Bright, White, Tiny Beauties

Ikebana May

Droplets of pure white among bold jungle greens. This week I repeatedly heard the Ikebana Sensei say ‘jungle’ then again it could all have been in my head. It made sense though, I believe she was referring to the large jungle-esque leaf we were playing with. The after school Friday peace rituals of placing and re-placing these flowers until they look their prettiest has become a wonder of day dreaming for me. You day dream while you arrange and you day dream about arranging. Watching others grasp a perfect slot between countless attempts of ‘this way and that’ is really very satisfying. Finding your own slot is an un-beatable feeling of satisfaction.

I used to think sport was my only way, my only hobby, but this art of flower arranging is just as effective for releasing those knots of tension in your body, and a good bit less sweaty. It is just as good as a hot bath too.

Ikebana May

 
 

Ikebana May

 
 

Ikebana May

Ikebana May

Ikebana May

Ikebana May

a recognition, being you

 
 
 
 
 

Invite (back)

“a recognition, being you”

Photography and Etching Print Exhibition by Christy Bahr & Hannah Leggett.

Held at Gallery Novita on Shinmachi Street in Aomori City. Open from Friday, June 10th running for the weekend and closing Sunday, June 12th.

The gallery is open from 10:00AM – 6:00PM. Its easy to spot, opposite the Sakurano department store.

We’d love to see you there, please come check it out!

‘Haru’ Cafe

Haru Cafe

 

‘Haru’ cafe in Namioka town is a wonderland, isn’t it just perfectly beautiful?

Haru Cafe

 

Haru Cafe

 

Haru Cafe

 

Haru Cafe

 

Haru Cafe

It’s a sweet little spot where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and a slice of cake, or simply pay 300yen (3euro) to walk around and enjoy the atmosphere. Though the cake option  is a far better choice than no cake option, obviously.

Haru Cafe

 

Coffee and Cake at Haru

 

Haru Cafe

Upstairs is a small museum of old school home appliances. A load of what (at first glance) looks like old boxes and chunk of plastic but on closer inspection are in fact ancient tellies, radios, irons, clothes washers, sewing machines, ovens ect. It was like being stuck in my gannies world, amazing little collection of trinkets.

Washing Machines

 

Haru Cafe

 

In Japan you will usually enter a cafe through a curtain like this

 

...and be welcomed into a place like this

 

by a warm hearted chatty owner like this

 

Haru Cafe

 

Haru Cafe

 

Haru Cafe

 

Thanks again to Chika in Namioka station who gave us a map and bikes so we could get to this beauty of a spot!

Mark, Sonomi, myself and Chika

Namioka Desu

Namioka Tour Trio

 

A beautiful little town tucked on the bread line of Aomori City, technically speaking according to the ‘important people’ it is in the city, but it’s pretty far out and really nothing like the/a ‘city’. It’s beautifully peaceful, a gem of a town to be able to take a 15minute train journey to. It is a picturesque little village…with plenty of cute smiling old grannies.

Obachan (tending to her rice field)

 

I had found a café in the Aomori ‘café book’ and this was essential the moral of our trip, but it blossomed into much more. Arriving into the train station a friend who works there was not only delighted about visitors but she was brimming with helpful tips. Free rental bikes, maps and recommendations in hand we set about on a bike-road trip of Namioka. First stop was the ‘Castle’, turns out there is actually no castle, but it was deadly anyways, we caught the end of the sakura which was beautiful. It was pretty much just a really nice hill. Still one should never expect a big castle in such a small idyllic little spot, what were we thinking? I stupidly actually had an image of Hirosaki castle in my head, way over-imagined that one!

The Castle

 

Sakura Namioka Sakura Namioka

 

Sakura Namioka

 

Sakura Petals

 

We biked then to ‘Haru’ café followed by a very bizarre onsen experience. It consisted of one ridiculously hot pool, which made me go extremely red, extremely fast, along with several head rushes. This was surrounded by a few wash spots which were all taken up by gossiping obachans when we walked in. Even though you strip naked and stomp around among plenty of other nakeders I have never actually felt awkward at an onsen, but I felt a liiiiiiitle awkward here. There was no-where to hide or shelter from the gawking grannies. Myself and Sonomi had to share a little wash bucket when one became free and I genuinely could not get into the actually bath, it was unbearably hot. So I did get in, eventually, after some serious coaxing from Sonomi and followed by a cold splash before changing I can safely safe I felt amazing! So turns out when things are awkward or uncomfortable over-hot you must persist and you will be rewarded a glorious glow.

