Monday, January 30, 2017

Breakfast at a cafe

I took two annual checkup in a row.
Last Saturday I went to a checkup center (not a hospital, though it is a hospital annex), and took some tests such as usual health check, electrocardiogram, breast and cervical cancer test and X-ray.
Of course I went there without having breakfast.
The checkup was finished around 10 AM, so after that I took breakfast at a café in the checkup center.
They serve two options, Japanese type and Western type. I chose Western type, and we also chose the number of slices of toast from 1 to 4. I chose 2 slices of toast. --- AND this café is in the checkup center, it means they control calories severely --- it means the toast is served without butter and jam
 Instead of them they serve two slices of thick ham, and fresh salad with dressing.
Of course they serve coffee or tea.
Not so bad. -- of course it would be better if they had served butter and jam.
And this morning I went to a clinic to take gastroscopy test.
Since I eradicate pylori bacteria, I need to take this test once a year.
I was given a general anesthetic, the test was done smoothly.
After that the doctor showed me the photos.
Though there seemed to be nothing wrong in my stomach, the wall of my stomach was not so smooth than the doctor expected  in spite of eradicating pylori bacteria.  It cannot be helped, it's me. Just to keep avoid getting "bad" oil and too hot foods. ( I add the word "too", the doctor advised me to avoid just hot foods)
The test was finished about 10.
So I dropped by a café to have breakfast.

I didn't drip tabasco. What a good girl I was!!
Anyway the accurate data is going to be delivered in two weeks.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

at home

It's Sunday, Yuki has gone to play golf. Now I'm at home.
Yesterday I took annual health check, and tomorrow I'll take gastroscopy test. Since my Pylori bacteria was moved off, I need an annual gastroscopy test.

So today I'm spending lazy day ---- ??
I've already discarded 15 things.
I don't like "discard" foods. BUT I don't want to use the bag of flour which was expired. So I "bothered" to make "flour cray" for my granddaughter who is going to come in the middle of February and "bothered" to put it in the freezer, so I had to tidy up the freezer which full of things.

And to make flour clay I used a so small ball that I messed the kitchen than I expected, and I need to clean the kitchen more than usual.

Anyway I did it.

And I also checked whether the new year's post cards we got this year won or not.
Three cards won a prize, of course all of them won the last, but anyway I got three sheets of stamps.

Additionally the new year's post cards which were sold at post office have the lottery number at the bottom.

And I vacuumed the rooms, I washed our pajamas and sheets --.
Oh, now it's the time for lunch.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Books I borrowed at the library

Today, it is the last weekday, and ---it's very very cold. It seems to start snowing even in Utsunomiya.
In the morning , instead of going to gym, I'm going to a municipal center to do some errands and stop by at the library.
(And I also have to stop by at the bank.)

Since the winter vacation I've constantly borrowed some books at the library.
And instead of watching TV program recorded on weekday nights in my free time, I tried to read the books --- in a bed.

It means --- to lean against it in the bed.

These three books were very interesting, so I read them at a stretch. (Does it make sense?)

And the other books --- were so-so. So while my head was niddle-noddle, I read them.
Anyway I have to go out, even though it is very cold.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Not too much

This is an article of a Japanese magazine intended for women aged 50 or over, though "aged 50 or over" means --- the generation is very wide.
This lady on the photo is an actress and now she is over 80. She is still active and fine.
She decided to move from her big house (she used to live there with 8? members) to a small apartment when she got 80.Now she lives there with her husband. So she had to discard lots of things.
According to the article, it amounted to 6 big trucks.
And her philosophy, or favorite phrase is that
not eat too much, not worry too much, not own too many things, and "not to be close too near and not to be away too far"
The last phrase seems to be the most difficult to me --- especially to maintain good friendship and family ties.
Well, well, in north area in Japan they are having trouble because of show.
Today's Saijiki  (which is collection of season words or customs) is snow shoveling.
When I came to Tochigi, we used to have trouble because of snow. I often removing snow with a special shovel. Recently here in Utsunomiya we don't have much snow, though I've kept the special shovel for a sudden snow.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


This shelf is "my space".
Lastt night I took some seasonable English picture books to café "Kazahana-Bunko".
The place is run by a couple. To explain more correctly, on the first floor the husband runs a café, and on the second floor the wife runs a used-book store and opens private library.
The shelf in the private library is "my space".
Unfortunately they seem not to get enough profit from the café. It means they work regularly in the day time, and opens the café & book store mainly at night.
However little by little they are getting regular customer,(including me) and some of them seems to take my books in their hand.
Yesterday, I visited past 6o'clcok, and talked with them for a while, and had spaghetti there as my dinner.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

UNESCO Utsunomiya

The other day I visited an open gallery in Tochigi prefectural office.
There an art exhibition  was hold. "UNESCO art exhibition in Utsunomiya".
The exhibition was organized by UNESCO Utsunomiya.

