Thursday, November 23, 2017

season word 1123 grey starling

Is the bird familiar in your country? It belongs to a sparrow group, (though I've just known it.)
I'm not familiar with birds.

yes actually I've seen them --- according to my best recollection.

In Haiku word, migrant birds or just small birds is a season word.

coming small birds, where are your beds, keen chilly night

Grey starlings are not migrant birds, they are called drifting birds. Because they live within the country, and usually live in mountains. however in autumn they drift into towns.

Coming drifting birds, where you'll go back, your home mountain getting less.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Voluntary activites at the library

This month I have three voluntary work at the library. And two of them are finished.
One was hold this Sunday. Until two years ago this activity was hold by four people in turn.
However two of them moved to another prefecture, and one got busy. So only me is left.
Doing this activity is fun, but I feel a little bit loneliness.
So I asked Yuki to help me. He doesn't like to be involved such activities with others, but it's OK to do something with only me.
And on Sundays usually fathers &kids join it. It seems to make Yuki easier to join my activity.
Another one was hold yesterday. I was wondering whether some helper would come or not.
Fortunately Ms.W came and did the activities together. And some mothers & kids joined it.
We had a relaxed calm time, though after the activity Ms.W came back immediately.
And the last one is going to be held this Sunday.
It is a big event, and I'll just take part in it as one of volunteers.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The way of Japanese education

I found an interesting article in Japanese which was written by a Japanese writer.
It is written about Japanese education.

Our way of education stands on the way "Every one get a good score or a pass mark even if they study hard. If they don't do that it is because of their lack of morale or surroundings.
So most of activities are don by a group at school. And we don't usually separate class by their grade,.
(About Japanese clam schools are completely different)
So we tend to be recognized for groups' activities.

And, Japanese children (or even adults) tend to be motivated by their mistakes or failure. Because they think their failure caused from lack of their efforts.
American children seem to consider that intelligence is built up by 36% their efforts and 64% their natural gift, on the other hand Japanese children seem to consider it fifty-fifty. It is interesting, isn't it?

I think it is why too smart children tend to be picked up their buds of their morale, however there are not so illiteracy children in Japan.

Monday, November 20, 2017

frog card -2-

Though I'm making my "frog cards" in English, it is really difficult. Because not only by my poor English skill, but also by very vague Japanese phrases or general-purpose Japanese phrases it is difficult to translate one Japanese phrase into one English suitable phrase.
Anyway I'll continue to do it supported by my friend.

I changed one phrase getting advice and again. How about it?


Friday, November 17, 2017

Season word 1116 dried mullet roe

It is said "dried millet roe", "salted sea urchin", and "salted sea cucumber" are three of the most delicious delicacies in Japan. However I don't understand these value, though I have had them.
Anyway my deceased father liked them. Among them, "salted sea cucumber" is very expensive and was not so easy to get when he was alive (about 40 years ago.)
My mother was born in Kyoto. But it is different from "the" Kyoto which is a very famous city. She was born in a village on the outskirts of Kyoto prefecture. The village ( now it is a town) is near the sea. So in winter my deceased grandmother would send "salted sea cucumber" to my father. He was always looking forward to coming it.

Salted sea cucumber, reminds me of, my father's grinning
Dried mullet roe,  without understanding the tasty, 60 years old is just around the corner.

Well I found this youtube.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Karaku and an article

This Tuesday, it was the day of Karaku, I had good time to play the piano and to have a good tea and sweet.
Thankfully, even this time some constant people came to Karaku, a group of women came to listen to us ( I play the piano and Ms.U reads some poems).

There are many people, of course I know, and there are also many (or some ) people surrounded me.
I read this article. It was very interesting.
It might be a way of Japanese thinking, let me introduce it to you in my English.

This is an article posted to the Life Guide Corner by a reader who is in her 50's.
She seem to have some troubles to communicate with one of her friends who is in the same generation.

The adviser says:
You seem to be something wrong. Until now you and your friends seemed to share merits each other, but you seem to feel something unfair recently. It is the time to reconsider your relationship.
You should list up what are merits and what are demerits, and compare them. If merits are more you keep your relationship without any changes, if not you dare not to need to keep it. You shouldn't try to let her character changed. Some people can easily say good-bye, the other people try to fade out their relationship naturally by the way to decrease the number of meeting.
You can find like-minded friends anytime, any age. In a few years when you meet her again, she might be different from she was.
On a moment-to-moment basis considering the merits you should decide whether to keep the relation ship or not.

