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Summer in Tsukahara

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gkimbal's Spring in Tsukahara album on Photobucket

Friday, September 27, 2013

Video of Tsukahara Worth Watching

 

The talented people who put this video together are friends and coworkers. This recent video of Tsukahara  captures the true essence of what this community represents and offers to a newcomer like me. I can't put into words about why I love it here, but I think this video speaks volumes about how "we" feel about this magical place. This is my “Home Sweet Home”. Please sit back and enjoy!   George
 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"Rustic" Guest Book

 Our “Home Sweet Home” guestbook is finally done. I’ve always wanted to write a book. I had no idea that I would build one first! How big is it? The dimensions are 24”x 24”x 8”.


 
 
Erika calls it, “rustic”. I think it matches our home, environment, and the atmosphere that we are trying to create. I hoping that the guests signing our book feel that they are leaving an impression that will be treasured for many years to come.


 



 

The first page is filled with the names and impressions of our guests at our recent summer party in Tsukahara.
 






 
The materials to construct the book are from the leftover cedar siding used to build the workshop/ garage. The pages are made of washi which gives the book character and dimension.




 

 If you happen to be in the neighborhood, please come and visit our Home Sweet Home, and sign our guestbook.   George


Monday, September 9, 2013

Thank you!


I was scared to death, stressed out, and nervous, but I did it. I only made two mistakes, but nobody seemed to care. I think everyone had a good time, including me.

The kids did a fantastic job with “Country Roads.” We rehearsed only once for about an hour. They sang loud and clear. Way to go everyone! (We are very sorry that we could not post any pictures of the 14 children singing. Stuff like that requires permission from the parents).

I would like to thank everyone who came out to see (and hear) what Tsukahara has to offer. I love this place! The comment I heard over and over,” Wow! Your Japanese is great!” Since only half of my last song required me to sing in a foreign language, I had to respond with, “How was my English?” The general response was, “Oh, that was good, too.”


 




Erika was suffering from stress, because of the event, more than me. She had to endure my stress related illnesses along with Kiley’s stress problems. Erika is relieved that the festival is over and pledged that I would never perform at another community event again. “It’s just too much stress!” exclaimed Erika. I’m not sure if her wishes will be realized, but I’m glad that it’s over too. “I think if I perform once a month, I’ll be comfortable in front of an audience,” I explained to Erika. “No way!” replied my wife. “That’s enough. I’m saving you for our business related events and forget about performing anywhere else.” Humm, we’ll see. These community organizers are very persuasive.   George
Note: Orange shirt? My manager (Erika) said that I needed to look "outstanding." I think I look more like a construction worker or a pumpkin. Maybe I need a new manager?

Friday, September 6, 2013

If it ain't paradise...

…put up a solar farm.” Tsukahara is being invaded by investors looking for land that’s facing south. Why on earth would they want to do that, George? Ever since the disasters in Fukushima, the government has been desperately trying to find another source of electricity. Please note: I can't guarantee the accuracy of the following information. It's the best I could find from the sources I had available. Comments are always welcomed.

Solar companies have been busy mass producing solar panels while investors have been busy buying up land to build solar farms. Solar farms seem like a good idea to combat the shortage of electricity. The main problem with this idea is that there is not a lot of open space for solar farms in Japan.

This is where the small rural communities in Japan come into play. Tsukahara is surrounded by open land. Each piece of land is owned by a large group of people who have inherited this land over many generations. These owners have tried to use the land for grazing cattle, but the locals have complained about the foul smell. These owners are not allowed to burn the fields because of the dangers involved. The owners are left with no choice, but to sell their land to solar farm investors. So, what’s wrong with that? Solar is safe, isn’t it? Solar farms are safe and there is nothing wrong with a farmer trying to make ends meet. The problem is that solar farms are…ugly.

Tsukahara prides itself as being a beautifully, preserved, natural environment. Nobody wants to see solar panels in their backyard. The government doesn’t see it that way. If it ain’t paradise, put up a solar farm. Meetings are being held on the weekends to discuss what to do to prevent this invasion. Erika noted that the meetings seem futile because of the emotional arguments. You can’t fight something like this only with emotion. The technology is new to everyone. It’s difficult to fight against something if the facts are not clearly understood.

Recently, Megasolar (an appropriate name for a villain) tried to build a solar farm on some land that is near a recently approved ramp from the main highway. The idea of the ramp is to funnel more tourist traffic into Tsukahara. The problem is that the solar farm would be clearly visible to any traffic entering Tsukahara. Who wants to visit a community of solar farms? This solar project has been put on hold until an agreement can been reached. Megasolar has been responsible for invading many small communities with solar farms. The rush is on to build solar farms, but Kyushu Power (the main power source for Kyushu) is not ready to use this new resource. Power lines must be built to accept the power produced from these farms. In many cases, Kyushu Power does not want to pay this cost. What happens is that the solar farms are quickly installed, but the power company can’t access the power. The solar farms are left to sit idle, useless, and creating an eyesore for the communities involved. The best analogy I can think of is that the cart is leading the horse. Greed and desperation are combining to create a natural disaster. Tsukahara is next in line. Resistance is futile? Stay tuned.  George