Namioka is a lovely little spot.

Sakura Petals

 

Namioka ❤

Eaten bread is forgotten…baking bread is always remembered

 

Focaccia

 

A second last bread bake included Focaccia which for me is always a winner…have a tissue ready for your dribbles 😉

May Pan was four focaccia , blueberry buns, another weird jelly treat and some crispy cookies.

There is mashed potatoe powder in the focaccia, ‘weird?’…I thought that too. But don’t diss it till you’ve baked it. Yea it’s amazing. The blueberry buns have blueberry syrup, which will be tricky enough to find but worth the hassle. The blue buns are also topped with a ‘topping’ layer and the left over ‘topping’ mixture makes cheapo cookies.

Focacia before, durings, after;

Egg glazing the 'before' Focaccia

 

I need one of these at home, I resorted to using a make-up brush last week (an un-used one of coure)

 

Focaccia

Next is dem berryblue buns

 

Blueberry buns with topping .

 

The topping is soft, slightly sticky and sweet, the inside is half between a soft muffin and bready bread.

 

BB Bread Buns

 

Left over topping mix

 

With the left over topping mix you make the below (image) from the above…we didn’t expect such intense expanding so it was more like one giant holy cooky instead of lots of minis, regardless we tore em up and devoured them worryingly fast!

Topping Cookies

 

Half Way

 
 

Macha Tea Jelly

 
 

On top of the macha green jelly is in fact more jelly...not ice cubes

 

Pan Class wouldnt be complete without some crazy jelly treat. This one was fairly gritty from the macha tea that settled on the bottom, but regardless it was rather refreshing as a dessert. Of course the ‘An Beans’ made their way into the dessert in some way, this time used as a sprinkled sweet flavor to contrast the cool jelly.

舌家 Shitake Mushrooms

Namioka

During the summer while visiting the special needs school in Namioka they so generously donated a water melon to me one day. I remember being so delighted then suddenly realizing there was an epic task ahead of me…trekking the thing for a 30minute walk to the train station, a 15minute train journey and then (the trickiest of it all) a 15 minute cycle up to my apartment. A very large non-bounceble heavy oaf of an object was suddenly all my responsibility.

No way could I have just chucked it into a bush (some people actually are surprised I didn’t do this). First it was a gift, second they had encouraged this beautiful fruit to grow for months and months, third Namioka is a TINY country village somebody 100% would have spotted me chucking it or found it and linked it straight to me and lastly it was 34degrees during those summer days, I wanted that juicy watermelon. It was an epic journey for both me and the melon, I got my bike and I pushed them both up the hill for the last part of the trek….my arms also ached for a few days afterwards from the 30minutes walk. I was spotted by plenty of teachers and students both ends of the journey and they still talk about how funny it was that I actually bothered to trek it home, I find it funny they still remind me about it every other week!

Namioka

 

Namioka

 

The same teacher that gave me the watermelon also gave me a pumpkin at Halloween which was equally tricky to get home but a good bit smaller and less stressful, in September I got a large (of course heavy) bag of apples and sweet potatoes. So last Wednesday I arrived into the school and the minute I had changed to my indoor shoes there was my pal standing across the hall, she shouted ‘Hannah Sensei good morning, I have very special surprise for you’……..I waved and smiled and shouted ‘Good morning, I’m excited’ thinking to myself ‘most definitely a ridiculously heavy large sized fruit’.

Even though I may struggle on the journeys I adore these gifts, I would walk the journey twice if it meant they made it home safe. They are grown with such love by the kids and are always unbelievably delicious, plus my arms get a great work out.

Fourth Period I arrived into ‘Veggie Sensei’s’ class to help out with the lesson to see her standing and waiting with a student both gloved/booted up. ‘Come come we go pick surprise now’.

I was thinking gosh maybe she’s going to give me a tree of something! Usually I get a pre-picked, pre-washed and wrapped goods. So we walked around the back, down the grass path and into the woods with me constantly thinking ‘WHAT is she going to give me.’

