Bram Stoker Award® Finalist for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

The Carp-Faced Boy and Other Tales"Beautiful, haunting, and grotesque, The Carp-Faced Boy and Other Tales offers stories reminiscent of traditional Japanese folktales alongside contemporary horror fiction. Matsuura’s unique voice, in its poignancy and lightheartedness, is unforgettable." —Gene O'Neill

This is How it Starts

Happy New Year! ╰(*´︶`*)╯♡

This is how it starts.

With a pretty blank journal, a pen, and a dream — a daunting, thrilling, not-fully-thought-out-at-all dream. But the thing has been there noodling around in my head for awhile and has recently been more a lot more boisterous, begging for my attention. At some point late last year I just thought: Screw it, I’m going to do it.

I sometimes tell people that one of my dreams is to travel around Japan in some variety of camping vehicle and just truly enjoy, study, and appreciate the country. Experience, learn, and totally get the hell out of my comfort zone. I especially want to visit little known places, because sure I’ve lived in Japan for over thirty years/over half my life, but there is so much I just don’t know about and haven’t seen.

But also, I’m getting older. That thing that happens to all of us every minute of every day, but we (or I, at least, I can’t speak for anyone else) do a very good job at forgetting.

My son is in Hokkaido at the moment,1,700 kilometers/1,056 miles away, so why the heck not visit him? Right now my income is from supporters of my podcast Uncanny Japan on Patreon. So I can do that from the road. Even better, I can gather all kinds of extra content (photos, videos, research, stories, soundscapes) while on the road to share with them. Win! Win!

The loose plan is to spend several weeks (a month?) driving up the west coast of Japan, hanging out in Hokkaido for awhile, then drive down the east coast. I know I’m going to have to avoid the rainy season, summer, and winter…so that leaves early spring or fall.

And there you go, that’s all I got so far. But I do have a notebook and a pen!

I’m going to start the planning, and *gasp* blogging about that planning, as well as blogging about other random things, kind of bring my Living-in-Japan identity and my Writer identity together in one place. Because social media platforms … *hard eye roll*

So here we go. Blog post number 1 checked off my To Do List. Does anyone else have any challenging, scary, or seemingly impossible goals for the New Year?


printed out map of Japan


It’s Been Awhile…Alternate Title: Does Anyone Blog Anymore?

Follow me on Mastodon

It’s been awhile 👋.

Recently, Life Things have been coalescing in a way that has me itching to write on here again. I’ll talk about the one special Thing that tipped the scales a little later. But for now, I think we can all agree social media is what it is, and it’s not getting any better. Not that I completely hate it. It’s a place to meet and interact with cool-cat people from all over the world, people I’d normally never get a chance to meet and interact with, so there’s a Yay!

But when you kick up the rock that is FB/Insta you’ll find the wretching-ly gross Zuckerberg and his lot. Twitter is ad after ad after ad and there was the Musk-Near-Miss incident that gave me a case of the vapors. Oh, and if you know what’s good for you, you won’t get me started on what I think about TikTok.

I’m exhausted by it all*.

Exhausted by the constant feeling I need to keep up, all the time, everywhere, all at once. Exhausted by the worry I might miss some important friend or family member’s Big News. Exhausted by having to scroll or hide the infinite stream of Reels/Shorts/Clips/MindNumbingWhereDidTheLastHourGo?15-SecondVideos. And they also have all the pretty numbers to tell you how many times your post has been seen/interacted with/impressions/engagements/…effing hell, already. It’s kind of like if you were trying to figure out a way to drive millions upon millions of people insane all at once, this would be it.

Andrew Lewis is attributed as saying, “If you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”

I don’t pay for any of those platforms. They could disappear in an instant** and there wouldn’t be anything any of us could do about it. Well, until the next Cerberus-like “service” pops back up and I’m signing up and clicking the Accept Terms and Conditions without reading.

I do pay for my domain name and this here site, however. People can visit if they like. Leave if they like. It’s all cool. Most importantly, though, it’s going to be a slow, quirky life here with photos and updates and perhaps a thought or two about books, movies, food, writing, life in Japan, bell crickets***. So please come back if you’d like. That would be nifty keen.

Here’s a thing. I’ve been dipping the proverbial toes into the ai art-generators and that’s a hoot. I asked Dall-E to give a visual representation of my return to the blogging world. Here are couple hilarious results:



Ai generated art typewriter with funny face the words boloog!

And my personal favorite, Go Bogl!


I’ve loads of Mini Posts to share. I hope you stick around. ♪(๑ᴖ◡ᴖ๑)♪




Note: My absolute favorite places to hang with people these days are with my amazing Patrons on Patreon and those above mentioned cool-cats on my Discord**** server. But since Patreon isn’t really a blogging site so much (a bit clunky actually) and Discord is so incredibly not conducive for having and following conversations (everything just gets buried), I’m going to just start talking into the void here, tossing out tidbits of loveliness hopefully, some weird, a little silly and please feel free to chime in in the comments. I’ll write back.


