31 Mar 2013

Easter Sunday

The big mouse recovered from a cold on the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead...

29 Mar 2013

Our Easter Holiday

The big mouse got a cold...
 
 

A thing that I wonder about

Tea comes to England. If you have tea or coffee, you know they can stain mugs. I've pretended not to see them, but I don't like brown inside. I used to use a magical melamine sponge and sometimes dish bleach in Japan. I wonder how do British people remove tea stains? I can't find proper cleaning substances at a supermarket in the UK. If the tea is/was the most quintessential of English drinks, I think they should invent or produce a method of removal as the easiest and quickest removers:)

26 Mar 2013

A Picture of Us

A big mouse and a small mouse went to Brussels.
 

25 Mar 2013

Brussels

We went to Brussels. It was the third time to get on Eurostar for me, but the first time to Brussels. And also it was our first overseas trip but we don't call this a honeymoon:) It's a weekend trip. The train was full, at least in our carriage. Some people got off at Lille station, some maybe changed train to get to Switzerland.

Here we are. We arrived at Brussels-Midi station. It was a cold and snowy day!! I'd never expected to have snow. I bet my husband is a snow bringer! Because he always brings snow, because when we had weekend trip to Rutland last time, there was heavy snow. Anyway, I had been so excited!


Brussels is the capital of the European Union, so there are flags of EU countries near the station. We got on a taxi to a hotel, checked in and started to stroll around.


Buildings were different from London's, rather similar to Paris' but more heavily decoration and gorgeous with gold! Especially seeing the buildings on the Grand-Place with my own eyes was really overwhelming! These pictures are dark because of weather, but they were shining!!




It's a postbox with a lot of junk stickers at the corner of a street. But I like this design:)


When we turned a coner, I could easily understand the reason of a crowd of people. Yes, it's Manneken-Pis. To my surprise, it got dressed up in a fancy costume and baggy hat. He is not naked anymore...




One of the places I wanted to go was Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, a glazed shopping arcade. It was like a big treasure box, you can enjoy watching shopwindow displays and shopping, and gratify your senses. There are some chocolate shops and were crowded with sweets-lovers. 




We passed through the busy streets, visited St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral. It's a Roman Catholic church. It was a magnificent building with a sense of holiness.



It was a good time to have a break with Belgian waffle, but we couldn't find a nice cafe with tables and seats. We were so frozen. I also took the wrong path, and it started to reduce my husband's mood. We found a nice cafe around Mont des Arts, and had a lovely lunch, but no Belgian waffle... My hands were very icy and it was even hard to take out money from my wallet!


We passed by the Musical Instrument Museum, our next destination was Palais Royal, the offical palace of the King and Queen of the Belgians (however it is not used as a royal residence). Again, I took the wrong path and got to there in a roundabout way. In front of the palace, there is the largest public Brussels Park.



My husband wanted to go back to the hotel to get warm and rest, while I wanted to visit Place du Petit-Sablon. Eventually, we continued to stroll together. We went to Place du Grand-Sablon, where is famous for antique market. There were some stalls, but it was not as interesting as I expected, maybe because of bad weather. There was Eglise Notre Dame du Sablon near there.



Brussels is a very attractive place to walk around. Shop windows are also an enjoyable tourist attraction. It must be a prime city for those who love chocolate:)


  

Next morning, it was white with snow outside and minus 5 degrees. During our stay in Brussels, we could see almost everything I planned, and it was a wonderful trip. I bought Speculoos from Maison Dandoy and some chocolates from La Belgique Gourmande:)

On our way back home, at Brussels-Midi station, my husband met his ex-colleagues!! What a small world!!!

22 Mar 2013

Weekend Trip☆

We are travelling to somewhere nice during this weekend:) Our destination is the city famous for
"Manneken Pis"! I'm off! See you soon.

21 Mar 2013

In Crisis

I am in crisis, but NOT a financial nor a divorce crisis. I have been gradually gaining weight!! I usually gain weight during a winter, so I gave little attention to it. But I am close to setting a new record of mine. This is too bad! I know the reasons... sweets and food intake.

