Monthly Archives: May 2016

Japanese folk remedy for mosquito bites: hebi-ichigo

Here in Chichibu, living near bamboo forest, we get lots of mosquitos in the Summer. The neighbors put us onto this folk remedy for mosquito bites. Simply put the hebi-ichigo (literally snake-strawberries) in shochu (white liquor) and let it stand for a few weeks, until mosquito season. The hebi-ichigo are out now. They are said to be poisonous, and I noticed yesterday we had lots of monkeys go past but they didn’t eat the hebi-ichigo.

Here is the shochu, today’s hebi-ichigo in shochu, and last year’s jar.

hebiichigo in shochu

potentilla hebiichigo in shochu


hebi-ichigo in shochu

potentilla hebiichigo in shochu



potentilla hebiichigo


potentilla hebiichigo


Below is a wild raspberry, which is edible. Don’t confuse the two!

edible wild berry

edible wild berry

This Japanese home remedy works much better than anything from the pharmacy! Just dip your finger (or a tisssue) in the jar and wipe the shochu liquid on the insect bite, and forget you were bitten….

(Don’t drink the liquid.)


The “Scarecrows” of Niekawa!

I went for a walk nearby last week and got a big surprise. As I was walking up the deserted lanes, I kept getting a fright, thinking “oh, there’s somebody there!” After a few surprises, it dawned on me that something weird was going on. And it got weirder and weirder, until I found the explanation in a copy of a newspaper article pinned up on the noticeboard at the other end of the street. Apparently the people of Niekawa, not far from  Mitsuminguchi Station, are working hard to create one hundred scarecrows to display around their little village. They seem to be about half way there and are having fun making all kinds of “scarecrows” doing different things, like hunting and fishing. It says they hope the scarecrows will scare the monkeys and boars away too.

Here are some of the “scarecrows.”














Oh, and this is a real cat!

not a scare(dy)cat



And here’s the newspaper article if you need it!





It’s really quite intriguing! There are more, but I won’t ruin all the surprises.

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Posted by on May 24, 2016 in walks and places to go


Lake Tsuburata, Yorii (near Chichibu)

This is kind of a test run of my new camera. We came upon Lake Tsuburata (actually a dam) by accident when we were out for a drive in Golden Week. It is past its heyday by the feel of things. The hotels over the water are no longer habitable. The lake is used as a fishing spot for wakasagi (pond smelt) and herabuna (some kind of carp). They release the fish and you pay to catch them. It was very quiet and peaceful, with lots of fishing enthusiasts and all their gear, each spaced out along the platforms.



Disused hotels at Lake Tsuburata

Disused hotels at Lake Tsuburata




only resident of the hotel

only resident of the hotel

I’d like to go back for a walk around the lake. It’s about 4.3km around apparently. It would be nice for cycling too as the road goes from Yorii to Misato past Lake Tsuburata and there’s not too much traffic.

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Posted by on May 10, 2016 in walks and places to go