30 Apr 2012

Blog

I ralised that a year has already passed since I started this blog. Well done!


27 Apr 2012

Tulips

Every year, many tulips bloom in our garden. 

25 Apr 2012

Full Bloom

I made a quick visit to Dainohara forest park this morning. The cherry blossoms are blooming beautifully now in Sendai.



24 Apr 2012

Omamori

My mother gave me an 'omamori' (Japanese good-luck charm) in hopes that I have a happy life in the UK. I am very glad.

21 Apr 2012

Ritratto di Venezia - Mille Anni di Storia

I went to the Miyagi Museum of Art to see the special exhibit of 'Portrait of Venice - History of a Thousand Years'. There weren't many people because it was a weekday morning. It was a very interesting exhibit and was worth seeing. You can see a part of the ordinary lives of nobles through art and artefacts. I could feel their affluence, sense of beauty and humour. How fashionable they were!!

I visited Venice in 2005. It was a short visit and hadn't enough time to explore a lot, but I was fascinated by the atmosphere of Venice. It's one of the most attractive cities and I want to visit there again. At the exhibit, every time I saw Piazza San Marco or Palazzo Ducale on the pictures, I was remembering what I saw when I was there. From the pictures of banquets and wedding feasts, I thought I smelled their dishes on a table. And the picture of 'The Frozen Lagoon' (painted by Follower of Battaglioli Francesco/1788) was impressive for me. It shows lagoon that was frozen with people on the ice. European countries were hit by a cold wave this winter and Venice's lagoon was frozen for the first time in more than two decades, but I hadn't known that lagoons freeze.




17 Apr 2012

The World 7cm Above

Since the earthquake, I haven't worn high heels. Because if something happens again, I may have to walk home. As I made preparations for moving, I wondered whether I should keep my high heels or throw them away. I know the opportunity for wearing them will be definitely reduced, but they are my favourite...

Today I wore high heels and went out. I am short in height, I had a complex about it. That's why high heels were my must item. How wonderful the magic of high heels is! I think their feeling might be similar that of young girls trying on a pair of mum's high heels, to see adulthood. If I wear high heels, the level of my eyes gets higher, I can see a different world, and I can breathe the air 7cm above than usual. As if you put a new dress on, as if you have highlights, as if you achieved something, I can have a good posture and feel like a different person with confidence. That's the world 7cm above.


14 Apr 2012

Sakura

Speaking of spring, what does it bring to your mind? In Japan, Sakura (cherry blossom) represents spring. For some English people, snowdrops might be the flower which associated with spring.

What is Japan's attraction? My answer is the four seasons. Because they are very clearly defined in Japan. In fact, we have a high regard for the seasons. Since ancient times, Japanese people have enjoyed a sense of the seasons in their life, food, clothes, house, literature, arts etc... I think the origin of all Japanese delicate sensitivity comes from the natural four seasons. For example, we have seasonal colours, and ancient people matched the colour of the junihitoe (ceremonial attire) with season. Haiku must have a seasonal word. If you go to Japanese traditional sweet shops, you can enjoy seasonal flower shaped sweets in seeing and tasting.

The cherry blossoms are blooming beautifully now in various parts of Japan. People enjoy cherry blossom viewing and having 'ohanami' parties under the trees. But there's a phrase 'hana yori dango', which means 'people prefer to eating rather than viewing sakura' as the same as 'pudding rather than praise'. This might be the state of things in today.

The best time to view cherry blossoms in Sendai is next week or so. I haven't seen cherry blossom in full blossom this year yet, but I'll show you some pictures I saw in the past.

2008 Wakuya Shrine in Miyagi

2008 in Wakuya, Miyagi

2009 Chomeidate-ato, Miyagi
2010 Yamagata, beautiful contrast with snow mountain
2010 Kamanokoshi, Yamagata
2010 Ogawara, Miyagi
2010 Funaokajoshi, Miyagi
2011 Asahigaoka, Miyagi;
This tree put a smile in my heart after the earthquake.

13 Apr 2012

Packing

Shipping supplies have arrived. I am going to do packing. I don't have much experience moving in my life. For that reason, I have a lot of possessions and am quite unused to pack up. I've done Danshari (reducing clutter). I want to return to the starting line; reduce possessions and simple life. That said, it's not easy for me. Lately I've been taking a good look at everything and thinking about whether they are really necessary for my life before I buy it, because I have made so many mistakes. People who are shopaholics have their own behaviour pattern. That is making up a reason for buying, as if their theory is right and provide a justification for their action.

I got off the track. But apart from packing, there is still a lot of paperwork we need to do. I really take off my hat to everyone who has done this before. However, we have a real sense of achievement at the different steps. My bf is perfectionist, I think. Sometimes I feel he has a bit of Japanese people's nature:) His word is good, I can rely on him. So I get on the task step by step.