I am not to say that I want to be skinny like Victoria Beckham, but I want to stay within a healthy weight range. That's all! If this goes on, I will definitely be like a balloon and lose my confidence! This is really bad! I will get rid of excess fat by this summer! It's still not too late!!

You Are The Greatest

I am not good at describing and asserting myself. I've failed in interviews in the past. It's always difficult to present yourself well to an interviewer. It's important to answer questions briskly to create a good impression with the interviewer. You don't need to tell a lie, but I am sometimes a little bit hesitant about acting like the greatest human being ever in this planet, using a lot of positive adjectives you rarely use! This may sound a little strange and maybe I lack ambition.

As you may know, these are the conversations in job-interviews in the film "Bridget Jones's Diary". It's really funny. Of course, it is depicted with a humorous touch, but sounds original and it's her as she is.

INTERVIEW #1.
"Why do you want to be in television?"
"I'm deeply committed to communicating to the public the up-to-the-moment in-depth news and political agenda."
"What do you think of Bill Gates?"
"Who?"

INTERVIEW #2.
"Why do you want to be in television?"
"I'm passionately committed to communicating with children. They are the future."
"Do you have any children of your own?"
"Christ, no - yucch. Oh Sorry."

INTERVIEW #3.
"Why do you want to be in television?"
"Can I be honest with you? "
"Go on then..."
"Because I like watching telly and I thought it might be fun and glamourous and because I've got to leave my current job because I've shagged my boss."
"Fair enough - start on Monday and we'll see how we go..."

The other day, I read an article on the web that a Japanese interviewer has got bored because every student had uttered platitudes. To the question "Why didn't you join in a club, group nor volunteer activities during four years? Had you worked part-time?", one student seriously answered that he had been very passionate about loving a woman for four years of university. That brought me a smile:)

Granny Square

I learnt to crochet a square yesterday. It's a small workshop with elder people, but I like it very much. I wish I could more talk with them. Well, I'll try again next time. They are so nice people. To be honest, I always become obsessed with learning new words for instructions and how to crochet. Even if I want to ask a teacher, I don't know how to describe it nor how to call it. But I found it's fun. My square is distorted, but never mind... :)

A Woman Should Have

This is a list a woman should have, published by Glamour in 1997. It was written by the writer, Pamela Redmond Statran. According to some articles, it became a popular chain letter, is misattributed  to Maya Angelou and Hillary Clinton etc... Oh dear... I think it is a pertinent list with good humour. I like this. In my opinion, I want to add to the list a passionate red lace lingerie as well:)

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE
  -Pamela Redmond Staran

“A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ....
enough money within her control to move out
and rent a place of her own even if she never wants
to or needs to...
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ....
something perfect to wear if the employer or date of her
dreams wants to see her in an hour...
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...
a youth she's content to leave behind....
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ....
a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to
retelling it in her old age....
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .....
a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black
lace bra...
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ....
one friend who always makes her laugh... and one who
lets her cry...
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ....
a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone
else in her family...
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ....
eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a
recipe for a meal that will make her guests feel honored...
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ....
a feeling of control over her destiny...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
how to fall in love without losing herself..
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
how to quit a job,
break up with a lover,
and confront a friend without ruining the friendship...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
when to try harder... and WHEN TO WALK AWAY...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
that she can't change the length of her calves,
the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents..
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
how to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
whom she can trust,
whom she can't,
and why she shouldn't
take it personally...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
where to go...
be it to her best friend's kitchen table...
or a charming inn in the woods...
when her soul needs soothing...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
what she can and can't accomplish in a day...
a month...and a year...”

16 Mar 2013

An Enthusiastic Teacher

March is graduation season in Japan. My niece will graduate from elementary school next week. I remember thinking to myself how my elementary school life was. When I was a 6th grade elementary school pupil, our homeroom teacher was a strict, active and competitive woman. She wasn't a new teacher, but it was a new year at that school for her. She was learning Aikido (a Japanese martial art), and we tried to establish a new Aikido Club in School. Unfortunately, our petition was rejected by the school. She had a fervour for education, especially on a local history. She planned a day trip to historical ruins for us, and we were so excited. But her plan came to a deadlock once. Her action became problem in the school and PTA (parents and teachers association), because it was a non-formal field trip on Saturday without guardians, and it was only for one class and those who were interested. But I remember most of us were favourably-disposed toward her. She argued hard against a headmaster saying that she would take all responsibility for protecting students. Eventually, she got reluctant permission. We were very proud of her. Trips were held twice and most of us joined both. We had a picnic meal outside, it was so fun.

One day, she announced that she would get married, and caused a sensation! There's nothing feminine about her. We saw an unexpected side of her. She went to Okinawa on her honeymoon and brought us pineapples as a souvenir. We ate cut pineapple during lunch time. It was very sour!

On our graduation day, she scolded us for chatting and yelling (as usual), and also cried together. After we graduated, we visited her once because she had a baby girl. I still remember her cracking voice. I think she was the best ever teacher in my life. Who is the most memorable teacher for you?

14 Mar 2013

Stretch My Legs

The weather was good today, so I took a stroll along the railway. I don't normally go this way, but you can see this park out of a train window. Usually young people enjoy bicycle riding and skateboarding here. But nobody was there because it was school hours:) It was so quiet.
 

13 Mar 2013

My House Project - Dining Room 1

Since I moved in the UK, I've flicked through interior and garden books and magazines, and casted around for ideas of a lovely and cosy house.

Last time I got lovely wooden buttons at a market. The purpose was to repair chair cushions in our dining room. I'd been concerned about this droopy torn ribbons of the chair cushions and considered the design of it.


It's not a novel idea, but breathed new life into them. I am very satisfied with my accomplishment:)

 
I wonder if my husband will notice this small change. If he will not, I should serve a uncooked baby potato on his dish for dinner!

11 Mar 2013

The 2nd Year Anniversary of The Disaster

As a Japanese from Sendai, Miyagi, never forget that the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011. I still get choked up thinking about it. I had been there. I remembered that we were shivering with cold and the constant aftershocks, staring at a light of candle and listening to a radio. We wrapped ourselves in blankets at night, but we were frozen to the bones. Overnight into the following morning, radio news said that about 200-300 apparently dead bodies were confirmed from a helicopter. It was really nightmare, but that was just the beginning. We were overwhelmed with despair in our slightly-inclined and cracked house, but we had tried to think we were happy, if we thought a great number of people who lost precious people and possessions. A few days after the earthquake, I knew what happened in the waterfront area by pictures. It was after all over the world people became a witness on TV or in newspapers.

Now I live in the UK. I don't need to worry about an earthquake, but I always care about my family and relatives in Japan. Like that day, it's snowing outside here. May your soul rest in peace.

  • At least 20,851 people died or remain missing. (Includes the confirmed number of dead, 15,881, those who are missing, 2,668, and 2,303 others who subsequently died).
  • About 315,000 people were still living in temporary housing at the end of February 2013. There are plans to eventually build 23,000 public housing units in 8 prefectures for those who are unable to rebuild their homes. But only 84 units were completed as of February 2013.
  • Work to decontaminate buildings that were affected by radiation from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has also been delayed. Local municipalities have only managed to remove radiation from 19.7 percent of about 179,000 households.
  • A significant population decline in the hardest hit areas of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.
(Source; NHK)

10 Mar 2013

Possession of Health

The other day, I received the result for the cervical screening test. It was normal. I was relieved when I read it. I wasn't concerned about my health seriously when I was young. But now, at this age, I am happy with my possession of health more than before. Health is the essence of everything. I don't want to have a serious medical condition, especially in the unfamiliar environment.  I may need a doctor in the future, but I haven't been mentally prepared for it.

Today I was in an unpleasant mood. When we went to a restaurant, a staff member said "I am sorry but no children." Actually he said as he saw a child who was walking around behind me (with her mother) and he thought we were all together, BUT my husband got it wrong and said "No, she is not child, actually she is my wife" with laughter. Haa? Are you talking about ME? Aren't you getting a wrong idea? He made an excuse that he couldn't see the child, but it made me feel embarrassed and angry. Hey, I am not a child!!! I am the mature, 40 year old lady! Oh, you think it's a "SMALL THING"? Could be, but not for me. Actually it was not the first time... Being short had been my complex for many years. I had thought I got over it, but maybe I haven't. Anyway, I was unpleasant and left the restaurant.

