The Summer of Love

Oct 24th, 2007 Family & Friends, General Douglas 1 min read

It was the Summer of Love when Yumi’s dad, Yasuaki, made a decision that would forever change his life. The young man had vacation time saved up and decided to see the world. To live! Dressing the part, he bought a pair of black leather pants and jacket, greased up his hair, and jumped on the back of his motorcycle heading off for parts unknown….

Walking Wardrobe

Oct 22nd, 2007 Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

Otousan arrived today. As is tradition, Okaasan stuffed his suitcases full of goodies for the kids. This time she may have gotten a little carried away. His luggage was so full that he actually had no room for anything else and literally showed up wearing four layers of clothing and sweating profoundly.

Handicap Man!

Jul 20th, 2006 Family & Friends Douglas 1 min read

When Yumi received the phone call, I could tell she was gravely concerned. After all, her father’s health had deteriorated to the point of requiring dialysis three times a week. What I hadn’t expected when we arrived in Japan was how boastful he had become about his new found status. He was now officially “first class handicap,” and had a passport-like booklet to prove it….

Magic Water: Watch Your Money Disappear!

May 13th, 2005 Family & Friends Douglas 1 min read

Once I realized the problem, I no choice but to form a one-man intervention. The ring of the bell next door followed by the ceremonial “Konittiwa!” could only mean one thing – The unrelenting salesman had returned and would do so daily. Living in the house next to us was Okaasan’s longtime friend, who I referred to as “Next-door Obaachan,” and while her husband was…

Unrelenting Salesman

Jan 27th, 2004 Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

The art of door to door sales has not been lost in Japan as each day brings another unrelating salesman. Yesterday, Okaasan was unfortunate enough to answer. The man handed her his business card as he began his pitch. He attempted to convince her that she really needed her house painted and from his tone it seemed somewhat urgent that she have it done IMMEDIATELY!…

Space Heaters: The Last Frontier

Jan 9th, 2004 Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

Reality pitches its tent where science and imagination converge… Yesterday a team of astrophysicists in Australia detected galaxies about 10.8 billion light years away in a remote region of the universe. With light traveling at 9.5 trillion kilometers in one year, this means the galaxies are being observed as they appeared 10.8 billion years ago. Meanwhile, this morning while standing outside Okaasan’s house in the…

Watch Out for Fire!

Dec 29th, 2003 Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

Sometimes traditions refuse to die even when no one can quite explain them. Tonight I walked with the “Hino Youjin” (he-no-yo-jean) choir. At the end of every year, citizens get together to patrol their neighborhoods warning everyone to watch out for fire (as the paper-homed Japan had a long history of burning down). It’s an eerie sound to those of us who do not understand…

Kitchen Nightmares

Dec 16th, 2003 Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

Okaasan decided it was time to replace the stone-age kitchen while we were away from the cave visiting America. Since Otousan and I had recently painted the walls, she picked out cabinets to match. However, the contractor arrived with the wrong cabinets both in size and color. Not wanting a confrontation, she didn’t object as they proceeded to install them. As a result, one drawer…

Pills and Placebos

Nov 27th, 2003 Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

Funny thing about the flu season in Japan. Since the houses are so close together, walls so thin, you can usually hear the first outbreak in the neighborhood days before it reaches your house. Sounds like the Tanaka’s down the street got it. That’s about the time that everyone is instructed to scrub their hands raw anytime they enter the house. You’d better gargle as…