The origin of my English activity and International volunteer activity is in  UNESCO Utsunomiya.
My daughters and I owed the head director of it.
For a while I was also one of directors of it.
She (the head director) gets too old to manage the club.
And unfortunately no one couldn't take over the job (It's not a job, because it is a volunteer group.)
There seem to be some reasons why no one couldn't take over it despite of the big name of UNESCO.
One is that no one paid.
And all directors have a job but they are not related to UNESCO activity directly. If I dare to say that my job is related to UNESCO activity closet. However I couldn't afford to contribute to its activity.
And it means the group couldn't get any support from private companies.
Another reason is
It was too late for directors to recruit younger directors to their group.
And now their style seems to be outdated.
"outdated" -- probably it's a correct word to describe the group.
However, I don't know what is a suitable word to describe "volunteer activity".
The gallery is on the 15th floor in the building. 



Monday, January 23, 2017

This weekend

Monday has started, it means my usual weekday has also started. This weekend, it was very cold though luckily we didn't have snow. However the north area of Utsunomiya it snowed, so on Sunday the golf course Yuki was going to go was closed.

On Saturday, in the morning I did house errands (throwing away 15 things and cooking pre-cooked dishes) while Yuki was playing tennis, in the afternoon after having lunch at home, we went out shooing and  stopped by a hotel
I got a coupon ticket being able to use at this hotel, just for 500 yen discount.
Anyway it was a good excurse to go to a hotel and have tea.

We enjoyed cake set, and a pot-tea receiving  500 yen discount with this ticket.
On Sunday, though the golf course was closed, in Utsunomiya luckily we had no snow.
So we went to an art museum and listened to a concert.
For a while they are holding "The Legend of OYA Stone: Modern Architecture and Culture of Utsunomiya". Oya stone is famous as one of products in Utsunomiya, and there are many "old" storages made from Oya stone most of which are deserted.. On the other hand some famous Jazz musicians were born in Utsunomiya. As one way to make Utsunomiya city active, to use and advertise Oya stone storages connected with Jazz music.
It means they try to hold a Jazz concert at Oya stone storages.
And Oya stone is also used in this art museum.

It was a good concert. In this photo the audience doesn't seem not so many. However it got full, and some people couldn't enter in this hall.
The main musician is a drummer who was born in Utsunomiya and plays in Japan as a famous drummer. He called his company  and also called young musician who was born in Utsumoniya.
The quality was excellent, and of course it was organized by our city --- it means the enter fee was just 600 yen.
We are willing to pay tax if our tax is always used for such a wonderful thing.

Friday, January 20, 2017

about winter swimming

The other day, I found this article on the newspaper.

"Winter swimming", in Japanese KANCYU SUIEI. The literal meaning is to swim in a cold cold cold--- sea or river.
This is a kind of ceremony in winter.

Swimming in the sea or rivers in midwinter is called winter swimming It is said to have originated in the Edo period when swimming was practiced in each domain every during the wintertime.

Oh, I didn't know that, I thought its origin would be a ritual of Shintou religion.
It isn't a ritual. it's a ceremony.

I sometimes see the ceremony on TV in winter, but I've never seen one directly on my eyes.

Do you have such ceremony in your country???

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Orgamic rice

I got this bag of organic rice from a young farmer who is into running his organic farm.
In this prefecture, Tochigi, there are many farmers who are also landowners. So I always get good rice easily.
Sometimes I have such a chance to be presented rice.
And -- when the rice is presented, there is an important thing. It is I should evaluate the taste of rice --- usually should not evaluate them badly. However until now I've never tasted bad taste rice.
So this time I tried to evaluate this rice, so I cooked the bag of rice at once.
I usually cooked one and a half cup of rice, in this bag there were three cups of rice.

First "we" (Yuki and I) ate them as soon as it was cooked by rice cooker.
This photo is taken by Yuki.
Yes, probably it is a right way to evaluate the taste of rice to eat without anything.
However--- we had a bin of IKURA(salmon roe)

I know any rice must be delicious to eat with good quality IKURA--- anyway of course it was very very delicious.
If I dare to say something, probably the size of grain seems to be smaller than grains we usually eat.
I'm afraid we couldn't eat all of them.
So I made vinegared rice of the rest of rice and -- made OINARI for our next day lunch.

