Thursday, May 31, 2012

Four days exhibition

At Ateria Inaka, which is a cafe & gallery near my house, a small exhibition is being held for only four days.  (From 5/31 to 6/3). The owner asked his friends who are craft men, artists, or shop owners  to offer 5 things for the exhibition. Luckily my elder daughter T was able to join it, though she is not a pro.

 These five earrings are all, but for her it is the day for her works to debut in Utsunomiya.
These are made from hand-made pepper, of course she made the paper. And they are processed to be stronger and be waterproof.

Others pro works are wonderful.  If you have time this page of facebook.!/media/set/?set=a.311158408969224.74472.199217350163331&type=1

T's work might look like being armature. But it is the first step for her. I really thank to the owner of Ateria Inaka to give her this chance.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A rose garden in FURUKAWA house

Suddenly my friend E and I decided to go to Tokyo to see roses. This week is the fifth week, so I have more free time than usual.
The place we bounded was FURUKAWA house in TOKYO.
It was the first time for both us to visit there.
It's a wonderful house, isn't it? We wanted to look inside the house, but it was need to book. Though they have cafe, it opens at 1 o'clock. We couldn't stay there in the afternoon. ( We had to go back to UTSUNOMIYA.) What a shame!

 It is not an English garden. It looks like a rose exhibition. Every rose is taken care very well. My friend E is familiar with roses. She explained about roses. Thanks to her, I learn roses "a little".

This rose is called princes MICHIKO. It is named in honer of Empress Michiko.

They also have a wonderful Japanese garden with a pond. I saw some turtles there.
Of course we bought some souvenirs. I bought Japanese sweets, called "BARA(rose)-YOUKAN".

Monday, May 28, 2012


Now it's sunny, but until a few minutes ago it was raining with thunder for a while. We call such weather "TENKI-AME".

Here in Japan it is the season for roses. Actually there are some roses in my small garden.
 The weather is getting warmer, so strawberries started to get red.

It is the good season for gardening, and don't need weeding so much.

 Last week Yuki often went to Tokyo for his business, I sometimes take him to the station by car.
One day he had enough time to go on business trip, so we had breakfast at a cafe. The cafe is near the station, and it is so popular that it is always crowded with people. Recently they started morning service. So we went there before going to the station. They serve some kinds of delis.

Yesterday,(Sunday), our group open a booth at a event. Many people dropped by our booth. We could introduce our group activity enough. These days it tend to be vague the purpose of our group, but anyway I'll do something fun and useful to someone through English.  I think being with people who is fun and active makes everybody cheerful. So attending an event was a wonderful thing to me.

Monday, May 21, 2012

annular solar eclipse

Good morning. A new week has already started. This morning we enjoyed annual solar eclipse for about twenty minutes with neighbors in front of our house.

First Yuki and I was seeing the sun, and a neighbor who lives next to the door came,and other two came, and the neighbor who lives across to the road came, and another neighbor who is going to work stopped, and two men came.
So Yuki cut the special black sheet which is for seeing the sun.
When the sun started hiding, it's getting little bit dark and cool. So I served coffee for them. Yuki was busy to take photos, others were really exciting, laughing.
We had a wonderful morning.
Have a nice week.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Spices and cooking

Last Saturday, my elder daughter T came here with her friend. So I thought it was a good chance to challange the spices I got in America.

For you, all of them might be familier. But for me all of things are challengable thigs.

Chicken rub, and BBQ sauce -- I grilled chicken.
Rice seasoning mix--- I cooked Japanese rice and red rice with this spice.
Buttermilk ranch dressing mix -- I made turnip & HASAKU-orange salad.
Celery salt -- I baked quiche with SYUNGIKU-leaves
Kirkland organic no-salt seasoning -- I made asparagus salad.

Every boday enjoyed "American spice" dishes.
I also made pickles.

This day her friend took us apple pie. So I didn't need to prepare dessert.

And T gave me cute candy and her home-made coasters.

 Yuki, T, T's friend, and I talked lots, laughed lots. ---- We had a wonderful Saturday. If our younger daughter M were also with us we could have had more fun.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Our small garden in spring

Now clematis is blooming.
 I always think it's like magic. During the winter it shows only dirty brown vies. It looks completely died. But in spring it changes into green, and starts having lots of leaves and buds. And finally it blooms.

