Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Time to replace Japanese paper "washi"

Just a few days ago  I was wondering all day that day whether or not I should have replaced the washi paper on our front doors.

The front doors are sliding doors of lattice frames applied with Japanese paper.  I like a type of our traditional house but as the front doors, how I wished if they would have not been too classic. I make it a rule to replace paper  every year since white color looks quite faded out by the end of the year. Or it simply gets damaged or gets holes by then.

The weather really counts for this annual chore because I have to take off the front doors and to apply washi papers in an open air.  I don't want to do it on a chilly day.

You might wonder why I do this at this time of the season in cold weather.  It's because we celebrate the arrival of the new year  in a clean house, clean rooms and clean kitchen. We also  change old items into new ones, such as some underwear, towels, family chopsticks and even toothbrushes.  We are busy finishing all these  in time for the new year.

Applying new paper is not an exception.   I wait to replace paper on our front doors until it gets close enough to the last day of the year.

Yesterday  it was not so windy and not that cold.  I should not have waited for another chance.
So I got started just as some images below.

And finally I completed it. So happy and contented with the result.

One of the things I like about  Japanese paper "washi" on siding doors is that it gives the warm and soft sunlight filtered through  paper. The charm of  sliding doors applied with Japanese paper is outstanding when we sit and see the light coming across the screens indoors rather than outdoors.

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.