We went out with this lunch to listen to a concert.
However  we couldn't eat all vinegared rice.
So next morning I steamed the rest of vinegared rice and tried to wrap it with flied egg ( it is called Chakin in Japanese) -- I'm clumsy with fingers, so  -- it looked like an omelet though the taste must be the same. 

Anyway I made good use of the bag of rice with fun.
Thanks, Mr., K!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

YUZU soufflé

Yesterday's meeting was fun. I made it!
Lemmon soufflé was good. A lady who ate this one first time said us "it was delicious", on the other hand the other three said  that "fresh soufflé  (which means it's very hot)  that we made the other time was more soften and delicious, however this one has kept the taste of delicious even it got cool.

Oh, you can see a can of beer, of course it's non-alcohol beer.
Did you remember? This New Year's vacation I found some interesting things.

One of them was "beer rich". I made my beer rich with lemon grass, sliced ginger and rock sugar.
And I served beer and this beer rich -- to celebrate for our first workshop this year, and celebrate belated New Year.

We enjoyed play rhyming cards and made some couplets and poems.

Snow is still falling.
North wind is still blowing.
Off beaten path is still covered with snow.
Winter is still here as I know.
Flowers are still hidden under loam.
Lazy Mieko is stuck at home.
Angel cake is almost baked.
Knife and fork is already set.
Enjoy the winter sweet together!
 by Mieko

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mieko(grandma) salon in January

It is the first meeting? workshop? salon in 2017. 3 women are joinning it. I prepared rhyming cards, couplet worksheet and

We are going to bake Yuzu soufflé instead of lemon soufflé. 
Before the workshop, I do volunteer reading at the library , again. This time some friends help me. So it is fun, 

Anyway I have to clean and organize the rooms .

Monday, January 16, 2017

This weekend

How was this weekend? Our weekend seems to go back to a usual weekend, though Yuki didn't go golfing.
As I told you, last Wednesday I bought KIBUNA, this year's lucky item.
So we have to return the old one, we "shouldn't" throw it away as a trash.

So we went to a shrine on Saturday when they hold DONTOYAKI which means to put back old lucky items to God.
-- on the day they hold a bonfire to burn the lucky items .

And on Saturday, I did voluntary reading at the library.
This time I did by myself. And from now on if I decide to continue this activity, I have to do it by myself.
Though there are many audience usually, after the activity I leave the place alone and sometimes I feel lonely.
Yesterday, luckily Yuki attended me, and after the activity we went to another place, so I had no time for loneliness.
Well, well why I need to feel loneliness, probably I want  to be admired my volunteer activity from someone.

Anyway move on.
We went to listen to a concert held by junior high school students.
These days we go out to listen high school student's concerts when I got information.
Usually such concerts are free but the information is not open widely.
And the level is high, and I love to feel youth energy.
I had a good weekend.

Friday, January 13, 2017

100yen shop

This is MOCHI-tray. it is a used in microwave oven.
Finally I bought it.
It's just 100 yen, and during the winter vacation I often went to a 100 yen shop nearby, but I always forgot to buy one, or I didn't dare to buy one. Because always I was there with someone such as my daughters, my grandchild, or Yuki.
"I didn't dare to buy one" means -- I always told them "Why you buy such things? Do you need "them" really? You must waste money even thought we are at a 100 yen shop".  --- I said such thing, so I was not at liberty to buy a tiny thing for me.... I thought.
However, I have wanted one --- so I went to a 100 yen shop, and bought just one thing using gasoline.  (My tiny pride made me use extra gasoline)
It is for mocha.
You put one piece of rice cake on the tray.

And push the button.
One minute later --- done.

Mochi gets soften and ready to eat.
Usually mocha is grilled to eat, but it's troublesome. So since microwave got common, probably many people have cooked mocha with a microwave.( I know grilled mochi is more delicious than microwaved mochi)
Mochi is, as you know, very sticky. So when we cook mochi with a microwave , they make tray sticky easily, and it's a little bit trouble to wash it. This tray avoid dirtying the tray, and prevent from making the mochi tray sticky.
---- though the mochi itself is sticky, so our hands are sticky if you hold it directly.
And -- the microwaved moch gets hard quickly.
So before I prepared my tea I had have to eat it.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Yellow carp

Every January 1 HATSU-ICHI is held in Utsunomiya. Hatsu-ichi means the first festival of the year.
There of course are many food stalls and some special stalls which sell luck items of a year -- like DARUMA dolls, KUMADE ornaments, etc. And here in Utsunomiya yellow carp is one of luck items. it is said long time ago a yell carp saved people suffering bad disease (it is said to be smallpox).
Additionally here in Utsunomiya we have no sea, instead of the sea, we have rivers and ponds. so a "special" (yellow) carp must be easy to become a legendary fish.
I went out for buying Yellow Carp ornament. Usually I go there with my friend, but unfortunately this year she was busy, so I went out by myself. --- It was a little bit boring. But I really thanked to this HATSUICHI, thinking that I also could here this year healthily.
I bought this set of paper and of course the first lesson of this year is to hold Yellow carp.

