Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Costco


Meanwhile back in Japan, the rainy season ended a couple weeks early and right behind it came summer. Summer arrived without hesitation and with plenty of heat and humidity. According to this cute graphic from weaternpacificweather.com, it’s hot (almost) everywhere in Japan right now.

We live in the Kanto area and are expected to experience temperatures greater than 30 degrees Celsius. That converts to roughly 86 degrees Fahrenheit. I know that doesn’t seem terrible. But, please remember how humid it is this time of year. According to my weather app, at 13:00 the heat index was soaring up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

This was the fourth straight day “black flag” conditions. Today, the black flag condition was set at 10:00.

Unfortunately, looking at the long range forecast, there is no relief in sight.

Dave and I have been getting out early for our run each morning. We leave the house by 4:15 am and slog our way around our 5 mile loop. My pace is a lot slower than normal and I depend on Coach Dave to keep me going. Coach Dave incorporates more walk breaks for me and motivates me to “run” a little bit more than the day before. I’m hoping I’ll be better acclimated in the next couple of weeks. Or not and in that case, Summer won’t last forever!

The good news? There is an outdoor pool on our base. It’s about a 10 minute walk from our house. I have been swimming laps for about an hour each day. My h2audio headphones keep my shuffle dry and I can listen to music or podcasts to keep me entertained. It’s been nice to get back in the pool and it helps to beat the heat for a little bit!

I’ve employed one more strategy to beat the summertime heat. Besides my essentials at Costco, I made a silly spontaneous purchase at today. I bought an inflatable pool for our side yard. I see pool lounging in my future this weekend. Might be the best ¥2898 ($25.00) I spend this summer!

Administrative Duties

The past couple days have been less than spectacular with respect to exploring Japan. I had a lot of administrative responsibilities to tackle this month. After reaching our one year point, we had to renew our car insurance. ✅ And after my American vacation, we needed more tollbooth passes. ✅ This month my free gift was two fans! Help us survive the summer. 

I also made a trip to Costco. To my delight, they had Halloween decorations and costumes on display. Maybe I’ll survive the summer after all! 

Police uniforms that look like BDUs. 

This guy was my favorite. I was tempted to buy one to replace our old “scary man.” He was animated – talked, moved, and his eyes flashed! 

The other concern for this time of year is the intrusion of bugs. We have been diligent to call housing weekly to have them spray for bugs. Well, it didn’t quite work as great as I hoped. The intense heat was replaced by never ending rain. This equates to bug invasion. This morning, as I was sitting at my computer, something caused me to turn around 180 degrees. I can’t remember why I turned because immediately I saw this awful creature crawling on my floor and went into attack mode. It may not seem very big – just remember, I’m very tall! 

After killing it, I reflected on how pleased I was to have white tiled floor. Something I can’t believe I’m saying. But, the bugs can’t hide. For my enjoyment, here’s the video of me killing it. This year, I’m armed and dangerous! 

I proceeded to spray the house and found another mukade outside and a huge beetle. Both are dead now. 

Needless to say, after the big invasion on Friday, I needed to clean the entire house! Exploring could wait! 


The purple mangosteen fruit grows on the tropical evergreen tree known as the mangosteen tree. The fruit is offered referred to as simply mangosteen. It is native to Indonesia and grows throughout Southeast Asia and Southwest India. Recently, it has been introduced to tropical areas like Puerto Rico and Florida.

The rind of the mangosteen turns a deep purple when the fruit is ripe. The rind softens as it ripens making it very easy to cut with a knife. 

After cutting, the white edible sections can easily be removed and eaten. The white fleshy sections have a similar texture to a peeled grape except maybe a little smoother. All of the sections have seeds. most of the seeds are small and can easily be chewed. One of the section has a larger seed like a small pit (the size of an almond) and shouldn’t be eaten.

The growing season for mangosteen is only about six to ten weeks, resulting in limited availability. Because of strict import regulations having to do with the Asian fruit fly, mangosteens weren’t available in the United States before 2007. They are still very difficult to find in the U.S. and when they are available, they are very expensive. More readily available are canned mangosteen or beverages containing mangosteen. One notable beverage that uses the mangosteen is Xango Juice. My mom has been drinking Xango Juice for years. For several years my mother-in-law was also drinking it. It claims to have numerous health benefits because it uses the rind which has many of the same antioxidants as blueberries. The actual edible part of the fruit is limited in nutritional value.

Living in Japan, I have the opportunity to enjoy mangosteen fruit. Ironically enough, I purchased the mangosteen fruit at Costco! I purchased a bag of eight mangosteens at Costco for less than ¥1000. This was my second experience tasting them. The first was during out Thailand trip. They were significantly cheaper in Thailand. I think I paid the equivalent of $5 for a package of eight. 

In Thailand, I purchased mangosteen that were already cut. I broke out our large chef knife anticipating difficulties cutting through the rind. Surprisingly, they were very easy to open. The rind was very soft and the knife cut through it very easily allowing me to split the fruit apart.

They mangosteen is tender and juicy. It has a sweet and slightly sour taste. They remind me a lot of a sweet tangerine mixed with a tart grape. They are a fun and relatively inexpensive treat. (less than $1.00 per fruit – cheaper than the $20 carton of California cherries at Costco!) Also, I feel special eating them because I know I wouldn’t be able to buy them in the U.S. They will not replace my love for freshly picked strawberries, however, they are a special delicacy I can enjoy while I am living in Japan!

Japanese Cucumbers 

A cloudy Tuesday can’t even compare to the beautiful day I experienced yesterday. Today was filled with errands. First, I dropped off “Julia’s Baked Beans” at Dave’s work for the potluck. Then, I met up with Dina For our bi-weekly Costco outing. No time to explore much after that because I needed to prepare the cookie dough for the bake sale at Dave’s work on Thursday. This all happened before my Tuesday evening English lessons in Yokosuka. I agreed to sub for six weeks for three Japanese children’s English lessons. After today, two more! These are not my favorite. The highlight of the lesson is when they are over, Dave and I ride the train home together.  

But, I digress. This post is about Japanese cucumbers. As I’m happily riding the train back to Yokosuka and avoiding traffic, I’ll tell you about my latest discovery of favorite Japanese vegetable. Yes, the Japanese cucumber. They remind me a lot of English cucumbers because they are long and skinny. They seem to have skin more like homegrown American cucumbers because they have the little white spines. The best part is the delicious crunch! 

Here was the pack of eight I picked up at Costco. They were ¥680 or about $6.50. I don’t know if that is a good deal compared to cucumbers in America. In my opinion, they’re worth every yenny! And a better deal than the package of American Cherries grown in CA for ¥2,280 or about $22. I didn’t buy the cherries! 

I can easily eat an entire cucumber in one sitting. It like to slice them and then add garlic salt and dill weed. 

I think they would be a nice accompaniment to happy hour Roxanne’s house in VB on Friday night. I know my friend, Sue, would love them. And I know my father-in-law wouldn’t. Next time Delaney and James are here visiting, I will have plenty available to dip in Ranch. My mom would enjoy cucumber sandwiches on Japanese bread! I almost feel nostalgic/ home sick thinking about who would enjoy the cucumbers! Ha! Love and miss you all! 

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