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Snow in Tokyo!

I know snow is common in many parts of the world — in fact, snow is common for many parts of Japan. But snow in Tokyo is a rare treat. Especially rare is snow that collects and amounts to anything. Well for our family, we had the great treat of enjoying a nice snowfall here at the beginning of 2022. It wasn’t just the kids who got excited — Ruth and I also got out to play in the snow with the kids, and I even went for a nice long walk around town to see what I could see. The result is this fun video to kick off the new year.

Apparently it’s not just us who likes a good Tokyo snowfall, because what surprised me was the response we got from this video. It was enough to tip the scales and make this video one of our more popular premieres in recent history. Who knew? Well we do now!

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A Word for 2022: Focus

It’s 2022! Happy New Year! We’ve made it another year, which is no small feat these days! The new year offers new hope and a chance to start fresh again. It’s time to reflect on last year, celebrate the victories, mourn the losses and look forward to the future.

We ourselves recently celebrated the end of one year, full of its own unique victories and challenges and entered into the new year with expectations of even bigger things this year. Will this year be difficult like the last couple of years have been? What kind of year is coming our way?

As we look towards this year, the word that keeps coming to mind is focus. The things that we focus on this year will determine the outcome of the year for us. There will be a lot of things that happen this year that are outside of our control. In fact I dare say most of what happens is outside of our direct control. But our focus will determine what we do with what happens. Will we still be productive and fruitful, or paralyzed in fear and anxiety? Will we be pushing new boundaries, or settled for old accomplishments? The future is full of possibilities, but it’s the ones with the right focus that make the most of each situation.

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Budget Shopping in Japan

Japan is known for a lot of things, but budget shopping is not usually one of them. But ¥100 stores (compare to American dollar stores) have taken over in Japan, and alongside the ubiquitous second hand stores like Book Off and Second Street, these stores offer great options for those shopping on a budget. Since moving to Japan, we have come to know these stores pretty well, and in the last video of 2021, Ruth shows us around her favorite Seria store in Yamanakako. How do they compare to the budget stores near you?

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CHRISTMAS

We love Christmas — it’s a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with lots of presents, decorations, programs and family time! I’m not sure what your Christmas festivities include, but we invite you to celebrate the world’s biggest holiday together with our family. We have some super special things planned, including some special piano presentations from each one of the kids — and all live with friends and family from Paz Coffee Shop! Enjoy!

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Picking Mikans

Japan has a unique type of tangerine that is small and sweet — it’s name the mikan in Japanese. We’ve loved these little fruits since we first tried them years ago, so when we got invited to a friend’s orchard outside of Tokyo, we jumped at the chance! Near the end of the year the mikans fill the trees and become ripe and ready to eat, but we had no idea what to expect when it came to picking them. Would it be easy? Hard? Fun for the kids? Fun for us?! We would soon find out…