Friday, December 31, 2010

Getting ready for the first day of 2011

The last several days before the New Year in Japan is super busy, non-stop and restless for every housewife to get prepared for the New Year's celebration. Every man, no matter what position he's in in his business world, is happy to help his wife at home, as far as I know.
Hope every one has a happy and peaceful New Year Eve tonight.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Wishing you all the best and joy for Christmas!

It's the busiest season of the year
but once I sit at the computer, I see my friends and share our daily life together over this screen.
It makes me feel so happy.

(Our favorite Christmas plate from Rosenthal 1981)

Friday, December 10, 2010

One of the Japanese popular sweets

(click each for larger images)

Look! This is called "Peco-chan Yaki". I went to this shop when I visited Tokyo last month. Peco-chan is a popular girl character from a famous confectionery called Fujiya with a long history in Japan. "Yaki" literally means "bake". It originally comes from a traditional Japanese cake with sweet beans filling called in general "dora-yaki".

Many confectioneries from fancy to local ones throughout the country make their own with a little bit of modifications in their ingredients and shapes. 
Try it when you had a chance to visit Japan. You'll find it almost any cities and towns. You won't miss it at any food floors of the department stores. Some times you are supposed to join the line to get this sweet. When you see the line, it is a "delicious" sign!


Like this "Peco-chan Yaki". They have several different fillings of the season besides sweet beans such as custard cream, cheese cream, green tea cream, mushed sweet potato,mushed pumpkin and several more. 

There is one Japanese traditional confectionery on the Fifth Ave. New York and I heard not only the Japanese living there but also other local residents love this "dora-yaki". I didn't expect that people besides the Japanese love this sweet beans paste. I think sweet beans paste is rather authentic and unique that I thought sweet beans filling just don't appeal to their taste. But it's fun to see on TV some fans of Japanese sweets enjoy eating "dora-yaki" while walking along the New York streets after they get them from the shop. Just like they eat burgers!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Autumn color Kyoto

The city of 1.5 million residents called Kyoto is now as busy as it is in spring.
Many visitors from abroad and home come and visit to see the dramatic changing colors of the outdoor scenery in and around the city. The maple trees are just amazing and so impressive. Kyoto is just like the city sitting at the bottom of the big valley surrounded by moderately high mountains.

More than anything else, it used to be the imperial city for more than 1,000 years and people has been blessed with its rich culture. It was quite natural that Kyoto being the center of the county, has a great number of Buddhism temples and Shinto shrines all over the city. (approximately 1,600temples and 400 shrines)
What is more amazing is that most temples and shrines have their own gardens of small and huge, surrounded by tidy hedges or simply walls or some are just surrounded by the low hills, which add a unique beauty to each ancient heritage.

Now I'm so lucky to live close to this marvelous city, just 30-minute-train ride distance.
Yet, it is not a local train but a super express train called a "bullet train". Fare-wise, it is not a frequent choice to make a visit. But why not in this season. I can't miss it especially since my daughter lives there and it would be the last school year for her in Kyoto.
I rented a bicycle and we enjoyed the warm autumn air without being annoyed with the traffic jams everywhere inside the city.

We visited one shrine near her university and two temples. The scenery was just charming and breathtaking. By the time we headed for the last temple, the day turned into the night. While the colorful leaves of all kinds are at their best, several temples open the gates to the visitors by spot-lightening the gardens of moss and colorful trees. The reflection gives us some fantastic and different images from the daytime faces. Kyoto is always busy with tourists but it never makes us disappointed. We can feel with all our senses the wonderful heritage of the long history on every corner of this city.

We enjoyed a girls talk as usual during the dinner, then we left each other and I hopped on the late train back to Nagoya. The cars for non-reserved seats were almost full with tourists and businessmen heading back to Tokyo, the terminal stop next Nagoya.

Here are some more images.