Thursday, December 17, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to my blogger friends
here and there throughout the world
Thank you for coming to my blog
and sharing ideas and concerns of life with me.
These small holy family dolls are one my treasures. I got them when I was 9 or 10 year-old (oh how many years ago!) at a Christmas bazaar at church. Yes, I still keep them! I remember the day before the bazaar I peeked into the room with my friends where parents were busy setting up all the handmade items on the tables for the bazaar. Then I found this holy family dolls and I was just carried away with them. I asked my mother for an allowance for in advance and the next morning I just ran to the church on time for the bazaar and got dolls in the triangle box. Gee, that's one of my happy memories of my childhood.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Have some "senbei"!

These are the most popular Japanese confectionery. They are "senbei", which made from glutinous rice and wheat flour. The dough is stretched thinly into circles or squares of about a coater-size in general, but in fact in varieties of shapes and sizes. Then, they are put into molds and baked.
They are flavored with soy sauce, salt or sugar and some are applied or mixed with sesame, beans or soybean paste. Some are wrapped in seaweed as well.
I love the one seared maple leaves and ginkgo leave in the picture. These are made from wheat flour mixed with sugar and eggs. Slightly sweet. Mmmmm I love them. This old senbei confectionery shop downtown Nagoya changes their seared stamps on "senbei " in every four season. Isn't it fun?

"Senbei" are snacks that go really well with green tea. It cerntaily provides a nice tea time in a family.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Christmas table setting in an old Japanese house

(click a image for more photos)
On the way back home after I drove my husband to his office in the morning, an idea of having a fun just came up in my mind. I've known there are some little but nice museums which are used to be ones private residence near his office. The one I visited is the museum that was once a residence of a Japanese ceramics exporter who made his fortune in the middle of the 19th century.
Japanese- and Western-style buildings are preserved on a large block of land, plus two storehouses—one in the west and the other in the east—a tea room, and a garden. The other day I visited here, they displayed the Christmas dinner table settings in the Japanese -style rooms. It was a good combination of the western and the eastern different culture.

Monday, November 30, 2009

See I told you

(click to view more pictures)
Since our house locates downtown in Nagoya, the fifth largest city in Japan, there are lots of fun and excitements of a urban life within a few minutes' walking, biking, driving, taking a subway, city bus-----whatever. This evening I had a time to stop by at this shopping mall and I took some pictures.

Well, one thing you've got to be careful about windowshopping is that you have to keep your purse tight. Otherwise, you are tempted to whisper to yourself,
"Just one thing won't hurt me."
So here I am. I got a piece of Roquefort blue cheese from Dean and Deluca and chocolate from Pierre Marcolini.
"See I told you."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Beautiful Autumn colors

When the fall deepens, many leaves start changing its colors from green to yellow and red even on the trees along the streets of the center of the city.
Even at our garden we can enjoy viewing autumn leaves. It's really fortunate that we have many trees in our garden though our house locates in the middle of the city.
While the temperature repeats getting up and down several times at this time of the season, the leaves start changing colors and this temperature difference makes colors more brilliant red.

It's just breathtaking to look at the red leaves on the maple trees and I love ducking under them and looking up the leaves. When they starts falling on the ground , the winter is getting close to us.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's hard to throw them into a trash box

(click each image for a full size)
I love everything beautiful , lovely and cute. They are sometimes postcards, greeting cards, wrapping papers, ribbons, boxes that I've just received in my daily life.
And the moment I find them "pretty!", it's hard to throw them into a trash box-----I just keep them.
So here are some of the examples which I keep as my little satisfactions.
These are direct mails from L'OCCITANE Japan.
Since each direct mail is so well-designed and I just love every illustration and drawing and its layouts. I wonder how many artists work for this and how much L'OCCITANE spends for advertising in the world market.
Anyway, don't laugh at me.
It's a small excitement when I find a L'OCCITANE DM in my house mailbox.
What kind of surprising are they going to give me this time?
They are so cute-------"kawaii" in Japanese.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The full moon

When you look up the moon, what do you see on the surface ?

Almost all the Japanese of all ages never fail to answer, "The rabbit pounding the sticky rice".

What do we see seems to be different from place to place, or in other words, in accordance with cultural backgrounds.
I read that in southern Europe, people see a big crab, in eastern Europe they see a woman, in Indonesia a woman who is knitting ,in German a man carrying firewood and many other objects in different areas and countries. What I read in the book is true, I wonder?
Anyway, how interesting because it tells that people in the world from the ancient ara to the modern ages have been keeping their special sentiments towards the moon for centuries and have been enjoying viewing the moon.

So in Japan too, we have the Moon Viewing Festival in Autumn.

