Happy New Year! Its the first week open for 2016 for us. Its been a very mild winter here in Chitose with not much snow... yet. Its cold though, so the snow on the ground isn’t melting. I keep on waiting for it to dump down but it hasn't happened yet. 

This year we are going to try and collate the weeks happenings in one english and one Japanese blog entry. This will make it easier for us and maybe better for the reader. Im also going to try and add a weekly summary video as well. 

This strange Rainbow lined cloud appeared over the cafe. I thought it was the uv coat on the window but as you can see from this picture, it is actually real. amazing. 




Over the holidays we changed the menu and finally added an English one as well. The illustrations of the birds were done by our son Kai (aged 6). Anyone familiar with our menu will notice a few changes and additions. Ive added another sandwich to the menu. Its what I call the fat sandwich but is written as "all in one" on the menu. Its something I always make when Im really hungry. Off the bone ham, thick slices of bacon, pickles, gouda cheese, mozzarella cheese, tomato and home-made mayonnaise. On top of that you can add a fried egg just in case you need more calories. 

Also spotted this was a rare visitor to the garden, The Eurasian treecreeper 

We were also visited by the author and naturalist Mark Brazil. As a foreigner here with limited Japanese reading ability, the range of books written about wildlife and nature is quite small. Through such works as "Birds of East Asia"  Ive been able to learn about the various species of birds in Japan. Mark was also a columnist for The Japan Times newspaper and has published a collection of his essays in the book The Nature of Japan.These kinds of books can sometimes be very dry but Marks style of writing keeps you interested through well written poetic prose. 

Mark has also published A Pocket Guide to the Common and Iconic Mammals of Japan This bilingual guide, covering 56 of Japan's nearly 200 species of mammals, was designed as an easily portable, laminated pocket guide.

Its also a lot easier than carrying a book and flicking through pages while that bird you were watching disappears...  

Marks Brazil books can be ordered though his website Japannatureguides.com