Off to Texas….(Blog Vacation)

My son’s vacation is starting this week, so we’ll be in Texas so he can spend time with his grandparents there (and other family members. They are all so sweet. <3)

The Texas sky is so big, so much bigger than our sky here in Fukushima City. You probably think, how can that be? It’s because Fukushima City is a basin surrounded by mountains. No horizon anywhere.

I know Kansas and Texas both very well, and the difference is that Kansas is humble, whereas Texas is proud and boastful.

Kansas is more like Fukushima. Texas is more like Osaka.

See y’all later! 🙂

Election Sunday in Japan…

Elections will be held here in Japan this coming Sunday (July 21, 2019.) Here’s a CNN article. I just sort of randomly chose it, but it’s interesting, and also you can see a list of the various political parties in Japan.

In the weeks before an election, it is common for cars and trucks with loudspeakers to slowly drive through the neighborhood, loudly (and I mean LOUDLY!) proclaiming the benefits of its party’s candidate. I find the noise amusing, sort of, I guess, but it’s also really annoying. A few years ago I was taking the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) and a truck went by outside. It was blaring election issues into test room WHILE we were taking the listening section of the test! Luckily, it passed by between questions. But it would have been frustrating had the truck gone by during a question because each question is done only once.

Okay, so today I was out and about near my home in downtown Fukushima City. Here’s a video of me coming across one of the trucks.

(I say in the video that “candidates own the trucks.” I doubt that’s true. Forgive me, I was speaking off the top of my head with no knowledge whatsoever. I don’t know whom owns the trucks, but probably the political party does. Or maybe they are rented.)

The next video….

My mistake: Shouhi doesn’t mean tax, it was a silly mistake of me to say that. It means consumption. (In this case, referring to the consumption tax which is probably going to be raised. These party members are against raising the consumption tax.)

Looking at the truck, I can figure out what political party it is: 共産党 Kyousantou(Japan Communist Party)

This is the second time I’ve come across the Communist Party and taken photos, and I must say–both times they’ve been very nice!

Hot Summer!


My mom said Texas is very hot now. It’s interesting though because I’m in Japan now and Japan’s summer is STILL rainy! And while it is definitely warm, it’s not HOT. (Not yet.)

Ironically, all this rain and cloudy skies is not good for the growing rice, fruits and vegetables. We need sunny blue skies as well as rain for the crops to flourish.

Anyway, I took these photos last summer at the end of last August. (Japan had record-breaking high temperatures in August 2018. We’ll see what happens in August of 2019.)

Above photos are drinks that are in a freezer at the convenience store. They are blocks of ice. So I guess a worker buys one, and in an hour, the drink is deliciously sloshy.





Consumers can purchase the above items, stick it in freezer. It’s like wearing An ice cube scarf around your neck!

“Cool Sheet” hat for kids (above photo)

Flint Water Crisis

The Flint Water Crisis began in 2014, when the tap water became contanimated with poisons, especially harmful to children. (Flint is a city in Michigan.)

When I began to hear about it on the news, I felt that there were a lot of similarities with what happened here in the Fukushima area after the meltdowns in 2011. The meltdowns caused radiation to disperse, and radiation is especially harmful to children.

In May, I read a non-fiction book about the Flint’s water crisis because I wanted to understand more about it.

And recently, I watched a Nova PBS documentary about the water crisis in Flint (“Poisoned Water”) which I thought explained it very well.

My heart goes out to the people of Flint and especially their kids.

It’s the worst feeling in the world to think that the kids of an area may be at risk–due to problems that never had to happen.

We adults need to do better, and putting kids’ health and well-being FIRST!


Eel in Summer

It’s July now. I am very much a believer in Global Warming, but I will say that this year, July in northern Japan has been very cool considering that it is summer. It’s been raining a lot since the beginning of June (more than usual, despite rain being normal in Japan during June.)

Last summer, August was one of the hottest Augusts on record in Japan, reaching record-high temperatures. It made me nervous for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. The last time Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympics it was in 1964. And the games were held in October!! Wow! Frankly, October is my favorite month of the year in Japan, weather-wise. It’s usually perfect weather, almost every day.

I guess TV advertisers prefer the Olympics to be held in August, and thus the 2020 Summer Tokyo Olympics will be in August (my least favorite month of the year in Japan, weather-wise.) If next year is a hot and humid August (And I think it has been Every. Single. Year.) prepare for people to be keeling over from heat-related issues!

Okay, well, it’s July now as I type this in my home in Fukushima City. The end of July is said to be the hottest time of the year and thus it’s a tradition to eat eel at that time. If one goes to a supermarket at the end of July, eel will be on display in abundance.

Meals of Eels

Eels Heal

Eels keep you on even Keel

Don’t you Feel Eels are a great Deal?!

Actually, no. Eel is very expensive, so it’s not a Steal. It’s a splurge.

(The first photo shows prices of 1, 782 yen. That’s about 17 U.S. dollars.  !!!!! For one eel lunch! I know, right? PRICEY!!!!!!!!!!)

I am deterred by the high price, but furthermore, I try to refrain from eating eel because I’ve heard that eel is an animal that is decreasing in numbers rapidly due to over-consumption.

Some seafood can be raised by seafood farmers. Some seafood can be replenished so their numbers don’t go down. Unfortunately, it is impossible to do this with some animals, like eel and whale.

