Sunday, August 2, 2009

First Impressions

A long hard journey,

Rain beating down the clover

Like a wanderer’s feet

Yosa Buson (1716-1783)

Youkoso (welcome)

Welcome to the Cleary Kazoku (family) blog. We hope you enjoy sharing our experiences while we live in Japan for the next 3 years, offer our observations on the culture as west meets east, and propose some “must reads” if you plan to visit us. Look for a new post every Sunday evening stateside.

Tsuyu (rainy season)

So a bit of observations on our first week here in Japan. It’s wet … and humid, and I mean really humid. I grew up in Atlanta and I lived outside of DC for 7 years, I know humid but I have never experienced anything quite like this. We are at the end of the rainy season and it has rained 9 out of the 10 days since we arrived here. And the forecast? More rain. We have 3 dehumidifiers in our townhouse; they run continuously and we have to empty them twice a day. Now that’s humid!


We went to a traditional Japanese restaurant where we had to remove our shoes and sat on tatami mats and selected a wide variety of dishes to try. Jeff and I are glad that our children are adventurous eaters – it was all very delicious but quite different from back home! Fried octopus, tofu, edamame, fish cakes, egg omelet with squid and finished off with tofu cheesecake and green tea ice cream with adzuki beans – all quite good. A couple of days later we took the train to Kamakura – a few towns over from Yokosuka. After visiting the shrine and temple, we stopped for some ice cream and while the kids played it safe and had vanilla, Jeff had sweet potato which was purple and I had baked sweet potato and vanilla swirl – yummy, can’t wait to go back for more. Finally, we tried a sushi restaurant that had the sushi plates conveyor belt style – you select a plate as it goes by – once you touch it it’s yours. The plates are color coded and go up in price according to the specialty of the fish. This was our first step beyond California Rolls – tuna, scallops, octopus, salmon – the boys were certainly game for trying different foods! For Mitchell, he liked the tuna sushi best and by the stack of 5 plates in front of him it certainly appeared that this restaurant will be high on his list to visit again.


If you plan to visit or want to learn more about Hiroshima, Mitchell and I both highly recommend the book Hiroshima by John Hersey. Given that I believe the only history that I learned of the Pacific Theatre during WWII was highly one-sided, this was quite eye opening.

I have already broken the first blog rule I learned re: length – and will strive to be more succinct next entry – till next week. Sayonara.


  1. Hi, Jane, what an exciting adventure you all have embarked upon!! :) I will follow your travels with interest.

    Hope you are finding time to quilt or taking lots of photos for future inspiration. :)


  2. Jane,

    I just caught up on your blog, the festival sounded amazing. I'm sure that your family gets lots of attention, particulary the boys with the young ladies, being so tall and blonde! I'm sure Mitchell and Walker will come to terms with it, maybe even enjoy it!

    Keep going with the blog, I'm sure you will get more comments as time goes on. I'm really enjoying it.

    By the way, did you ever read Sho-gun? I did YEARS ago, it was very interesting and I learned a lot about the culture.

    Take care,


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