Thursday, March 31, 2011

Did you notice seeds of strawberries?

Have you ever planted some seeds after you eat the fruit?

When my daughters were little, we planted seeds of apples, persimmons, melons, watermelons, and loquats (Japanese medlars). Now we have two small trees of loquats.

Yesterday a girl, who is 8 years old, came to take my piano lesson. She said "every day I watch whether the buds of strawberries are out or not."

I asked "Strawberries? Where did you buy the seeds." In this season here and there we see strawberries seedlings. And I've never saw strawberries seeds sold.

She said "Strawberries have seeds."

The conversation with her was like a comic show.

When she was eating strawberries, she noticed the seeds and was interested in them. So she picked them out with toothpick, and put them on a scrub sponge as a flower bed.

And pour lots of water on it.

I checked my strawberries in the fridge.

After that we eat them.

While her talking made me calm, I imagined her mother smiling behind her.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Two kinds of men about a concept of time

I read an interesting blog in Japanese, let me introduce of it.

There are two kinds of men about a concept of time.

One is men who act according to a clock.
The other is men who act depending on the situation.

The former group is people living in cities or in Europe and the United States.
The latter group is people living in local regions or in Asian countries.
And people who live in Japan is in between of them.

To speak more easily, people in the former group take a train checking the time table, and people in the latter group wait the coming train.

To speak with logically, people in the former group consider time as things, and time is consumed. It means "time is money". So for them "on time" is really important.
On the other hand people in the latter group think that time is circulating. So if they miss this chance, just they wait the next chance to come.

If these two kinds of people do something together, usually they have troubles.
For an example, they can't meet each other on time.
Because a man who is in the latter group doesn't check the time table for train. So a man who is in the former group thinks him or her to be spontaneous or sloppy. Or the man who is in the latter group thinks him or her to be punctual or strict.

We can manufacture artificial things according to the schedule, on the other hand it is difficult to harvest according to the schedule. We sometimes need to wait until they get mature.

Now, many people in Japan must have lots of stress, because most things don't go according to the usual schedule. We need to stop our daily clock, and to act according to our intuition and our nature clock.

I hope these sentences make sense.

Friday, March 25, 2011

soda bread

During the day I baked this carrot's soda bread with home bakery.
I only add one tablespoon brown sugar, so it's really healthy. If you want more sweet, you can put cream cheese on it as topping.
And --- one neighbor came saying "Are you free?". Yesterday she took a day off. According to the news, this area was supposed to be blacked out in the evening. Fortunately it wasn't carried out. But anyway we went walking to a tearoom that took 40 minutes on foot. It was a calm day. We had a good tea there, and we went back on foot.
When I got home, it was almost 6 o'clock. While I was taking a rest, Yuki who went to TOKYO on business trip called me. He would came back at 8. So I started to cook for dinner. We had dinner about 8, and --- that's all. Nothing special.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

grilled rice balls

Though the nuclear power plants are not stable --- yesterday it seemed to be better, but today it seems to be worse again.Here and there radiation is detected, even though it exceeds the "food" limit. These days lots of news are announced. We need to distinguish what is right and what is exaggerated. Especially the definition of the food limit is that if we ate more than 100g every day constantly, we would stock half of radiation we usually get from the nature in a year, in our body. It means, I think, no matter how we try to keep from radiation, we cannot do that.

But on the other hand --- I know, it is scary to eat food that has radiation more than usual.

So many people especially foreigners won't come here (even though it is 150km far from the plant) or TOHOKU for a while.

Well, anyway we have to try to do usual life as much as we can. So I cook breakfast as usual. Today I grilled rice balls, itis called YAKI ONIGIRI. And I put a special kind Miso-paste called KINZANJI-MISO on them.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Now today's blackout is finished.

We put a candle, a flashlight, radio, and --- a cup of coffee and SAKE with hot water --- today's black out was being done from 7PM to 8:20 PM.

Today Yuki got home at 6 o'clock from work, as soon as he came back we had dinner. Main dinner was sauteed pork with this sauce.

Rolling blackouts at night is a little bit scary, I'm relieved not to be alone like the day of the earthquake. And it's a little bit difficult to get used to it.

Anyway I'll take a hot bath and go to sleep. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


According to the government report, this area was going to be blacked out this early morning. But fortunately it was not done, though in this afternoon it is planned again. Last night I prepared to grill MOCHI on the stove. So this morning I did it. Usually I grill them with electric oven toaster.(open toaster is an English word????) I know we can cook on the stove, but than my expectation they were grilled much better and taste was good.