9 Apr 2012

Sweet Afternoon

I had a nice drive with my friend. We explored a residential district and popped in a nice shop 'NAKAO' and cafe 'Kaze' in Tomiya, Miyagi. I bought green bamboo incense at the shop. It's a product of the Kousaido company and has a very fresh smell. Kousaido is a famous incense company in Kyoto and deals in a variety of Japanese incenses, fragrences and goods. In the NAKAO shop there were many goods from tablewares to coffee beans. I bet women love it. Amazingly, if you buy something, they serve you with coffee free of charge! The 'Kaze' is a modern and comfortable cafe. You can have a happy moment with drink and sweets for a while. Why don't you spend a sweet afternoon with having sweets and coffee or reading a book in your favourite cafe?

The shop 'NAKAO'
Kousaido's Incence
Coffee free service with a lovely Japanese tableware
The Cafe 'KAZE' with a nice atmosphere
Yummy sweets

★ i-ADNES Recommendation ★

NAKAO ROOMS
8-2-9 Narita Tomiyacho,
Kurokawa-gun, Miyagi
981-3341 Japan
Tel +81-(0)22-351-7752
Open 10:00~19:00
http://nakao-shop.jp/index.html

KYOTO KOUSAIDO
335 Kamiyanagi-cho, Shimogyou-ku
Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
600-8099 Japan
Tel +81-(0)75-344-6905     
Open 9:30~18:00
http://www.kousaido.co.jp/

Food Cultural Laboratory KAZE
3-32-5 Narita Tomiyacho,
Kurokawa-gun, Miyagi
981-3341 Japan
Tel +81-(0)22-348-3436
open 11:30~18:00

5 Apr 2012

The Biggest Storm


"Once upon a time, there were three little pigs who went off to build their houses. The first little pig built his house of straw, the second little pig built his house of sticks, and the third little pig built his house of bricks. One day, the big bad wolf came to the first little pig's house and said, 'Little pig, little pig, let me come in. Otherwise, I'll blow your house down.' And he did. The pig ran off into the second pig's house. The wolf came to the second little pig's house and said, 'Little pig, little pig, let me come in. Otherwise, I'll blow your house down.' And he did. The two pigs ran off into the third little pig's house. The wolf came to the third little pig's house and said, 'Little pig, little pig, let me come in. Otherwise, I'll blow your house down.' But no matter how much the wolf huffed and puffed, the house didn't blow down. So the wolf came down the chimney, but he fell into a pot of boiling water and boiled all up. And three little pigs lived happily ever after."

The biggest storm hit Japan on Tuesday and Wednesday. Flights and trains disrupted. I couldn't sleep well due to hard rain and strong wind pelting against the bedroom window. Wind pressed hard on the walls of our wooden house. In the bed, I was thinking about the story of the Three Little Pigs. Our house is a wooden house, so it might be blown by the wolf (wind). It was OK, but storm was really powerful.

We are fragile under natural threats. Nobody knows what will happen to you today and tomorrow. I became more aware of what life is like after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Because I thought it was the end of Japan. I'll value each day so as not to regret any passing day.


3 Apr 2012

Rule of Immigration

Unless you apply for a visa, you will never know or don't need to know the difficulty and complexity of immigration rules. There is a chance that things never work out as you expect. The UK has tried to stop illegal immigration, and reducing immigration in general for national interests, so the rules of immigration in the UK are getting tighter and tighter, and still changing. In fact, after I submitted the application, some of the rules were changed. The UK Government has started to introduce English language tests from autumn 2010 for non-EU migrants applying for a UK Visa to come to the UK to join or marry their settled partner. Speaking as a Japanese applicant, you must take an English test and meet the necessary standards for it. And you must demonstrate the certification of yourself and your finance in accordance with the specifications. You must visit the UK visa application centre in Tokyo or Osaka, no matter where you live. You must submit your fingerprints, too. I felt as if I got completely naked in front of officers, because you must lay all the cards on the table and you are scrutinized from every angle.

A fiancee visa allows you to stay in the UK for six months without working. During the period, you need to get married and apply for a spouse visa. Again. Marriage with someone with the same nationality is very easy and simple, but I wonder why international marriage has such complicated processes. I can understand the government's intention because some are living or working there illegally. I think it stands to reason for protecting their country. But from a viewpoint of human-rights issue, race issue, the right to marry and freedom of speech, I think we are the weak under this law.


Settlement Visa - Fiancée

Hello friends, good news. Finally, I got the UK visa. I am over the moon!!

As I have been posting articles about regular daily events on my blog, I have been preparing for applying for a visa below the surface. How awful the waiting time was! I was bloody tense. In English they call it 'playing the waiting game'. All your future is up to the government's decision, even if your life is yours. It may be an exaggeration, but it seems that application assessment is the same as judging an individual...as a human being... whether you are a decent person and worthy to live in the UK.

Over six months have passed since we first visited our solicitor and started preparing for it. The schedule of the submission was delay due to some reasons. I visited the UK Visa Application Centre on February. I was never free from worries. Did I prepare everything? Were supporting documents enough? In fact, it was hard work. The website of the UK Border Agency doesn't give complete particulars of documents, because of the unique circumstances of each cases. I am an atheist, but I really made a wish to God that everything would go well.

When you challenge anything new, it's natural to feel anxiety. I think I feel anxiety more than most other people, but I always plunge into the unknown and difficult situations, like a moth flying into the flame. I probably like it.