I tend to adhere to the relation ship once I built, I know it sometimes change to be a one-way communication. This advice is very interesting to me, though I don't like the way of using the words merits and demerits.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Japanese apples

Last week I bother going to an apple orchard on the outskirts of Utsumomiya.
It takes about (just) 30 minutes from my house by car.

In Japan, Aomori, Yamagata, and Iwate are the three famous prefectures for apples.
And here in Tochigi, we have some apple orchards.
They usually get their apples on the market.
However some orchards sell their all products on the spot.

Usually Japanese people prefer hard and sweet apples to eat directly.
Such apples like Fuji and --- I don't remember are on sale at markets.
And a little bit soft and sour apples are gone to factories to be processed for jam or juice.

However I want such a little bit sour and "cheap" apples. So I went there.
Of course they are fresh. 

This is an English site about apples.

This is a Japanese site about apples.

What do I make out of them?
Just eat as morning fruits. And of course I might make some apple sweets.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

What was the aim?

As you know, this is Japan. so many people enjoy autumn leaves in this month.
And here in Tochigi we have one of the most famous spots for enjoying autumn leaves. It is NIKKOU.
It means in this season the roads to NIKKO are very crowded.

So --
we avoided Nikko and went to KARASUYAMA to enjoy autumn leaves
However, it was too early to enjoy autumn leaves.

We didn't mind. In Karasuyam  there is a small fall, though in Nikkou there are some big falls.
Some trees changed the color.

We knew the roads were not crowded, however we left home around 7 without having our breakfast.
Because on the way to Karasuyam, there is an interesting café which only serves breakfast from 7 to 11.
Of course on the way home we dropped by at the café.

What is on the toast?  Though you might dislike it, it is sweet beans paste called OGURA ANN.

This style seems to be very popular in Nagoya which is between Tokyo and Osaka.
When the owner's couple went to Nagoya, they were into this style, and decided to serve this type of breakfast in Utsunomiya.
When the owner retired, he and his wife renovated their house and opened this café.

Monday, November 13, 2017

In November

Halloween has gone.

I put away all things and decorate these things on the self in the entrance hall.

This Tuesday I hold a meeting "let's enjoy this autumn" at a café.
Three members came.
We read these books

For me it was the first time Macintosh is a kind of apple's names.
And after talking with them, the main came.

 This meeting is not my job, however I organize it. So I always thing how much attendance fee is suitable. I open the meeting at my house, because I won't let members pay much money but I will serve or treat something delicious or interesting.
This time I thought, it was only me not to pay much money to this meeting.
The value of attendance fee is different according to people, I know it. It is OK, but what made me surprised was the person who won't pay money much seemed to be only me.


Friday, November 10, 2017

season word 1109 master brewer

I'll tell you more about "touji". Begin a brewer is usually a seasonal job. So mainly they are or would be farmers or fishermen.

So usually in Haiku world, TOJI or TOJI comes is used as a winter word.

Toji comes, severe coldness, they are looking forward to,

On the other hand "the first sake" is used as an autumn word.

The first sake, even though I'm a lightweight drinker, brings smile.

And Toji is a traditional Japanese word, however my high school students didn't know it.

Without knowing the word of Toji   Japanese adolescents, they are still "green youth"

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Two art museums

Last week we had a national holiday which is called "culture day".
Though Yuki went to work as usual, and I had lessons from the afternoon as usual, I was free in the morning. BECAUSE the gym I go was closed.
And it is "culture day", so the entrance fee of public museums  were free.
I visited two museums ( there are two public museums here in Utsunomiya), even though they were short visits.
At Tochigi prefectural museum, two artists both of whom were born in Tochigi, and were not so famous, were introduced. The museum is in downtown, and it has enough parking lot. However not so many people visited there. And the people who visited there were mainly elderly and wearing casual wears Most of them seemed to drop by there on the way of their walking. 
Another museum is Utsunomiya city museum.
This museum seems to be evaluated high in the art world (according to my daughter.)
And now they hold an exhibit of Edward Gorey. The reason why I visited there was the entrance fee was free, however some people seem to go out of their way to see this exhibition paying entrance fee.
This place is a little bit far from Utsunomiya station, so, I'm very surprised some people came wearing neat clothes from other prefectures.

The author is also famous as an illustrator  of picture books. So some families also visited there.
People who love arts go out to their way to visit museums in Tokyo in neat clothes.
Here in Tochigi --
It was interesting not only to see works but also to watch people.

