I’m from America and have been living in Japan since 2004.  I live on the west coast in a small town near Kanazawa.

This blog used to focus on my life in Japan, but more recently I’ve devote it to chronicling my experiences with permaculture and forest gardening on 164 tsubo (.13 acre / 542 square meters) of land.

Previous incarnations can be found HERE and  HERE.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.


11 thoughts on “About

  1. Hey Casey,

    (couldn’t find your email address, so I respond here)

    Hope your feeling better.

    I didn’t mean to diss Noto or Kanazawa. Actually there were very beautiful points along the route. The biggest issue, I think, is that we were driving instead of riding, which always puts a damper on our impressions.

    We rode around Noto Island and thought that would be PERFECT for a one day trip. Unfortunately, for us to get there with the bikes and gear would make it uneconomical for a single day.

    We were originally thinking of a 7 day trip, but it seems that that would be a lot of riding, so it would be best for people really looking to ride. Most of our customers come for short rides with other activities in-between. I did not get a chance to check out the bike path between Kanazawa and the peninsula. I checked out the sand road, but it is too soft for bikes Still, we could walk. The other rides seened a bit monotonous (though beautiful) unless the customers were photographers.

    This comes to the third reason I gave Noto such a scathing review ;). We have no connections there. Here we can organize a lot of extra activities that non-locals could not, such as visiting the local school to play with the kids, making soba with the obachan down the street, etc.

    I realize these opportunities exist. For one, that kayabuki village (Minosato) Has some people experienced in giving those kind of “green tourism” taiken, but I will have to go back a few times to build a relationship with them.

    FInally, it was a bit touristy along the coastal areas. Sure, my customers are tourists, but they come to me to see and do things that they couldn’t do on their own. While it would be great to ride through Kanazawa and see the area, that is something listed in every guidebook. Even when I take people through Nozawa Onsen, some are disappointed because it is a tourist town.

    I know there are non-toursity areas in the middle of Noto, but again, these would have to be reserved for the riders more interested in riding, rather than families hoping to get someplace close, easy, and yet remote.

    Take a look at my original tentative itin. (written before actually ever having been to Noto) http://www.onelifejapan.com/tours/noto_bike_adventure.html The highlights of this would be the festivals, unless they are big touristy events.

    All that said. I am still considering Noto for a trip, just wondering how to frame it to make sure customers know what they are getting.

    If you are able to help out it would be appreciated. I am anticipating hiring someone part-time this year, and having a local to the area of Noto would be a big help for any trips there. Please send me an email ( kevin@kevincameron.net )

  2. Hi Casey,

    I stumbled across your blog (which is very nice, by the way) while looking for English-language material on the Giant Tradist, which I too am thinking of buying (I live down in Fukuoka). I really like the look of it but there isn’t one in the store for me to test-ride, and like you I have some trepidations about the bike only having eight speeds (or nine in the top-end version). So anyway, what are your thoughts, now that you own the thing? I’d really appreciate any feedback.



  3. hi greg,
    thanks for the comment…i have really enjoyed the tradist so far…i’ve found that you can go plenty fast with only eight speeds, and they are geared as such to give you a pretty wide range of possibilities from high to low…around here the terrain is very flat, so the limited number of gears hasn’t been a problem…if fukuoka is also relatively flat i think you’d be very happy with the tradist…also, the high gearing allows you to climb some pretty substantial inclines easily, just not tour de france type of stuff…basically if you’re using it as a commuter/cruise around the countryside with a backpack type of bike, i think you’ll be pleased…if you want to mount racks and saddlebags you might want something a little more burly…
    i don’t really have any complaints about the tradist…i paid about 52,000 yen for it, so it’s not an expensive bike and the parts reflect that…i plan on gradually upgrading everything as it wears out…but as-is everything works fine and i’ve ridden the bike quite hard…
    those are my overall impressions…i’m bummed winter is setting in and the tradist probably won’t be seeing a whole lot of action over the next few months…let me know if you have any specific questions and i’d be happy to answer them…
    by the way i never found any good english info on the bike…the best i found were japanese blog posts which i sort of stumbled through/google translated…they weren’t too helpful…
    take care

  4. Love the disclaimer 🙂

    I’m an English teacher who is as we speak..literally right now…receiving hate mail from someone picking apart my tired ramblings…life is great….and sometimes not…I shoulda used this disclaimer 😉

    1. thanks for reading and commenting man, i read your blog regularly and comment never (except for a few minutes ago), but hopefully that isn’t justification enough for you to bring the brass knuckles to kanazawa 😉

  5. Hi Casey,

    I came across your blog while researching helpful and interesting websites for our users and the expat community. I think your blog is exactly what I was looking for: An American living in Japan by now since over 7 years (I am no math genious but if i remember right you said you moved there in 2004?). My name is Philipp and I as well was an expat for quite a while. In 2007 I decided not just to create a personal blog but to start a whole website -which has grown tremendously in the past years- to offer expats all over the world the opportunity to share their experience and meet each other in their current cities. I can send you much more information on InterNations and a personal invitation link to our online community (which counts with over 300000 members worldwide by now!) if you would be interested. So if you could please send me a private e-mail and I will send you a personal invitation link! Our Japan community has over 2200 members by now of which about 400 are from the States. The communities meet at least once a month in really great locations at events organized by InterNations!

    Kind regards,


  6. My name is Joe Pinzone and I’m casting an international travel show about expats moving abroad. We’d love to film in Japan and wanted to know if you could help us find expats who have moved there within the last 15 months or have been there for 3-4 years, but recently moved into a new home. The show documents their move to a new country and will place the country in fabulous light. The contributors on the show would also receive monetary compensation if they are filmed. If you’d like more information, please give me a call at 212-231-7716 or skype me at joefromnyc. You can also email me at joepinzone@leopardusa.com. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Joe Pinzone
    Casting Producer
    P: 212-231-7716
    Skype: Joefromnyc

  7. Hi there Greg and family,

    tried to contact you on Facebook … with little success.
    Anyways, we are also in the process building our own little bitty house.
    First of all, I have lived over here (Ehime) for the past 24+ years, got married (again) 5 years ago and we now have a little one (daughter) age 1 (+).

    I am sure I will have quite some questions (some off them got already answered thru your websites).

    We got the land and the bank did the first “testing – screening” and said all looks good.

    The property is a tiny piece of land, roughly 140 squaremeters. We are planning to put a house on it 1.5 floors, 1st floor a little more than 50 sqm.

    The biggest problem I see right now is that the property was a ricefield, clay and water is accumulating after rainfalls. Guess I have to get some drainage.

    First question: did you have any water problems? If so, what did you folks do?
    Also: did you pour tons of concrete for earthquake resistance?

    I would be very happy to hear from you,


    Tomomi, Ann Katrin and Klaus

  8. Dear Casey,
    I am an architect & Passive House designer Scotland, and this summer I will be travelling to Japan with the UK-based Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to research Japanese house building. Specifically I am looking at the use of timber in low energy homes.
    I have been reading you gaijinhouse blog, and it appears you amassed a great deal of knowledge about the process of building a home in Japan. If you had the time, would it be possible to email you some questions about the process?
    Kind regards, Catriona Kinghorn

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