Halloween goodies in Japan!


Halloween is really taking off in Japan.  They have not reached the level of “Trick or Treat” (not in Fukushima anyway) but there are lots of cute Halloween goodies you can buy.  Plus, on TV I have seen that there are evidently haunted houses that one can visit.  Not around here, I don’t think. (Except on festival weekend.  We have a haunted house at our festival, but it is not specifically for Halloween.)

So anyway…lots of Halloween photos!


At the train station.  That is Fukushima Prefecture’s mascot all dressed up for Halloween.


This is the international food store at the train station.


Also the international store.


Again the international food store.  I personally love Toblerones.


Mr. Donuts…This reminds me of when I went to Thailand last year in October.  Hardly any Halloween in Thailand at all.  (That jet setting niece that I was visiting is currently in Spain!)


Really pretty Japanese style candies.


One of the local bookstores.  That poster is handmade.  Personally, I don’t think you will see that kind of care in decorations at an American bookseller  (like Barnes and Noble. I don’t know about the smaller more independent bookstores.)


I thought these handkerchiefs were adorable. I had never seen Halloween hankies before.  I think this must be a Japan-only sort of thing.  Japanese people ADORE handkerchiefs!  I personally have so many that I couldn’t see buying the Halloween hankies in the photos.

Junior High Uniform Buttons


Button Button Who’s got the button?

A button came off my son’s uniform.  My son didn’t know where it was, so I went to buy a new button.  I was informed there that the buttons are NOT sewn on.  They have little clips.  They fit on the button hole with these clips.

The reason?  Tradition is that upon graduation the boy gives his second button to the girl that he likes.  Therefore to make it easier for everyone involved, the buttons use clips.  Weird, huh?

I had heard often about this romantic tradition, but did not know about the clips.  It just all makes it seem so…….  expected.  Now the boy HAS to give away his button.  If he doesn’t, there will be questions!!!!

Anyway.  I bought a new button, got back home, and tidied up and found the missing button.  Silly me.  I should have cleaned before going out to buy replacement button!

Out and About in Fukushima City


I found a blog about books that I love, but is also concidentally written by somebody in my hometown.  So it is neat for me to see my hometown’s libraries, parks, festivals, and so on!  Nostalgic!  なつかしい! So for any Japanese out there who now live permanently in a foreign country, but orignally hail from Fukushima City, these photos are for YOU!  <3















Don’t we love Fukushima?   <3


Yarn Shop


Yarn!   Where would we be without it?   As the winds get chillier and the days get shorter, life is so much better with a thick sweater or a wooly cap.

My sister knits.  She has been so sweet and knitted a few things for us, but I know it takes her a long time to do each project.  She doesn’t do it for money, just to give as gifts.

Near our house here in downtown Fukushima City is a delightful shop of yarn.



Do you know what these are?  Hair scrunchies!  So original!  I bought two for my beloved niece.


Everything made from yarn.  Don’t quote me on this, but the cats might be made from cat hair?  I can’t remember.  Maybe I am making things up.



Doesn’t it look like the kind of place one might meet in a book?

If you interested in lovely crochet, please visit Iceflower Crochet Store!  It’s a business owned with love by another western mom in Japan.


Okay, moving on to a completely different store.  The 100 yen shop.  My niece requested hair doodads, so I was browsing the hair doodad section in the 100 yen shop.  I thought these clippies were cute…..BUT!


OMG!!!!!!!!!  Contains LEAD!!!!!!!!!!  I did not buy them (of course!)

WTF?!?  Everybody knows that after the head, the next most popular place to put your hair doodad is in your mouth (while arranging your tresses.)   I don’t want ANYBODY losing any brain power to gain beauty power, so of course I did not buy these.   It makes me mad that they even sell these.

So ladies be careful with your hair doodads!

A Picture Book of Haiku



I found a wonderful book at the library by Toshio Suzuki.  It is called “A Picture Book of Haiku.”  It’s really lovely.  It’s in both English and Japanese.

On one page, there is a famous haiku by a Japanese poet in English.

Then on the other side, it has the same poem in Japanese.  Just a really lovely book, and good for all ages.

I don’t know if you readers have noticed, but I have stopped taking photos of the interiors of Japanese books.  I am a little worried about infringing on copyright.

In America, you can show a bit for educational purposes, which I feel my blog does.  (I seek to educate.)   However, I am unsure of the Japanese laws….

It’s a bit of a shame, because it’s nice to see if the book is wordless, or English/ Japanese, etc.   My goal is to help busy moms of bilingual kids choose books at their local Japanese libraries.  (They can show the photo to the librarian and get the book, lickety split.)

Moomin Movie and “Otoko wa Tsurai yo” Movie



This “Moomin” movie came out in the movie theaters several months ago here in Japan.  Now it is in the DVD rental shops and there is an English language track on it.  However….I tried to watch this movie, but was very bored!  I didn’t finish watching it.

My son said, “Aren’t you glad I didn’t want to go with you to see it at the movie theater?”  Yes.  We saved twenty bucks.


This EXTREMELY famous series of movies is called “Otoko wa Tsurai Yo.”  It also has an English track.   It starred comedic actor Atsumi Kiyoshi as Tora San.  There are 48 movies in this “Otoko wa Tsurai” (It’s tough being a man) series.   I only watched the very first one, which debuted in 1979.  It was better than I expected, funny with lowbrow slapsticky humor.  If you’re a Japanophile, definitely watch this movie.


Speaking of movies, Netflix has recently come to Japan.  So on a very rainy and boring day, I signed up to see some movies.  It has many American movies  and shows and also many Japanese offerings, as can be expected, sometimes with English subtitles.  I am looking forward to using Netflix as a way to study Japanese.  Although, honestly?  I have so much to study.  Something like Netflix is such a big change from the nineties, when studying was boring because it was hard to find good materials.  (Remember—no DVD’s, only VCR’s, therefore no English tracks, etc. etc. etc. and so on.)   With something like Netflix, you can read the Japanese subtitles along with listening, and stop it instantly whenever you like.

So yeah, basically I am loving Netflix.   Anybody else got it?  Any recommendations?

Autumn is here!



Orange pumpkins!  Yay!  Autumn is here!


Lovely little autumn tidbits.


Lovely autumn sugar frosted gummy candy.


Very common children’s song in Japan:

どんぐりころころ 作詞:青木存義 作曲:梁田貞 英訳:山岸勝榮(C)
An Acorn Rolled Down Lyrics: AOKI Nagayoshi Music: YANADA Tadashi English Translation: YAMAGISHI Katsuei (C)
無断引用禁止 英訳を引用する場合は必ず英訳者の氏名を明記してください。 商用利用禁止。商用利用の場合、英訳者との事前の合意が必要です。 You may copy / duplicate this translation as long as the translator / copyright holder is specified. Copyright (C) YAMAGISHI, Katsuei You may not use my translation for commercial purposes. If you want to make commercial use, you must enter into an agreement with the translator to do so in advance.

1. どんぐりころころ ドンブリコ お池にはまって さあ大変 どじょうが出て来て 今日は 坊ちゃん一緒に 遊びましょう  
An acorn rolled down; he plopped with a splash   Into the clear pond. Oh, my gosh    There came a loach and greeted him    Little boy, let’s have a good time together

どんぐりころころ よろこんで しばらく一緒に 遊んだが やっぱりお山が 恋しいと 泣いてはどじょうを 困らせた
The acorn who rolled down was glad to hear the news   For a while in the pond the two had fun    But he said he missed the mountain after all     Crying and giving the kind loach much worry


(A loach is a kind of fish)