Category Archives: fun stuff

Funny sign! Please be careful to bears.

The sign says it all. Please be careful to bears.

I’m crossing my fingers and hoping a bear doesn’t come too close to our house. Last summer there was a bear in the garden of my friend’s house, only a kilometer up the road. It kept visiting the same persimmon tree quite a few evenings in a row, and made a “sofa” for itself in the branches of the tree, by putting a few branches together like a nest. Fair dinkum! The summer before there was a bear even closer. 300 meters away. It ate half the grapes in the orchard and fell asleep under the vines, where the farmer found it in the early morning. I heard the farmer rushed back into his house and the bear woke up and ran away.

2015-03-17 11.51.12


This little bird is still coming to my back door everyday for crumbs, and this is it at my window.

2015-01-16 10.09.22

Bye for now! I’ll be back with my cherry blossom pictures soon.






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Posted by on April 21, 2015 in fun stuff


Wild Onion topped Vanilla “Soft Cream” Ice Cream in Arakawa, Chichibu

A delicious restaurant to have within walking distance from home, the ramen noodle shop next to “Arakawa Michi-no-eki” (“Road Station”) in Hino has some unusual toppings on its “soft cream” vanilla ice cream cones. The most unusual being the “gyosha ninniku” (broad-leafed wild onion) topping which is vanilla ice cream topped with leaves of allium victorialis marinated in soy sauce. But don’t worry, the other toppings are locally grown seasonal fruits including blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, figs, chestnut and a really nice unusual pumpkin. Rhubarb topping will be available from around June.That’s on my “to-do list”!

pumpkin, fig, chestnut, vanilla with strawberry, strawberry and vanilla mix, and strawberry ice cream with strawberries!

pumpkin, fig, chestnut, vanilla with strawberry, strawberry and vanilla mix, and strawberry ice cream with strawberries!


vanilla, garlic, blueberry, chocolate, azuki, kiwi

vanilla, garlic, blueberry, chocolate, azuki, kiwi


That's the gyosha ninniku plant in front

That’s the victory onion plant in front


a baby boar called Chocora (future not so sweet)

Newborn boar called Chocora (future not so sweet)

Chocora's sibling called Choco!

Chocora’s sibling called Choco! (in a box outside the restaurant)

The same restaurant has a delicious “tendon”, vegetable tempura on rice dish and other yummy dishes, including the local speciality of potato deep fried in tempura batter and served with sweet miso paste sauce. Now I’m hungry! (again).

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Posted by on April 16, 2014 in fun stuff


Chichibu snow news

February 21 2014

Many parts of Chichibu are still isolated, including the mountainous areas around Mitsumine Shrine, Nakatsugawa and Urayama as the roads are impassable. The helicopters are still flying over all day with supplies and self-defense force personnel. The main route 299 from the south was just opened on Wednesday and the Seibu Chichibu line just resumed operation on its whole route at around 4pm this afternoon. Chichibu Railway is still under snow from Kagemori to Mitsumine-guchi.  The snow removal vehicle cannot come the whole way since there is an avalanche warning.

Our junior high school students made it onto NHK news and into the Yomiuri newspaper as the school had to hold classes in local community halls within walking distance of the students since they could not get the train to school. At our local hall near our house, three teachers and sixteen students attended “school” and received a school lunch of milk and plain bread (no jam) on Thursday. Our 91 year old neighbor noticed that is all the students got for lunch, so on Friday she cooked a huge pot of noodles and carried it to the students! What a star!

My father in law (79) is still digging snow during the day, and enjoying his whiskey and coke at night.

Here is a picture of Chichibu Railway lines under there somewhere, with the bamboo crossing poles snapped off and lying in the snow.




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Posted by on February 21, 2014 in fun stuff


Biggest snow on record in Chichibu

February 16 2014

96cm of snow and the roads are paralyzed as well as the Chichibu Railway and Seibu Railway from Koma towards Chichibu.

We’ve dug out a pathway, but there is no further to go today until the snow plough comes to open up the road tomorrow, or maybe the next day. They are busy trying to clear Route 140 which is still impassable. We cannot even get as far as Route 140. This is our local road.



speeding right along!

speeding right along!









Posted by on February 16, 2014 in fun stuff


Record Snow!!!

February 15, 2014

Last week we had the biggest snowfall in 48 years, knocking out Chichibu Railway for nearly two days, which is unprecedented. Today we have an even bigger snowfall. Just over to the west in Kofu, Yamanashi, it is the biggest snowfall for 118 years. Biggest snowfall just East in Kumagaya too, recorded at 62cm this morning and still going. Can’t tell you anymore details as the TV reception has gone off!

Cannot get out the front door either. So all the photos were taken looking out from the windows.





It is very quiet except for the sound of the bamboo snapping.


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Posted by on February 15, 2014 in fun stuff


Okara donuts in Ogawa-machi

On the way to Chichibu! In front of Ogawa-station, between Chichibu and Kawagoe, is a tofu shop which also sells scrumptuous okara donuts. Okara is the nutritious soy meal which is left after making soy milk out of soy beans. These donuts are prize winning! They came number 6 in a national sweets/snacks competition held in Ikebukuro in 2011.

okara (soy meal) donuts


healthy donuts!


“sandaime shimizuya” tofu shop, Ogawa


different types of tofu


It’s a fabulous drive over the mountains from Chichibu via Higashi Chichibu-mura to Ogawa town. The road between Higashi Chichibu-mura and Ogawa is a good road for cyclists, through lovely rural scenery.


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Posted by on June 16, 2012 in fun stuff


Dinosaur footprints in Ueno-mura, Gunma

Yabadabadooh! These are genuine dinosaur footprints found on the side of National Route 299 in Ueno, Gunma Prefecture, which is just over the border from Ogano, Chichibu. Ueno also has a great Dinosaur Museum with even better dinosaur shaped climbing frame for kiddies in the carpark!


dinosaur footprints


dinosaur footprints


nice explanation signboard in English


circles the footprints


Dinosaur loo is cordoned off over Winter because the water pipes might freeze!

dinosaur toilet!


i woz here



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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in fun stuff