Category Archives: News

The Threat of Rural Depopulation in Japan

As the weather starts to warm throughout Japan, sakura blossoms mark the beginning of a new season, yet they are a temporary beauty that fades quickly. On Kumejima, three schools welcomed new classes of first-year students. Like the sakura that decorate the classrooms, this year marks a period of transition. For two of those schools, it is their last School Entrance Ceremony. After this year, both schools will close. Just ten years ago, the population of Kumejima was nearly 10,000

2013 Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentines Day!  Vday in Japan is a concept I covered pretty well last year as well as in my second book which is coming this Fall.  If you’d like to learn more about this holiday in Japan, please check these posts! My 2012 Valentine‘s Day Valentine’s in Japan Hi.  My name is Poo This year will be my first away from school.  I’m traveling with some elementary students to Niigata prefecture as part of a yearly exchange with a small

2012 Year in Review

First off thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read More Things Japanese this year.  Though the blog has been going since 2010, it really jumped forward this year after moving to its new domain ( in January, and with my vast increase of posts (from once in a while to every day for a while).  I’ve scaled back to around once a week since that hectic workload gave me no time to work on my fiction.

Hagaki for New Years 2013

New Years is perhaps the biggest holiday in Japan.  In a lot of ways it is like Christmas in the states.  It is a holiday for families to come together, eat special foods, and even pray. Last year I experienced variations on New Years celebrations and there are a lot of things families can do. This holiday is so important because it marks the change between new and old. December then, is the time to prepare for this important season.

Emperor Akihito visits Kume Island

On November 20, 2012 The Emperor of Japan Akihito and Empress Michiko visited Kumejima as part of a four-day visit to Okinawa.  Preparations were long in the making, but it was still extraordinary to see the spectacle of a visit lasting less than 5 hours.  Luckily, I was asked to help photograph on behalf of Kumejima Town and was able to stand with television and newspaper camera people in designated media areas. The Emperor and his wife arrived around 10:30 JST

Preparing for an Emperor

A few weeks ago, a delegation came from Hawai’i County to view the Deep-sea Water Research institute on Kume Island.  You can read about the visit and the proposed Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion plant in my post on International Cooperation in Green Energy, and on the uses of Deep-sea Water.  The proposal is now gaining wider support and interest.  In just two days, the Emperor of Japan, Akihito, will arrive on Kumejima to view the Institute as part of a larger four-day trip to

Samurai Awakening is Here!

You’ve probably seen the links and photos for my YA Fantasy novel Samurai Awakening hovering in the side bar for a while now.  The novel was inspired by, and written during my time living on Kitadaito and Kume Islands in Okinawa.  It has been a long process, but the hardcover work is finally making its way to readers.  To celebrate, we’re giving away a few copies!  There are two giveaways open on Goodreads.  One for US residents, and another for those

International Cooperation in Green Energy and Beyond

Last week I wrote about an interesting ceremony where Sake was used as a metaphor for the growing relationship among diverse parties.  That ceremony was part of a larger event recognizing the sister city partnership between Kumejima Town and Hawai’i Country and a series of workshops to investigate the future of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) at both localities.  It might seem like a simple enough thing, but there are a lot of things going on within this partnership, and just

Sake as a Metaphor

A few weeks ago I wrote about the traditional use of sake at ceremonies on Kume Island in Okinawa.  That ceremony was a yearly event with a long history.  This past week, I was present at another, modern event that had a very different, yet interesting use for the local brew of awamori.  Kume Island hosted the third International Ocean Energy Workshop as part of a larger collaboration with Hawai’i County.  The purpose of the meeting was to consider the

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