Sunday, May 29, 2005

This evening, I had to stop at three different department stores one after another to do some shopping. When I finished all these shopping, I felt quite exhausted. Honestly speaking, I don't feel like making a rush to the parking. Do I have to hurry back home? Then I heard some one whispering in my ear, "Gee, you look so awful with those bags. Why don't you take a rest? After all you will be tied up with a lot of housework right after you get home. Just ten-minute break won't hurt you. While listening to this voice, I've already looked around and found one nice coffee shop across the aisle., well, strictly speaking, a traditional Japanese pastry house called "Akafuku". I rushed to the shop and dashed to the table, then I was stopped by the clerk. "Get the meal ticket first, please." "Oh, the ticket." They make it a rule to have the customers pay in advance. Gee, she didn!t have a mercy on me to have a seat and get free from these bags. Eventually I had to put these bags on the floor to pay. " Two pieces of Akafuku on the plate with tea please."
They serve several tiny mochi named "Akafuku" (soft rice cake wrapped with smoothly pasted sweetened beans) on the plate with Japanese tea or green tea as shown in the picture. They have served them ever since 300 years before at the shop in Ise, Mie prefecture primarily for Ise Shrine visitors who walked all the way from different areas throughout the country on those days. Here people used to take a rest and feel happy about the safe arrival to Ise Shrine and after visiting the shrine, they used to drop by at the shop again to feel refreshed with some "Akafuku-mochi" before starting a long journey way back home on foot.
Well, time went by. Nowadays this "Akafuku" are loved especially by many women and visitors from other parts of Japan at the shops in many department stores. Apart from the story of visiting Ise Shrine, when I get exhausted from walking in the department stores and feel like to have a coffee break, dropping by at "Akafuku" is undoubtedly the right way to take a rest and get my enegy full again to play my role of housewife or whatever.
So I went home with a feeling of happiness. Happiness is having something sweet, maybe.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Tulips tulips tulips!

Enjoy the flowers!By the way,this is not Holland, but Japan.

Enter

Shachi-bon


One of the fascinating things about making a trip is to encounter something really delicious or something really unique food you have never had before at any other places but "there".
Here is something that makes you feel you can't miss it before you leave Nagoya by all means. Let me introduce you tonight the famouse cream puff named "Shachi-bon". "Shachi" is legendally "dolfin-like- fish" and a symbol of the city of Nagoya where you can find a gold pair of "Shachi" statues on the top of the Nagoya Castle roof. The cream puff is actually shaped like this symbol of Nagoya and made out of many parts of crispy crust :body and several fins. And it has full of whisked fresh cream inside its body crust and eyes are formed with chocolate chips and it has a strawberry tongue as well. Isn't it an irresistible face ! You'll love it at first sight. Don't miss it when you land at JR Nagoya Station.
You will be able to have "Shachi-bon" only at this cafe at the undergound shopping archade just below the station concourse.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Can't wait for the arrival of the spring

clike on the picture to get a larger image

Enjoy the bees dancing with my message.
(Sorry this page may not work properly on Macs.)
ENTER

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Slide Show

This time I didn't carry my digital camera with me. It is not that I forgot to bring it with me but that I believed that I would not have been in a mood to take pictures.
Well, I really had no time to do some sightseeing except in the afternoon on the first day in Kyoto.
With a limited range of hours I've decided to visit one shrine called "KITANO TENMAN-GU " where a famous historical person named Michizane Sugawara was enshrined. He was well known as a educated man who was trusted by the then-Emperor. The shrine has many plum trees and that day they were in full bloom here and there in the shrine. After getting back to the Kyoto station by subway, I had some time to look around the station building. This huge building was completed in 1997 and it has many facilities like a department store, hotel, theater, game center, shopping mall, government offices, various restaurants and an observation deck on the 15th floor.
You would be very much surprised to see how this modern building has a nice contrast against the ancient images of Kyoto.
It was lucky for me to carry my cell phone with me.
Here is a series of pictures I took with my cell phone camera.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

