Why We Love The Countryside (And Why It Isn’t Boring.. Really!)

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Before moving to the countryside, I remember some people sharing their concerns: are you sure you’ll be okay in the countryside? Won’t it be boring? Isn’t the countryside inconvenient?

Among many of the people I talked with, it seemed that there was a basic assumption about the “inaka” (countryside), which is that it is boring, inconvenient, isolating, and a good place to retire, but not a good place for young people to live long-term. (more…)

Cultivating A Space of Love

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These days it seems like time passes so quickly.

We’ve spent the last few months in a whirlwind of spending time with people we love, meeting over tea with a contractor, filling out forms for entrepreneur grants, and forging ahead with the start of our home business.

A lot of it has been uphill – and there have been plenty of learning curves.

But, it’s been worth it. (more…)

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

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Recently I was asked to paint a picture of my surroundings with words, and this is what I wrote:

It’s been raining, frosting, and snowing on and off over the last few days, with bits of bright sunshine in-between. Outside it is silent, aside for the sound of a few birds, the peeping of deer, and occasional construction.

Now that the winter is beginning to wane, workers are busy trying to fix roads and mountainsides that were damaged last year during the heavy typhoons. There is also the infrequent sound of farming equipment on warmer days, as rice farmers begin to repair fences, and prepare fields for planting.

It smells like damp dirt. (more…)

Falling Leaves and Rotting Wood

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The chill that signals the end of autumn has arrived in the mountains, and nearly all of our flowers have died or stopped blooming (aside for a stubborn rose plant, and a few zinnia). The cool air caused some of our late season tomatoes to drop off of the vine prematurely, so we harvested them green. (more…)

Storytelling and Soul Sharing

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One of our neighbors is in his 90’s, and he continues to surprise us. Sometimes we see him walking around on his roof (doing repairs?), or sweeping leaves off the street that were blown in from a storm. His garden thrives. Certainly there are secrets to be learned from such a man?

In Japan, the elderly outnumber the young, and there are opportunities to soak up wisdom and experience that go largely overlooked. There are stories to be heard, too. (more…)

Peanuts and Abundance

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One of the advantages to living in the countryside is that many of our neighbors are farmers or keep big gardens, and there is a lot of produce-sharing in our community. Often, someone will show up at our house with bags or boxes of fresh fruit or vegetables that someone has collected for us to sample.

We have been given home-grown potatoes, bell peppers, squash, kale and cucumbers, to name just a few. This last weekend, we also had the opportunity to pick peanuts!  (more…)