Near this museum, Karaku is there. So I dropped by Karaku to eat lunch.
The photo is just toast, but of course, the master served salad, sweets and coffee with it.
Lucky me!

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

This is a book written by my favorite author

I sometimes borrow books from the library. How about you?
And now I'm into an author.
She is almost the same age as I am.
At the library, the books which the library hold are usually not the latest books.  And this author is popular, so I have seldom found her latest books even if they are bought by the library. So the books usually I'm able to borrow are written ten years ago.
However they are very interesting and make me surprised that she could write like this on such a stance when she was in her late 40's.
She has eyes to see the next 10 years. So now I can easily understand the books which were written about 10 years. She already wrote about the elderly people.

Last time I met my mother, I had to hold her hands. It made me very surprised.
And even though she is strong, I feel her loneliness a little.

Nowadays the decline of birthrate is a big problem in Japan.
And the lack of nursery schools is also another problem.
And I know the increasing elderly care center is constituting a burden for our government budget. So Our government proceed to recommend to spend days at home by themselves.

I understand the way, and it is producing "lonely problem".

In this ten years, lots of mother and child play center are open to prevent from mother's depressing from no friends surround them.
Actually my daughter noticed it was really difficult to someone to talk nearby, so she used to go a play center when my grand daughter was a baby.

Probably in ten years, play and chat centers for the elderly will open, or I hope.

While I'm thinking about such a thing, I read her books.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

frog cards -1-

I bought an interesting set of cards. It is called "kaeru(frog) cards".
In Japanese "kaeru" is a frog, and it also have different meaning with the same sound (Kanji is of course different.), its another meaning is "change.
 A negative phrase is written on the face of each card. And the positive phrase is written on the revers.
We  or Japanese people tend to mention negative words without conscious.

It was interesting. When I showed the 6 cards of these to Yuki, he was just able to say two suitable positive phrase and I also just two phrases. How negative both of us!

I tried translating these words in English, of course supported by a friend.
It is not completed, I'll continue it.

Friday, November 03, 2017

season word maple

How to pronounce Aceraceae?

Here in Japan Japanese maple leaves are  main leaves which bring joy to our lives in autumn.
Japanese maple which is called MOMIJI is smaller than maple.

The hands of Ah-chan (my grand daughter), got bigger, compared with MOMIJI

The three most popular places to enjoy momiji-gari are: 1. mountains and rivers, 2. locations with traditional Japanese architecture, 3. on the street or in a park
The three most popular places to enjoy momiji-gari are: 1. mountains and rivers, 2. locations with traditional Japanese architecture, 3. on the street or in a park

Visit a park nearby, enjoy momigi-gari, it's good, too (instead of  visiting a mountain)

Than usual, the taste gets thicker, Maple syrup

Of course the taste is the same, and bottles of Maple syrup are imported from mainly Canada.
However "tasting Maple syrup in autumn " sounds "to enjoy autumn more" for us.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

November !!

In a two weeks, a new year will come.
Yesterday this article was introduced on students' newspaper.

The source is here .

When I saw it, the first question is "what is Fido?". Now I learnt it is a dog's name and it was very faithful like "HACHIKOU" which is another dog's name and is very famous for his faithfulness.

Well, however, well, in my opinion, next year is just a the year of the Dog, like this year is the year of the Rooster.

Anyway we have started to prepare for next year.

Additionally, my friend introduced this site to me. thanks.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

visiting my mother in Octorber

The day before yesterday I went to Tokyo to visit my mother.  This time I took her to Shinjyuku. This time I wanted her to go out, but it was uncertain , because typhoon had came. Fortunately typhoon had gone, so I took her to Shinjuuku.
For a half of this year, even though she is still before 85, she is getting weak. Her legs are fine but she is really afraid of congestion and gaps. It means she doesn't like the congestion at station, and she is afraid of the gap between a train and a platform.

On the other hand going to town is a good opportunity for "us" to put on neat outfits.  (if I added some more words, they would be beautiful expensive.)

In her opinion, pants-style is very casual, so it is not suitable to go to NAKAMURA restaurant ( it was the restaurant we went to on the day), so she wore a little bit longer skirt. Usually when she takes a walk, she wears pants. Wearing pants gives her a good footwork --- she says. So wearing skirts seem to have her a bad foot work and it made her more afraid of getting on a train.

Anyway we finally got to the restaurant. To my surprise instead of being a week day, there were many elderly people (not only women but also men) to have lunch. And they were wearing neat outfits. (I've never seen such elderly people here in Utsunomiya). She seemed very satisfied with her outfits and had lunch there.