I know that eel and whale are a part of Japanese culture, but they’re not part of mine, so I don’t feel any need to consume them. My culture is beef, chicken, pork and turkey, so I’ll have me some of that. :=)

Map of California….

The following link goes to a map of California. You can click on the map and see the MMI for each area. MMI stands for “Modified Mercalli Intensity.”

Usually, we hear about “Magnitude.” Magnitude measures the energy that quake produces. It’s a number that doesn’t change, whether you live near the quake or far from it. The quake in the California’s Ridgecrest area (epicenter) in on Friday, July 5, 2019 was a magnitude of 7.1.

On the other hand, intensity (what the map in the link above shows) measures how a certain area is affected, the intensity that area feels. If you are far from the epicenter, the intensity of your area will likely be lower than the intensity of an area closer to the epicenter–because the closer area will probably be feeling the tremors more intensely.


The “Big Quake” in Japan on March 11, 2011 had a magnitude of 9.0. or 9.1–I’ve heard both numbers.

Here is a link to the intensity felt in Japan during that earthquake:

My home of Fukushima was a 5+, so that is what I felt when that quake occurred.


I’ve heard that they’ve been having a lot of aftershocks in California.

❤ Or if you are now in California, YOU have been experiencing lots of aftershocks!!!!! ❤

Those aftershocks are terrifying.

With the following link, we can see the aftershocks that California is now experiencing:

Hang in there!!

(cat design from this site:


Quakes in California…

California was struck by a 6.4 quake on July 4th, and then by a 7.1 quake on July 5th. The epicenter was near Ridgecrest, California. The epicenter is inland (not out in the ocean,) so there won’t be a tsunami. (Unless, of course, a different quake strikes the ocean bed. I very much doubt that will happen in the near future.) I googled the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, which is located on the coast of California. I couldn’t find any current news reports at all (keep in mind, I only searched less than a minute. Yes, I’m a busy gal!) so I’m assuming all is well and good at that plant. Presumably it has been shut down due to the recent tremors.

Here is a link to the most recent significant quakes around the world:

(Yeah, I know my link is running off the side of the post. I apologize for the mess.)

As I’m typing this in the afternoon of July 7 (Japan time,) I see that the last “BIG” quake worldwide was the one in the Ridgecrest area, California at Magnitude 7.1 (They’ve been having aftershocks, but these are smaller. Nevertheless–and I speak from experience–aftershocks are extremely nerve-frazzling. Extremely! I found our aftershocks to be worse for my mental state than the orignal Super Big Quake.)

Goodness gracious, scrolling down I see a Magnitude 4.5 in Kansas that occured in June. That quake is likely causing by an oil removing technique called fracking. (Although I’ve not researched that June quake so I can’t be sure.) Fracking is very worrisome to me, but that’s another post.

And in my parents’-in-law home of Sakata (sister city of Tsuruoka, Japan) there was a 6.4 one in June.

So anyway, please use that link to learn more about quake and where they hit. 🙂

Have a nice day!





Origami decorations for Tanabata

Tanabata falls either in July (according to the new calendar) or in August (according to the old calendar.) I went to a free event where we learned how to make origami decorations for Tanabata bamboo branches.

It is fairly common to see origami in Japan. For example, a fine restaurant might serve your meal with an origami crane. At my son’s pediatrian, kids can take a free origami (if they want.) Teachers will decorate the walls of the school with homemade posters or calendars (often created by students rather than the busy teacher.) It is less common to buy ready-made decorations in Japan than in the United States.

Putting up my origami. I chose blue to celebrate America’s Independence Day (July fourth.)

My “Tanzaku” (My Tanabata wish is on this rectangular paper.)

I wanted to write “For a Better World” but I ran out of room, so I changed it to “For a Better Word” with “For a Better World” next to that.

We made lots of kinds of origami! This particular tree is fake bamboo, but traditionally people will use real bamboo. Bamboo is common in Japan and also very fast-growing.

Do you want to make the same Tanabata decoration I made? You need a square of paper (it can be a square of newspaper!), a pair of scissors for cutting, and glue or tape to connect the hearts to each other.

Here is a link:

Click the orange oval to look at the directions.

Click the red oval to see it done on Youtube. NOTE: While scissors are required for this origami, a needle for the thread is not. We just taped the string to the origami.)

(To tell the truth, this particular origami is not REAL origami, strictly speaking. Truly authentic origami does not use scissors.)

Chernobyl (If you’re a kid, you’re probably too young to watch the miniseries!)

This blog is actually for kids. One of my reasons for creating it is because I believe kids were/are not getting information in English about the meltdowns here in Fukushima Prefecture.

Books for kids were also not published in the United States after the meltdown in Chernobyl. It was pretty much ignored by the western media until May of 2019, when a miniseries came out on HBO. It’s called “Chernobyl” and it’s about what happened there at the nuclear power plant. I’ve heard it is very well done, but the content of the show is not for kids, especially younger kids or sensitive kids. (So again, kids are left with not much to learn from.)

I’ve heard that a fiction book is in the works. It’s about a kid who is affected by the disaster of Chernobyl. That’s good to hear. It’s not out yet, though. Kids want to know what’s going on in the world, too. Right? And it’s imperative because kids are our future leaders and decisionmakers and voters and scientists and artists and journalists….  🙂

I found a link to kid-friendly information about “Chernobyl Disaster Facts.” Here it is: