30 Oct 2012

Kaii Higashiyama

I received a letter from my mother. Sometimes it's nice to receive a letter from someone. She likes to see arts and she enclosed a couple of postcards, which she bought at the exhibit of a Japanese artist, Kaii Higashiyama (1908-1999). I didn't know about him but probably I've seen his arts.

28 Oct 2012

Mini Roses

The mini-roses in our house I bought the other day have started to bloom! Lovely!!

27 Oct 2012

007 - Skyfall

It's really cold weather like winter! We went to Colchester to see the Bond series film, 'Skyfall' today. To be honest, I'd never seen 007 films though I knew of them. It was a really exciting film from the beginning! Well, I think James Bond has a charmed life, but it's OK because it's the film! It's an anything-goes world, isn't it? How cool James Bond is! My husband pretends to be Bond after watching the film, but there's no a similarity at all! He is painfully-obvious unlikely to be...

 


26 Oct 2012

Lessons

My nieces started playing tennis this year. It's nice to see children grow, and to compare to how your own childhood. What kind of lessons have you ever taken in your life? There are the lessons I took in my life:
  • Organ; I learnt to play the organ when I was aged 4 and 5 following my mother's advice. I was only child but I realised that I have no aptitude for music, because I don't have perfect-pitch. I wasn't happy learning, and I always felt like quitting.
  • Japanese Calligraphy; I wanted to learn Calligraphy because of my grandfather and my sister. Every year I won prizes for calligraphy-brush and pen at school. Eventually I'd learnt it for 9 years since I was 6. I took the second grades on second stage of calligraphy (ten grades on first stage and then, ten grades of second stage of calligraphy)
  • Swimming / Summer School; I decided to learn swimming with my friend, because we couldn't swim. The goal of this school to become capable of swimming 25m. I couldn't join all the  lessons due to some reasons but I enjoyed it. At the final 25m test, unfortunately I stood on the way I felt short on breath, but it was on 20m line. Almost the 25m! I though I never finish anything... 
  • English Conversation Class (AEON); When I was a high school student, I had an English lesson after school twice a week for a half-year. The course fee was expensive at that time. Also I had one or two English classes at school everyday. It was the time I had a great deal of interest in learning English and I studied it hard in my life.
  • British Tea Lesson; It was a 4-time lesson, I joined it with my sister after work. We learnt the characteristics of some kinds of tea leaves. It was fun but also we enjoyed having tea and sweets after the lesson:)
  • English Conversation Class (PRIMARY SCHOOL); I'd learnt English conversation once a week for several years since 2004. Because I learnt English in Scotland in 2003, and wanted keep practising. Not only lessons, but also private activities with other people was really enjoyable. The unfortunate thing about this school was that member and teachers were changeable.
  • English Pronunciation / Summer class (INTER SCHOOL); I joined this class because I
    want to speak English accurately with good pronunciation like a native as much as I could. There were only two students including me! We enjoyed pronouncing with a rhythmic pace!
  • English Translation / Summer class(INTER SCHOOL); I joined this class after I joint-translated an English book on business. Since then I queried about how to translate. It was a nice experience for me.
Apart from these, I had been into some activities by myself.
  • English Calligraphy; I bought pens, inks and books, I studied it by myself. I sometimes wrote cards for my friends with calligraphy. I also was a (ghost) member of the Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society (CLAS) for a couple years, but I didn't enter any activities. Just got inspiration from CLAS' publishing.
  • Nail Arts; When Nail Arts first became popular among Japanese women, I went crazy doing my nails. It was not professional way with various decoration of beads, stones or piercing, but I polished and changed colour every week. 
  • Romanian Language; I have an Romanian friends. After visiting them, I bought self-study book and dictionary. I used to commute while listening to Romanian with a Walkman plugged into one's ears
  • Snowboard; It was the activity I invested the most. As you might have guessed, I am not very athletic. It was a very long way until I can snowboard well. I mean... not well but I can. Every times I blamed what couldn't be done for my boots and board, and was full of excuses! A kind man helped and taught me how to (no romance though...) My body was a mass of bruises!!! A half-pipe? Never! I didn't have the heart to try! Just snowboard down a slope... Actually I joined a snowboarding group and went snowboarding approx. 30 times at the first season, that means every weekend and holiday!!!
  • Body Board; Honestly, I only have a smattering of body board. I bought full set of body board and enjoyed only several times.
  • Craft; As you may know, creating something is nothing special because of my grandmother.
Considering all the various factors together, I have a high tendency to like create something or learning languages. The other things if I was a rich and had an interested in before (when I was a student) was riding hourse. Next, what shall I do?

25 Oct 2012

Delight to The Eye

I walked around to see the colourful autumn leaves. The pass I like was covered with beautiful red colour leaves. They're all green in the summer, and gradually they are transforming themselves.

 



When I passed the war memorial park, I found a lovely heart-shaped wreath in front of the stone! It's so beautiful!


24 Oct 2012

Botanics Range

Before my face cream runs out, I bought Botanics range; All Bright Hydrating Day and Night creams at the boots. It's cheaper than other brands' cream but I think it's high quality and good value. Smells lovely with slightly purplish-white colour and makes your skin softer and moisture. I am not sure it makes your skin brighter as well, but it hydrates for many hours. Also it was on offer 3 for 2!


Chess

Chess is a very intellectual game. We sometimes play chess board game. I move a piece aggressively with inspiration and my husband moves it cleverly with strategy. As a result, he has a high winning percentage, but I enjoy beating him, occasionally defeating a superior enemy and turn the tables in the end by inspiration!

My history of chess dates back more than 25 years! When I was in my early teenage years, I and my friend got really involved in playing chess. We played it again and again and again madly. When I played chess with my husband last year, I realised that our rules were a little bit different, but I believed it was correct. We probably couldn't understand a difficult rule booklet at that time and made our own rules on the game.

Chess was a gift from my grandparents. They used to collect stamps, which is called 'blue-chip". Amazingly, I noticed that it stills exist! It's a sort of points. When you shop, you could get stamps in accordance with the amount paid. Put stamps on an application note, and you can choose and exchange items from the catalogue relative to number of the notes. My grandparents used all these points for us; their grandchildren. As far as I remember, we received a sewing box, a set of coloured pencils and a box of games at least. In the box of games, there are many board games, such as snakes and ladders, world travellers, chess, roulette including playing cards. I still have it in Japan. Sometimes my nieces play with it.

Why don't you sometimes turn off your computer or TV, and play chess board game? I recommend you to play it with inspiration, but offer no guarantee of victory.

20 Oct 2012

Husband Creche

We went to Mistley to have a very nice lunch at The Thorn. Everytime we visit Mistley, it's always misty. That's why we call this town Mysterious Misty Mistley. We  had a lunch at the same restaurant almost a year ago. It's a really nice restaurant and one of our favourites.  The tables were nearly fully booked. After enjoying a lunch, we walked along the River Stour towards Manningtree station. It was nice autumn afternoon and good walk.
Beautiful river side.
We popped inside the site of  Mistley Towers. I like this angel with peaceful face on someone's grave.

We could see Mistley Church over there.


I saw many swans as usual.




I enjoyed taking photos and browsing shop windows, but my husband was walking without looking at nice shop windows nor stopping to have a look. This is always a cause of my complaint. In Manningtree, we found a nice sign board in front of a pub as "husband creche". It's a good idea to drop him off in a pub and enjoy window shopping by myself, or does he need a pram as well?


Other my articles about Mistley and Manningtree;


19 Oct 2012

Thank You Card

After we got married, I received a nice present to celebrate from a friend of my mother-in-law. I've never met her, but she thinks of me. I immediately sent her a thank you card. A few days later, I got a thank you card from her for the thank you card I sent. My husband laughed at. If I send her a thank you card again, it definitely continue forever... thank you card for a thank you card for a thank you card for..... but it's nice of her.

18 Oct 2012

To Live in Foreign Country

I had a dream of my estranged Japanese friend, who has beautiful shining hair. When I was a student, she suffered from anorexia maybe because of loss of mental balance. Later, she told me that her parents were very strict with their kids, she were sensitive to their mood and couldn't free her real self. Her answer was out of mind, because she was a cheerful and energetic girl. I couldn't bear to see her getting thinner as time goes by and missed her very much. A few years later, after discharge from a hospital, she left the nest, went to Australia on a working holiday visa and eventually stayed there for several years. I met her every time she came back to Japan, she exuded self-confidence, had her hair dyed blond, had sexy outfits and became a different person. To be honest, I liked the previous her, but it could be a reaction to her years of living in her shell. It was impressive that she said people in foreign countries tend to fond of following something as a same national group, but she went parties on her own, otherwise can not make progress English. She is a strong woman. Last time I met her in my hometown, she seemed pulling herself together and she was preparing to move to Tokyo to work. Since then we've lost in touch.