At very olden days, people of the aristocratic class used to enjoy exchanging poems in the moonlight under the full moon which reflected the garden pond. Gradually the way of enjoying the full moon festival was modified among the ordinary people by offering some seasonal foods decorated in each house to pray for a bountiful harvests.
We still keep this custom and enjoy the autumn full moon in various ways. Families enjoy the special offerings and foods at home, some people enjoy the full moon at the observation floor of the high buildings , some attend the outdoor concerts under the full moon-----etc.
By the way, the moonlight is bright enough to throw shadows all over on the ground.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Autumn blessings from our garden

We have one persimmon tree in our garden. We don't really take a good care of it. All we care about this tree is to put some fertilizer into some holes dug at the bottom of the tree near some of its roots. That all we do once in winter.
I looked up this persimmon tree this morning and found most of persimmon fruits are pretty much riped. The shinning color of orange and red of unpeeled fruits looks so delicious.
Why don't I keep them before all the birds come and eat them up.
Using an adjustable long scissors for cutting branches, I gathered about twenty fruits. That was more than I expected.
Of course, I left some persimmon for some birds.
I peeled it and cut it into some pieces and brought them to my mother-in-law.
This is one of her favorites.
Do you like persimmons?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

On a piece of paper

The other day, my daughter came home from school in Kyoto to spend the weekend with us.
She went to see her grandmother at hospital with me.
On her bed table, there's always a memo pad for her in any case she wants to write down something. My mother-in-law is, so to speak, a dedicated person and she's been keeping her diary everyday for years and is a big writer. I wanted her to keep it while in hospital so I brought her diary book and some postcards in her room but it seems that she is not in a mood to do so for now. So anyway, this is why a memo pad is around her.

And on this piece of paper, my daughter drew her grandmother simply out of her fun while she fell asleep. Since I've known that my daughter was not so keen on drawing when she was a small girl, I myself a bit surprised to see it. She did a good work. The next day I visited her in her room, I found my daughter's drawing is posted on the wall. Some nurses loved this drawing on her table and they posted it up on the wall. How nice! More than anything else, it is such a nice little excitement for her grandmother in a hospital room.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Socks for your gadgets

I've just known that Apple released iPod socks.

They have different plain colors for each iPod models.

Here are another socks called "funky fone sox" from the Britain.
I've found it at one of the airport shops before and I loved it at first glance.
It is originally made for cell phones but it fits for every little gadgets.
And as I presumed, it was perfect for my iPod nano.

Since my mother-in-law is in a hospital, I spend more time at home.
I enjoy finishing some house chores listening to my favorite music and songs
and sometimes English language programs with my iPod in my jeans pocket.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This and that

While going back and forth between home and the hospital where my mother-in-law has been staying, I just completed my task as one of the staffs of a group of volunteer interpreters yesterday inviting a guest speaker from Greece. She made a wonderful presentation for us in English on her country starting from an ancient history to the present. Using beautiful slides, she had never made us bored or tired during her three-hour-lecture. There were, of course, some participants who have been there, and for the one like me who have not been there yet, her story was fascinating enough to learn more about its history and feel some day I would love to visit her beautiful country full of historical stories and heritages and breathtaking nature. No matter what it is, it is time consuming for the staffs to organize an event for a group of people but when you accomplish it, we learn it is worth doing it.

Right after this event was over in the evening, I hurried to the hospital to help my mother-in-law taking a meal in her room. She had a surgery this past Wednesday and hopefully will start an exercise moving her leg pretty soon.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

She is in a hospital

(image from the Japanese site)

My husband's mother, who has just celebrated her 94 year-old birthday in the previous month, slipped and fell down on the floor and hit her right side of her thigh so hard. She was not able to stand all by herself in a few hours owing to a hard pain.

(image from the Japanese site)

She broke her joint between her right leg and hip. She will have a surgery to plant a metal joint. It sounds awful but she has to go through it so that she won't spend the rest of her life all in bed. She has to wait the surgery for about a week to reduce a side-effect which should be brought about by one of the daily medicine she's been taking. It disturbs blood from stopping.

(image from the Japanese site)

We don't know in deed what has happened in our life tomorrow.
She has been in good shape as a whole without any serious inner organ problems and has been enjoying her daily life especially taking care of our garden from fallen leaves, weeds , trees and flowers. And all of a sudden, she has to face with a big difference.

How do the aged people in your country spend their daily life and what changes do they have to face with all of a sudden?
Do they want to live with one of their children's family ?
Does a single parent live by him/her self?

Anyway I've been busy visiting her everyday at hospital besides doing my house chores and my volunteer work.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Typhoon No.18

Typhoon No.18----we number typhoon each year instead of naming them.

The typhoon No.18 was so scary because it was one of the biggest ones for the first time in ten years and it was the first one in two years that landed on the Japanese archipelago. Usually once a typhoon reaches on the land from the sea, its power weakens to a tropical storm and leaves to the Japanese sea. But this No. 18 was different. It kept its power and brought many damages here and there while it were moving up to the northern part of the Japanese archipelago.

It first landed on this Nagoya area early in the morning. It brought with strong wind and huge amount of rainfall. The horrifying sound of wind and rainfall made me awake. Since we closed most of the window shutters, I poke outside from the small window. Jesus, the rain and the wind turned to a huge monster and were hitting all the trees and beating the neighboring houses. Gee, better not look outside. That was terrifying. I turned on TV and watched the weather report and all of a sudden, the electricity went out. It was past five in the morning and still dark. I picked out the flashlight and went back to bed where my husband unbelievably was sleeping without being disturbed the scary sounds. I woke him up but he just spoke to me, "It's all right. We are safe." and went back to sleep. How come he was so confident. I tell you I really felt nervous during the next few hours.

