Highly Annoying Starling-Repelling Loud-speakers at Tsukuba Center might be Effective (this season every evening from 6:30-7:30) – but they have me yearning for the amusing “bird-chasers” of years past!

 Amplified avian distress calls to drive away the starlings that come to roost at Tsukuba Center blasted from a loudspeaker wielded by one of the former “bird-chasers” Tsukuba center. While the racket they made WAS irritating, they WERE at least amusing!     By Avi Landau Summers  have always been NOISY in Tsukuba with the… Read More Highly Annoying Starling-Repelling Loud-speakers at Tsukuba Center might be Effective (this season every evening from 6:30-7:30) – but they have me yearning for the amusing “bird-chasers” of years past!

AU Mobile Service Still Out (on third day) -despite assurances it would be back by 5:30 PM yesterday evening

By Avi Landau “Uh-oh! Forgot to pay the bill again!” was the first thought that popped into my head when I was unable to use my I Phone to make a call after repeated attempts. But then I remembered that AU, my mobile provider takes the fee they charge for their services out each month… Read More AU Mobile Service Still Out (on third day) -despite assurances it would be back by 5:30 PM yesterday evening

Japanese Wind-Chimes (FU-RIN, 風鈴) Help Conjure Up the Cool!

By Avi Landau Japanese summers are unbearable. More than the heat itself (which is quite formidable), it is the high humidity that makes both the days and the nights so torturous. Even for those with modern air-conditioners ( and those who can afford to keep them running for long hours each month), it can be… Read More Japanese Wind-Chimes (FU-RIN, 風鈴) Help Conjure Up the Cool!

Ibaraki Prefecture is Japan`s No. 1 Melon Producer – try some of the unique varieties and melon based snacks!

By Avi Landau Something that leaves an indelible impression on anyone who visits Japan is the sight of a beautifully boxed 200 dollar (or more) melon at a gourmet fruit store or department store in Tokyo. For people like me who grew up eating melon almost every night (as an appetizer*), it is hard to… Read More Ibaraki Prefecture is Japan`s No. 1 Melon Producer – try some of the unique varieties and melon based snacks!

Watch or Join in on Your Neighborhood Festival This Month as The Gion Matsuri Season Kicks Off in Tsukuba at the Onozaki Yasaka Jinja Shrine (July 2nd and 3rd)

  By Avi Landau     According to A. Takahashi’s impressively comprehensive TRADITIONAL EVENTS IN AND AROUND TSUKUBA website, there will be  DOZENS of Gion Matsuri Festivals taking place at Yasaka Shrines within the Tsukuba City limits alone this month , and many, many more such Gion-Sai (祇園際)of which will take place in the surrounding… Read More Watch or Join in on Your Neighborhood Festival This Month as The Gion Matsuri Season Kicks Off in Tsukuba at the Onozaki Yasaka Jinja Shrine (July 2nd and 3rd)

During Japan`s Hot Season- Keeping Cool With Cucumbers

By Avi Landau In the English speaking world cucumbers are connected with COOL- as evidenced in the expression COOL AS A CUCUMBER. But the kind of cool being referred to here is the state which is the oppossite of overtly nervous, panicked or upset. It is used to describe someone who is (outwardly) calm, level-headed and collected. In Japan,… Read More During Japan`s Hot Season- Keeping Cool With Cucumbers

July First is YAMABIRAKI (山開き) on Mt. Fuji once again – which means the climbing season has begun (for the first time in two years) !

By Avi Landau These days, for most people , hiking on or climbing mountains is a form of sport or recreation. It is done for exercise, companionship (when done in groups) and for enjoying, learning about,  or COMMUNING with nature (among other things). In pre-modern Japan, however, those who climbed, did so to COMMUNE WITH THE GODS… Read More July First is YAMABIRAKI (山開き) on Mt. Fuji once again – which means the climbing season has begun (for the first time in two years) !

Make a Wish Upon Two Stars- at a Tanabata Decoration Near You! (and a look at the history of the Tanabata Festival in Japan)

By Avi Landau You might have noticed the colorful Tanabata (七夕) decorations-  young bamboo stalks with slender branches adorned with colorful strips of paper set up at shopping malls, supermarkets, community centers, city-offices, schools and kindergartens around town. This year, 2016, there seem to be many more them than in any recent year. If you look… Read More Make a Wish Upon Two Stars- at a Tanabata Decoration Near You! (and a look at the history of the Tanabata Festival in Japan)

A Climb To The Top Of Tsukuba`s Little Mt. Fuji (23 steps high) Sheds Light On Local Edo Period Dispute Resolution Processes, Folk Beliefs, And The Origin Of The Place Name SENGEN (千現 )

By Avi Landau   Tsukuba`s Sengen (千現) District is not only a conveniently located upscale residential neighborhood (within easy reach of both the TX rail and JR Highway Bus Stations), but it is also home to an internationally renowned research institute (NIMS) and a major facility for Japan`s Space Agency, JAXSA ( I should also mention the presence of the tastefully appointed  flower shop, Blomster… Read More A Climb To The Top Of Tsukuba`s Little Mt. Fuji (23 steps high) Sheds Light On Local Edo Period Dispute Resolution Processes, Folk Beliefs, And The Origin Of The Place Name SENGEN (千現 )

In Real Life, Tsukuba’s Official Bird and Ubiquitous Mascot Gets Little Love These Days (and owls in Japanese history and culture)

By Avi Landau In modern Japan, it is common for people to possess an owl of some sort. Not a real-live one, of course, but perhaps a stuffed animal, doll, figurine, painting, or even just a cartoon image of these instantly recognizable, flat faced birds. In fact at the library, I found a whole book dedicated exclusively to the different owl-shaped folk figurines produced in the… Read More In Real Life, Tsukuba’s Official Bird and Ubiquitous Mascot Gets Little Love These Days (and owls in Japanese history and culture)