Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Summer Sweets

Good friends of my late mother-in-law's kindly visited us to give a prayer before our Buddhist family altar for remembering her on her first death anniversary. 

I served Japanese tea for them and I put some Japanese sweets on a glass plate. Although this summer heat was exceptionally weird, we still keep the nice way to appreciate the season that traditional Japanese confectioners depict using refined sugar and beans.

We really had a good time together sharing nice memories of my mother- in- law.
I believed she smiled on us.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

It's Magic!


I have a very nice story to tell you.

It was on the way back to the cable car to get down from the top of the mountain where Gifu Castle stood when I realized that my hat was gone.

Where did I lose it?

Then I remembered I took it off and put it in a coat pocket, perhaps, on an open-door observatory floor. It was very windy. I might have dropped it there. My friends, Marta and Junko suggested that we should go back and get it.  But I was not sure where I dropped it and I didn't want to walk a bumpy and steep path to the castle tower again only to find nothing there.

It's time to say good-bye to my hat -----this must be destiny for my lovely hat to leave me and be replaced with a new one.  I almost gave up on my hat before I identified a very familiar item sitting on a bench ahead.


OMG! My Hat! 

See, I was wrong. Now I learned I must have dropped it before we reached the castle tower.
Marta and Junko were so excited with this. My hat showed up in front of us the moment we discussed its loss. Someone was kind enough to pick it up and leave it here on a bench..... in front of a small shrine along the path.

Everything is at the mercy of gods.

We were overjoyed with this and laughed a lot.
Welcome back, hat. Happy to see you again. I will keep you company until you get worn out.

So I gave a little prayer of gratitude in front of the small shrine with my hat on.
Isn’t it a nice story?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Snow in March


Spring is not really with us yet. It had been cold since that morning.
When the meeting was over around noon, the temperature hadn't come up much, although it was the middle of the day. The sky was covered with thick, gray clouds. What's more, it was quite windy.

By the time I got on the train, the sky was threatening.
On the train, I was busy checking my iPhone and not paying any attention to the sight out the window. Finally, when I looked up, I saw there was heavy snow falling.
It seemed that a strong wind had come with the snow.

It was an exciting view to see through the window, while snug inside a warm train.
My eyes were glued on the scene -- the wind and the snow flying chaotically in all directions.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Today March 3rd 2014


Today it's Dolls Day Festival !

These chicks dressed like a pair of "Hina" dolls are puddings
from a popular confectionery right in the Nagoya station building. 
Enjoy the Hina Dolls Festival with your families and friends !



Sunday, February 16, 2014

Checking the requested route on foot




Ahead of the tour for a group of 40 businessmen from India on February 24th, I walked the new route to another subway station from the front gate Nagoya Castle to find out how long it will take me to complete it.  We have to make the itinerary for that tour.

I set my iPhone stopwatch and started walking the new route. It took approximately 16 minutes to get to the subway ticket gate downstairs. Also I found some interesting spots on the way which the guests might get interested in.

A lot of preparation are necessary.



Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valetine's day from snow-covered Japan



It's snow again. This time it has been snowing at a wide area in Japan through the Pacific coast of eastern to the western Japan.  In Tokyo it's snowing much heavier than here in Nagoya.
The thing is that once it snows in big cities where snow rarely falls, the transportation gets paralyzed and people have to be patient for the inconvenience.





Staying home is the best choice on such a day------but not quite true for me.  I have to clear snow from the walkway before it gets dark in the evening. 
What a nice way to celebrate a Valentine's Day!

"Happy Valentine's day to everyone.
Greetings from snow-covered Nagoya, Japan!"




Thursday, February 13, 2014

Nagoya Hideyoshi Kiyomasa Memorial Museum


Today I visited Nakamura ward in Nagoya, the homeland of two outstanding samurai in our history, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his younger relative, Kato Kiyomasa.
 I take a great pride that Hideyoshi and Kiyomasa came from this area of poor farmers in those days.

We have a small but very good museum in honor of these two important warriors from Nakamura ward, who lived almost 400 years ago.
Of all the items here, such as hanging scrolls of paintings, letters, armours, helmets and many other important belongings, especially I got interested int two “helmets.”  A helmet is “kabuto” in Japanese.

