Monday, January 31, 2011

Feburary is just around the corner.

Today, it is the last day of January. Though it is usual cliche, it's true "Time flies like an arrow". I thought a few minutes ago new year's day finished, and now the door to February is going to open.

Yesterday I checked what Yuki bought for me(?) or for our pleasure.

Did I tell you? Last week he went to Indonesia on business trip.

These are not so difficult to understand them. Because recipe was written on the back in English -- though he didn't read it except one.

The one is BAKUTEN, that is his favorite. It is the second time to buy this kind of thing. I haven't eaten real BAKUTEN, I've made it using like this according to the recipe once. And Yuki seemed to like it. On the other hand, I don't like it so much.

And other things are spice for fried rice, curry(pork and chicken) and mutton soup. Here in JAPAN, we don't use mutton. How do I use the spice? Is it OK usis@icng blocks of pork instead of mutton?
Well, the difficult things are these bags which signs are written only in Indonesian.
Fortunately I can read English, so I translated the words from Indonesian into English, and from English into Japanese.
To say the conclusion first, they were "usual" spice except one.
The unusual one thing was "Giant Angkak". Do you know it? It is "red yeast rice". It seems to easy to use it.Before we can cook rice, put some with rice. And the color seems to turn red. It is curious.
And other things are --
Giant Kunyit Bubuk -- wild turmeric. We have it. And I know the difference between wild turmeric (In Japanese UKON) and turmeric.

Giant Bubuk Cabe -- chill pepper. But the color is not so bright red.
Giant Lada Hitam Bubuk ---black pepper
Giant Adas Manis Bubuk --Anis, to tell the truth I don't know it. It seems to make the curry taste better.
That's it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pecan, browny and chatting

Yesterday I baked brown with pecan which Jam sent to me.
"Pecan" , it was the first time that I saw, and I ate. It looks like walnuts, but sweeter. And actually according to Wikipedia Walnuts and pecans are in the same group, and pecans are sweeter and more milk-ish than walnuts. Additionally pecans have the most fat in all nuts.

Yesterday morning one adult came to take my lesson, and in the evening two friends came to "chat" together, and today another adult will come to take my lesson. So I baked. Until now it has a good reputation. I served browny and some pecans themselves. And of course they take out them.

Yesterday's chatting was very very long, and fun. One of them came here about at four PM. Another joined us about at 6 PM. And everybody left here about at 10. So it was more tough day than my usual day. 7 years passed since I talked with one of them. Now both of three (including) live with their husband. Their children left home and are independent (though my daughters are not independent yet).
They are little bit older than I, it means they started to think about their husbands' retirement. And they are ( a little ) worried about their kid's marriage. (All kids are single)

On the other hand they enjoy their "hobby".
I had forgotten their hobby --- it was buying clothes.
So they really enjoyed this January sale. On the other hand I'm not so intereseted in clothes.

I said to them "MOTTAINAI, wasteful, both of you don't need more clothes, you look in the same shape as before."
they said to me "MOTTAINAI, wasteful to have 5500 yen lunch with your husband."

Every one has an own life, and every one has an own sense of worth.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A new week has started

When I got up this morning, the road in front of our house was put on makeup with snow ---- it is a Japanese feeling, it means the road was lithely dusted with snow. They don't pile up.
Yesterday, a lady who lives in my neighborhood came to talk with us. She decided to quit her current job and enroll in a confectionery school. She lives with her father (her mother passed away --- about 15 years ago.) Now she is 26. After the graduation, it is difficult to get a regular job, and more difficult to be independent as a pastry chef. On the other hand now we are in a bad depression, so we can study or pursue our interest through part time job because it is difficult to get a regular job.
Anyway from this spring, my students and I will often get her prototypes (or leftover of sweets she made at school).

Today in the afternoon I'll attend a meeting at Utsunomiya-city international Association. The agenda is "reading picture books in the world with foreigners living in Utsunomiya". Last year this event was done with successfully. And they try to hold this event this year again. I'm not a member of the association, but I'm asked my opinion. It is a wonderful thing to have a opportunity of saying my opinion.

Tuesday, a friend will come --- 2 or 3 years passed since we had a time of chatting.
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, --- probably they are usual days. I hope my throat will not be worse.

On Saturday I'm going to held a small workshop at my house, but untill now the attendance is only one. So I'm not sure I'll held a workshop or just a chatting meeting.

And on Sunday Yuki and I are going to a wonerful restraunt without reason. I already booked the table.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

hartwarming, and amazing!

I read a heartwarming posting on today's newspaper.
When you give up your seat to an elderly or weak person if she or he refuse the offer, what will you do? Some people stay on the seat, or some people stand and leave the seat. Anyway the atmosphere will not be so good.
A lady tried to give up her seat to an elderly lady. (I'm not sure which lady is actually elder, it sometimes causes a problem) And the elderly lady refuse the offer. (Probably the elderly lady doesn't think she is not old enough to be given up the seat.) So the lady said "OK, let's play JANKEN (stone, sizzlers, rock)" with a good smile. So they did. And the lady lost. so the lady said "I lost, so the seat is yours, here you are." The elderly lady sat down.

Until I read here, I thought "She (the lady) has a sense of humor, what a nice lady she is!" But the posting is continued.
The poster said that if the lady won, she would say "I won, so please accept my offering."

I didn't think of it. The poster has also a good sense of humor, doesn't she?

Well, well, another posting.
It was introduced on CNN students News program.
Let me introduce this JAZZ pianist to you as one of music lovers.
(In this case Jazz means to play music with inspiration.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

before going to work out

Yesterday it was "DAIKAN", it means it is the coldest day in the year. So from today, according to the Japanese calender, it gets warmer and warmer day by day. --- but it's cold today too.

Yuki is fine. This week some coworkers at his office were also absent from work. Cold seems to be affecting people in his office. He is going to go business trip to Asia next week. Probably he will be able to work in a wonderful weather. So he is afraid that he will be able to adjust to Japanese cold weather again.

Because of this coldness, or of getting old, my voice hoarsened again, or worse again. The doctor says it is one symptom of allergy, but --- I'm worried about myself. Anyway for a while I need to go to see an ENT doctor.

Yesterday Yuki brought this sweet. It is a souvenir from his colleague. "Made in China." Of course the colleague went to China.
Getting a souvenir is fun. But the word "made in China" makes us to be worried. He said "I bought it at a responsible store." Actually on the back there is Japanese explanation. Probably it has no problem.

On the newspaper today they say "CHINA became the second country of GNP, and in 2025 it will be the first country of GNP".
It is the timely souvenir to share with my friends.

Well it is the time that I "have to " go out to work out. If I stayed at computer more, it would be a good excuse for me not to go there.

"China" became the seconed largest economic country by GDP (gross domestic product). And It will score the higest GDP in 2025 in the world." Well, for me or in Japan, the word of GNP (gross national product) familier, so I misunderstood to use the words. Does it make sense?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Yuki was at home

This morning here and there roads seemed to be full of cars which were running slower than usual, because of yesterday snows the roads in the shadow areas were frozen.
Anyway yesterday it was really cold. I don't know it would have caused something to Yuki but, anyway today he got diarrhea and absent from work. He went to his doctor. Fortunately he didn't suffer Norovirus. (Noroviruses are affecting in Japan.) On the other hand I'm fine. So today I went to a clinic as a monthly routine. and on the way home dropped by a clothes store to buy "HARAMAKI" for him. Do you know "HARAMAKI"? It is a belly-warmer. When Yuki and I were kids, we used to use it at night. We like to do something in a nostalgic, or old way when something happened. Now he is sleeping as a sheep without drinking.

At a gym I met a mother who is a mother of my younger daughter's classmate at elementary school. She said when her daughter and son left home she got empty-nest syndrome, and she wasn't able to do anything. And recommended to work out at gym by her neighbors she decided to come to this gym. Since then about half of year passed. Now she looks "VERY FINE".
In the gym there are many many vigorous women who seem to be in the same generation of me, or elder than I. I'm overwhelmed. Anyway until now I keep working out at gym. Today it was the forth time. Though you might not believe that, I'm really shy at gym --because I don't like working out. On the other hand I know that for me working out is really necessary, so I'll go there for a while.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

snow, library and Gumbo

How was your weekend? (or how is your week end?)
When I got up this morning, ---- snow. It was the first snow this winter in this area. So most of golf courses are closed. Lucky for me. Because I had to go to a library to help a member of my reading club to read books to kids. And this winter Yuki only put winter tires on one car of two of us. So today he was a chauffeur. We went to a library, and after the reading time we went to a mall. We ate OKONOMIYAKI, and did shopping.

Fortunately, the snow of main streets almost melted until 2. So Yuki went golf practice. I organized our entrance hall for February instead of New Year's Days.
And today's dinner is "Gumbo". We prepared sausage, shrimp and "OKURA". I cooked it according to the instruction back of the bag.
Looks good. Yuki seemed to like it. For me, it is spicy, and I want more sour taste. I saved half of roux of the bag. So next time I'll add some fresh tomatoes.
Is "OKURA" in Japan the same size as your OKRA?

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's a Catch 22.

yesterday I talked with Jan via Skype, and I learned a new word, "Catch 22".

Until four years ago about 80% students could get a regular job after they graduated from university or college. The situation was dramatically changed. Last year only 60 % students could get a regular job after their graduation from university or college. ( And as you know my elder daughter couldn't get a regular job, now she is a part-timer aid at college she graduated. And additionally she said "I decided to pursue my artistic ability.)
And this year it is said the rate will be worse, it will decrease to less than 60%.

On the other hand, some companies or public offices have a lot of work, and need "experts", or "skilled-worker"s. But they can't afford to hire and bring up freshmen. Yuki is busy, and my friend who is a main chief of a public nursery center is also busy. Both of them want "regular" helpers or subordinates.

Actually it is not so difficult to find a part time job if you don't want it in particular area. Many fathers tend to come back back earlier than usual because they don't do over work, instead of it many mothers go out to work at a part time job.

From this month a girl comes to take my lesson by walk. Until last year her mother drove her here. It takes 20 minutes on her foot. Because her mother started to work longer. One reason the girl is enough to walk here alone, she will be a junior high school student this spring. But is it a only reason??
And after the lesson at night (Usually it finish at 10 PM) , their father come to pick them up . It's a good thing that fathers don't need do overwork. But some mothers started to work at night. Well, well actually I work at night. When Yuki come without having dinner, sometimes he cooks simple diner bu himself, heat prepared dinner in the microwave oven, or goes out to a eatery in the neighborhood. I think it is a good thing because he could be independent.

Jan sent me a report.
A Catch-22, coined by Joseph Heller in his novel Catch-22, is a logical paradox arising from a situation in which an individual needs something that can only be acquired by not being in that very situation; therefore, the acquisition of this thing becomes logically impossible. Catch-22s are often spoken with regard to rules, regulations, procedures, or situations in which one has knowledge of being or becoming a victim but has no control over it occurring.

Well, well, it's time go to "GYM", though I don't like to work out.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hungry Jack

Yesterday Ms.K and I cooked "Hungry Jack" according to the instruction. We did it.
Put the hot water in the carton and make the dry potatoes soften.

And we baked it. While we were baking I made smoked-eggs instead of sunny side of eggs. (My image is that hashed brown and sunny side eggs is a set of dish.)

We were thinking when we should have tasted them? But we didn't need it, the dry potatoes were already seasoned. We had a nice cooking time, cooking English lesson, and eating time.
Well, I didn't know that "Hungry Jack is a hamburger shop of Burger King in Australia." It means the taste of this Hungry Jack is the same of Burger king in the U.S.A or Hungry Jack in Australia?
Hashed brown itself is not so popular in Japan, I think. (If I ask my students whether they know Hashed brown, probably they will answer "Oh, it is served in MacDonald.")
Actually for Ms. K (She is my elderly English student) it was the first time to have it. In Japan or in my generation, potato's salad, or mashed potatoes are more familiar than hashed brown.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Please say "Congratulations" to Yuki

Did I tell you? Suddenly about three years ago YUKI got crazy about golf. Until them we thought golf is for rich people . And I think it so now , on the other hand I know in Tochigi we are in a little bit different situation about playing golf. It is just a excuse, but anyway we have lots of place to golf, so many people come to play golf from different prefecture using high transport fee and long hours. The people who live here like YUKI, don't waste of time and money to transport.

And last year, he got a member of a local golf club. I don't like that he uses (I don't write "waste") much money to play golf, on the other hand I like he is involved in a local community through playing golf. We are not a local people, and main world to him is "office". He doesn't have old friends here. (Well, thinking of me I'm in the same situation, but I'm enough involved in a local community.)

So these days I'm willing to agree of his playing golf about twice a month. And this time He won a first prise. He got a trophy, according to him , it was the first time to get a trophy since he was born. He looked very happy. But unfortunately he has no place to "boast". So Please say "Congratulations" to Yuki.
Of course I did, but while I said, I envied him because I have no chance to get a trophies, so I bluffed saying"I had got some trophies --- though it was a long long time ago --- where were they?" That's Yuki and Mieko.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

It was one year ago for us --- Coming-of-Age day

This week end it is a three-day weekend, and the Monday is Coming-of-Age day.
Last year it was a really busy week end. Now I'm relaxing at home after the busy winter vacation.

Did you remember that last December my elder daughter participated an exhibition.

The title is MOJYA-MOJYA (shaggy?) and slippers .

The titles are really easy to understand her works, aren't they?

The MOJYA-MOJYA seems to have a diff rent shadow by sunshine ---.
She didn't sell the works, but a person wanted, so she gave them to him and got an less available concert ticket. She is really lucky in this fiscal year.The contract will expire at the last of the March, we hope she will have an extent engagement. (Of course I want her to get a regular job. or to be a professional artist.)

Well, let me introduce a "real" art.

Jan sent me this china made in NIPPON, not made in Japan.
It means it's a valuable antique.
I'm not familiar with antiques. But the master at the tea room "KARAKU" where I play the piano once a month, is familiar with antiques. And he knows I like potteries. So he recommend to find something made in NIPPON when I went to AMERICA. According to him, in the period when Japan was called NIPPON, many high quality china were exported to show our high skills to foreign countries. Unfortunately I don't know how valuable it is, (next week I'll go to KARAKYU, so I'll be able to show it to the master.), but I love this simple design. And I know it has three legs -- it means it's antique, and I love this shape.
Thanks Jan I got a wonderful thing to celebrate to go into my 50s.


Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Happy New Year

Our new year's vacation was finished. We had a good vacation and I --- though today I know it ---- gained ??kg. Now I'm very shocked. Yuki said it was brought from eating sweets too much over the months not only during New year's vacation.
So today I enrolled in a fitness club. It is the first new thing of this year.

Our winter vacation started with buying good SAKE. Yuki went to a special SAKE shop and bought it near Utsunomiya.

And we went to TOKYO to take a bus tour. We visited historical places which were Imperial Palace, and YASUKUNI shrine, and current sightseeing spots which were ODAIBA and ROPPOGI. Of course we could see Skytree that was now constructing. The lunch was Beef NABE --- sorry the photo was taken after all food inside of the NAVE were gone. After the tour we went back to Utsunomiya, and went to a OKONOMIYAKI restaurant for dinner.
Then we went to TOKYO again, and we had traditional New Year's food my sister-in-law made.
And went back here.
Yesterday I went to a French restaurant with my friend.
And today YUKI and I visited a town next to our town to eat eel.
Sorry I took a photo of only the sign of the restaurant. The town was popular with lots of KURA (old storages)

For about a week, I was eating, eating, eating. ---- I got stout, It can't be helped.
Anyway 2011 has already started. Let's enjoy together.