Une soirée merveilleuse


Un autre jour sans la famille.  I had thought I would very much enjoy this time alone but the expected euphoria has yet to arrive.  I feel nothing – except that I very much miss my family.

Having two small children is like running a marathon.  There are moments when the endorphins kick in – these are the special moments.  But most of the time it is just running, here and there without a moments rest.  Now that I have a break I only want to start running again: I want them to return.

Super Blood Moon – 9.27.2015


(This picture was taken using a Meade telescope and putting my Galaxy S6 Edge camera phone up to the lens)

I was lucky enough to catch the “Super Blood Moon” last night.  During the day there were high clouds and a little fog so I was unsure if it was going to be visible.  The clouds were still a problem when the moon first began to rise but with 20 minutes left to spare of the total eclipse it appeared.

Sunset – Thursday, September 24, 2015


Perhaps the final sunset from my view for 2015.  It will now be hidden behind the mountain until it returns next spring.

In 2014 I called the final sunset also on September 25th in this blog post; yet in my calendar I had it on September 22nd.  I guess it just depends if I’m watching it through the window or if I go outside and to the northern most point in my yard.  Given distances, walking just a few steps adds a few extra days of sunset.

Graves of the 47 Ronin


I visited Sengakuji after a late night and too many bottles of Shochu in Nishiogikubo.  I went drinking with a Japanese friend and it was a great experience although I do not remember much of it.  He was dressed in traditional Japanese clothing and the street he took me to was lined with small, seemingly Edo-era restaurants.  Each one only seated between 8 – 15 people and we started drinking early.  He always added a drink called “Hoppy” to his Shochu and I was confused at first when he told me it didn’t contain any alcohol.  He let me know that after World War II the capacity to produce beer was much reduced yet people still wanted that beer taste.  Hoppy could be easily produced and when added to Shochu it gave a beer flavor.

Koma Shrine 高麗神社

Koma Shrine



I learned that this was a Korean shrine but nobody could explain the history behind it.

Yes, ok, it is a Korean shrine but what is a Korean shrine doing in Japan?  Is there a large Korean community nearby?

To find the answer I had to do a simple Google search and found the answer – not in Wikipedia since there doesn’t seem to be an entry – on the Japan visitor website which had this nice summary.

Sunrise in Saitama



The beautiful, ancient rice field is now in harvest season.  I felt grateful to be able to catch this sunrise as the only sliver of clear sky is just on the horizon and the space between the hill and tree only amounts to about a month of visibility.  To think that my wife’s family has lived in this same area for over 300 years makes me reflect on the brevity of our short lives and the shadows of history beneath our feet.  I would like to stand in this spot, and indeed every spot in the whole world since the beginning of time, to watch empires rise and fall, as well as the rice grow from seed to harvest throughout the generations.