Happy Thanksgiving

Keiko joins me in sending best wishes to you and your families for a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving celebration.

Although Thanksgiving is a unique American holiday not celebrated in Japan, the tradition of expressing thanks to those who offer friendship and support is deeply embedded in my soul.

I have much to be thankful for –– my family, my health, and for the many members of my extended family and friends who has been such an important part of my life for so long. Despite the distance that now separates us, the powerful memories of times we have shared together remind every day of how fortunate I have been to have you as a friends.

With respect and friendship, Paul

A Weekend Escape

This past weekend we decided to relax our pandemic prevention routine to take advantage of a holiday weekend, the marvelous late fall weather of cool, brisk nights and bright sun-warmed days and the Japanese government’s financial subsidies offered in its “Go To Travel” campaign designed to support the country’s hard-hit tourism industry.

Along with Toma, Yuko and Mai, we took an overnight trip to Kyonan, a small town located in southwest-central Chiba Prefecture near the southern tip of the Bōsō Peninsula, facing Tokyo Bay.  This area’s warm maritime climate with hot summers and mild winters supports a thriving commercial fishing and agriculture economy.  It is also one of the largest producers of the flowers in Japan.

We traveled by rental car, expertly driven by Yuko, and it was an exciting way to visit and experience a new and interesting location.  While this blog text will explain some of the trip’s highlights, I trust the accompanying photographs will better help you share my joy and excitement.

Our route used the 23.7 km Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line Expressway that consists of two-10 km long tunnels underneath the bay (the fourth-longest underwater tunnel in the world) and a 5 km long bridge with an artificial island rest area at the bridge-tunnel crossover point. A second artificial island supports a distinctive tower in the middle of the tunnel section. Called the “the tower of wind,” it uses the bay’s almost-constant winds as a power source to supply needed air in the tunnel.

Once across the bay we stopped to shop at one of the many agricultural road stations and embarked on an exciting trip through mountainous terrain on a winding roadway that brought us to our Kyonan destination.  We arrived late in the afternoon, checked into a new rental house situated on the Sakuma River’s terminus with Tokyo Bay, and relaxed before dinner.

Words can do no justice to describe the spectacular dinner served to us in the property’s dining facility in a private room. All the seafood and vegetables were locally caught or grown!  For me, the expertly prepared Blowfish was one of the more memorable dishes.  The sashimi “boat” added by Keiko to the standard dinner menu was a very special treat.

The after-dinner “sparkler” display provided by Mai, Yuko and Keiko was fun.

Toma and I were up at sunrise and off for a long quiet walk along the bay area.  The sunrise was dazzling (my photo is untouched).

After enjoying a traditional Japanese breakfast (later supplemented by some wonderful blueberry muffins and blueberry jam I had purchased at the road stand), we departed on the day’s adventure –– a visit to nearby Mount Nokogiri.  The western end of the mountain falls precipitously into Tokyo Bay providing numerous views of the spectacular scenery of the Bōsō Hills and Tokyo Bay.  The area is popular with tourists as well as researchers drawn by the various flora, fauna and geological structures that are found here.

The mountain is also the site of the sprawling Nihon-ji Buddhist temple complex that features a huge seated carving of Yakushi Nyorai.  At 31.05 metres (101.9 ft) tall, it is the largest pre-modern, stone-carved Daibutsu in Japan.

After visiting Nihon-ji we set off for the summit of Mount Nokogiri. With an elevation of 330 meters (1,082 ft), the ride both up and down to the summit parking area, navigating numerous switchbacks and picturesque views, was thrilling.

The drive, however, was exceeded by our hike to the summit.  Crowded with other tourists, we slowly climbed and waited hours for our turn to visit Jigoku Nozoki (Hell Peek Point or “a peek into hell”)! You literally feel like you are at the edge of the world while looking over the awesome cliffs at the view of Tokyo Bay, the Boso Peninsula and other landscapes.  Unfortunately, cloud and mist conditions prevented a view of Mount Fuji that is also visible on clearer days.

We had not eaten since breakfast and our next stop was at a local fish restaurant.  For me it was a welcome meal of fried oysters and a craft beer!  I slept much of the uneventful late night ride home.

  • Aqua-Line Expressway island rest area
  • peanut fun at road stand stop
  • Kyonan rental cottage
  • a spectacular dinner
  • sashimi "boat" surprise
  • Blowfish
  • fun with sparklers
  • Kyonan sunrise
  • morning beach walk
  • Tokyo Bay view
  • traditional Japanese breakfast
  • Nihon-ji Buddhist temple complex
  • Mount Nokogiri.
  • Jigoku Nozoki (Hell Peek Point)
  • Keiko and Yuko at Hell Peek Point
  • dramatic summit view

“You’re Fired!”

Trump is the winner …. of the award for biggest poor loser!

For Donald Trump, hearing “You’re Fired,” the term he made famous with his popular Apprentice television show, must be an unbearable traumatic experience.

A 2017 book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, by a group of mental health professionals expressed the opinion that Trump’s statements and behavior exhibited characteristics associated with a narcissistic personality disorder –– poor self-esteem, lack of empathy, feelings of shame, interpersonal distress, aggression, and significant impairments in personality functioning.

His pathological narcissism will be on full display as the final days of his Administration unfold as this aggrieved and vengeful personality who has refused to accept that he has lost the election and has promised to fight the results in court, alleging, without evidence, that a massive electoral fraud had robbed him of victory.

For Trump, who once said “I win, I win, I always win. In the end I always win;” losing the election has not just political consequences. He faces potential legal and financial investigations for his actions as he vacates the White House.

Wounded and unrestrained, there appear to be no limits as to what he will say or attempt to do in his final 76 days in office.

Buckle-up and stay tuned for the final act of Trump’s reality show. 

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Earlier this week Keiko and I visited Omotesandō, one of the nicest (and most expensive) areas in Tokyo, located in the city’s Shibuya and Minato wards.  

The most well-known feature of the area is the long and beautiful tree-lined Omotesandō Avenue, a fashion shopping mecca that is home to nearly every global luxury brand housed in impressive examples of modern architecture.


While Keiko went off to a zumba class at a nearby park, I embarked on a window-shopping and people-watching walk from the Meiji Shrine entrance at one end of the avenue up to Aoyama Street.

l had lived in the Aoyama area in 2002 when I was responsible for Avaya’s FIFA World Cup sponsorship and went on to explore the old neighborhood.  Noting the many major changes in the area over the past twenty years, I was pleasantly surprised to find the Oakwood Aoyama Residence still there.

My 2002 FIFA World Cup Tokyo Residence

On my return route to meet Keiko at the Meiji Shrine, I detoured through Takeshita Street and other side streets, the famous center of Tokyo’s teenage and pop culture, that are lined with many trendy shops.

Takeshita Street

On a fine fall day, it was a wonderful experience; a fun trip down memory lane.

Meiji Shrine

Last Word on the U.S. Election

Relax and Forget It!

I know that many family, friends and other blog readers in America are really stressed and obsessed about the 2020 Presidential election.

Considering that anything you can realistically do to influence the result is done, my advice:

Accept the fact that the political opinion “experts,” analysts and pollsters really have no idea what will happen.  We live in a world where strange things happen that you cannot immediately and confidently explain.

So, just relax and forget it.  Get a good night’s sleep and prepare for dealing with the consequential reality of uncertainty whatever the results.