30 Oct 2013

Misunderstanding

I was so upset, angry and confused, because a big tree in our garden was cut by someone while we were absent. I hadn't heard anything, just I found it has suddenly gone. I knew who did it, because our neighbour had wanted to cut it, but I couldn't understand why they did without notice. I made a contact with my husband. He said the neighbour asked him if it's OK to make it shorter in the morning, and he said OK, because we know we need to do something that big tree. But he didn't expect they would do it on that day, and also he had thought they would trim long branches, that's why he didn't tell me. But in fact, it was cut from the root... According to them, it split while they trimmed it and cut down for safety.

They have known our garden very well for a long time more than us, and looked after our property while my husband was living in NY. They said it was a small bush at first, but grew so fast. Now it was taller than nearby trees. I understood they worried it causes property damage because we had a strong storm a day before yesterday, and I saw a huge tree in our town turned down from the root by the storm. I admit that it was a troublesome tree and we had trouble making up our mind if we cut it down or just trim it.

There was a misunderstanding. It was maybe a right decision, and we know they meant no offense, but on the other hand, I still can't understand and I feel uncomfortable to be honest, that someone did something in our property while we are out. Suddenly I felt sad last night, this event reminded me of my dad's car which was discarded and squashed when I was a child. We went to auto graveyard together, and I and my sister appealed to save its life.

Well..., done is done. The big tree had hidden our messy back garden, but now it appeared clearly. Also decayed wooden fences are almost falling down... now, it's time to do more gardening... Next summer, we are sure we will get more sunshine. Now we have a different view from the window.



29 Oct 2013

The Tree

The big storm left traces on the UK, and four people died in the south of the UK. It was really windy. When I came back home today, I found that the tree, a symbol (!?) of our garden which regularly appears in my photo gallery has dissapeared! What happened to it? To be continued....
 
 


28 Oct 2013

Hertford

We went on a weekend trip to Hertford, Hertfordshire. We changed a train at London Liverpool Street to Hertford East. Do you remember that the big mouse (my husband) is bad-weather bringer? It was snow in Oakham, cold wave in Brussels, and rain in Cologne. The sky looked so dark... According to the weather forecast, a hurricane was approaching! Anyway, the sky was dark but the weather stayed in good. We suddenly arranged this trip, so I guess the hurricane was unable to make it.


Hertford is an old town with a history stretching back to Roman times. It is said that the first Church Synod was held at Hertford in 673. We found a stone monument about it in the site of castle. The town name Heartford came from the Angle-Saxson 'heort ford' meaning deer crossing of a watercourse. So deer feature in emblems.

 

There is the Hertford Castle, but the building itself looks new. Now it's the council office.

 
 
 
We strolled around the town. I can't explain well, but the atmosphere of the town was very old as if you time-tripped to an old times, even though shops and people are modern. I could feel it.
 

 
We visited the museum too. It was small, but busy with local children. On the ground floor, exotic animals, fossils, and Japanese armour(!) are displayed. On the first floor, you can see the life of Hertford. It was nice:)
 
 
There are many local shops, and window displays were lovely:)
 
 
 
 
 
I carried on with strolling alone, while the big mouse had had a break at a hotel.
 
 
 



The hotel we stayed was 'The Salisbury Arm Hotel' at the heart of the town. It has over 400 years history. It's really cosy, comfortable and nice hotel, we loved it very much. Every time we stay at an old hotel in the UK, I check wether a hotel is haunted or not, with curiosity. Actually, it is said that there are at least 40 ghosts in Hertford, and one of the ghosts is believed by some to be Oliver Cromwell. Oliver Cromwell stayed this hotel overnight in 1647 before reviewing his troops nearby.

 
 
 
I don't have extrasensory perception and I didn't feel anything uncomfortable at all when I entered our room. It's clean and bright with luxurious furniture. According to an online, there is a number of ghosts in this hotel, including a Victorian gentleman dressed in black who walks into a cupboard and disappears and a Civil War soldier roaming the corridors. The hotel has some characters such as curved wooden door, exposed beams, staircase etc... They excited my imagination of ghosts. You know, Halloween is coming.:) Our room was on the first floor, we explored the hotel and found nothing except a little bit spooky stair steps.


At midnight, closed eyes, I could imagine old Hertford town from the sounds outside. Eventually,
any ghost appeared in our room, instead yobs and yobettes appeared around the hotel. They talked and laughed loudly, it was so crazy. I couldn't sleep because they were so noisy. I don't know if the police came, but I could hear the voice to order 'move' and they acted repulsively against him. They shouted and then finally they were gone. It was around 2:00am. I was completely lack of sleep... The big mouse had slept peacefully and comfortably with snoring next to me...