Nakamuraya restaurant is a very old and very famous restaurant.
When I was a child, my "grandmother" would often take me there (for me it was a just restaurant without no kids lunch), and my father in-law sometimes took me there (not Yuki), when we met at Tokyo. (When I worked as a business woman, sometimes I went to Tokyo on business, and had an opportunity to meet him.)

They have a own building. The restaurant is on the 8th floor. The gallery is on the 3rd floor, and the shopping area is on the first floor. She enjoyed all floors.

Well, well, to go there I ironed my dress, and put on an old coat.
Though I want a new coat in this season, but when I go to Tokyo next time by train, it will be more cold so I wouldn't wear the new coat if I bought.  However I want a new coat just for this short period.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

pottery art exhibition

Sometimes I become a quick doer.
On one day I found this article on the newspaper.

As soon as I saw it, I really wanted to see it. On the day I was going to go out to buy some bread nearby, however I extemporaneously decided to go to see this exhibit..
These things are --- I thought dishes. However they were chopstick rests or you can say spoon rests.

It is important to see actual things.
The attractive thing is Japanese old poems called HYAKUNIN ISYYU are written on each pottery.
HYAKUHIN ISYYU is a kind of mother goose.
Some pictures are drawn by hand, and the others are used printed sheet (porcelain art, and we call "porcelart" in Japanese), but all letters are written in handwriting.
Fortunately I could see the organizer, who is an artist and is almost 80. Her back is straight and very "cool".
Still now she teaches art at a college, on the other hand she has art classes at her house. Her students are from the young to the elderly.  The pottery are made and written by her and her students. So the letters are from classical types to round types which is used by the young.
This exhibitions is hold by supported by the college she works, and the city hall.
And she is going  to held her own exhibition .
I want to see her exhibition in next month.
Sometimes it is good to go out without thinkin any thing.

Monday, October 30, 2017

season word 1026 greater white-fronted goose

Have you ever seen white-fronted goose?

I've never seen them, or if I saw them I couldn't discern them from usual geese.

Geese coming, brown rice fields, getting much calmly
When I saw them, looking back at memory closing eyes, incoming geese

Friday, October 27, 2017

Falling in Autumn

Well, I'm very surprised, because --

"Falling in Autumn" this is an article of a popular national newspaper (though the English version), and in this article "nikko" where is in our prefecture is introduced.
Usually Kyoto is introduced at the most beautiful place to enjoy autumn leaves.

On the other hand we don't go there this year.
Usually once a year we go there to see autumn leaves very early morning.
However --- not yet.
Whey we go such an early morning, because it is very crowded everywhere.

Anyway I'll introduce a YOUTUBE video, though it is a little bit long.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

laughter YOGA in October

yesterday I hold laughter yoga, which is hold once a month.
This time, three ladies came to my house.
In laughter yoga, we try to laugh in three ways.
One is laughing with yoga exercise,  another one is laughing simply consciously without any funny things, and the other is laughing at some things.
I use a pun picture book, of course in Japanese.
It is a kind of rhyming book.

However some puns are very difficult for us (including me) to understand.
Of course we understand the sentence, but we don't find where is funny.

Anyway this time two puns caught us.
I hope you understand the pun.

Chou-Chou (butterfly) ha Chau(different)
Chau-Chau (different)  to Chau.

The sound of Chou-Chou is similar to the sound of (Chau-Chau), but they are a little bit different.
And Chau means different.
Do you understand it?
Butterfly, which is Chou-Chou in Japanese is different, which is Chau in Japanese.
Chou-chou is not Chau-Chau.

And another one was very cute.
I try to make similar type in English using rhyming.
Angel throw a beef-bowl from the heaven.

We had a good time, and of course, after laughter yoga I served some sweets I bought at Manza.

What made me very happy was they knew how expensive they were.
There I bought HANAMAE which were big beans and here in Tochigi we seldom find them even at a department store.
When I served some to Yuki, Yuki said "oh, you bought them at Manza. What big beans they are!".
However the three ladies know their value.
I was very happy.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Trip to Manza

Last weekend, no, last Friday and Saturday, I went to Manza with my friend. Yes I went out for a night. It was unusual. Though some of my friends and my family know, I don't like traveling so much. So probably more than 20 years have passed since I took a overnight trip. At that time, one of my friends moved to Osaka, so to have the same memory, she, another friend and I wet out for a night to NIKKO in Tochigi. Luckily our friendship has been kept via "facebook".

