2020 Tokyo Olympics: Yes or No? (July Blog)

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the upcoming Olympic Games, scheduled to start on July 23rd, due to Covid-19, the lack of vaccinations and continuous increase in cases, especially in Tokyo. With a new State of Emergency being ordered for Tokyo from July 12th-August 22nd and the strong likelihood that no spectators will be allowed, there are e […]

Michinoeki-Roadside Stations (November Blog)

Last autumn, my daughter and I decided we wanted to take a trip one weekend, but as we have a large dog, we were disinclined to go to a hotel. We decided to take a road trip with the dog to Niigata and stay in out van. This was the first of several trips we have now made, and was our introduction to the wonders of Michinoeki. Generally we drive and as we are […]

Technology: Pros and Cons (January Blog)

As we welcome the new decade, I reflect on all the advances in technology that have happened in my lifetime. In the past 50 years, I have seen so many inventions come, and some go as well. Microwave ovens, 8 track tapes, cassette tapes, CDs, MP3 players, color TVs with remote controls, video games, cordless phones, answering machines, pagers, car phones, dig […]

Japanese Medical Care (September Blog)

I have often found myself comparing health care in Japan to that in Canada. In both countries we are lucky to have national health care. Health care costs in Canada are much lower than those in Japan, and they cover 100% of medical costs rather than the 70% coverage in Japan, but do not include medication or dental care. In recent years, talking to my family […]

Music and Learning (January Blog)

In junior high school I was lucky enough to be taught French by a brilliant teacher. She not only taught French, but she was also our music teacher. She often taught us French songs and even put verb conjugation into song. Although I have forgotten much of my French after many years of not speaking it, I still remember most of the French songs and can still […]

Hakone Ekiden (January Blog)

One of the things I look forward to over the New Year’s holiday is watching the Hakone Ekiden. When I was younger, and my father-in-law would watch it every year, I never understood what was interesting about it, just a bunch of boys/men running. Then one year I sat down and watched it with him. I found myself caught up in the drama and excitement and now I […]

Barbecuing in Canada -August Blog-

People in Japan are often surprised at how often I BBQ. Barbecuing in Canada is much more common than in Japan, and is more like a form of cooking than a special event. Most houses have gas lines connected outside, on the deck or patio, so that we can hook up our BBQ to it. It is much more convenient to cook using a gas BBQ than a charcoal one, and cleanup i […]

Chinook Winds

Recently I watched the movie The Revenant with Leonardo DiCaprio, who mistook the sudden warming, brought on by Chinook winds, as global warming. This got me to thinking that many people don’t know about this weather phenomenon unique to the North Western U.S. and South Western Canada. Growing up near Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Chinook winds were common. The […]