 

We had a nice time in Hertford and enjoyed Halloween atmosphere earlier than the others. It was the calm day before the storm.

24 Oct 2013

Offense

Because a checkout queue length was short, at a supermarket, I put items on a counter and I thought 'Oops'. Because there was a cashier I don't like. There are some grumpy cashiers in the world, and here she is. She is the one I want to avoid, because she usually doesn't say 'hello' to me, doesn't see my eye, doesn't smile, treats items roughly, doesn't say the total amount until I ask, doesn't concentrate on her work (so she inputted error and gave incorrect change). It's hard to believe, but it was true. It wasn't only once. I heard she said to 'Hello' to next customer with smile, obviously customer behind me was British. Anyway she is NOT friendly to me.

I don't know she does because she doesn't like me, or she is a racist (!?) or perhaps it's all in my mind. Different from London or other big cities, in my town, I still feel that I draw the attention of public as if I am an alien. It's getting better than before, and don't mind anymore, but you wouldn't feel good if you received such response at a supermarket or shop, would you? I want to do shopping without feeling discomfort. I don't know the truth of her intentions, I just try to avoid her as much as I can. It's better for me, and also for her, maybe?

23 Oct 2013

Regular Life

We had heavy rain yesterday afternoon, and this morning as well. I usually don't feel up to going out if it rains heavily. Anyway, it stopped raining, and I went out for workshop today. A lady gave me a lot of leftover yarns because she knows I crochet small accessories. Everybody provides me materials, and I feel supported by everybody. Thank you very much. Materials surpass my production capacity though...
 
 
Now it's a beautiful sky:) My husband has been busy for work, and he booked a hotel in somewhere in England for this weekend. Goody! We are going to have a weekend trip. I look forward to it:)
 

20 Oct 2013

New Bridget Jones' Book

Autumn is the best season for reading. I had known the new Bridget Jones' book has already been on the market, and my friend mentioned the release date as well. Finally I got it. You'll never guess what but My husband gave away a part of the endings before I start to read! I don't want to believe it, but I'll find it out soon:)
 


19 Oct 2013

Pretty in Pink

There was a film titled 'Pretty in Pink' in 1980's. It's a teen romantic comedy film about a working-class girl who has romantic feelings for a posh boy. In the film, she re-creates a new pink dress using 2 other dresses to wear to the prom. I love her creativity:)

The other day, a lady gave me an old necklace no longer required, so I took it to pieces, and breathed new life into them. I have another pink yarn, so I am thinking I will crochet necklace or something using this beads.

 
 

18 Oct 2013

Fallen Leaves

We are in the midst of autumn. The sidewalk has started to be covered with fallen leaves. The British gloomy and dark winter is steadily coming...
 

16 Oct 2013

Charity

I'm joining the charity event 'the Innocent big knit' for raising money for age UK. I crocheted a little hat owl which will go onto one of the innocent smoothie bottles in a shop:) I followed the pattern from their website; http://thebigknit.co.uk/

 

15 Oct 2013

The Number of International Marriages of Japanese

In association with previous post, I'll tell you about the first Japanese aristocratic man who got married officially and regally. His name was Sadasuke Minami, who was the member of the Choshu Domain, a feudal domain of Japan during the Edo period (1063-1867). He went to England to study. Once he came back to Japan, he visited England again in 1971 and met British woman Liza Pitman. Unfortunately they divorced 10 years later, because she couldn't get used to life in Japan.

Along with the internationalisation, the number of international marriage of Japanese increased rapidly but it has dipped after peaking in 2006. Some reasons were possibly that it has established strict controls over sham marriages, the number of marriageable age has decreased with falling birth rate maybe, the influence of the economic downturn? I don't know, but marriage itself has continued to fare poorly in Japan.


The Number of International Marriage of Japanese
Data Source; Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, 'Vital Statistics'

14 Oct 2013

Mitsu

International marriage is no longer rare in Japan, but it was difficult before. Japan is the country that used to close itself off from the outside world. The main reason for national isolation was that the government was afraid of the Christian influence in Japan.

Do you know a Japanese woman who was one of the first people to emigrate to Europe? Her name is Mitsu Aoyama (1874-1941). I'm sure she was not the first person to marry a foreigner, but she was the first woman to register her international marriage officially and legally in Japan. She also got a word of encouragement from the Japanese Emperor when she moved to Europe.