My recent Favorite

This is what I love to use these days. MY husband brought it home one day. Its arm shapes an interesting curve so that I can pinpont at the right part of my back to be patted or massarged with this machine over my shoulder.
I'm not a maniac for collecting so called "health care products" but this might be really interesting to have one at every home. When you feel your neck, shoulders and back stiff and sore and need some massarge, this machine gives you a moment of relaxation. See, there are eight different ways of massarge on menu buttons. There are four variations of patting, two of vibrating, and two automatic modes on this massarger. A head of a massarger on a picture is like a man's fist. It give you comfortable strikes and vibrations on your shoulder and back. If you want somewhat moderate touch, you can replace a fist-like head to a palm-like head. Well, if you want much moderate touch, why don't you replace a machine to someone sitting next to you in the living room. That's the best.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Chubu Centrair International Airport

People in the Chubu area are so much excited about the third largest and first 24-hour international airport led by the private company. The airport opened just yesterday. This new airport has some unique points.
It is unique in a way that it has varieties of commercial facilities such as its own amusement park, two hotels and around 100 restaurants, with a terrace providing a wide view of the sea plus a public bath with a panoramic view of the airport. What an exciting place just for a visit on weeekends.
If I had no job and had time to spare, I should have been one of 100,000 crowds of people including passengers and onlookers on the first day. 100,000 crowds of people! Amazing! Half of them were just curious onlookers. The TV news said that every train to the airport was packed with passengers as twice as much and there were long lines of people at every restaurant and a panorama public bath.
I guess there are two types of human behavior patterns when they face with a new encounter like the opening of the Chubu Centrair Internaional Airport. One type is that they are so curios that they can't wait. The first the best. On the other hand, the other type is that they are curious but also too demanding to jump into something new. I'm the latter one. I don't like a crowded train, crowded restaurant to wait for hours to be fed. I'll be tired of congestion. I'd rather fly overseas than stay in the airport!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Painting is fun

It's been long since I got this new painting and drawing soft. When was it that I got this? If I remember correctly it was way back in the winter of 2003. Then I just didn't have enough time to study paintings and almost forget about it. Then, all of a sudden, did you ever run into a situation that you can't resist trying it out. That exactly happened to me a few days ago. I just got in a mood to paint so I took out the tablet and started drawing with the pen-shaped mouse.
Once I start painting, my clock will stop ticking. I really enjoy drawing on the tablet and enjoy watching it on the desktop. There I don't have to make a mess all over with watercolors on the desk. All the works are to be handled on the computer desk top. I can mix the colors with some water on the computer palete and "click" on my favorite tool out of painting brushes from small to large, pencils, pens, sprays, chalks, charcoals, crayons whatever. Everything is installed in the computer. Well, I'm not a gogod painter but thanks to this drawing soft, I enjoy the world of painters.
Oh, there is one remarkable difference from the acutual paintings. That is, the computer painting provides us with the functions of "layers". One picture consists of many layers so that you really don't get into trouble when you want to erase a part you don't like anymore. All I have to do is just "delete" the layer I don't like and re-paint. That's really something!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Bean Throwing


We have many cultural ceremonies in our country. Maybe it is that we have four distinct seasons. This gives us varieties chances to appreciate the changes of the nature.
I love the bean throwing ceremony held either on February 3 or 4 depending on the year.
We call this day "Setubun". "Setu" means "the season" and "bun" means "divide". So it literally means the day marking the change from winter to spring. So today the third of February is the last day of the winter and tomorrow is the beginning of the spring which every one is longing for its arrival. Well talking of the bean throwing ceremony, not only at many shrines but also at every home family enjoys this throwing ceremony called "Mame maki". We throw the roasted soy beans in the house shouting "Out with the eveil and in with the fortune!" Then we open the windows and throw beans again outside in the garden shouting the same phrase. This way we believe we drive away misfortune and invite only good luck and health for the family. My two children used to love this ceremony so much and they used to throw the beans all over the rooms in the house shouting the phrase. Cleaning up the rooms was my job first thing in the next morning. But now the children are old enough to be reluctant to throw beans, which little kids are crazy about. So I take a part of this bean-throwing. Without this, the good fortune takes a glance at our house and might be just walking away. Oops, it's going to be a problem.
(Click on the picture to get a large view.)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Snowfall

I woke up and sensed that the air was chilly and dead silent. I walked to the windows and open the curtain. Wow, it's snow all over! The sasanqua flowers in the garden looked so beautiful against white snow. Such my excitement has been disturbed on the spot.
Ah, today is the day my daughter takes an entrance exam for the university. Ah, my husband takes a train early in the morning on business. Oh dear, I can't use my car for work on such a snowy day.
So we had a hectic morning to begin our days.
Her exam was pushed back on the timetable and my husband had to walk to the nearest station with his luggage. As for me, I gave up driving and got to the station only to wait long with patience till a train finally pulled in to the platform.
Oh, that's enough. But the weather forcast warns us we will have this turmoil tommorow morning as well.
Oh what a beginning of the spring.
(Click on the second picture to get a large view.)

Funny face

Is this a new character model or a toy robot? No, it's my new iron! Well, I was quite surprised to see the varieties of irons from side to side sitting on the shelves at the shop. Too many! How come do we need so many kinds of irons. And how am I supposed to pick up one from them. They are small, large, stylish, colorful, corded, cordless, steam, extra-shot steam, vertical steam, mist spray and more---more than I can tell you at heart.
After examining and checking irons one after another walking along the aisles in between the shelves, I made up my mind to pick up this one as shown in the pictures. It's a large sized iron corded only but with 17 steam holes on the soleplate, which I believe it must bring out good results of ironing. I am quite happy about my decision and really enjoying ironing now. There is one thing I didn't check, though. It's an image especially an image from the top view. Wow, it has a funny face but cute. Who should ever complain about it? I don't care about whether or not it has a good looking face.
Necessity comes first.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Enjoy yourself

Oh, I love this calendar so much. I've found it at a sort of very private spot at computer school I go to. I love to take a look at this every time I visit this spot.
Speaking of a book of a one day calendar, it must be thrilling to tare it off every day when the date is turned to the next. There on a calendar you will see some other interesting information besides the date, such as famous proverbs, the birthday of the well-known people, historical incidents of the day, the date by the lunatic calendar and the like.
As for the one here at this school, every page has a quiz of an English expressions from Japanese sentences on each day at the bottom. You won't know the right answer until you see it on the following page next day. Well, actually there will no one I suppose to wait until tomorrow to get a right answer. You will surely have a quick glance at the answer by lifting up the edge of the page halfway. To tell you the truth, this is so tempting that I find myself just keep on going and going to the next pages to get Q&A until I know it's time to go.
This spot I've been talking about is -----guess where?
The answer is "a bathroom" where you are never bothered by others.
Some people especially those who are not Japanese may think this is something beyond their imagination. Why the calendar in the bathroom? Simply because we like to spend the moment of being in there besides the primary reason. Well a calendar is general but it doesn"t have to be a calendar. If you happen to visit a friend of yours at home whose son or daughter is studying for the entrance exams of universities, this might be a chart of world history or chemical signs or a list of difficult Kanji(Chinese characters), whatever so. You will never fail to take a look at these words and letters every time you get in the bathroom. That way you will learn them by heart. Good idea! Huh?

Monday, January 31, 2005

Just absent-minded?

I am quite shocked with what I did this morning. I burned the toast at breakfast once and twice and this is really silly but three times. And you will have pity on me. While burning the toast,I overflowed the washing machine with warm water pumped up from a bathtub. What's going on with me? I'm forgetting one after another.Aging? Booooo! I would say a housewife is just busy with one thing and with another. I hope so.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Your wish has come true!

I've just read this article on web now and cannot help posting here.
This is an article which is worth of reading the first thing in the morning.
A three-year-old boy suffering from an obstinate desease has been always wishing if he could have met the Ultraman , the great hero on TV that every Japanese kinds love. And finally his dream has come true yesterday owing to the arrangement by the volunteer group named "Make a wish of Japan".
An appearance of the Ultrama surely gave this boy the spirit of fighting and some sense of togetherness with the mighty hero to share the spirit together. Nice shot!

Thinking of January 17th

It has been ten years since then. We never forget this day. The great Hanshin Earthquake of January 17th 1995. I was awake in bed at that time. I never forget the instant the house swang very slowly from side to side. I jumped out of bed because I felt it dangerous and ran to my children's beds. My daughter was already running towards me with her pajamas on. This was in Nagoya but a short tremor was big enough to surprised us that day very early in the morning.
As far as we are on this jolting archipelago, we have to face with earthquake. We are just helpless against the power of the nature. We may lose our properties but then at least we have to protect our lives from the disaster. We should survive so that we won't be apart from our loved ones or won't throw them into a big despair and sorrow of lost. Let us pray for those who lost their lives that day and for those who were secluded from their families all of a sudden.
The same prayer goes to people who lost their lives and those who got big scars in their minds in Niigata Earthquake and in the South-east Asia earthquake and tsunami.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

City freeway


So I drove the city free way to take my daughter to the exam center.
On the way back home, I took out my cell phone and look what I did. Here are some shots on the way. It has been just a couple of years since this freeway was open if I remember correctly. It's neat and comfortable and swiftly leads me to the east end of the city.
The road pulls into a underpass and the lightning in the tunnel is beautiful with orange color. And the freeway is connected to the next freeway to get back to home which pulls into a overpass. This was Sunday morning, the traffic was so much light that gave me an idea to take out my cell phone for good shots.


Entrance Exams

This is the sencond day of the university entrance exams by the Center for University Entrance Examinations. The test center my daughter was assigned is far away from the nearest subway station. The applicants are supposed to walk about 30 minutues on this cold and windy day of the winter. There is a city bus but which runs only once every one hour. Moreover, it was rainning yesterday, the first day of the exams. She had to get in a room by 9:10 at latest and her exam was over at 6:30 in the evening.
So I've decided to drive her to her center for the exams by way of the Nagoya city freeway. I drove in about 30 minutes from the west of the city where our house is to the east of the city the exam center is located. That's a quite fast and comfortable driving. If she uses the subway and walks, it would have taken more than 1 hours to get. I wonder why the Center office did pick up such a high school which locates in a inconvenient place as a exam center. There are more than 700 exam centers across Japan for two days. I bet there should be many out of 520,000 applicants across the nation who are forced to make a hard journey to a exam center before they really fight with their exams all day.
Wish them for a big "Good Luck!".

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Coming of Age Day

An "adult" in Japan is legally defined as one who is 20 or over. They gain the right to vote on their twentieth birthday, and they're also allowed to smoke and drink. Municipal governments host special coming-of-age ceremonies for 20-year-olds on the second Monday of January. So my son attended this ceremony today at the gym of the elementary school he graduated from. It was almost like a alumni meeting for the first time since they graduated from the school seven years ago. It was nothing but the great moment of excitement to get into the gym where many old friends got together and to put their old memories together then and there to tell who is who. They surely don’t look the same as they were seven years ago. They are adults. Like my son, for those who didn’t have any chance to see each other often since the graduation, it is such a nice re-union. This year 1.5 million fellows turned to 20-year-old and had this celebration all over the country. They’ve now stepped forward to the new stage of their life with new rights and responsibilities as well.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

No choice

My son has just come home for holidays from his university. When he comes home, there are always some adjustments I'm supposed to accept. First and foremost the amount of cooking meals is doubled, more laundries than usual, sudden shopping necessity owing to his poor interests in men's fashon---but more than this, he enjoys the previledge of driving my car. He took a driver's license this past summer but had no chance to drive since then. It's funny to see him coming up to me with two sheet of green-leaf-shaped stickers with his hands asking if he uses my car or not. In order to drive, he must put these sticker on a car body to draw other drivers' attention that he is just a biginner. He has no choice to own his new car now while he has a definite desire to get his favorite car someday. It's a "cappuccino" from Suzuki. My car is Toyota "Hi-ace" one box car. These are two extremes in size and shape. Sorry, he has no choice.

Friday, January 07, 2005

What a relief !

A good news ! They gave me a new coffee maker. How exciting ! Well, as I wrote about a coffee maker which got out of order all of a sudden at the end of the last month. Since the shop clerk told me it won't come back till the beginning of the new year, I thought it was ridiculous and finally I called up the customer service center at the coffee maker company. I explained the situation that it was not the first time that the coffee maker went dead in a year and the man over the phone was simply told me that it was their fault and that they could send out a new one right away. That 's the way ! The new one arrived just after Christmas. Thanks to our new coffee maker, I am free from staring coffee dripping through a paper filter each time. Now I know we can't really do without it. ( I should have written about it much sooner, but it seems that I've missed it.)

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

What a beginning !

What a beginning of the new year !
Yuck ! I've caught a cold on the very first day of the year. I must have caught this cold when I went to the Shinto shrine with my family to make a wish for our happy and healthy year. It was a cold and chilly morning and there was a long line of people so that we had to wait for long to get to the front. Isn't it ironic, though ? I made some wishes in front of the god and look what he brought me on that day !
Hopefully the year of a bird will have enough good luck on me all through the year. Well, too much expection only makes me feel down afterall. Just let me free from coughing, running nose, blocking nose, feeling my brain like cotton wool at this moment, now.