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July 28, 2011

Mona and The Stag Beetle

She loves it. Even offers her hand to for the beetle to crawl on (but then immediately freaks out every time.)

July 27, 2011

Still beauty to be found

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As I mentioned the other day, business is starting to come back. This is good and bad. The good part is, obviously, that I will be smiling when I get my hands on that long awaited income.

The bad part is that I feel bad that, depending on the client, I have less to offer. The earthquake has closed off several of my favorite easier routes, as well as displaced a few of our star attractions (the wooden shoe maker, the dairy farmer) and caused many of the nicer looking old houses to be torn down. They will no-doubt be replaced with nice new cookie-cutter houses. Not exactly the quaint Japanaese countryside we moved here for.

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On the other hand, we have learned a lot more about the area than we knew four years ago when we started, and know a lot more people, so we can make up for the loss of the low-hanging fruit with deeper connection.

Still, it looks like this year will be best for those willing to push themselves up the long hills to the more remote areas. I just took a trip up one of the medium-hard hills the other day. As you can see, its right in the middle of rice season. In a month these fields will start turning gold and the rice harvest will begin.

The rice fields below are ours and our neighbors.

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July 25, 2011

All is well

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Just some eye candy for mom. For those wondering why I haven't posted in a while, it is a mix of catching up, preparing for two big trips (finally!) in the next two weeks, volunteering at a kid's camp outing this weekend, which is taking many more volunteer hours than I had anticipated, learning to use my new-fangled smart-phone, and some other stuff that I may go into in the future.

All is well.

These are all photos from earlier in July. Amazingly, it has not started getting hot yet. Maybe we will have a cool summer - or maybe august first will slam us with the usual August heat wave.

Mona in JulyMona in July

July 07, 2011

Dragonfly Becomes Adult

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In an effort to get back into the habit of taking only photos of Mona, I made a real effort today to try to get some photos of the natural world around me. Mona only stuck her head in once, when she wanted to see the adult dragonfly emerging from its nymph stage.

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I am trying to make a lot of personal improvements these past few weeks. Trying to read more, get back into photography, getting a lot off of the to-do list. Have been doing my yoga almost every other other other day. Done a lot of thinking about exercising. Spend a lot more time looking at and contemplating the unfinished home improvement projects.

Yes sir, my productivity meter has started to twitch.

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July 04, 2011

In the background

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Took my camera with me this morning as I went to check the water in the rice field. I wanted to get some photos so that when I am reaping a bumber crop in a few months, I will remember how tiny and whimpy our rice looks compared to all the neighboring fields.

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Mona came with, so you can probably guess what happened to getting any photos of anything else. Well, at least I can see some green blur of our rice in the background...

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July 03, 2011

Hiking in Nozawa

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Finally found a bunch of excuses to get out of the house! I have been pretty busy and will continue to be so, so I will just dump all the photos I have here (only photos of Mona, of course). Sorry for the overload.

Today Tomoe, Mayu, Mona and I went hiking up at the top of Nozawa ski area. It was actually really beautiful, and oh so wonderfully cool. Really, any of you poor city folk (I was in Tokyo a few days ago for just a few hours. Oh, you poor poor people!) need to get out, give me a call. It is hot during the day where I live, but nothing like Tokyo, and nights are generally quite cool. Even still, I was lovin the chill at 1,700 meters.

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Excuse#1: At the end of July I am helping organize a kid's camp that will be held up there so I had to go check out the area and kill any snakes and bears I came across to put the parents at ease. I have been nearby the campground, but for some reason never visted it before. I can't believe we have missed this for the past four years.

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I highly recommend the Sutakako Camp area. While it will certainly be more crowded come August when summer vacation starts, it is still quite off the beaten path, so it wont be as crowded as some of the more famous places, or places nearer to the heat-zones. There are enough easy walks through nice forests, a bit of a steeper hike to the top of a mountain, lots of mallet golf courses, and best of all, no busses allowed on the road heading into it.

Excuse #2: Apparently the photo contest that the village was holding, and I have been spending all-nighters every day this week to get the web site and social networking goodies online, was cancelled - quite a while ago. No one bothered to tell me - despite me being on the board, and even when I specifically called the guy in charge to confirm, after the quake, that I would be re-imbursed for any expenses before I pay out of pocket. Now I am down a hundred bucks for some Wordpress templates, but the thing that ticks me off the most is that I didn't find out until after I got home today. I wasted some potentially good moments worrying about the work I wasn't doing, instead of enjoying the beauty around me.

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Excuse #3: After recieveing four Docomo phones from various readers of my blog (thank you all), and having troubles with reception or breaking each one of them, I finally broke down myself and decided to get a brand-new phone. It just so happens that the cheapest phone at the shop (only about $15) was an Android smart phone. Today was my first time to experience the joys of high-tech hiking. Instead of watching the boring nature around me, I was staring at my altitude chart being drawn real-time by my nifty new GPS enabled phone.

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Can't believe I didn't get something like this before.

Anyway, here are some photos and videos for mom and dad

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We are 99.9% sure Mona will be a decatholete in the olympics some day. She loves to run and swim and show off her six pack. Seriously, she is ripped.

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