pretty! Flowers! Take photo!” Usually I was rushing somewhere. Believe it or not, nobody pays me for taking photos of flowers and sticking them in my blog. Actually, scratch that. Believe it. Nobody pays me anything at all for this. It’s 100% unbiased.)

The project has two purposes: 1.) The original purpose is to show whether or not Fukushima City does indeed have more than its share of deformed flowers. (During my entire year of stopping and looking at the flowers and snapping their photos, I never onced saw a deformed flower. Shrug. They may be there, though. I’m hardly a florist.) 2.) The second purpose is to show the beauty of Fukushima City. This was not my original purpose, but I realized as I never actually saw any deformed flowers, that um, well…… they sure are pretty.

I do NOT label the names of the flowers. Why not? Because I don’t know anything about flowers. That’s why.

Okay, we shall start tomorrow….with September flowers.

Naomi’s Party–Exhibit at SPAL in Fukushima City

Naomi Watanabe is a famous personality in Japan these days. I didn’t know much about her (just what she looked like) and when I saw that Fukushima City’s shopping center SPAL was hosting an exhibit called “Naomi’s Party,” I decided to check it out.

I went on a weekday–and I was very surprised at how many people were there who also wanted to see the exhibit! Almost all women. But many women!

Naomi Watanabe is funny, stylish, and very entertaining.

She does all sorts of things: dances, sings, designs and so on.

Me in one room of the exhibit. I think the piles of food is supposed to be Naomi poking fun at her own weight. She’s overweight–and she owns it! My opinion is this is refreshingly wonderful in Japan, where women are under a lot of pressure to be stick thin.

Naomi’s bedroom….

Naomi does her makeup…(this was a video)

She’s definitely known for her extreme creativity.

Naomi pillows

Food from Taiwan…she’s half Chinese (from Taiwan) on her mom’s side. A woman at the exhibit explained it’s the reason why these particular foods were picked. They are all from Taiwan, and they honor her Taiwan side.

The gift shop

The gift shop

Like I said, it’s fantastic to see a confident overweight and beautiful woman. Obviously Naomi Watanabe is more popular than I thought, because there were so many exhibit-goers. Some of them were true Naomi Watanabe-lovers. (To tell the truth, I myself don’t pay much attention to celebrities, American or Japanese.)

Here is a news article about her popularity:


She says in the article: “In Japan, larger-sized women couldn’t wear what they wanted. They couldn’t wear skirts, they would wear only black and would never show any skin,” Watanabe said. “Of course, larger women want to be fashionable, too, but there weren’t any fashionable clothes for us.”

Amy’s opinion: This is very true!!!!! I am plus-sized and get almost all my clothes from America because there is nothing (literally) for me in Japan. Even shoes!!!!! My feet aren’t fat, they aren’t even big! Just normal.

Personally, while many Japanese woman are tiny (height and weight), there are enough tall women and enough plus-size women in Japan to support more choices for them. There must be some sort of conspiracy, or possibly the CEO’s of the current stores are very out of touch with today’s reality.

“Irradiated Cities” by Mariko Nagai

On Sunday, I went to Tokyo for an SCBWI open critique. (SCBWI=Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators)

I received a lot of helpful advice from the three leaders (Holly Thompson, Mariko Nagai, and Naomi Kojima) and from the other participants. This week I’ve been revising based on that advice.

The book in the photo is a book of poetry about Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima. It is by Japan Region SCBWI co-regional advisor, Mariko Nagai. This book was so moving and well-written. I wholeheartedly recommend it.



I have a cousin who works at Cabella’s. I wanted to stop by and say hey to him at work…. But he was off duty that day. That’s okay. The Cabella’s near my parents’ house is a cool place…like a museum, literally. (It has exhibits. Taxidermied animals on display and an aquarium.)

So stepping into this area–it is devoted to wild animals of Texas.

These animals are indigenous to Texas.

Cabella’s sells camping equipment–so how about some camping?

More indigenous animals of Texas

My dad (and my mom) are from Texas. My dad is an awesome dad!!!!!!!!! Both my parents are extremely generous to others, and very caring.

The Texas flag. Geese in the sky. (I presume they are geese.)

This is my last post about my vacation over the summer at my parents’ home in Texas. Tomorrow we will be back to our normal topic: Life in Fukushima!

Tea Shop and Antique Store

My mom and I met with her friend at a local restaurant. (I’m sorry, I don’t remember its name.)

The restaurant adjoins a large antique store.

It’s fun to look at vintage stuff!

Life has changed a lot in the past 150 years.


Raggedy Ann…

On my kindle, I downloaded the original Raggedy Ann book. Its e-book is free because it is so old that its copyright has expired. I was surprised at how much I liked it! Some of the really old children’s book are marvelous—-I mean, after all, there was a reason that these books and their characters became so famous!

(If you don’t own a kindle, it is probably available online at a public domain book website.)

Currently I am reading “Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry” which was published in 1976. It is another book I wholeheartedly recommend. (Though the subject matter isn’t as light as the Raggedy Ann book.)

Croquet—(see the mallets?) Reminds me of “Alice in Wonderland.” Another wonderful old book.

Tarrant County Community College–meeting Rebecca Balcarcel through SCBWI

While I was in the United States, I checked the North Texas SCBWI to see if they had any events I could attend. There was a critique group at Tarrant County Community College. (Its campus is shown in photo above. I thought it was really lovely.)

I went to the college’s library for the meeting. I showed up early because I wanted to look around.

What a nice library! Remember, this is a college library! But very family friendly.

Lots of adult books, too.

So many periodicals.

I saw this sign–Anime and Japanese Culture Club! Lots of things have changed over the years, but I notice a definite and very sharp increase in interest (particularly among young people and ESPECIALLY among young females) in Japanese culture. I think this is due to factors like: Ghibli, English translations of Japanese comics (manga) and Pokemon

I met with writer and professor Rebecca Balcarcel. Her middle grade book “The Other Half of Happy” is coming out in 2019. Her publisher is Chronicle Books. She was super nice and helpful and I can’t wait to read her new book.

Friends of the Keller Library

My dad saw that I enjoyed Barely Used so much that he said he would take me to some place better.

This used books store is linked with the Keller Public Library and donates its proceeds there. (I think.)

My father showed me around. It’s actually MUCH larger than it looks. Imagine a labyrinth of bookshelves, twisting and turning until you get lost. Yeah, I know. Sounds glorious.

They have lots of different sections: YA, kids, picture books, romance, mystery…and so on.

Kids’ books in this area

books for grown-ups

I ended up finding a few books here. Or quite possibly the books found me. They opened their pages to me and I gave them a home. We’re happy together now, my books and I.