One rhubarb survived this cold winter. I planted some basil seedlings. On the other hand I see some SHISO-herb shoots.
In the backyard. lots of MITSUBA-leaves are shooting. The young shoots are "yummy". I have three kinds of mints, apple mints, spare mints, and pepper mints. Unfortunately lemon grasses didn't survive. So I planted new seedlings.
This time I didn't plant any vegetable seedlings. I hope various herbs cover the gland. If it succeeds, I don't need weeding so much.

Last Sunday it was Mother's day, Though I got calls from my daughters, they didn't come back. Elder daughter will come here this weekend, and younger daughter will send something when she gets the first salary. But Yuki bought carnations, which are a typical flower on Mother's day in Japan.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Here's our best respect, sir, Nick.

Nick is a wonderful and tough guy. He is ----, I dare not to say his age. He enjoys his retired life. He picked us at an airport. He gets up the earliest among us and prepares for "Yuki"s breakfast. ( We don't know whether Nick eats breakfast or not.)  And around 8, Nick and Yuki go out to play golf, of course Nick drives a car. As soon as they come home after the noon, Nick checks his garden. He is always looking forward to Jan's dinner. As soon as we finishes dinner, Nick starts to wash the dishes. He never let me touch the dishes.

Though he is into playing golf, he loves his garden. On the other hand he volunteers with his friends at  a dog center, He belongs to a club, which has two purposes. One is to assist for high school boys to play golf. Once a year the club hold a big golf game for them. The other  is to help children who are deaf.

When we went to Aiken,on the first day the big game was held, and he cooking hamburgers for high school boys. He cooked more than 200 hamburgers. Though he must have been tired, he took us to Augusta to listen to a concert. It took one hour drive.
Next day he also took us to Martlye beach, it took more than three our drive.

Thanks to Nick, we could go various places. Yuki drank lots of beer, but Nick never drank. Because he always drove.
Thanks Nick. Yuki and I love you!!! Please take care you knee. You should sometime take a rest at home.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

People in Aiken

I'm not familiar with politics in Japan, ( or to tell the truth I'm not so interested in politics in Japan, I just do what I can do. So I pay taxes obediently)
So, I don't know about politics in America. But it seems to be an evident fact that America is a society with a big income gap.
According to the (Japanese) news paper, in America.  The income of 1% richest people account for 17% of national income. and the income of 10% richest people account for 50% of national income. ( I hope these sentences make sense.)

Anyway people I met in Aiken are all friendly and energetic.
In downtown I went to a tea shop and attended tea tasting. There Japanese tea was served, some ladies asked about Japanese tea very friendly, and some of them bought Japanese tea "Sencha".
At Martlye beach I met Jan & Nick's friends. They enjoy their retired lives with "Smart" car. though they also have a big car.

Roads are very wide, Benz looks small there. So "Smart" car looks tiny. Here in Japan Benz looks very big, and I've wanted "Smart" car, though it's expensive. (Cars are big, roads are wide, and even people are big.) I never saw people in hurry. The sky seems to be higher than in Utsunomiya.
Women are energetic and outgoing. If I spoke English fluently, I couldn't have spoke like them.
Men are outgoing and comfortable with people. Sometimes I find the word "a solitary death" on the news paper. Does this word exist in Aiken?
Well, well, let me return to talk about food. In the lesson yesterday, "Pork chop" appears on our text book. So I showed this photo.
Thanks to Jan & Nick, we had a good vacation. Jan, next time it's your turn to come to Japan, and let's go to HOKKAIDOU.

Toastmasters club in Aiken

Though some people may know that I'm a member of Toastmasters club in Utsunomiya. (These days I seldom attend the meeting, sorry.) This time I attended Toastmasters meeting in Aiken.
There was a timer, there was a flag-- the scenery of the room was similar to ours. The different things was that women are more than men. Here in Utsunomiya, most members are business men. The members in Aiken Toastmasters club were really friendly. I was really glad to join them. Fortunately I could understand their speeches more than half. Their speeches were more active than ours -- because they are not Japanese.

