That beautiful house on the hill

In Japan, there’s this house that we love, really love that we wish all three of us are adopted by the owners.

Our friends, Luke and Miyuki-san invited us to spend the weekend in their “weekend getaway” house during our recent vacation. This must be my dream house.

house artemis

It’s great to look at outside (wait till you see what’s inside!), surrounded by nature, away from the big, noisy city, modern yet with traditional Japanese touches. Yeah, you are required to remove and leave your shoes at the doorstep.

We’ve been invited to this house a couple of times before. It’s not just beautiful but it’s also unique since this is Japan and this house defies some things Japanese.  All the materials are shipped from Europe (our friend Luke is from Belgium), including window jambs, door knobs, wall papers and curtains, which by the way, matches in style and color.

wallpaper curtain matches

That above photo was taken 4 years ago during our first visit to House Artemis – how our lovely hosts call their home. Pristine loves it there.

pristine and teddy

Again, that photo was taken 4 years ago, when she was small and wriggly and loving big teddies.


Since the house is located about 800 meters above sea level in mountainous Nagano Prefecture, it can get nasty cold in winter. The non-Japanese solution at House Artemis? Fireplace. Most Japanese houses don’t use centralized heating, which to me is just cruel. Dubai is hot, yeah but all houses have centralized airconditioning but Japan? I would sleep breathing white air out of my mouth. That or spend loads of money on electricity. The fireplace heats up the whole house. No more cursing the white breath and hiding under heavy blankets for me.

We always  take a walk around when were there. Back in 2005, Miyuki-san explains nature to Pristine. Those were the days when every grass, crawling and flying insects appealed to the little girl. She asks questions endlessly.

nature talk

In 2009, Miyuki-san is still the patient nature guide and Pristine still never runs out of questions.

What’s an acorn?

Why is the chestnut shell sharp?

How does it taste?

Why there’s autumn in Japan?

Why there’s no autumn in Dubai?

Is it cold here in winter?

Does it snow here?

Where do these leaves come from?

picking chestnuts

Are you sure you want to know all the questions? I’ve got time, I don’t know about you.

question girl

With all the acorns we picked, I thought of how the plane going back to Dubai won’t be able to take off.


And don’t get me started how she was so curious of this frog. The curiousity starts with, mom, why are there no frogs in Dubai?

frog p

While walking around the foresty area, we came upon Mr. Praying Mantis.

praying mantis on road p

Of course the interrogation starts. Pristine had been too detached with nature since living in Dubai for three years. What’s a praying mantis? Her father had to pick it up to show her.

praying mantis picked up

If I didn’t have a blog, I wouldn’t come this close to a praying mantis because insects…they…they make me want to run far and fast. And I didn’t have my favorite running shoes on.

praying mantis

But my husband is an insect guy. He picks them up (except cockroaches maybe – in that case, he squishes them) by their necks, tails, little feet, etc. I do not know where he got that education and skill. Not that I would want to know and practice it!

And oh, not MR. Praying Mantis, it’s a MRS and she’s expecting (look at that tummy!). Ewww. Sorry Mrs. Praying Mantis. I have to step away and zoom my camera.

Are you still there?

This post is going to the way I didn’t intended it to be in the first place. No more praying mantises and frogs and curious little girls. I just want to say thank you to our friends Luke and Miyuki san for having us in their beautiful home. Till we meet again!

autumn in japan

Don’t you just love that spread of blue skies in autumn?


Back to Dubai, an update about the rain betting: there’s no rain yet, so far since I opened the rain poll asking your guesses on Dubai’s first rain of the season. Commentor CMC has placed her bet for today, 5th November. Good luck!

For the bet takers and the curious, he sky was a little grey this morning and the sun was not visible until 7:00 am. Cloudless and blue at 2:00 pm.

If you havent’t placed your bets, so many dates are still open. Even if someone’s already taken a certain date, remember that THREE persons can take one date so go, place your bets!


  1. What a lovely post! Thank you so much for sharing the beauty of this lovely home! It must have been absolutely heavenly being there. I loved the pictures. The acorns remind me of when I was a small child. I had a habit of picking up acorns whenever we went to the woods. I loved the ones with the hard top. I use to paint them and make them bowls for my dolls. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    .-= Kelly B´s last blog ..Day Job- Post =-.



  2. your family is happy ,and i don’t know how much did you pay for the nice house but i don’t think i can buy such a nice house or worse than this one in china. i think you can’t expect how expensive of the house in china!



  3. What a wonderful time it looks like you all had. I too have a fabulous curiosity about frogs and Praying Mantises, just like Pristine. I find them to be amazing creatures, and I am so proud of you for staying so close to them for your little girls sake!! 🙂
    You are blessed to have such lovely friends to share such beautiful memories with and I thank you for letting me participate in your journey.
    .-= Lorie Shewbridge´s last blog ..Cartoon of the Day: Teenagers, Oh I Remember =-.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s