It's not her words, but I am currently of the same mindset as her. I want to put myself in a current situation where people don't speak Japanese, except some occasions. And I want to fit in the local community. Like to start from zero and to rebuild everything, I am on a way to adjust myself to carry out every day activities here. I don't get uncomfortable, rather, I am happy with it. When I think about my living on a long clock, it's just a beginning, still in less than one year!

All changes are difficult, but I know they are necessary processes to go through for my growth. I sometimes feel confused about new things, and I have to be able to develop myself in unknown conditions, but meanwhile, I've really enjoyed my new life perhaps because it's an exciting and varied life. I've learnt how to accept new society and culture into my daily life a bit by bit. This is my turning point, new phase of my life, so I try to return again to the way I was before, and have a flexible mind. Let's keep going at my own pace!

17 Oct 2012

What I Think of Winter

It's a fine weather but windy day. Above my head, smoke-like flying clouds were moving so fast.
My husband is on an early shift this week, and he leaves home before daylight. I am unaccustomed to British dark morning around this season. I always say good-bye to him in a state between sleeping and waking. Mmm... I wonder if I can get up in the morning during the winter???

12 Oct 2012

Girl With A Pearl Earring

I saw the film 'Girl With A Pearl Earring' on BBC iPlayer, starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson in 2003. It's a story about a young peasant maid working in the house of painter Johannes Vermeer, becomes the model for one of his most famous pictures. This story is based on the novel of the same title, which is written by Tracy Chevalier. She was inspired by Vermeer painting 'Girl With a Peal Earring' and wrote this story. In fact, the model of this picture is still unrevealed. The most widely held theory is that she may have been Vermeer's first daughter, Maria, but there is no historical evidence. And also it is said that the exotic turban is unusual.

Honestly, this is the second time to watch this film, but the first time was before I went to see the Vermeer's works at museums. I like his art with light and shadow (also I like Dutch arts and Delft blue). And I could enjoy watching more than before. Actually I could pay attention to details of scenes and noticed Delft pottery and tiles, denotes blue and white pottery in rooms. The film is really beautiful and picturesque, and you witness the same or similar scenes as the Vermeer's pictures in this film. I added this book of Tracy Chevalier to my book list I must read.


My Collection of Johannes Vermeer's Postcards

http://www.essentialvermeer.com/index.html
http://www.girl-with-a-pearl-earring.info/index.htm
http://www.tchevalier.com/

9 Oct 2012

Rigmarole - Visa Application

We finished preparing for visa request, registered and booked an appointment online. But the offices are almost fully booked for a several months or you need to contact with them until a cancellation come up. But I booked the appointment for a month ahead, just a week before my current permission to stay expires. That's fine. So, do we need to just wait? No. Even though you finished filling application form, you had better not to let yourself get too relaxed. In fact, when my husband checked the website of UKBA, he found the application form of FLR(M) was renewed! Most of pages were the same, but some changed due to changing the rule came into effect on 9th July. The form I filled before was 'version 07/2012v2', but new one is 'version 09/2012'. I think it's a quite important thing, but there's no mention about it on the website, but just the new form is there in obscurity. I wanted to switch only the different page, but version number is printed on every page... so I rewrote it from the beginning. Remember? You have to fill this form by hand in the digital age.

Also I have to submit an original certificate showing that I have passed an acceptable English language test provided by a test provider approved by the UK Border Agency. I took Pearson Test of English Academic (PTEA) in Tokyo this February. According to the guidance, Pearson does not issue paper certificates, and scores must be sent to UKBA online via my account of Pearson and must also be submitted as print-out of online score report. I did as instructed last time.

Question is whether I need to send it online again? According to the officer of UKBA on the phone, he said I don't need to send it, because UKBA CAN NOT receive result online so just bring print-out score report. Wait a minute! So where did my score go last time? Another officer said I have to take an another test because they CAN NOT receive result online. When I heard that news, I felt the blood drain from my face and was frozen. Was my choice wrong? The new rule was adapted without knowing? If it was true, I can't stay in the UK and have to go back Japan to get the visa! Because it's impossible to take a test and get a new result within a few weeks and submit as a proof! I think she was wrong, because Pearson Test of English Academic is DEFINITELY APPROVED by the UKBA!

