Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Suddenly Sakura!

The last two days have been cold, rainy, sleety and overcast - not the best weather for flower gazing. But while I walked home this afternoon the sun wrestled with the clouds and briefly managed to throw some rays about.

Here is the first of potentially a zillion posts filled with photos of cherry blossoms.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

On the streets of Osaka

While in Osaka, Gareth and I spent many days walking round our new neighbourhood.
We were utterly charmed by the old narrow streets, funny coffee shops and all the spring flower pots.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Volunteering in Ishinomaki

Ishinomaki is a town just north east of Sendai which was, like many other coastal areas of northern Honshuu, very badly affected by the tsunami that occured after last month's earthquake. When we got back from Osaka, Mirabel and I went volunteering there.

The parts of Ishinomaki that weren't completely washed away look like this, up and down every street. Basically everything that was at ground level has been ruined, and is now piled at the sides of the roads for some eventual collection. Cars, boats, appliances, bits of destroyed buildings are strewn about and covered in mud.

We went to three houses to help pick up and throw away the ruined contents and to dig out the inches of thick black mud that coated the floors.

In one house we even found a fish, who was probably quite surprised to end up in someone's hallway under their shoe rack.

Here's the band of volunteers being transported to the next job, and there will be plenty of work to do for weeks, months and years to come in Ishinomaki and other towns. We are very lucky to live where we do in northern Sendai, high above sea level and away from the coast.

Still, even the mud and debris couldn't stop spring from showing through in little spots here and there. There's hope yet.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Omiyage (souvenirs) from Osaka
The book is by photographer Kotori Kawashima and features her delightful darling daughter Mirai - scowls, snotty noses and all.

Omiyage on my desk when I returned to Sendai.
Lots of delicious cakes and mochi from kindly teachers.
Gareth and I are big fans of the bottom left cake - "a financier".