May Trip and Jesse’s Birthday

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May 252021

We went on a short cabin trip two weeks ago at the end of May holiday to a location in Gifu prefecture (I think), about 1.5 hours drive from home.

First we saw Naegi Castle ruins. Not much to see there as the actual castle structure was carted off in the later part of the 19th century. The castle was made by an ally of Nobunaga, but fell to the Tokugawa clan. Anyway, nothing much to see but the foundations, but it was a nice little hike and it’s pretty.

Family across from the Naegi Castle ruins

After the hike we went to a river and the boys went fishing. Basically, people there released some fish near us in the river and the boys tried to catch them. Normally we could cook it there, but due to Covid, we had to cook it ourselves later at the cabin.

The BBQ set at the cabin was actually just a pre-fab concrete drainage gutter (the type found all over Japan). Akiva found some cinder blocks to put coal ontop to elevate it closer to the meat. I cooked the fish and also chicken and beef.

Next day went back to the river and walked up a trail. There were several waterfalls.

Akiva also found some baby bamboo shoots in the forrest. We took that home and made bamboo chicken rice.

Next weekend (actually yesterday) was my birthday. On Sunday, to celebrate, we went out to the beach.

 Posted by at 11:34 pm

Akiva’s 16th Birthday

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Jan 252021

Akiva turned 16 today. Celebrations started 2 days ago when we had sushi roll dinner.



Kids are on home-online school because of a COVID situation. So we’ve been cooped up at home. But we’ve been playing boardgames. Akiva and Kenaz are playing chess together.

Today we had a BBQ. We made BBQ shrimp, steak, shabu-shabu beef, grilled onions, shitake mushrooms, and sweet potatoes. Then we said happy birthday and had icecream cake.





Two closing comments. 1. I can barely move right now.  2. My sons are growing up too fast. And I’m very proud of him.

 Posted by at 7:57 pm

Fuji Mountain Trip

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Oct 292020


Three weeks ago we went on a 3 day trip to Fuji Mountain.

We had a government provided discount for the hotel and $60 voucher to spend on souvenirs and convenience store food. At the hotel there was a torture course.


On the first day we went for a lite walk through the woods. Before the walk, we started at a shrine.

shrine 1

In the woods, we met an elderly local woman who was collecting chestnuts, mushrooms, and pretty red berries. She handed me a berries which smelled great and caused me to gain lots of energy. But two hours later my hands swelled up.

close 1

first walk 1

After that walk we drove to a scenic “Diamond Fuji” spot.

fuji 1

scenic spot 1




scenic spot 2

That night we had local “flat” noodles and karage chicken.


Next day we went to Fuji mountain and we hiked around the tree line.

fuji hike 1

fuji hike 2

fuji hike 4

fuji hike 5

fuji hike 7

On the third day, we went on a 4 hours hike were we visited some caves. The forests around Fuji are redwood-like, but on volcanic soil ground. It was quite beautiful.

cave 1

forest walk

Just BTW, day before we went, we had a BBQ.


 Posted by at 3:14 pm

Kenaz and Haga’s Birthdays

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Sep 292020

Kenaz turned 14. Haga turned 50.

Over these Birthday weeks (and High Holidays) we went to a movie in a theater (Tenet… they liked it but the sound was too loud), ate Mumbran (Mount Blanc) cake, went to the beach, did a Costco trip, ate tiramisu, went to a great Ramen restaurant, and other things.



This was Sunday, at the beach (beach videos a little blurry because of the not completely waterproof waterproof case on my camera)

Some underwater shots. Akiva in this video is trying to spear a fish with a dull piece of broken bamboo:

Kids coming out of the water while the videographer covered part of the video with his finger:

Haga had a relaxing time:


On Haga’s Birthday we ate mumbran:


During her birthday weekend we went hiking through parks and small mountains:





The parks and mountains were not far from our house. Here is a timelapse of the bikeride:

BTW, we’ve been swimming and exercising. And last week we had this delicious Hokaido – Miso Ramen after our workout (I didn’t eat this bowl because of all the pork, but if I liked pork, this would be really good):


 Posted by at 4:27 pm

My Birthday

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May 282020

So… it was my Birthday.  Funny story.  During the year, in moments of depression, I convinced myself that I”m actually several years older and hence closer to death and the void and all the world is going to fall apart.  My family told me my real age, making me realize that I’m younger than I thought.  Also, as the world is falling apart, I feel great because it’s not me who is crazy.  And, actually, I got it pretty good in some ways. (note, in video below I have not shaved in about 10 days, so I look like I have a white beard).



My wife made me icecream cake.  One was vanilla with Oreo cookie crust. Because my wife really loves me she also put yogurt into the icecream to make it more healthy. And Akiva prepared the chocolate icecream with serial in it, also to make it more healthy.

cake 3


Kids prepared decorated chocolate bars to top the cake.


cake decorations1

As a birthday activity, family got some concrete cement from the dollar store and we decorated the patio bricks and planter bricks with broken glass and dollar-store bought beads (I put in the patio recently using bricks we borrowed from some places)

garden 2

garden 3 garden 4


I got serious about the garden when I was depressed and thought the world would end. Now we have a jungle of potato and tomato plants (inspired by the movie “The Martian”).  I put some decorations on it too. I think this is going to be a new hobby of mine. I’ll go to the river and get broken beer bottles – cleaning the river is a mitzvot – and then decorate my garden with it.



 Posted by at 9:01 pm

Activities in the Spring of Uncertainty

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Apr 122020

Went on a hike to visit five mysterious tombs and get a lot of exercise (for me).


We had a small Passover celebrations…

Bad Baseball Video (warning: it’s bad)

 Posted by at 10:57 pm

Kids, Haga, and Grandma in Malaysia

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Oct 232019

Haga, Akiva, Kenaz, and Grandma Kuniko are in Malysia on a short vacation. I have to work so cannot join them.  Which is ok because making money is important.  They report that they are having a great time.


Akiva working out / jogging on the sand.


Lobsters for lunch (maybe dinner… that looks like a lot of food)


Ikuko and Kuniko.




 Posted by at 11:14 am