Eating the Kiso Valley #1: Kiso’s Finest Miso

Welcome to ‘Eating the Kiso Valley’ – a new series of articles covering the culinary side of life in the Kiso valley. In today’s post, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best miso money can buy, and trying our hand at making some shio koji. (Content Warning: expect photos of extremely coolContinue reading “Eating the Kiso Valley #1: Kiso’s Finest Miso”

I Am Become Chainsaw Man, Destroyer of Trees

A few weeks ago my wife and I were invited to dinner and drinks at an acquaintance’s house (you know you’re finally a real adult when you start listing people as ‘acquaintances’) in Kiso-machi. Kiso-machi is a small town even deeper into Kiso Valley country – about a forty minute’s drive north of Nagiso, beyondContinue reading “I Am Become Chainsaw Man, Destroyer of Trees”

Eleven Insects Near My House that are Extremely Heavy Metal (And One Frog That is Not)

When I moved to Japan I was honestly shocked by how big the insects were. While the scariest insect I’d seen in my 20+ years living in the UK was the almost-endearingly pathetic daddy long-legs, basically every spider I saw around Nagoya was at least double the size, and carried itself with the air ofContinue reading “Eleven Insects Near My House that are Extremely Heavy Metal (And One Frog That is Not)”

I Was Going to Write a Blog Post But Then My Entire House Was Invaded by Mould

It’s been a long time since my last post. Nothing has really happened since then. Actually, everything has happened so buckle up here we go: First, we had the rainy season. Now, for most people, in most parts of the country, Japan’s rainy season is a pretty big annoyance: weeks upon weeks of heavy rain,Continue reading “I Was Going to Write a Blog Post But Then My Entire House Was Invaded by Mould”

I Went on a Lovely Mountain Walk and All I Got Was Roughly 5-10 Kilograms of Edible Wild Plants

Here in Nagano prefecture it’s already coming to the end of spring. The flowers have long since bloomed, the birds have finished with their songs, and here we are staring down the barrel at Japan’s hot and sticky rainy season. But before we say goodbye to spring I wanted to write a little about oneContinue reading “I Went on a Lovely Mountain Walk and All I Got Was Roughly 5-10 Kilograms of Edible Wild Plants”

Now is the Winter of Our Discontent Made Absolutely Chock-Full of Giant Insects by This Awful Sun of Kiso

(note: don’t read the entirety of this post if don’t want to see horrible photos of totally rad insects. There’s a page break, and I promise there won’t be any insect photos on the first page. But the second page will be an absolute museum of grotesquerie, so don’t click through to page two ifContinue reading “Now is the Winter of Our Discontent Made Absolutely Chock-Full of Giant Insects by This Awful Sun of Kiso”

I’m In The Local Paper! They Got My Name Wrong!

Just five months after moving to the Japanese countryside, I’ve already fulfilled my secret biggest wish – to be interviewed by a local newspaper. Sure, they got my name wrong and called me ‘Eric’. And sure, I haven’t actually done anything to warrant appearing in a newspaper besides being a foreigner who moved to aContinue reading “I’m In The Local Paper! They Got My Name Wrong!”

This Blog Post is Like an Episode of MTV’s ‘Cribs’, Only I Spend a Frankly Baffling Amount of Time Talking About My Septic Tank

Since half the world’s population is currently trapped in their houses due to various local and national quarantines , I thought it would be fitting to give you all a tour of our house here in Nagiso (note to those reading this post in the future – it’s mid-April 2020, and Covid-19 is still rampagingContinue reading “This Blog Post is Like an Episode of MTV’s ‘Cribs’, Only I Spend a Frankly Baffling Amount of Time Talking About My Septic Tank”

Rural Japanese Life at its Most Intense, or, Mountain Pipe Maintenance 101

(In today’s post – important community building; schlepping up a big mountain to clean some pipes; photos with poor lighting; surprise crabs) In early December, just after I moved to Nagiso, I was informed by one of my new neighbours that our water bill would be incredibly cheap. Now, that’s a pretty suspicious conversational openingContinue reading “Rural Japanese Life at its Most Intense, or, Mountain Pipe Maintenance 101”

Coronavirus Coronashmirus (3,000 Dead Globally)

If you’re an extremely dedicated follower of international news like me, you may have heard of this new obscure new disease called the ‘coronavirus’, or more accurately ‘COVID–19′. Now, I’m no expert in medicine, international politics, domestic politics, infectious diseases, advanced statistics, epidemiology, public health, rudimentary statistics, or hygiene or so I’m not qualified toContinue reading “Coronavirus Coronashmirus (3,000 Dead Globally)”