Category Archives: SOCIETY

Mother’s Farm: Mountaintop Petting Zoo and More in Chiba Prefecture

Ok, that may have been a bit of an over-simplification. Mother Farm (マザー牧場) is an expansive working entertainment farm that is located in the Chiba’s central Boso Peninsula countryside sitting 300m atop Mt. Kanozan. All of these qualities comebine to create the perfect outing for those wanting to getaway from the Metropolis’s traffic-choked, building lined streets, and are looking for some open space with the kids in tow.

Not your typical theme park, the farm was the idea of Hisakichi Maeda, the founder of the Sankei Shinbun newspaper and then went on to develop Tokyo Tower. Growing up in prewar rural Osaka, his mother often said if only we had one more cow we could prosper. That must have stuck to him because in 1962, he opened the farm, the name of which is to honor his own mother.

Within it’s 250 hectare confines, you will find horses, pigs, sheep, alpacas, goats, and cows. This also means the kids can enjoy pony rides, cow milking, butter churning, piggy racing, duck parading, sheep shearing, and general oogling at the other animals in the livestock sections.

Mother Farm is also known for its fields of wildflowers so if you visit at the right time, the surrounding grounds will be an explosion of yellows, oranges, and lavenders as petunias, daffodils, wintersweets, and rape blossoms bloom. Speaking of plants, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries can be picked here as well but only in limited quantities in-season to avoid over-harvesting.

If you happen to have your own four-legged family member looking to get away, check out probably the largest collection of dog runs in the Greater Tokyo area; your canine pal will go absolutely bonkers with happiness in this environment based on my own dog’s reaction. It’s also one of the few places that are both family and dog friendly.

At …continue reading


Old Kyoto Tales A Fox's Gratitude

Old Kyoto Tales A Fox's Gratitude.


Once upon a time, there was an old couple who lived at the foot of a mountain on the Shirakawa River. One day, when they were at home, a white

This couple was kind, and so they hid the fox in the closet. Soon after, the hunter appeared and asked about the white fox, but the couple told them that they knew nothing.

Finally, the hunter gave up and left. Emerging from the closet, the white fox told the old couple, “I will revive the well in your backyard on the next full moon night. Please drink the water from the well that night.”

The old couple waited till the full moon came and went to the well. As the fox said, the well had come back to life. As soon as the old man drank the water his stomach illness completely disappeared. The news of the well’s special powers quickly spread through the surrounding area, and people lined up in long queues to get the magic water.

However, one greedy man became rich by selling the water. But as he wanted to be richer still, he mixed the magic water with normal water from his own well to increase his profits. But of course this water didn’t work. In fact, it created stomach problems and caused his ruin.

© …continue reading


5 Differences Between Japanese And Western Diet Approaches

Recently, I had the opportunity to ask a large group of foreign women living in Tokyo if they research their health information in English (or their native language), Japanese, or both. It was almost unanimous that they research health tips in English, even if they have a good understanding of Japanese.

I found this to be interesting because Japan has such a different culture around food that it seems tricky to tailor western advice to an Asian lifestyle. Reading an article from someone living in the United States while living in Japan makes me feel like I have to search for uncommon western ingredients like quinoa and kale, scout out a green juice shop that opens before breakfast hours, or figure out a way to bake foods when it’s not that common in Japan to even own an oven.

So, I felt inspired to share with you some differences in the Japanese and Western diet approaches to show you a new perspective and raise your confidence in the Eastern methods.

1. Japanese diet is broad, Western diet is detailed

There was a point in time when we didn’t have diet science to help us explain what was nutritionally sound for our bodies. So in the East (countries like Japan, China, and India), people developed a way of looking at nature for clues on how to stay healthy, and how to rebalance ailments in the body.

The most obvious one would be to eat according to season, because the idea is that the earth offers us exactly what we need to acclimate our bodies to our climate. You’ll notice in a Japanese teishoku (set meals) that while the main setup of the meal is the same throughout the year with some kind of animal or vegetarian protein, vegetables, rice, soup …continue reading


First look at Dogo Onsenart 2018 hot spring resort art festival

dogo onsenart 2018 hot spring festival art

Following its successful debut in 2014, the site-specific festival Dogo Onsenart returns, transforming hotel and traditional Japanese inn rooms at the famous hot spring resort into art installations.

Dogo Onsenart 2018 actually started in September last year with a preview period, but the full festival opens in April and runs until the end of February 2019.

We can now take a first look at the results, where the artworks and visions of the participating artists have been integrated into guest rooms at accommodation in the area.

dogo onsenart 2018 hot spring festival art

dogo onsenart 2018 hot spring festival art

dogo onsenart 2018 hot spring festival art

dogo onsenart 2018 hot spring festival art

dogo onsenart 2018 hot spring festival art

dogo onsenart 2018 hot spring festival art

dogo onsenart 2018 hot spring festival art

This edition’s main theme is “homage” and features a lineup of around 20 artists, including photographers Mika Ninagawa and Kayo Ume, illustrator and graphic artist Aquirax Uno, and artists Shinju Ohmaki, Yasuhiro Suzuki, and Yusuke Arai.

The graphic designer Shin Sobue has taken the classic Natsume Soseki novel Bocchan, which is set locally, and used its text to decorate the walls of a hotel room.

Special yukata wear has been designed by BEAMS for the festival. Other events during the festival include performances by the Butoh dancer Min Tanaka and musical gadget creators Maywa Denki.

Another interesting aspect of the Dogo Onsenart is that the artworks are not limited to hotel rooms and interiors. The festival spills right out into the streets and public space around the 3,000-year-old Dogo Onsen resort, which is located in Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture, …continue reading


The Only Gaijin in the Village: Comfortably Numb

Source: Gaijin Pot
The Only Gaijin in the Village: Comfortably Numb

Chapter 12: Comfortably Numb

In physics, there is the concept of the observer effect. It states that the act of observation will necessarily alter the thing being observed. You can’t check the pressure of a tire without some of the air escaping. Immersing a thermometer in a liquid to measure the temperature will change the temperature of the liquid. Pointing a camera at someone automatically causes them to suck in their stomach. Observation changes the observed.

Moving to rural Japan has changed me. Of course it has; it couldn’t not. I’ve become calmer, more patient. Things happen at a slower pace here — or not at all. Like it or not, you have to wait. Convenience is an afterthought. Mick Jagger could very well have been thinking about the lack of convenience stores in rural Gifu when he penned “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” I’ve developed a new skill set. I’ve learned how to grow vegetables, how to bring down rotten trees without endangering all life in the vicinity. I’ve been inducted into the secret ways of the community association, and have come to understand the importance of appearance over reality in dealing with social expectations. The Iain of Scotland Past wouldn’t recognize the Iain of Japan Present, and not just because of the effects of aging, cell regeneration and the addition of a beard you could lose a badger in.

Moving to rural Japan has changed me. Of course it has; it couldn’t not.

But the observer effect states that while I’ve changed under the gaze of my neighbours, they must have changed as I’ve been observing them. Another law in physics states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The mere presence of a foreigner among them must have had some impact, however small.

I’ve written …continue reading