I've been posting on the despised "facebook" since I've been in Japan, but probably most of my family and friends still aren't on that particular social networking thing so I thought I'd be good and friendly and start a regular blog too.
I'll probably just be posting the same things in both places, but now my folks (Hi Mum! Hi Dad!) can read too.
Kumaboshi seemed a little too clever at first, then I decided it was too good a play on words not to use. Kumaboshi!
Kuma means bear, boshi means star (in Japanese, dingus), it sounds like umeboshi (a japanese pickled plum, a sort of taste bomb that can reduce grown men to tears), and the North Star is sometimes called Kumaoe Boshi which may or may not mean "The Star Carried By A Bear". My research skills are not what they were. Anyway the North Star and bears are both big things up here, both being symbols both of Sapporo, and Hokkaido. There are stars everywhere, on the logos of the big companies, the flag, buildings. Mostly five pointed, but sometimes eight pointed, or six pointed and made to look like snow-flakes. Bears too, there's a type of brown bear that still roam wild in the national parks to the north of the island, and yesterday I saw some really tacky, cheesy Hokkaido Bear merchandise that I nevertheless thought was thoroughly awesome. I will get a crappy bear t-shirt soon, mark my words.
One last paragraph of explanation before I repost all my facebook crap here. In case you don't know, I'm living in Sapporo, which is the capital and the biggest city of Hokkaido, the most northern island of Japan. Hokkaido is mostly rural with only a few cities dotted around. There are lots of mountains (some small but impressive ones I can see from the city), lots of fishing and agriculture (Hokkaido is meant to have the best food in all Japan because everything's so fresh) and in winter lots and lots of snow.