Without my friends' permission, I'll introduce yellow carp story, which is translated by me and recorded by my friend.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

At Karaku

I was able to play the piano wearing KIMONO, it was little bit tight but it's OK.
After performing, we were served with this set of sweets! I was very happy.

Well. well. the two woman bothered wearing kimono, --- it might not be correct, we put on KIMONO from our own will. Than I expected it was harder for me to put it on my by myself.
We wanted show our Kimono to someone.
So I took her to my familiar café which owner is as old as she.
There the owner serve ZENZAI during  a month to celebrate this new month.
Actually on Japanese calendar January 11 is called KAGAMI-HIRAKI, it is the day to get down Special Omochi  (rice cake) from the household alter and share the Omochi with everyone.
Zenzai is one way to eat Omochi. It is a sweet bean soup with Omochi. In this soup two small mocha was hidden.

I had a good day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Before going to Karaku


In an hour, I'll go to Karaku to play the piano.
Since Ms.U joined me as a poem reader, one and a half year has passed. Luckily we are getting more regular audiences.
Today we are going to perform in Kimono.
It's easy to say ---
Than I thought I struggled preparing Kimono.

Last night I checked the kimono. And I need to change the collar to the new one .
It means I have to do sewing. It is the second thing I don't like. The first one is ironing.
I managed to do it, and next I need confirm how many hours I need to put it on.
Than I expect --- it took longer .

Anyway I practiced putting Kimono on, and prepared for it.

It's easy to say, but doing it actually is -- troublesome.
It's the time to put the Kimono on.


Monday, January 09, 2017

Usual days have started!

Today it's Monday, and it's a holiday in Japan.
However Yuki goes to work as usual, and I'm doing usual things -- though the gym is off.

I prepared pre-cooked dishes for this week.
Some things like cream cheese, fresh cream was left because I couldn't use them up.
So I baked biscuits with fresh cream ( it means without butter), and a kind of cheese cake with gelatin (it means without baking.) Well, well, the cheese cake seems to be cracker cake. Cracker is also left, and I put too much cracker under the cheese cake. No problem. 

During the New Year's vacation, I was going to read these books at night.  I thought I wouldn't use my PC, and I wouldn't be interested in watching TV with my family --- and it was right, and I was going to read books in the bed --- however  I slept into as soon as I went to bed.

So today I'll read these books using this new big bead-cushion.
Yes, it's new!!! I bought it as a reward for myself.
It's easy for me to lean back (does it make sense?) on the futon, and to take a nap quickly.
Anyway my usual days have started. I miss the bustle just before a few days, and I'm relieved to stay alone at home.--- I know in a few days this relief will change into a sense of loneliness.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Visiting shrines

I'm not sure how many times we allow to visit shrines during New year's vacation.
Some ones say the more you visit, the more you get a good luck. --- it seems to be shameless.
The others say  that we should visit only once to respect the sprit. --- it seems to be too strict.
Well, well, this year I visited three shrines and after the regular New Year's vacation I visited another one.
First Yuki and I visited this shrine in a small mountain.
It was the first time for us to visit. After we went through the gate, there were lots of stairs which are steep like the stairs in my house (Jan, you can understand it). I don't know how many steps there were.

Two days later Akari and we visited another shrine in another mountain.
There were less steps than the ones in the previous shrines we visited. --- however there were more than 150 steps. And Akari made it.
When she went down from the top  -- Yuki held her -- because she's not good at descent.

And the next day we visited another shire. It seems to be an amusement park.
It was fun.

And finally after the New Year's vacation, my friend and I visited our local main shrine.

Now we got lots of power and good lucks (may be).

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

New year's feast

Happy new year!

These are new year's branch.


This is the dinner on the day.

The oven grilled lamb block, and my HB baked this bread.

We'll go,back to,usual,diet tomorrow, though our grandchild is still staying  with us a few days more.