Hideyoshi’s “kabuto" is so elegant and decorative. It is made of many plates of steel. They say that long sword-like plates depict leaves of iris flowers.

Another “kabuto”  belonged to Kato Kiyomasa. Its shape is unusually long compared with what we know as “kabuto” in general. 
The length is not practical when considering that “kabuto” should protect a warrior from arrows, spears, swords and guns.
On Kiyomasa’ “kabuto”, pieces of lacquered paper are attached in layers. The family crests are designed with leaves of gold. When complete, it didn’t weigh much.



 Why then did he put on an unpractical “kabuto”?  


 It is said that Kiyomasa liked the idea that the eye-catching "kabuto" of a successful warrior ensured that his fighting with an enemy soldier was noticed in battle.

That way a warrior could get a reward from his master such as his title or his own territory.

 For a top warlord such as Hideyoshi, the showy “kabuto” along with a suit of armour added more significance for dignity and power to his followers. 
Even foot soldiers in the troop could tell where their master was in a battlefield and could crowd around him in case of danger.

Later, when the whole society got more peaceful in Edo period, the samurai class preferred to maintain their military armour as their family symbols.

Due to skillful craftsmanship of those days, Japanese “kabuto” and armour have become art objects not only for Japanese but also many collectors from abroad.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Magic of Light and Shade

This year again, I went to see my old friends from university at the gallery in Daikanyama.
There one of them holds a photo exhibition every year.
Her exhibition gives us a good excuse  to get together once a year in Tokyo.

Photography is an art of light and I believe a professional photographer is an artist who stops time and captures  the moments we often overlook in our daily lives.

This year her pictures showed  impressive collaboration of light and shade. She looked at the scenery through window glass in the cities of NY and NJ, where she  lived more than 20 years. We saw natural layers of reflections in her pictures, which created a magical world of her own.

We were all fascinated with her pictures as we always are. Afterwards,  we enjoyed dinner and a lively chat with a couple of bottles of wine. That was the perfect ending.






Saturday, September 21, 2013

Full Moon


Just like people on this globe have their own special sentiments toward the moon, so in Japan too, we have a traditional custom to enjoy the full moon in autumn.

At Tokugawa Garden,  they opened during the night on this special day for visitors to watch the full moon coming up above the garden forest. 



We name them "dango" (dumplings). They are symbols of good harvest. We decorate them with Japanese pampas grass besides the window as well.





It was really exciting that we saw the moon being reflected on the pond.  I almost forgot this was right in the city.



The full moon usually appears around on the fall equinox day. It's the season for harvesting. 
People have been appreciating the beautiful full moon by exchanging the poets, offering the autumn harvest, playing music and admiring every second of the moon light. 

Yes, it is true to Japan, too. Young people may not be so much interested in the traditional custom but it is also very true there are many other young people who find its significance. 

The moon  was so pretty.




location:Tokugawa Garden



Sunday, June 30, 2013

Farewell to My Father


The farewell came to us all of a sudden. 
My dear father left us earlier this month at the age of 91 due to old age. 
He stayed in bed just for three days. He didn't suffer from any pain. 
At the end, he was gone just as a candle flame goes out. 
He looked as if he were still sleeping. I believe that his life of more than 90 years was a fulfilling one. 

Yet I miss him so badly. Even at my age, in my 50s, I was still his child. 
It is harsh to learn that I can't see him, hear him or even reach him any more in this world.
How I wish I could have turned time backward again to talk to him just once before he was gone. 
I know that's a ridiculous idea, but none of us expected that he would be gone that day. 

This was his and our destiny, though. 

Now I recall many stories of my father and experiences I shared with him in my life. 
All of them are so dear to me. 

He personally loved drawing, writing, reading and loved chemistry. Also I loved him playing the harmonica. He was extremely good at Japanese calligraphy — a talent which he inherited from his own father. I luckily take after my father in some of these ways too. I am proud of being his daughter. 

Well I have to go forward for my mother and my own family. 
That is what my father expects me to do now. 
I truly believe so.