a few of you asked to see photos from around my village, so this gives me a chance to upload small groups of photos from various times during the last year.

I actually live in a hamlet of less than 100 people, called Shimonohara, which means "lower field". About 150 years ago, when the modern state of Japan was created, Shimonhara was incorporated into the village of Tanijyugo, which means "inhabited valley". Tanijyugo was later incorporated into the town of Sakurae, which means "cherry inlet". 2 years ago Sakurae became incorporated into the city of Gotsu, which means Go Port, Go being the name of the river that enters the Japan Sea at Gotsu.

Shimonohara is about 20kms upstream of Gotsu on the bank of the Go.

My hamlet is further subdivided into 3 sections, Upper, Middle, and Lower. Each of these sections is composed of 5 household units called "Gumi". Gumi were created by the rulers of Japan as a form of political control. each 5 household group was held collectively responsible for any crimes or misdemeanors committed by any member of the 5 households.

This goes a long way to explain the nosiness of Japanese to their neighbors.

The gumi as a unit still function. If there is a death, it is the gumi that is responsible for the funeral and the complex set of rituals connected to it.

Japan has a very aged population, and in the rural areas the younger people have moved to the cities for "convenience", so most people in Shimonohara are much older than me.

The houses are built against the steep mountainside, around the large area of rice paddies.

The road ends here, so there is no through traffic.

the My Home album contains photos  from within my house or hamlet.

Tomorrow I will start uploading an album called "May 4th". 2 mexican friends from Kyoto were visiting on a mini-Flickr meet, and these photos are from a one hour walk around the hamlet.

Next day we went to Iwami Ginzan, and the resulting photos can be seen the Cinco De Mayo album