I told my husband grumpily and jokingly that I would wear high heels and a sexy outfit next time. He was laughing. I went to a hairdressing shop to have my hair cut, to blow off steam and to make myself look like more grown-up! That felt good.

That was a bit silly, but there is nothing happier than being able to be with my husband with complaining and laughing without the idea of getting a disease.

8 Mar 2013

Crochet

I tried a new thing and developed hobbies. It's crochet:) The other day, I learnt the basic skills of crochet in a workshop. I had never been interested in crochet nor knitting, but I thought it might be nice if I knew how to crochet. I found it's a fun and interesting! I immediately bought a crochet needle at a craft shop, on my way back home. Next time, I am going to learn how to crochet a flower:)

5 Mar 2013

Become The Person One Wishes To Be

What did you want to be when you were small? Florist? Veterinary surgeon? Pilot? To tell the truth, I had no dreams. It was uncomfortable when I had to write about own dreams for the future at school. But when I was 12 or 13 years old, after seeing English language films, I had a strong interest in English and had a vague dream. I wanted to jump into abroad immediately to learn English and English culture. At that time, it was not easy to study abroad; the yen was much cheaper, information was limited because of no Internet and above all my parents, hadn't been aware of such a global idea. Later, when my mother attended the conference of her company, she realised that with promotion of globalisation, English education would be more important to create truly international people. I have really appreciated her, because she always supported me in learning English.

It was about ten years later, I actually visited the UK. It was a very exciting event and I promised myself that I would come back again. After I became a member of society, I travelled to some countries with my own money. I got married and once I buried my vague dream, but dredged up it again after the divorce. Even after you become an adult, it's not too late to make your dream come true. When I decided to study English abroad, it was also true that I received negative opinions from colleagues, friends and relatives. They said 'I had better not go', 'They weren't able to understand why I need to learn English abroad and it was too late.' or 'I should come back down to earth'. This time as well, my mother strengthened my push to go.

Perhaps their advice was right or perhaps not. It's your choice. I had some difficulties in my early 30's, not only jobs but also mentally and physically. For that reason, I had lived in too comfortable a style, spoiled myself for years and made a defensive response. I started to think that I need to see a deeper reality. But I had tried to do a little bit of English every day, otherwise I felt fear of losing my identity which I had created for a long time.

And now, I live in the UK. The international marriage was not my expectation, but as a result, something I wanted became a reality. It was a bit hard to lift myself up from my easy environment though... Some my friends said that international marriage and living in the UK would be just like me to do that. It was my choice. Life is not easy wherever you live, but it was my choice. I believe that everybody in an international marriage has mentally prepared in many ways. Now I want to be the person I wish to be, healthy and neat, step by step, before I die.

Lovely Spring Weather

The nice beautiful warmer weather has lasted for a couple days. I've started to enjoy gardening as a beginner.



4 Mar 2013

I Give It A Year

We saw the film 'I Give It A Year'. It's a hilarious film and we laughed a lot:)

3 Mar 2013

Lowestoft

We went to the port town; Lowestoft, the most easterly town in the UK, which developed due to the fishing industry and seaside resort. It is knows as the "Town of the Rising Sun". We thought it sounded like the "Land of the Rising Sun"; Japan:) .

Train trips are always nice. The train passed through beautiful countryside and farming fields in Suffolk. I could see domesticated and wild animals and birds from the train window, such as horses, pigs, sheep, cows, rabbits, pheasants, swans, seagulls, crows, pigeons, magpies etc....


View Larger Map


As the train approached the Lowestoft station, the lovely view changed into an industrial bleak view with port and ships... We were disappointed by the view honestly, because around the main entrance to the town is not so nice with vacant and neglected buildings, even though the new shopping street is close to the station.




The beach was empty because of the off-season, but some people enjoyed fishing. I heard the roar of waves after so long, and it reminded me of beaches in Japan I used to go to with friends and family.




The new shopping street is long and people enjoyed shopping. I preferred walking through High Street but unfortunately many shops were closed, maybe due to the recession. I could imagine that there must have been more attractive local shops with many people... We felt the atmosphere of severe environment for people. If it was a summer season, the town may be a bit different.