Yesterday one woman called me about picture books, so I talked with her for a while on the phone. A neighbor dropped by, saying "If you need to help, I'll bake cake". I think some or many people want to make a social network, (or make association??? --- how do you say in English?) , it seems to be difficult,. Anyway I'll do what I can do.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Stop the hysteria

Daniel Kahl, he was born in Amercia, and he is popular in Japan as a foreign TV personality. He is famous for spdaking fluent YAMAGATA-ben (the very rual dialect of Yamagata prefecture)
It was the first time for me to see hime speak English seriously. Thanks.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


This week we have three-day weekends. And it is called "SYUNBUN no hi". Many people visit their graves. But unfortunately now we are under lack of gasoline, so some people seem not to do.

On the other hand, thought tomorrow it is a holiday, Yuki has to go to office to make a schedule how to recover the workplace. -- So we lined to get gasoline.
He often called a gas station, and as soon as he got information that gasoline comes in we went there. So we were waiting just 30 minutes. Lucky us. He will pick up a colleague and go to the office. For a while they are going to carpool.

At noon we walk to a big supermarket. It takes 25 minutes on foot. It was the first time for us to walk there tog here, and it was "unusual" thing. Though we don't know usual scene, we saw many people walking or riding. And we thought there were fewer car than usual.
Here it is about 150 far from the nuclear power plant, so we are not afraid of going out. (Though I'm allergic to pollen , so I put on a hat and a mask.)

Now I'm thinking what can I do for this situation. Of course I'm willing to collect contribute. On the other hand, here some students have to stay home alone during their parents are at work and probably they are unstable. Next week is my spring vacation, my schedule of going to TOKYO is canceled. So I have nothing special to do except cleaning. So I'll open "this house".

If some kids in the neighborhood are interested in English picture books, they can come in this house, if my students want to study here (not only English) they can use this classroom. So I'll be putting this sign in front of the house next week --- "English picture book gallery".

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's sunny

Today it's sunny and not so cold. I'm able to stay here without heater. This area is going to be blacked out in the evening, from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM. Without electric --- I will have to be in the bed and have a nap listening to a radio that works with dry cell batteries.

The bad situation about gasoline and kerosene is not solved. Some kindergartens closed ---their buses to pick up kids don't run because of lack of gasoline. High schools are closing too because of trains that don't run enough because of rolling blackouts.

In the morning Yuki and I went to a supermarket nearby -- of course on foot.

Well, in the supermarket there were many people. Not only women, some couples like us were there. Some offices are closing because of the damage or rolling blackouts. Yuki's office got damaged. Fortunately yesterday the office network recovered. So he is working at home.

What did we buy? We have enough foods. ---- We bought special cleanser for the bath. It's a good time to share the house chores, so I ask him to do some special thing, that means the things usually I don't, I can't, or I won't. He washed the bath nozzle? or bath heater with it.

This morning I "clicked" the computer -- it means I bought two woolen hats from the net. I don't know when they come. I hope until they come, everything will be more stable than now.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

much more severe situation

I know many people passed away, I know many people are spending the days in shelters without enough foods, fuel, clothes, and stuff.
And I know the nuclear power plant is not stable.

Today I could contact with a friend who lives in SENDAI, she is living. Her house broke, and now she is in a shelter. BUT she is a public servant, so she commutes to another shelter to help people.

I know I'm in the better condition than they. But the situation is more severe than we thought.
Now I realize, rolling blackout makes our life really difficult.
Today this area is blacked out from 1PM to 5PM. Even in the day, and even in the house, it's cold. (especially today)

Fortunately I have one kerosene heater which works with dry cell batteries. ( I have some kerosene heaters, but most of them don't work without electricity.) But now we don't get enough gasoline and kerosene, we have to use it little as much as we can. ( According to the report this problem will be solved next weekend. So I try to use the heater in the evening.)

So I'm wearing lots of clothes, and a woolen cap, and listening to the radio that is broadcasting special news. (Sometimes I try to listen to English program, or read English books, but it's difficult to concentrate studying. Though I seem to be calm, I seem to be unstable.And I try to clean the house more, but it's too cold.)