What an amazing surprise when we came across hordes of fluffy mushrooms growing off the trees. Wow I could not have been happier, of all the veggies this has got to be the lightest and least awkward to carry. Great success! We picked a load of them, while she explained to me she wanted to give me enough to try in all kinds of shitake dishes; as tempura, in nabe, in ramen, fried, grilled, bbq’d.

Shitake from Namioka

These are ‘Shitake’ which is a type of mushroom, they have many many types of mushrooms in Japan, all with different names, ‘why’ I asked, well because ‘Japanese love mushrooms!’

Shitake from Namioka

 

Shitake from Namioka

 

Shitake from Namioka

Japan Times Article

There are reminders everywhere about the recent disaster, but people are trying hard to continue and to move on. Aomori is back on its feet for sure and life is back to normal for some, but it is a different kind of normal, an edge of despair for others and the loved that are forever lost, will always linger . When you read the news you’re constantly reminded of the luck we were gifted with.

Everyday I check the Japan Times online, the article below made my heart sink more than most of them and reminded me that everything between us and Tokyo is so very far from normal.

Fukushima village on way to becoming ghost town

 

Special to The Japan Times

IITATE, Fukushima Pref. — Sleepy, idyllic and dangerously irradiated, the village of Iitate is preparing to evacuate.

 

News photo
Stony silence: Residents who were forced to evacuate from their homes in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, listen to Norio Tsuzumi, executive vice president of Tokyo Electric Power Co., speak about the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant April 30. KYODO PHOTO

 

The junior high school is closed, its children bused every day to nearby towns. Tractors sit idle, and weeds poke through rice and cabbage in the fields. Half-empty shelves greet customers at the A-Coop supermarket.

By the end of the month, this mountainous farming village of 7,000 people in Fukushima Prefecture, recently voted one of Japan’s most beautiful places, will join the Ukrainian ghost town of Pripyat on the planet’s short list of nuclear casualties.

“We’ve no idea when we can come back,” said Katsuzo Shoji, who farms rice and cabbage, and keeps a small herd of cattle about 2 km from Iitate’s village office.

Shoji, 75, went from shock to rage and then despair when the government told him he would have to destroy his vegetables, kill his six cows and move with his wife, Fumi, 73, to an apartment, probably in the city of Koriyama about 20 km away.

“We’ve heard five, maybe 10 years, but some say that’s far too optimistic,” he said, crying. “Maybe I’ll be able to come home to die.”

Iitate has been living on borrowed time since the March 11 quake and tsunami knocked out the cooling systems of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, about 40 km away. Though outside the government’s 30-km danger zone set up around the plant, the village’s mountainous topography meant radiation spewing from its crippled reactors lingered, poisoning crops and water.

The young, the wealthy, mothers and pregnant women began leaving for Tokyo or elsewhere. The rest gathered every day in the village office for information and prayed against the inevitable.

Last month, the central government finally ordered the remaining citizens to leave after the International Atomic Energy Agency and other observers warned that safe radiation limits for cesium and other toxins had been exceeded.

“We’ve been told to quit our jobs and move out by the end of the month,” said Miyoko Nakamura, 59, a clerk in the village office. She is near retirement and says she’ll manage. “A lot of people have no idea what to do. They’re just hoping everything will be OK somehow.”

Villagers snort at the initial compensation of ¥1 million offered by Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the ruined Fukushima plant. Farmers will be given another ¥350,000 in moving expenses this month. After that, there are no more concrete promises.

“Money is the biggest question people have,” explained Takashi Hamasaka, an official from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry seconded to the village to assist with the evacuation. “They want the government to pay more.

“If it was just a tsunami or earthquake we would pay, but the nuclear problem was made by Tepco so the situation is so difficult,” he said.

Among the government’s tasks is finding homes for 700 family pets that will be left behind. Thousands of pigs and more than 8,000 of the region’s famous, prized “wagyu” beef cattle, worth up to ¥1 million a head, will be slaughtered if they can’t be relocated.

Apartments in towns outside the irradiated zone must be found for the people, who are being kept alive on supplies shipped into the village office. Bottled water, masks and diapers for bedridden elderly lie in boxes around the hall. Locals arrive in light vans to pick up the supplies and glance at the Geiger counter across the road, which hovers at around 3.15 microsieverts per hour.

Tepco officials, led by Executive Vice President Norio Tsuzumi, came to the village hall more than a week ago to apologize.

Pictures from the visit show the officials, dressed in identical utility suits, bowing deeply before 1,000 mostly stony-faced locals.

“Give us back our beautiful village,” one demanded.

Some say the disaster is too big for any company to manage, even one as powerful as Japan’s largest utility.

“At least they can raise electricity prices,” said Shoji. “What can we do except wait for our homes back?”

Local restaurants have already shut. Many display signs of a smiling cartoon cow, the symbol of Iitate beef. Now the beef is too irradiated to sell.

The lone supermarket, a crucial lifeline to many elderly customers, still operates — at least for now. A notice on the window lists the names of nonprofit organizations willing to look after abandoned pets.

“We’re waiting to see what happens; some older people are not leaving and they need us,” said manager Toshiyuki Matsuda. “They would have to shop 20 km away if we weren’t here.”

A woman in the parking lot outside was bundling her shopping into a small pickup truck.

“I’m old, I’ve been here all my life — where would I go?” she asked. “I’m going to stay and if the supermarket closes I’ll go elsewhere.”

METI official Hamasaka shrugged his shoulders when asked what the government would do about holdouts.

“It’s a good question. We don’t have any power to force them to go.”

Faced with a similar problem closer to the stricken nuclear plant, the government last month turned the 20-km zone around it into a no-go area. Evacuees who return there now face arrest and fines. Hundreds of thousands of farm animals are being slaughtered.

Farmers in the vicinity claim their produce is safe to eat, but that the country has become hysterical about Fukushima’s fallout. Many have heard stories of children evacuated from the village, sometimes hundreds of kilometers away, being bullied, a painful echo of the decades-long discrimination that dogged survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“I’ve heard that other kids shout ‘baikin’ (vermin) at them,” said Shoji’s granddaughter, Hiroko, 22.

Like many in the area, Shoji, whose family has been farming this land since the 1880s, is too old to become embroiled in a protracted legal battle with Tepco or the government.

“All we can do is bow our heads and heed the order,” he said as his wife, granddaughter and eldest son, Hidekatsu, looked sadly on. He has been told that he will be taken care of but fears compensation offers will dwindle once the media spotlight shifts elsewhere.

The bitterest irony of the crisis that has destroyed their lives, he says, is that this rural area, 250 km from Tokyo, sees not a single watt of the electricity produced by the Fukushima plant.

“All the power is sent to the city. We had nothing to do with this problem, but we will have to somehow bear the burden.”

Cafe Chienomi

Coffee at Chienomi

When I leave this amazing country in August there will be a never ending list of ‘what I will miss most about Japan’ but I can safely say that the beautifully  cafés will be in the ‘Top 5’. They are so perfectly quiet and so incredibly cute. They’re a picture of elegance and delicacy at the same time as being cozy and comfy. I cannot think of anywhere in this world that has such silent hidden gems of delight. Granted you have to go searching for these beauties but it’s not too hard and once you find them, in your heart they are forever found. A lot have French names because the Japanese like the idea of the modern chic Parisian cafés. I’m not sure they realize the Nihon version is so very much better. A café in Paris will always have a buzz, doors swinging, people chatting, phones ringing, music playing…the silence does not exist in Paris like it exist here. When you bow down, enter through the wooden sliding doors and push the off white linen cloth aside you walk into another world. I have never seen any of these places jammed, if anybody at all there is a solo somebody in the corner reading a book. The music is so slight that you have to close your eyes and really listen to hear it.

Sonomi Chan at Chienomi

 

Spongey Cloud Cake

The air is bright, the chairs are tiny, the colors are soft and the cakes are so very very spongy. From the outside it’s near impossible to spot these cafes, they are not un-inviting as such just understated and un-advertised. I believe maybe this is why they make you search, you have to want to go here to find it, you have to earn your spot in this world.

Cafe Chienomi

 

Cafe Chienomi

Myself and my friend found ‘Chienomi’ after some cycle searching on Sunday and the help of a handy sneaky café guide I had recently purchased. The sun has really started to work its magic on Aomori and when we arrived into this café we were met by the most glorious of sun streaks gleaming through the windows, I never wanted to leave. I wanted to eat cloudlike cake all day. This place and its surroundings genuinely made my heart melt a little bit, I don’t think I will ever find a place like it outside Aomori. It was beautiful, it was so perfect.