* That said, I’ll still be there doing my one post (or fewer a day). I love the people, not the soulless platform that has us all by the … throat.

** although with the money they’re making, you can bet that won’t be happening any time soon.

*** I finally bought some Japanese suzumushi/bell crickets and there’s a real cricket love story to go along.

**** Let me know if you want a Discord invite. Sound/Tech Guru, Richard, is in charge of all that.

A Small Elbow Kinda Thing

Even a small surgery makes me nervous and introspective.

The last time I was in surgery (2016) my vein had just blown and I woke up on the operating table, early. I remember hearing people talking in loud voices over one another, before opening my eyes and seeing the blurry, busy scene. Someone shouted, “She’s awake!” and the poor male nurse leaning over me was really panicking, furiously massaging and searching my arm, trying to find somewhere to stick the IV. My infamous thin veins along with the Heparin I was being given weren’t helping at all. That face. He looked truly afraid. I think that was the first and only time I’ve ever seen that kind of fear in a nurse. It doesn’t sit well with a patient. But I get it. Poor kid.

My surgeon, though, she was calm.  She was down by my knee and I had to lift my head a little to see her. She told him to try something. He said it wasn’t working. Then she spoke again (for the life of me I can’t remember exactly what was said) sternly and confidently, and marched around the table. The male nurse vanished, and she did something (again, both sternly and confidently) and I was out. Asleep.

Tomorrow I’m going in for arthroscopic surgery on my elbow, a cracked bone spur that won’t allow me to extend my arm all the way, along with some other stuff I’m a tad unclear on. The doctor wanted me to go in for a week, general anesthesia, so he could ‘really clean up the joint’. He said he wouldn’t ‘imagine such a bad elbow on a 70-year old construction worker’. But my fear of general anesthesia and possible blood clots again, together with the fact I don’t get sick days at my job *, has me going in for an outpatient surgery. It’s not a big deal.

But like I said up there: Even a small surgery makes me nervous and introspective.

The good news is that for the past week I’ve been thinking about all the different hats I’ve been wearing – or not wearing, as the case may be – and I really miss that writing cap. Not the podcast kind of writing, but making up a new fiction story from scratch and exploring that world and those characters. I had something in the drawer for years and was recently able to dust it off when the Asahi Weekly Newspaper approached me to do a serialized horror piece. It’s a good story and I think it could be something really good given more time and some fleshing out. So I’ve been playing with the idea of turning it into something longer, possibly a YA (young adult) novel, and submitting it to my agent. Not being able to sleep well has it’s advantages. I now have all kinds of notes about how to work on this story. I’m giving myself the deadline of the end of this year to have a decent first draft.

I hope everyone is well and I plan to write the occasional short post here to keep me honest.




P.S. Aren’t dragonflies lovely?


* More accurately, I get the kind of sick days where I have to make up all the hours a week later on my own time, which I don’t want to do in a sling.


The Melon Princess and The Heavenly Demon

I’ve got quite a few subscribers to my blog who aren’t following me on other social media thingies, so I wanted to post a little update.

Aside from my podcast (Uncanny Japan), I have this other side hustle I’m very passionate about. That is, digging up obscure Japanese folktales, translating, retelling/reimagining them, and then recording them with cool background music. They are offered as one of the rewards for my 5$ and up Patrons.

It occurred to me, though, recently that if you weren’t a Patron, you’d have no idea what a Bedtime Story sounded like. So my Tech Guy and I decided to do one for free. This is the PG-rated version of “The Melon Princess”. The R-rated version (much more flay-y) will be available to my Patrons.

My job is the stories. I do all that mentioned above. But the audio editing, the super nitty gritty stuff that makes it sound so cool is my Tech Guy, Rich Pav. Then there is the background music, haunting and beautiful. That would be courtesy of my son, Julyan Matsuura.

If you have a few moments and some earbuds or headphones, pop those puppies in and lie down on a sofa or nearby bed, get comfortable and listen to me tell you the story of “The Melon Princess and the Heavenly Demon”.

The podcast episode that explains what the heavenly demon (amanojaku) is, is right here.

Thank you,


Shhh. He Doesn’t Know He’s My Kinda My Guru

It’s been forever since I’ve blogged. I’ve been working full time for almost a year now and *insert-various-excuses-here*. But this is going to change, because…

…let me introduce you to Patrick Sherriff.

I first met Patrick back in 2011. I was new to Twitter and there was this really neat group of cool expat kids in Japan called #youguys. They liked to talk, tell jokes, and share stories (advice, information, what-have-you) via Tweets. Those were some seriously fun times.

And then the Tohoku Earthquake hit.

Now, Patrick wasn’t Patrick back then. At least not to me. He went by the pseudonym “Our Man in Abiko” and his avatar was a very 007 silhouette. All I knew was that (apart from being mysterious AF) he was the one who jumpstarted this idea to pull together a group of writers and artists to donate works (stories, essays, art) and compile them into a book. This book would then be sold and all the proceeds would be given to the Japanese Red Cross to help with earthquake and tsunami relief. Our Man spearheaded, organized, edited, and accomplished all of this in a little over a week. And we’re talking also about getting pieces from Yoko Ono, William Gibson, Barry Eisler and Jake Adelstein. We called it The Quake Book, but it’s real title is 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake and it’s still a phenomenal thing.