As the rain and the wind got weak, I learned the typhoon was getting away in the distance. I opened the shutters and got outside to check if any part of our house was damaged. I should have taken some photos of our garden just after the typhoon. We didn't have any trees fell down but there were the ponds all over. There were no serious damage in our neiborhood.

Since the typhoon hit our area very early in the morning, the every transportation in this area had stopped from every first train and was informed on every local radio and TV news which helped people leaving home to work from getting into confusion. Then it was really sorry for commuters in Tokyo area because the typhoon hit this area just around the rush hour , that stopped many parts of city transportation systems.

This typhoon brought about many damages to many cities and towns. And I am sorry this typhoon is not the exception that had some people dead and injured. It was so distressing. We are so helpless before the wild nature and who made the global abnormal weather over these years and who should be blamed for and what we should do about it. We've got to think it over before it is too late.

Some photo images from the Mainichi daily news.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Busy night airport

I love driving whether it is daytime or night.
It's fun to see how my car navigation system is leading me to the destination.
I left home 7:30pm and got to the airport 45minutes later.
Then I enjoyed strolling around the shopping center and went out to the deck to see the airplanes taking off and landing.
Many airplanes mostly from Asian different cities land here at Chubu International Airport between 8 and 10 o'clock. I love watching the busy airport and I love to waite for my husband in the arrival lobby than to see him off in the departure lobby. It took quite a while and finally he showed up at the gate -----but only with his carry-on baggage. Cathey missed loading his luggage at Hongkong for transit.
He got used to this kind of mishaps after all but isn't it funny what a "luggage priority" sticker for?
Priority for mishaps? Haha! Anyway it's good to see him in good shape.
His luggage arrived home in the following afternoon.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Something beyond medical examination?

I was a kind of unabashedly ambitious about what I was going to do while my husband was away for about three weeks. He is now on the way home from Chennai, India and will be land home tomorrow evening.
And what have I achieved then? Well, I wasted almost 10 days in bed.
What had happened to me was that I got the hives all over-----from top to toe on the following day he left! What do you say about this! I had no idea what had brought me the hives. I am not allergic to anything. The doctor gave me the medicine after all but this made me feel worse and caused a bad headache and finally I had to throw up more than once. The doctor ran a blood test and a urine test but there was no negative result. I felt hopeless while I was in bed without getting any sleep. Then it was so nice that some of my friends sent me e-mails from their cell phones to mine. Their messages were encouraging in general but partly filled with funny and innocent jokes to make me smile. They examined me as follows. According to them, subconsciously I was not able to accept my husband being away for such a long time and the mental stress caused the hives! Hmm, interesting! Their explanation sounded much reasonable than the doctor's as far as I feel great now just in time for my husband's coming home.
And also I feel just grateful that my blog friends, without knowing anything about this, left me kind and sweet words for my not having updated my blog for these days.

Happiness is having friends, indeed.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Speaking to myself-----

Once I've been away from blogging for these weeks, I feel like I'm in the midst of an awkward silence. I think I'm stuck! I am looking for the chance to make a step forward!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

It's a good bye again!

I drove my husband to the airport again. This time he flies Cathey like "somebody" did the other day! He will land in Mumbai, India tonight. He is in charge of the workshop longer than usual this time. How can I live without seeing him for three weeks! But I've got to survive!!!
I'll make my days creative and active and he should be happy to hear about what I do while he is away! Should I give him a surprise?

Thursday, September 10, 2009


One of my ex colleagues and a good friend of mine now opens her own school of home computing after they remodeled their old annex next to their house. It has turned out to be very cozy and comfortable space having two rooms: one for six computers and one for a table and a sofa for enjoying a coffee break. How I wish I could come to her school only if I don't have to drive one and a half hour for one way. Her town is surrounded by mountains and fields. Most of her students are housewives and seniors and I'm pretty sure she is a big help for them. She has plenty of skills and more than anything else she is a nice person. I visited her and her husband who are both good friends of mine along with other two friends and we enjoyed BBQ party, talking , walking down to their rice field in fallow being full of cosmos flowers at present. I picked up some vegetables from their field. Everything I had that day was such a rewarding experience.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

After the check up

Thank you for sharing my apprehension for a medical checkup. It took three hours to complete and oh, I was just so starving when I got free. I already knew from my previous check up that they give me a light meal ticket so I couldn't wait for this lunch time. It was good anyway that I put "real" food besides barium in my stomach.
The doctors were ready to have an individual meet-up just for a brief explanation on what they see from the data they got for the present. I felt just easy to know the data showed no problem as far as they saw for that moment. The complete date was not really ready for one day. And within two weeks, they will send me a file to show every data in detail with explanations and also some advice if necessary. In fact, they keep all the data starting from my first check up. The title of the file says "The History of my Health"! What a big title! Is this a correct English, I wonder. Sometimes we just make up so to speak, "Japanese English" which makes native speakers in English get any idea or burst into laughter.

(a file in a picture is the one from the previous check-up)