It's fun to be a member in an international club. If I went to your town, I could join Toastmasters club in your town. This time Jan, and Yuki also joined them. It made me happy more. Thank Jan, and Yuki.

in Aiken about nature

Aiken isn't a big city, but full of nature. Many people play golf, and ride a horse. So there are roads for horses.(It is really unusual.)

What are the typical birds in your country? Probably here in Japan, sparrows, crows, doves and swallows in spring (Actually a family of swallows make a nest on the ceiling in my garage.)

Here in Aicen, herming birds, peccorwoods, and red birds ( I forgot the name. Jan please tell me the name again.)
And also squirrels are here and there. Here in Japan some people feed squirrels. When I told it, Jan and Nick laughed. We saw deer at night.
I wonder why monkeys are not in Aiken?????

It is warm in Aiken, so  hibiscuses are open.
Vegetable seedlings grow well.

I heard many senior people move here when they retire.  I really understand the reason.
On the other hand I'm surprised at senior people are not afraid to move to a new land. We moved here from Tokyo because of Yuki's job. More than 28 years passed since we moved. Now we stick with this land. Actually sometimes I think I wish I could move to warmer place. But we have lots of friends. So we won't move to a new land. if we moved to somewhere, probably, the place will be Tokyo because in Tokyo we were born, and our daughters live there. And anyway the cost of land is very expensive in Japan.

in Aiken about music

This time we had a chance to listen to various music here and there.
One day there was a fair in the day time. Here we listened to bluegrass music. Have you ever listened to it? It was the first time to see a fiddle and a banjo. It reminds me of John Denver, but it seems to be completely different bluegrass from folk music.

We also had a chance (Jan and Nick bought our tickets.) to listen to symphony, the Augusta Symphony, at church. The music conductor was Mr.Z.Kuwahara, who is Japanese. After the concert, a small party was hold. (It seems to be a usual thing.) Fortunately  we had a chance to talk  with Mr.Z. The Augusta Symphony is supported by lots of volunteer. I love symphony. Unfortunately we seldom listen to full orchestra, more than 4 years passed since we listened to full orchestra music. Symphony gave me lots of energy.


Of course thanks to Jan we had a chance to listen to Jazz. At a hotel on Thursdays Jazz night is held.
Yuki seemed to want to join them, but unfortunately he didn't have a guitar.
Here and there we had a chance to listen to music, and here and there people seemed to enjoy listening to music "naturally".

The last day in Aiken when we had a wonderful dinner, (It was the first time to eat typical Pork chop) we listened to Scottish music.

In Aiken the night is long. Here in Utsunomiya usually the sun sets around 6 or 7. In Aiken the sun sets around 8. So when we go out after eating dinner at 6, the sky is still light. Everybody enjoys each night.On the last day in Aiken Lobster race was held at night. So the downtown was crowded with lots of people.  We heard Rock music from the downtown.
What calm and cheerful nights they are.
Usually Yuki comes back around 11PM, and I usually have lessons until 10PM. So for us enjoying every night is unusual, and a wonderful thing. It was a perfect vacation.

Friday, May 11, 2012

At a supermarket in Aiken (food 6)

Browsing a supermarket is fun, isn't it. (I was scolded by Jan, because I wasn't on the place I had to wait for her. Sorry.)
Sushi seems to be popular in America, even in a small town like Aiken, Sushi is sold at a supermaket.

But, what are these??????
Are they familiar in your country???? It must be a kind of SUSHI-ROLL.
We also have a big roll, but it's different. I think this type will be popular if they come to Japan.

Anyway everything is big. Herb is sold in a flowerpot.

I found Japanese eggplant seedlings. Do you know the meaning of "ICHIBAN"?  It means "the First"or "the most".  But I don't know its actual meaning. They might be the smallest eggplants, or they might be the most delicious egg plants.
Do you know what this is? It's a discount card or member's card of the supermarket. What a small card it is!!! Here everybody drives a car, so it makes sense that they attach such cards to a key chain.
Our member's cards are as large as  business cards or credit cards. So we usually  put the cards in a wallet.