The friend who took the trip with me lives in the next prefecture, so I went to her town by train, from there she drove me to MANZA.

On the way we passed KUSAZU, which is very famous hot spring spot and one of  the most famous 5 Japanese hot spring towns.  We enjoyed taking a leisurely walking there. You might know "karuiizawa". It is also a famous town for tourist. Kusatsu is near Karuizawa. However, Kusatsu town is very kind to our wallet. Because without shopping, or window shopping, we enjoyed the town watching hot spring smoke, talking with shop women and men (most of them are elderly).

At  Manza, we had wonderful hot springs. They have 6 hot springs at the same place. Actaully the inn is selected one of the most popular and wonderful  20 inns in Japan.

Anyway we talked, talked and talked.

Both of us are almost the same age, so we didn't go to bed late. On the other hand both of us woke at 5:30. As soon as we woke our talking started. It was too early to go to the cafeteria in the inn. So we were talking until it was open. However we almost missed the breakfast. Because when we check the time coincidently, it was already 8 o'clock. The time which breakfast is served is until 9.

Monday, October 23, 2017

AYU fish come!!!

These are AYU fish which are seasonal fish. And in some prefecture which has clean rivers they are caught. One of them is here Tochigi.
Ayu fishing are limited. We can fish from June to October, so it is the last time to get fish for fishermen or people who loves fishing.
And actually it is expensive, and the freshness is so important that we seldom see them at store.

However suddenly a lot of ayu fish came about 8 PM.
Luckily I had no class on the day, so I had time to cook them.(well, or I can say unluckily I had no class, because I had to deal with them.)
Neighbor brought them for asking help to me.

So I struggled with them.
Fresh ayu aren't necessary to take out their guts, but -- I did.
I cooked some  with a pressure pot. and I cooked the others with the oven.

It took almost three hours. I was going to go to bed earlier but  I went to bed later than usual.
Preparing for cook them was troublesome, and cleaning up after them was also troublesome.
Because the pot was burnt.
I put some baking soda in the pot and boiled it, and the next day I cleaned it.

The work was troublesome, on the other hand I was very satisfied with doing it.
I don't like ironing, but I seem not to dislike onerous cooking.

I cooked lots of ayu fish, so of course I shared them with the neighbor.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

season word 1019

Yes, "soba" is an autumn season word.
Soba lover prefer to eat cold soba noodle. But for me it is too cold to eat in autumn. I prefer hot soba noodle.
Soba festival, with a down coat, (enjoying)one plate of cold soba
Diligently and silently, beating soba dough , like a God

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

How to wipe the floor with wiping cloth

I mentioned about ironing yesterday. Today I'll write about wiping.
I don't mind wiping the floor  and stirs every day.  How do I wipe them? by mop? no, I use traditional wiping cloth (or used towels).
Like this.

Oh, my knees are not so strong, so I usually get down on my knees.
If I didn't, probably the same thing happened, and probably a worse thing would happen to me.

This is a normal style.
However in her case
I' don't know why such thing happened.

These photos were taken by her grandfather.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


How many times do you iron ? Every day? or when you need it?
One of my house chores I dislike (or hate) is ironing, or I'm very bad at ironing.
Nowadays, most of shirts got easier to be ironed, but for me ironing is troublesome.

On the other hand I like wearing ironed shirts, and I like seeing a man (especially elder man) wearing ironed shirts.
My neighbor always wear ironed shirts. I've wanted to ask that who irons them.

Well, well, the more older we are, the more "slovenly" (these days I learnt this word, in this case it is too exaggerated.) "disarray" or "careless in attitude".  we are. Wearing easy outfits is easy, I know, on the other hand, wearing tidy outfits is important . Young men are able to cover their careless in attitude saying" other things are more important to me than appearance".  However for elderly people tidy appearance is necessary I hear "make-up therapy" is very effective for women. make-up is one of things of tidy attitude.

Well, well, anyway while I was simmering pre-cooked dishes for this week, I made myself understood the reason while I was ironing.
Probably when Yuki retires, it might be one of his job.

Additionally, I know some men "loves" ironing especially on his pants, and shirts.
And I also hear the wife who has such a man often is irritated by  his "touchy " attitude. Such men are tend to be neurotically  clean.
Yuki is so lazy that I 'm very happy in this point.

 I was sturing while I'm making my self understood the reason why I'm ironing, I cooked pr-cooked dishes.