Komatsuka, Ibaraki, Japan
Currently when we gaze out of our patio door like windows our view of the greenery outside is obscured somewhat by grass sunscreens installed by our host Okano-san. The growth where people live is somewhat controlled, but many areas I have seen are impenetrable jungles (not forests) due to vines and bamboo grass.
Although it can be hot and frequently tedious (mendookusai - 面倒臭い), I have enjoyed time spent out at the hatake or farm. The surroundings are beautiful and even when the sun is very hot there are frequently cool breezes.
The Picasa website has satellite views of the farming area. We probably work on about a quarter of this area including the two greenhouses. Other maps indicate how Komatsuka is laid out with streets running in apparently random directions. That is Japan. Put up some houses and "connect the Dots" with streets. The neighbouring village of Minamigaoka is being developed by a real estate company and consequently is laid out in a logical fashion with empty lots waiting for homes to be built.
The maps have a blue spot indicating the location of our WiMAX WiFi box that allows us to communicate from almost anywhere in Japan. The smaller building in the satellite view indicates the location of our current home. Other maps indicate how we in Ibaraki prefecture are located relative to places such as Narita (international airport) and Tokyo, including Oume to the far left of the Tokyo snapshot. The map of all of Japan indicates how centrally located we are.
We have travelled to the southernmost small circular island Yakushima that can be seen on the map of Japan and north of our current location up to Yamagata prefecture. Later in July 2012 we expect to be traveling to the northern tip of Honshu and then crossing a narrow stretch of ocean to reach Hokkaido whose climate more closely resembles that of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Someday we would also like to pass Yakushima going south and continue on to Okinawa which has a tropical climate.
Click on Our World to see photographs on Picasa.