We hope that however and wherever you have been spending the Covid-19 lockdown that you are staying physically and mentally healthy.  Hopefully, we can all get through this tough time without getting sick and losing our incomes.  Hopefully too, we can start getting out and about and eventually being able to travel to Japan to do the ‘shumi’ (hobby) we love.

It is Spring in Japan now and we are spending the lockdown at our old farmhouse in the countryside on the slopes of the Yatsugatake mountain range.

A short article about why we like to live in this old farmhouse was published recently in a Japanese magazine for lovers of old farmhouses.  We thought you might be interested in it and have shared it in this newsletter and included some photographs of our house.

For our washi (paper lovers) there are two articles we are sure you will enjoy – one, about different and interesting aspects of washi culture in Japan, and the other, a video clip about the town of Uchiko in Shikoku where we have taken our groups for a delicious soba lunch, to explore the well preserved old town and to visit the Tenjin Washi factory, one of the few traditionally producing washi factories still in operation.

For those of you who have been on our Shionomichi (Salt Road) trail walk you will recall visiting the Jomon (the main civilization of Japan 3 – 6,000 years ago famous for its remarkable ‘rope’pottery) outdoor archaeological site in Itoigawa on the first day of the walk.  We came across this excellent article with new information about the Jomon people that we think you will find interesting.

Happy reading!

Stay well and look forward to hearing from you,

Kazuko and Phil