Here’s what Patrick had to say about that when I asked:

“Ah, Quakebook. Yeah, probably that will go down as my crowning publishing achievement (although I did it all anonymously at the time), getting 100 contributors, including celebs like Yoko Ono, to contribute pieces about the Tohoku earthquake for free to raise money for the Red Cross. To this day, I don’t know how we pulled it off other than to say it was the right thing to do at the right time. A lot of people helped because of this. And that’s the lesson I take from the experience: do the right thing at the right time and you’ll be amazed at what you can do. Although the converse is probably more common. It’s only after the event that you realise what a fortuitous opportunity it was. Grasp the nettle, Terrie!”

That was 2011. I pulled away from Twitter, more or less, and life-things happened. But I kept bumping into Our Man (whom I learned was Patrick Sherriff) on Facebook, Instagram, and the Twitter I’m still trying to wean myself off. And what I’ve discovered over the years is that this guy does all variety of things and he puts his whole heart into each and every pursuit he pursues. He’s a whole like who I wanna be.

Something I think Patrick and I have in common is there are so many things we want to do in this life, and so many things we want to do well. We also like trying new stuff we’ve never done before and that might be a little bit (or a lot) out of our comfort zones. The ideas just don’t stop. The difference between Patrick and I, however, is that he seems to have the secret sauce as to how to go about getting shit done. I have no such sauce recipe, as yet.

See, the thing is, I’m used to having great stretches of uninterrupted time. That’s how I got all my stories researched and written and how I scoured the markets and they ended up in print. Well, that was then and this is now, and now I’ve got to be grown up (like most people) and figure out how to chase all my dreamy dreams as best as I can with what bits of free time I can snag during a day, because life ain’t that long, ya’ll, and every second we do have is valuable, dammit. 

So, I was dealing with all this (having too much to do, too much I wanted to do) when the Japan Writers’ Conference snuck up on me. Because often times my dreamy dreams involve something difficult that I’m afraid of, I raised my hand and pitched an idea for a talk. Lo and behold, they gave me the green light, and I went to the conference. Patrick (whom I’d never met before in real life) said he was going as well.

I was both stoked and nervous to meet this person I’ve known online for so many years. I think he still had some of the mysterious Our Man in Abiko vibes about him in my head. I had no idea how super nice he was IRL. Now, add to those nerves the fact that I’d never given a talk before in my life, so I had that rattling around in my bloodstream as well. The day of the talk, I walk into the room and there are all these people and my little heart is like, “Yep, I’m outta here.”

But before I could turn around and bolt, I looked out at the crowd and I see a couple familiar faces and one of them is Patrick. He just smiled at me and I totally relaxed. Later we talked and had lunch with a  group of writers, and it was like chatting with an dear old friend. He was smart and friendly and despite being so hard working and accomplished, he was so very mellow.

I’m sure I asked him then and I think I’ve asked him a dozen times since, “How do you do it? How do you get so much done and done well? You read loads of books, you write, you paint, you play instruments, you run a school, you write your own textbooks, you write reviews, you support other artists and writers and friends, and you have a monthly newsletter with really cool stuff in it!?”

(Look at this! I still think this is one of my favorite self portraits.)

Alongside quite a bit of encouragement, Patrick has given me advice about how to assign small blocks of time for the things that are important. He’s talked about how he’ll give himself 30 minutes every day to read a book. Thirty minutes reading, uninterrupted. Stop. Then on to the next thing. He’s organized and careful and passionate. And he also know how to relax and have fun. It makes very good sense to me and I’m trying to implement his approach into my hectic days. 

Fast Forward to a little while ago, when he came to me via email and threw out the idea of us interviewing each other for our own personal blogs. I’ve never interviewed anyone, much less written a blog post about a person I admired. I don’t have the first clue what to do, what to ask, how to consolidate the answers I get, so easily my answer was, “Hell, yeah!”

It took awhile because like I said in those first two sentences up there: all worlds-of-busy are on me, and I have such a difficult time getting to things that matter. But I took a proverbial page out of Patrick’s book, and I set aside the time to do something important and I got it done. Today. Cue happy dance. 

See, it’s not that I don’t hustle. I think I do hustle. I’m just not necessarily doing it as well as I could be. I get stressed out and panicked. But then I look over and I see Patrick and I nod and think: That’s what I need to be doing. So my plan is after I get good at divvying up blocks of time and concentrating on the tasks at hand, I’m totally going for a more chill attitude.

My goal is to grasp that darned nettle, all the nettles(!), and then, eventually, to do it will a mellow demeanor, just like my humble guru, Patrick Sherriff.

And if you want to read what was really asked and answered in those emails, here is Patrick’s site.