kazurou inoue

2016-10-11 (UPDATED FROM 2016-09-30) SAPPORO, JAPAN -- UPDATE: Prize arrived! See photos at end of this article.

Kazurou Inoue is one of my top favorite manga artists. He was the first person I sent a fan letter to.

A few months ago, Kazurou Inoue began a new story that appears in a monthly manga magazine. I buy the magazine each month.

I could wait a month to
read the story online for free. I buy the magazine to obtain survey postcards that help the board of editors determine which stories survive and which get axed.

The magazine offers prizes as an incentive for readers to pay their own postage. This month, I found my name among the winners! They say the prize takes 4 weeks to arrive.

UPDATE: Prize arrived 16 days after winners were announced!

A cover letter, if you could call it that, was enclosed along with the prize.

The prize was a 500-yen prepaid card for shopping at various stores. The front side of the card sports an illustration by manga artist
Kazuhiro Fujita. Fujita was born in Asahikawa, Hokkaido. He authors "Souboutei kowasubeshi", currently serialized on Shonen Sunday magazine.

A slip of paper shows which stores accept the prepaid card.


2016-10-10 YOICHI, JAPAN -- We took a day trip to Yoichi, a town about 60 kilometers west of downtown Sapporo.

Tracks up to Otaru are electrified and parallel. Beyond Otaru up to Oshamanbe it's non-electrified and single track. I prefer non-electrified track, actually, because the lack of utility poles offer an unobstructed view.

Most stations are unmanned and trains carry no conductors. You pay the engineer (in the sense of a person who controls the engine) just like riding a bus.

We bought a 1-day all-you-can-ride ticket.

The Nikka whisky distillery is right across Yoichi train station.

We had a warm lunch at the distillery's restaurant.


2016-10-10 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Sunshowers (rain showers in sunshine) have been frequent the past several days.

Rain seen laterally from our campus apartment. Judging from the darkness of the rain extending to the ridge line, I believe these are precipitation shafts not virga. Meteorological phenomena such as this remind me of the days when I flew airplanes. I sorely miss Bruce Lowerre, who was my friend, big brother, and flying buddy.

sapporo autumn

2016-10-07 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Autumn progresses rapidly on Hokkaido island. For my morning run, I prefer to wear short-sleeved shirts and shorts. Soon I need to put on wind-stopping clothing.

Teineyama is a hill on the west side of the city. Most of the city's TV and radio broadcast antennas are located on this hill. Teineyama is the first spot in town to get snow. That might happen in a few days. We had sleet this morning.

Leaves are turning color all over campus. In summer we can't see through the trees outside our apartment window. In winter we can see the agriculture school building.

escher exhibit

2016-09-30 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- We went to an exhibit of works by M. C. Esher and his art teacher who taught at a technical college where Esher was majoring in architectural engineering. Esher's teacher convinced Esher to pursue a career in woodblock art rather than architecture.

Hokudai staff receive discounted admission. Full price is 1300 yen, most visitors pay 1100 yen, we pay 500 yen.


The Sapporo Art Museum is a beautiful building.

We enjoyed a nice lunch buffet afterwards.

clean clean clean

2016-09-24 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- Summer is almost over. We clean our bicycles, wash the truck, wipe the mailbox, sweep the driveway. It's a chore that we enjoy and perform well.

Cleaning chains and gears is easy with solvent, lots of rags, and patience. I learned perseverance through trumpet practice.

Wash the truck top to bottom, inside and out, including the underside and engine compartment. I must be getting some dirt off because our mechanics tell us our truck is the cleanest in town!

Wipe the interior for the lady of the house.

Bleached and dried our garbage can. Ours smells clean!

Trim ivy and blackberries from around our Japanese maple tree and hydrangea.

toad hill court

2016-09-22 OTIS, OREGON, USA -- Between the communities of Otis and Rose Lodge there is a side road named Toad Hill Court.

Naturally we insisted on visiting.

Just another side street connecting to a country road.

We stopped by the Rose Lodge market. We have driven past it hundreds of times, but it was our first time in the store.

We had brunch at the
Otis Cafe. They are known for gigantic portions. Somehow the meals didn't seem as large as I remembered from last time. Maybe I'm gaining weight!?