And today, I'm using this antique-HIBACHI. This is the HIBACHI of my grandfather's sister. She was a teacher of SHAMISEN (kind of Japanese guitar). It is used to warm hands. I decorated it as antique. Now it is useful. (Fortunately or unfortunately we have a little stock of coal.) It cannot warm the room, but at least I feel warm sitting by it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hi there

I'm really surprised, and shocked at the earthquake, on the other hand I'm very happy because lots of people are concerning about our country Japan.
I saw the news that on the newspaper in U.K they place an encouraging message in Japanese.
Thank you.
I hope everybody, especially people in Tohoku who are affected directly will get back usual life as soon as possible.
Well, here in Utsunomiya, we are also affected a little. Even in Utsunomiya, eastern Utsunomiya seems worse than western Utsunomiya. The fences in this area were broken partly, including the fence of my house. Inside of my house many or some things fell down from the shelves.
But fortunately we in this area are all fine.
After the earthquake it was blacked out, so I used that Wedgwood candle stand. I had never thought I would have used it this way.
First I used a nice candle, but finally I used "usual" candles.
Anyway that wedge wood was really useful.
Even now FUKUSHIMA nuclear power plants are not stable, and electric power is lack. So we (northern and eastern Japan including Utsunomiya) are under planned blackout. (Does it make sense?)
On the level of my daily life in Utsunomiya, we often have small quakes, getting enough gasoline is difficult (in this area, the car is main way to transport). Some foods and equipments (dry cell batteries, bottled water and so on) are out of stock. But basically our life seems to be normal.
Anway I hope everybody will settle as soon as possible.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Corelle plates

Finlay I got this series of Corelle plates.
Though someone remember of the series of plates. I had been looking for them, since I? or someone in my family broke two plates of this series.
About 15 years before I bought 5 plates of this series. Every plate has a different vegetable picture on it. Probably Corelle is really familiar in America, and my image of Corelle is white table wares. But this vegetable series is ivory. They are not too cute, not traditional. I like them. Unfortunately two plates were broken, though I don't know when. At that time this series already went out of print?? (They are not books, so this series went already out of production. -- is it correct?)
Just a few days ago there are three plates of this series in my house. It's OK, because there are only two members in my house, I could think two plates was independent while my daughters left home.
BUT--- I'd wanted them. And I found them at auction.
The cost is lower than the cost at that time. And now there are in front of me. I'm really satisfied with it. Internet is really useful.
And Internet is--- too easy to click. I bought another kind of Corelle plates.
Shopping is fun, and I know I like pottery.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Leaves of ice plant

Have you ever heard of ice plants? Or are they familiar in your country? The leaves look like slimy, and actually the texture was slimy.
For me it was first time to cook.
Yesterday Yuki went to play golf. On the way home he dropped by a farmer's shop and bought some kinds of green vegetables, such as ice plant, salad-leaves, Shyungiku (kind of spinach), and so on.
So I cooked some of them. Fresh vegetables are really tasty, and some of them suit to tempura.
I made ice-leaf tempura, and GOBOU tempura seasoned with that Cajun spice. And I sauteed scallops and Syungiku with MISO paste. When we eat them, we rolled them with salad-leaves.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

receiving a windfall???

Now there is a new gadget in front of me.
Yes, it's iPod.
As you many know, I'm not good at using technical stuff such as a cell phone, digital camera, IC-recorder, though I always tackle with my PC.
So I was not so interested in iPod.
Why did it come?

Yuki, as you guess, likes such gadgets. His interesting things are technical gadgets, and golf gadgets, these days. He often goes far on his business trip, so he seems not to live without iPod. He reads the newspaper on iPod, listened to music on iPod, and these days he has started to learn English on iPod. Suddenly his iPod didn't work. He called to the company, they said it can be repaired for free because of being still under warranty. Lucky him.
So he sent it to the service center, -- we thought it would take two weeks for it to be repaired.
Tow days passed, he couldn't wait for its coming back. He said "I'm sorry, I can't live without my iPod, so I'll buy a new one. When it comes back, you will be able to use it."
So he went to buy a new one.

The next early morning, the previous iPod came back ---- no, a new iPod came instead of the previous iPod. It was not repaired, it was --exchanged into a new one. Only three days passed since we sent it.

Well, I wonder how I use it. I found a interesting tool, it is voice mail. It is easy to record my voice. So probably it helps me to improve my speaking English practice.

Today, it is sunny. In the morning a boy came to study here. To tell the truth I called him to study more .