As a result, PTEA is acceptable (I believe) and I can't send the score to the same organisation twice in Pearson's system. Seems like verification is done by a UKBA officer logging into the Pearson website and viewing the score for the applicant. I guess some officers who don't have a responsibility to verify the score don't know how to log in the Pearson website and how to check it. That's why they can't have proper answer. Our resolution method is to submit the confirmation of score report as well.

How could she say that I have to take another test? If she didn't know the answer, I didn't want her to talk out of plain assumption. But this is the reality of the situation of UKBA Helpline. Is it the helpline? No, it's a trouble-line and they are genius to disturb applicants!

Napper

When I went out, a cat was sleeping under the sun:)
 

6 Oct 2012

Braintree and Cressing

It was a nice Saturday, we got on a train and strolled in Braintree. We got married at Braintree Registry Office, and I went to Braintree Freeport for shopping at an outlet mall once, but it was the first time to stroll in the town centre in Braintree. It's Saturday, so there was a market in the town. Honestly I like Braintree, there are shops women like:) It's interesting to walk around. We saw some old buildings.




This was used to be a water tower, a kind of town landmark, but now it's for sale as a flat! Gee, I want to live in this tower:) It's interesting, isn't it?


The pub we had lunch at was the White Hart. It was busy with people but quite nice food.

 

Near the station, there is a John Ray Park, and found a part of River Brain which runs through our town Witham.



We got off a train at Cressing on our way back home. Honestly there was nothing. Probably it's a village for old people. A few people passed by, but it was really quiet area, as if people vanished from this village! The road from the station to the village was narrow, some cars passed by but I thought it was a lovely road with some tunnels of trees. We finished strolling in Cressing so fast. We had nothing to do except waiting for the next train at the station. There are hourly trains to Witham. But it was peaceful and precious time.



5 Oct 2012

Colchester Castle Museum

I went to the Colchester Castle Museum today. I've visited Colchester town many times, but it was the first time to see inside the museum. The museum is in the castle. There are the Iron Age and Roman collections. I like to see this kind of historical collection. When I think about this museum, I noticed it's very great because there are historic collections in the historical place! This is just my personal opinion, but I preferred the museum was located in a different place, and the castle was opened just as the castle it was. Unfortunately there were rowdy young school groups today. After children passed and before other children came, I enjoyed feeling the weight of Roman armour and a brass collar for a slave, and touching some other things just like a kid! When children have gone, I saw the section of Roman theatre. Suddenly a cheer arose as sound effects! It made me surprised and also some boys came back to know what was the sound. There were some questions for kids. A girl found an answer and came next me and cut me off with excitement. Her teacher warned her that the museum is not only for school children but also other people (that's me!).

The only unfortunate thing about this museum is subject to fees different from other museums, but I enjoyed it very much. It was a sunny day, so children were sitting on lawns having a lunch. I saw some squirrels as well, so I chased them to take a photo:)




4 Oct 2012

Notecards

When I went to Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) last July, I bought lovely notecards of Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857-1941). He was an English architect, furniture and textile designer. At first, I was supposed to buy notecards of William Morris. I like William Morris' design. After wavering which to choose, I decided to buy C.F.A. Voysey's. Actually, he was influenced by the work of William Morris. Isn't that great?
 
 

3 Oct 2012

Translation

I enrolled in the summer translation course at Inter School in Sendai a few years ago, because I am interested in translation (from English to Japanese). At first, I was told by the school that the class might not be opened because of shortage of students. After all, it was opened with 4 students including me. It was really a nice experience, each person has a unique idea and one story in English became 4 different typed stories in Japanese. We exchanged ideas and discussed meanings. I was inspired by their ideas and teacher's advices. The story we translated was 'The Umbrella Man' by Roald Dahl. It was difficult to translate his humorous story into Japanese with British culture.

It was a short course but I felt satisfied as if we finished work of translation. I'm wondering how they doing now? Are you enrolled in the main course? Thank you for sharing a wonderful time.

I am not professional translator, but sometimes enjoy translating by myself. This time, I translated the poem of Maya Angelou (my Japanese translation is here). It's a complately different from Roald Dahl works but really nice poem. I know poems are difficult to translate, because it has a rhythm and also some meanings, cultures and histories in short sentences.

Still I Rise
   by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
you may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
still I'll rise

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Digging' in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with our words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still like air, I'll rise

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise