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Out and About


Author: Susan Roberts

Posted on January 26, 2015 9:48pm

(Originally posted by Selena) It’s still cold as crikey up in the radioactive north, but spring is starting to rear its head, for which I am hella grateful.

This week, my mask-wearing mug is appearing in The Big Issue (Japan), a magazine sold by homeless vendors outside of major train stations. The article is about the work of Japan Cat Network in Fukushima, and features a big fat picture of yours truly feeding cats in the zone, as well as an inset on dear King, who we hear is frolicking happily among the hot springs of Beppu.

The issue in question came out on February 15th and will be available until the end of the month, and features actress Norika Fujiwara on the cover. If you’ve never checked out The Big Issue – do. It’s got well-written, interesting articles by journalists, they throw in a mixture of pop culture stuff and serious issues (sometimes in one story – the cover two issues ago featured famous and schizophrenic artist Yayoi Kusama{Whoa – when I clicked over to her link I discovered she’s designing lingerie for my favorite undies shop, une nana cool, which already has great design}). And they are also providing homeless vendors with an opportunity to make an income. They receive about half of the mag’s 300 yen cover price.

The monster puppy ended up being called Nakio, for lack of something else. I tell ya, if you don’t decide on something in a reasonable amount of time, something ridiculous will stick. I took him to his trial home last week, and told them that they really should change his name if they keep him. I will report back on his progress. I missed him terribly the first night, I want him back. But if he and his family are happy with each other, it’s the best I can hope for.

I also want to start introducing cool places I’ve found while being in Fukushima – this prefecture has a lot of unexpected surprises, beautiful and stylish spots that you never thought you’d find in what looks, at first glance, to be a backwater.

The first of these is a little bakery right across the street from Club Lohas, called Comaya. This calming caf? puts on French airs with its Brigitte Bardot on the hi-fi and its use of Swiss and French butter in their excellently delicious croissants (my unrefined palate can’t tell the difference between them, but my favorite is the chocolate croissant). They are decked out in carefully edited vintage furniture, with painted wooden chairs and comfortable sofas, and one wall looks out onto a small fishing pond, ringed with hydrangeas in the spring and summer. They make a mean homemade English muffin-based lunch plate, with a heap of fresh salad and gorgeous local tofu sprinkled with herb salt.