In the yard, this flower started bloom. This flower has bloomed every spring since we came here 25 years ago.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Pumpkin spice

This morning (today I got up later than usual, so late morning) I baked pan cake with simmered pumpkin tasted pumpkin spice.
I cooked pumpkin with sugar, Sake, and pumpkin spice last night.
Yes, the spice was blended by my friend.

And I baked pan cake with the pumpkin. The taste is really good. Last fall, I knew the spice. It was the first time for me to meet the spice, and it is the best hit spice recently. (Is it a correct way to use a word of "hit", Jan?) .
The spice mainly consists of cinnamon and clove. So I don't know why it is called cinnamon spice.

Well, after breakfast, I went to an ear doctor to get some medicine for my allergy, but--- today the clinic was really really crowded. I was the fifth person. And most people there seemed to suffer from pollen allergy.
While it is getting warmer and warmer, pollen is attacking more and more. And it is said this spring we'll have pollen five times as much as usual.

So anyway I got an appointment, and while I was waiting, I went to a gym to work out. After work-out, I went back to the clinic. But I had still to wait for more than one hour. I went back home around 2 o'clock.
After that Yuki and I went shopping to a department store, a book store and a glossary store. At a glossary store we bought two bottles. One is real wine made in Spain and the other is domestic wine-taste grape juice. (I don't drink alcohol much)
Though both of them are not so expensive, but --- none-alcohol wine is about two times as expensive as real wine.

P.S I'm not sure is it a correct way to use a structure of "as--as"?

Friday, March 04, 2011

CAJUN seasoning

Today's seasoning I used is CAJUN seasoning. Of course, my friend blended it. I think CAJUN seasoning is the most popular American seasoning, doesn't it?

It suits to everything, so this morning I used it to cook fried chicken and vegetables. I thought she didn't mix much cayenne pepper -- so I pored a lot --- and it was too hot for me.
We always keep SHICHIMI which is smiler to Cajun seasoning, so it is really useful as a handy seasoning.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Hina Doll's Festival

In Japan it is Hina Doll's Festival today. I bout this sweet on the way to home from a nursery school. In the morning I read some English picture books to kids and their mothers. And the main books I read today were about Easter. I know Easter in this year is April 24Th. It might be too early to introduce Easter, but some pairs were the last time to hear my story, since the kids are going to go to kindergarten in spring. So I wanted to introduce Easter to them.

Well, the sweets in this photo are all sweet dumplings, the small ones are for elementary school kids who are going to come today, and the big ones are -- not for us, for high school students who are also going to come tonight.

Well, this morning I did adventurous cooking with chi ken. Oh, it's a joke. I used a bag of spice of dry buttermilk ranch dressing my friend blended by herself.
Do you know it is difficult to get fresh buttermilk. I heard producing buttermilk officially in Japan is not allowed because of a dairy product law. And we can get powder of batter milk, but it's not common . So I'm really interested in this spice.
Though she recommended it to use dressing, I used it chicken. pour it on chicken, and sprinkle some flour on the chicken, and coated the chicken with the beaten egg, and fried it. Yes it's chicken piccata. Good taste.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The members of our Toastmaster club are great

Hi, there. Today it is "warm" and sunny. Yesterday it was cloudy and sometimes it rained. Additionally the day before yesterday it was sleety rain though fortunately we didn't have snow.
The climate seemed to twirl around.
Well, well, last Sunday I attended our Toastmaster club meeting after so long, probably a half of year passed since I attended it.

For me, the society of Toastmaster is an only (too exaggerate expression) society to do with business men and women. Actually only I say "I'm a housewife".
On the other hand I wonder why mothers who are interested in this Toastmaster club are difficult to attend it though fathers (who are businessmen) can attend it to improve their speech skills in Japanese and English. I know their feeling very well but somewhere it's strange.

Anyway, I don't blame fathers. In fact I enjoyed the conversation with the businessmen.
And when sometimes my students' fathers pick them up, I enjoyed the conversation with the fathers.

At the meeting, a man talked about how much he dedicates to marathon. He showed his training date scientifically. A lady talked about how important it is to use voice tone as the situation demands. A man talked about how to communicate with foreign businessmen in Utsunomiya.
And a lady talked about how important to ask help to others.

A lady who comes to attend this meeting from Sendai by bullet train, said "To attend this meeting makes me raise awareness of the issue in usual life."
Me either.

In the house "I" am a "queen", so most of things are determined by myself without any interference.I tend to be smug, and it is the last thing I can.