Summer 2016

Summer 2016
Summer in Tsukahara

Spring in Tsukahara

gkimbal's Spring in Tsukahara album on Photobucket

Saturday, July 28, 2012

It’s hot!

The title says it all. Yufuin will reach 94 degrees today. That’s 90 degrees plus high humidity. Seattle will have a high of 74 degrees. I think Yufuin had a low of 74 degrees last night. The rumors are true about the summer weather in Tsukahara. The temperature drops as soon as the sun sets. A light breeze usually takes the edge off the heat. We had a low of 68 last night…very comfortable for sleeping . During the day, the temperature reached 90 degrees. I’ve learned that a log house provides insulation against the heat. The third floor is unbearably hot, while the first floor is 5 degrees cooler than outside. So far, a fan is all that has been required to maintain comfort.
Lucky found the coolest spot in the house.
We have to be careful about electricity usage. Japan is suffering from a shortage of electrical power since the Fukushima disaster. During the summer when usage is at an all time high, the Japanese government is asking everyone to conserve. The power company has increased the cost of using electricity. Some areas are experiencing rolling blackouts to help control usage. The power company mailed us a warning alerting us as to when a blackout will occur. I’m surprised at the consideration they give their customers. In America, the lights go out without warning, and you have to live with it. Stay cool and we’ll try to do the same.   George

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Holidays and Weather

Nine months have passed since we moved to Japan. My goodness how time flies. The first quarter at school is nearing an end. The students will soon begin 6 weeks of summer holiday. I have been asked many times about how I will spend my holiday. Let’s see…I will be in an air-conditioned room, surfing the internet, and trying to keep from falling asleep. This is the first job where I would rather be working instead of being on holiday schedule. It used to be where a publically employed A.L.T. could enjoy the holiday, but hard economic times have changed all of that. I think it has something to do with taxpayers wondering why the A.L.T.’s aren’t preparing for the next quarter instead of taking a holiday. The logic makes economical sense, but an A.L.T. could easily get burned out. I’m just sitting back and trying to go with the flow. Hopefully, the business will someday support Erika and me so that we can schedule our own holidays.

On a different note…I’m still deciding which is worse, light rain for months on end (Seattle) or torrential rains for many weeks (Japan). In Seattle, I couldn’t stand the prospect of rain every day for most of the year. I was starting to grow webbed feet and I wanted to quack. On the other hand, the thunderstorms in Japan have been a daily occurrence, lately. I was told that this has been an unusually unstable weather pattern that we are having. Flooding at the lower elevations has caused tremendous damage and lives have been lost. In the Yufuin/ Tsukahara area, many of the roads have been damaged by landslides. The thunder from these storms is amazingly loud. The nearby lightning strikes sound as if a string of bombs are detonating in rapid succession. The ground shakes from the explosions. I have never experienced nature in such a dramatic fashion.

Kiley has always been sensitive to sounds. She trembles at the first signs of a storm approaching. Her breathing becomes labored and she can’t keep food down. We have been worried about her and we cringe every time we see clouds approaching. The fireworks season in the U.S. was a nightmare for her. We had thought that moving to Japan would have avoided this problem. I guess if it’s not one thing, it’s another.   George

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lucky and Kiley

Lucky has discovered a new hobby…fishing. He’s obsessed with koi. He pulls like a horse when he is anywhere near the lake and heads straight for the colorful fish. He’ll stick his entire head in the water and try to grab a sashimi.

The local swans act like the koi police and hiss at Lucky.

Kiley doesn’t care about fishing or swans. She just wants to look cute for the camera.

Lucky struck an interesting pose for the camera. I think he was in la-la-land.

Lucky needs a lift to look at the deer.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Erika’s Invisible Garden (Part 2)

After conducting some extensive testing with the local deer, Erika has devised a new method of deterring them. The method consists of using locally harvested bamboo poles and reflective tape. The poles are evenly spaced around the garden. The reflective tape is carefully woven between the bamboos.  I asked Erika why she didn’t use netting like everyone else. She said that it was too expensive. I asked, “Will the tape scare the deer because of its reflective quality?”
Erika replied, “Yes.”
“Humm, when the deer feed, it’s at night. It’s very dark. Not much reflecting goes on when it’s dark.” She told me to mind my own business.
Well, at least she made the pole tall enough. “Are you sure that the deer are eating your tomatoes?” I asked.
Erika replied, “Yes.”
“Humm, will the tape keep out anything smaller than a deer? For example, two Jack Russell Terriers playing in the garden?” I asked. Erika told me to mind my own business.
I find it hard to believe that a piece of shiny tape will keep out a mischievous or hungry animal, but stranger things have happened. Stay tuned for any breaking news.