Cafe Chienomi

 

Cafe Chienomi

 

Take a Seat

This Is Nihon

An Farmer Obachan Resting

Nihon the country not Nikon the camera.

Would you ever clip your nails at your desk in work? Visible/ hearable for all? If you went to Cork on a business trip would you bring back a mini cadbury’s bar for everyone in your office? Do you hold the door for the people behind you or sometimes let some go ahead of you? Do you slurp your tea or noodles at a fancy dinner party? Would you ever take a swig out of your drink when the person’s glass beside you was empty?

In Japan some of these are very rude, some are a sign of great respect while others are just completely normal, whatever the answers it’s the opposite for me and my country.

I still find it insanely difficult to accept the door slam swinging thing here, I continue to hold the door for others because I just find it evil allowing it to smack back into my followers face. It is so very strange here of all places only because it goes against their everyday standard of politeness, they will bow and smile to a great extent but that door is just not going to get held open. I receive endless doors swinging at me and I have to keep telling myself its good for me, it takes me down a peg or two.

I find the omiagay (souvenir buying) both a little painful and a great pleasure. The stress of remembering everyone and allowing a sufficiently large chunk of your holiday budget to be allocated on these gifts is just nobody’s joy, but (and a big but) it’s a very generous and kind tradition that I believe should be respected and enjoyed for generations to come. There is something really enjoyable about receiving a little treat from a small village, a local tradition, something directly from there to you. It also gives great pleasure to see the enjoyment on people’s faces when you present them with a small bit of your country, bringing your local goodies all the way across the world for them to enjoy makes you proud, and they really really do enjoy it.

If your co-worker had a cold would you prefer them to sniffle all day or get it over with and blow their noses? I would opt for ‘blow it out’, Japan believes blowing your nose is very rude, an awful pity they think that sniffling is not. Sniffling is quiet and cute (yet constant) in a way compared to a big blow out, but a happy medium between these two would be a perfect world.

The nails are clipped wherever and whenever. Frequently during a quiet lull in the office you will hear a gentle clip…. clip…..clip. The sound made me shudder in disgust at first but has grown normal to me now. It’s practical to Japanese, they are very clean people and so don’t see anything dirty about it. I’ve seen them take out a little tissue on the train and very carefully trim their nails between stops. Nobody even batted an eyelid, I tried really hard not to stare that day so I closed my eyes and enjoyed an imaginary scene of somebody on the Dart/ Luas doing the exact same, which made me smile, a lot.

I have a ‘bad habit’ in Ireland of slurping my tea, it tastes better I swear it does, but here in Japan it is anything but a bad habit, I feel very at home and appreciated for my slurping, I am even encouraged and praised about it. I love this slurping business, either listening to others professional slurps or practicing my own, it’s great fun.

A watched kettle never boils? Well in Japan a watched drink never fills. You must distract yourself by constantly pouring drinks for others, even if they are full to the brim you offer them more which makes them sip the top layer off, just enough so you can top ‘em up. It seems like almost a waste of a night, running around filling up everyone’s drinks but you realize that it’s merely used as an excuse to mingle, it gives you an opportunity to offer a kind gesture and have a quick chat…and not to worry you’ll never go dry, the favor will always be returned.

Never let it empty...

 

On Tuesday it was a national holiday and so I headed for a swim at 10am in the local community pool, rather than my usually 5pm after work slot. Presuming it was the same deal, pay and hop in wherever there is space in a lane, I went about it pretending it was 5pm. I got the same smiles from the employees, we practiced our ‘How are you today?…I’m fine thank you and you?’. I hopped into a lane with a few others and headed off on a warm up, it wasn’t until after a good 20 lengths that I realized I had in fact plonked myself into the very middle of an adult swimming lesson. The kindness of them all just ignoring me and continuing on with their lesson around me was amazing, the teacher didn’t even bother kicking me out. I was so embarrassed I wasn’t sure whether to just continue and pretend I hadn’t realized or make the shameful apology. Eventually I grew the courage to apologise and bow a lot of times (which is pretty hard in water) everybody laughed and said ‘ok ok no problem’. Of all the lanes, I had to choose the only one with a lesson in it.

So there are endless differences in life between Asia and Europe, they are fantastic, some are harder to handle than others but largely if taken with a pinch of salt they’re great fun for both nations.

