welcome to all those visiting via blog around the world! i am so excited to be sharing my part of the world with all of you!

first of all, i am not japanese, i'm american, but i have been living here for more than nine years. (i can hardly believe it myself!) seven of those years have been here in fukuoka-ken, on the island of kyushu.

japan is a fascinating, but sometimes frustrating place to live. my motivation to see japan came from the movie 'my neighbor totoro', which i thought was beautiful. if the japanese countryside was as beautiful in real life, then i had to see it!

the japanese countryside has not disappointed me, but the cities...i'm not so impressed. don't get me wrong, i love to visit fukuoka and kitakyushu, but i can't say the urban areas here are all that attractive. i have been very lucky to travel in japan, and see many beautiful areas. one is the takachiho gorge, in miyazaki-ken.

Takachiho Gorge

i also like to visit castles:

Kokura-jo, Kitakyushu-shi



and shrines:

Izumo Taisha Shimane

i also like torturing my children at odd festivals:

i get frustrated by my lack of japanese ability, i am not nearly as fluent as i should be for the amount of time i have lived here and studied the language. it's hard, but i am proud of the fact that i can buy groceries, take my children to the pediatrician and chat with my neighbors about nonsense. i am also sure that i will never really understand japanese people who are usually kind and polite, but can also be aloof and incredibly rude. it's amazing to see it in action sometimes!

japan is a land at the mercy of three tectonic plates, so there are a lot of earthquakes, hot springs and volcanoes! thankfully fukuoka rarely experiences earthquakes, and we don't have any volcanoes, but there are plenty of onsen, or hot spring baths. i never thought i'd be comfortable with public bathing, but i LOVE onsen. if you ever visit japan, be sure to try one. just be sure to wash and rinse before you get in the bath!

i have a couple of photos of volcanoes. first is mt. aso, the most active volcano in japan, which is in kumamoto:

part of mt. aso

and the other is sakura-jima, which is right next to the city of kagoshima!


the photo above was taken from a ferris wheel, which the japanese seem to love:


shopping center and parking

ferris at night

cosmos and wheel

(sorry, i couldn't resist all the ferris wheel pics.)

well, i guess it's time to wrap this up. i hope you have enjoyed this trip as much as i have!