Sunday, 28 November 2010


Here`s furious George, the cup I drink from every day. So-named because of his resemblance to George Bush.

I never really finished (or started) my point about Matsumoto and frogs. Matsumoto is full of frog paraphernalia- can`t remember the full reason why but it`s something to do with the words for frog and returning safely being very similar. Anyway this is a pretty original statue and one I visited last time I was here.

Sign for a supermarket.

A encouraging sign, don`t know what for though.

A really beautiful morning- one thing I really like about this place is how different every morning looks.

Accepting an Oscar for best supporting role.....sorry.

One more field of apples to harvest and then we`ll be moving onto other jobs- probably indoor stuff like bean-sorting given the cold weather should be coming in next week.

My favourite apples are the ones with the goldy-brown sheen, though its probably psychological I could swear they taste better than the regular Fuji apples.

Did I mention Toa-chan is bowling mad? He`s regularly found looking through this book of bowling techniques.

I realize I`ve not mentioned much of life here actually.
I live with the Matsumuras in Ogurayama farm just outside Azumino city, Nagano prefecture.
The Matsumuras are Akio-san and his wife Terumi-san, his mother who we all know as Oba-san (grandmother) and their 3 children, Fuwa-chan (9), Wara-chan (6) and Toa-chan (2).
The days are pretty easy going, we wake up at 6.40, eat breakfast and do a few household chores then start work at 8. November is the month of the apple harvest so its mostly picking but also throwing fertiliser (which in this case is a waste product from a local mushroom farm- a kind of mushroom-laden soil) on the trees that we`ve finished picking from.
There`s one non-wwoofer who works with us, Hide-san who is from Osaka and incredibly helpful and funny.

Work finishes at 3.30pm and then I usually study Japanese, which I find a lot more draining than the farm work. Dinner at 6pm and I usually manage to stay up about 2 or 3 more hours studying and reading before sleeping the sleep of the physically and mentally tired, full-stomached farmhand.

Christmas Illuminations

On Friday night we went to a nearby national park to see some Christmas illuminations- I found a setting on my camera that made it look like the set of Tron. Annoyingly videos aren`t working off this computer so I can`t show you the truly creepy Christmas toy they had in the gift shop but I`ll put him up another time.


Today is Sunday (or nichi-yobi) which is my day off, and it`s time for me to get a load of pictures up that I didn`t have time to upload during the week.

Firstly some photos of food because some of you have been wondering what I`m eating. The answer is this- a lot of rice and a lot of fish and a lot of this cool grated root thing called Gobo, its slightly sweet and amazing. In the top pic the rice has black beans in it and thats a bowl of delicious miso-soup to the right. In the bottom pic there are two o-inari (rice wrapped in a kind of tofu skin). O-inari (hope I got that right, thats what the kids just told me they`re called) are one of my favourite things, they`re indescribably moreish.

Friday, 19 November 2010

A few unrelated things

Here`s all us wwoofers working hard, really clear day today, check those snowcaps at the back.

This is what a single scissor looks like, I didn`t even know they existed.

Here are the kaki (persimmons) that are going to dry over the next month and become a delicious christmas snack. I can`t wait!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

At the risk of sounding repetitive...

Here are some more (but different) beautiful mountains. These ones you can see from the orchard.

Here I am hard at work in said orchard. You know what- have another mountain on the house, I liked this one...

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Frosty Mountain

Today we had the first snow/frost on the mountains. Id write more but this keyboard is so infuriating its all I can do not to scream.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Hard at work

The tall red eyed climbing frame and picker of giant carrots has arrived.

Thursday, 11 November 2010


Moved to my home for the next two months- Ogurayama farm in Nagano. It is amazing to be back here staying with the Matsumuras, a really friendly loving and downright cool family.
Picking apples tomorrow in the morning frost, should be very ....zen? Its different anyway.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Somewhere in Tokyo....

Due to not being able to flip photos on this computer, heres a limited selection of the few that were taken the right way up. Japan feels a lot more familiar than I imagined it would. Basically feels like I never left. More soon!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Bye Bye England

Still not quite entirely packed but basically there. England put a good show on this morning.