 

A Spring Spread

つかさ Restaurant, Spring 2011

Spring is here and with it comes many ‘spring things’. The Sakura cherry blossom of course and its ‘Hanami’ parties, but along with that comes spring themed Ikebana class at school, spring decorations in the train stations, spring clothes in the shops, flower designs on the beer cans, blossom leaves in the onsens… spring theme is what it is all about right now. The food in the shops changes, vegatables come in and out of fashion along with the season. Its more the price of the vieegies that changes as opposed to the actual veggies, as far as I can recall this doesn’t really happen in Ireland. But it very much happens here.  The food in the shops in turn changes the food on the menus, the restaurants serve flourishingly flowery pretty beauty bites.

Pate #1

 

Plate #2

It wouldn’t be a change of season without a ritual season themed Japanese dinner with Atsushi San. We returned to つかさ (Tsukasa) and enjoyed dinner with no heater blasting and the evening sun stretching through the blinds.

Atsushi requested a small traditional room so that I could see and understand the real size of a Japanese tea room. Of course you would usually sit on the floor in these rooms but restaurants are becoming more westernized (and less painful) and have introduced tables to some of their rooms.  Atsushi San says he wouldn’t want me struggling with the floor sittng buisness…and he also dislikes it, so we get a lovely  big ol table with lots of room for leg stretching. BUT…putting a table in this tiny room made it seem even tinnier, along with the tiny door frame I pretty much felt like Alice in her wonderland bursting out of that house. Atsushi was obviously expecting my giantness because the very first thing was to take a photo of me beside the door…thankfully I’m not giant sesnsitive.

Giant Hannah Sensei

We enjoyed some fantastic dishes from starter through to dessert (plate number 7) and shamefully I was so wrapped up with the room I forgot to snap each one, but take my word they were beautiful and delicious as always.

Not an inch of ‘Shirako’ in sight, I do believe that is now out of season but I will not curse myself and say farewell to it until I am on that plane home, its haunting, still.

The starter was a mix of fishmash stuff, a few slimy looking odd bits but small enough to swallow without thinking too much, it tasted very good. We had ‘Tai’ fish, this is known as a celebration fish and is a sign of glory and happiness. It is very popular for weddings and was served to us to celebrate the coming of spring. Atsushi San showed me what you to when you receive this fish if you are a winner of a big competition and he looked exactly like this photo!

Glory of the 'Tai Plate

 The sushi dish was very unusually decorative, lots of seasame and pink. The most unusual was the wrapper of salt that accompanied it, you unwrap the shiny pink stuff and dip the seasame tempura into the sour green salt. It tasted like lemon salt. Who knows though, could very much not be lemon salt.The sashimi plate was lovely and light, not too much of anything which was nice. I am getting a tad worried about my consumption of raw tuna, the mercury you consume from the tuna never leaves your body and is supposedly pretty damaging for your kid making organs. The tuna fish being high up in the food chain means its mercury levels are fairly intense…Iv eaten a fair ol load of raw tuna but not to worry once I leave Japan I can start a tuna drought…maybe.

Sushi and Tempura Plate

 

Fancy Lemon Green Salt

 

Sashimi Plate

For dessert we enjoyed ‘Guihe’ and everytime I asked what ‘Guihe’ was I was answered ‘Guihe’, so yea no clue coudln’t even find anything online. It was like a thin wrap of ‘mochi’ (glutinous rice pounded into paste and molded into shape) with caramel custard inside, and a lovely plum looking berry. Amazing little dessert and of course Atsushi San pawned his off to me as a trade off for a slimy prawn at the sashimi plate. Full full spring bellies.

Guihe Pancake

It was very interesting to hear Atsushi describe the Japanese job world during this dinner, he told me all about workers being ‘placed’ in areas of the prefecture. You sign up to become an employee of a firm and then every three years you get shuffled (some stay put but not many). Each time you shuffle you could get sent to the opposite end of the prefecture miles away from your original slot. It is perfectly normal for a husband to live four hours away from his family for six or more years. I thought it was fairly shocking to hear of families being split up for such long periods of time but to Japan that is how the working world keeps on its toes. They believe it is the best way to maintain good work relationships. Atsushi San agreed thatvit is sad/ lonely and stressful for a far away father. He would know having gone through years of it himself, he believes it is time for a change. Then again Japan doesn’t look too kindly on change so doubtful this change is anywhere nearby.

Kampai agus Slainte