Month: August 2018

Tips for Healthy Boundaries: Technology

Living in a different country from the one where I was born means I cannot visit my family or old friends as frequently as I would like. So, I truly appreciate the ability to stay connected using the internet.. can you imagine waiting for handwritten letters to arrive by ship overseas, like in centuries past?

Having the ability to keep updated with family and friends is a blessing.

On the other hand, the internet has a dark side that I’m sure I don’t need to explain. Even within the nearly 10 years that I have used social media, its usage has evolved. Social media, instant messaging, e-mail, and the internet in general has changed the way that we communicate. (more…)

A Ribbiting Oasis: Our Frog Pond

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During the summer, our house is surrounded by frogs of all shapes and sizes.

There is the lone, fat frog dubbed the “guard frog”, who hides in leaves by day, and chills alone in the pond by night.. and there are dark green, neon lime, brown, and other small frogs that rest on the top of rose blooms, or climb up to greet me at the second-story windows.

Once I switched the window screen in our bedroom from one side to the other, only to find that I had accidentally let a frog indoors!

If you are frog-squeamish, our home is definitely not for you. But, despite tending toward the squeamish side myself, I have come to appreciate my four-legged friends (and will miss them in the winter!). (more…)

Obon and the Last Hurrah of Summer

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It is nearly time for the Obon festival (お盆), or Festival of the Dead. Obon is a holiday season in Japan that began as a Buddhist tradition of honoring one’s family ancestors.

The holiday is observed during different times of the year depending on the region of Japan, so it falls around mid-July or mid-August. It is not an official government holiday, but most companies take off time during the festival. In the region where we live, Obon is observed from about August 11th-15th.

Traditionally, it was thought that during Obon, the spirits of ancestors would travel to this world to visit family members. While not everyone may still hold this belief, Obon is seen as a time for reuniting with family, respecting one’s ancestors, and visiting and cleaning the cemeteries where family members are memorialized.

Since my husband and I are Christian, we do not practice Buddhist customs or believe in the spiritualism of Obon. However, the festival is a time of reunion, as it is one of the few times a year when family can take off time from work. This year, our aunt, uncle, and sister on Masashi’s side will travel to visit. (more…)