She was a daughter of an antiques-dealer and oil tycoon in Tokyo. She met the Austro-Hungarian diplomat Dr. Count Heinrich von Coudenhove-Kalergi when she was 17 years old. He often visited her father's shop. It is said that she looked after him when he fell off a horse. (I know a similar story in the film 'The Other Boleyn Girl'. While visiting the Boleyn estate, Henry VIII was injured in a hunting accident and was nursed by Mary. Then Henry became smitten with her.) Heinrich gained her father's permission for her to work in the legation as a maid, and then they fell in love. The meeting sounds typical and romantic, and seemingly a Cinderella Story for a woman maybe, but reality it was not easy of course.

They got married on 16 March 1892 in Tokyo, despite her family and people around her being completely against their marriage. Consequently Mitsu was disinherited and banned from her father's house. It is said her family paid a big sacrifice due to her marriage.

She took a new name as Mitsuko Coudenhove-Kalergi. The couple moved to Europe with two sons Johannes and Richard. There were many differences among Mitsu and Heinrich. He was a Count, noble and a highly intelligent person understanding 18 languages, on the other hand, she only had minimal education. She was ashamed of her ignorance, and she studied hard French, German, math, geography and history as a foreign wife. Five more children were born.

She was not warmly received by Heinrich's family as she was an Asian from a small island country and was Buddhist as well. Heinrich was protective to her, but he sent the Japanese nanny back to Japan and banned Mitsu to speak Japanese for wishing to grow seven children as completely European. She got homesick.

In 1906, Heinrich died of a heart attack. His family sued for property division, but she won the case and inherited a legacy from her husband. She managed the house and disposed of the property for children's education.

In 1914, the World War I started. She was forced to live under various forms of discrimination, because Japan was an enemy of Austria-Hungary. It was a difficult time for her. After the war, her children protested and left her, because she had managed everything strictly with Japanese style after Heinrich died.

After the fall of Austria-Hungary, they lost a half of possessions. She had intracranial bleeding and it left her paralyzed on her right side of her body. She died in 1941, under the benevolent watch of her daughter. Mitsu never  again set foot on her homeland, Japan.

When I think about her life, I think she had a strong belief as Yamato-nadeshiko (is used to describe Japanese women who have Japanese traditional beauty, kindness and strength). Her life is beyond my wildest imaginings because her situation and mine are worlds apart. She is one of Japanese women who created a new path to the global community and set future generations on the first right track of international marriage.

13 Oct 2013

Islington

We went to Islington to see 2 short plays "Fresh off the Boat" about immigration at the Hen and Chickens Theatre. It was the first time to go small theatre for me and I found the atmosphere is nice. The plays were good. I enjoyed them very much.
 
As I mentioned before, my husband has worked for over a year to provide and share information about the British immigration rules and case studies, and also he was nominated for SMK Campaigner of the Year Award this year. British Immigration rules brought in on 9 July 2012, are very crazy, British citizens are also hampered by the rules, just only because they got married with non-EEA family members.
 
We strolled around the streets near the station and saw some war memorials.
 

This is the memorial wall to the victims of 27 June 1944, V1 flying bomb explosion. 26 people lost their lives and the 150 people injured. Statue below is the Boer War memorial.

This church building stands out from those around buildings.


We took a break at the pub; the Hope and Anchor. Incidentally, it was one of the famous pubs. Some famous bands played there include The Police, U2 etc.


10 Oct 2013

Pumpkin

Halloween is coming. I sold some crochet pumpkins at a crafting shop. They've sold so well that I can't make enough of them:) I need to prepare for Christmas as well. You know, now is a great season to sell knitting or crochet things.

I'd thought about Halloween products, I'd completely forgotten about Halloween decoration in our house. Well..., it's unnecessary because we don't have any kids, but I just want to enjoy the event:)

When I went to a supermarket, I found this plastic clear plate, and fell in love at first sight. It was in the shopping basket in the next breath:) Oops. Left pumpkin is what I made last year, and right pumpkin was what I received from my friend a several years ago as a souvenir from the Tokyo Disney Resort.

Last year, lovely children who wore Halloween costume visited us to say trick-or-treat. We will buy some sweets for someone's uncertain visits and for ourselves. Will anyone come to our house this year???


8 Oct 2013

Hedgehog Wooden Clip

The other day, I got hedgehogs' wooden ornaments. I glued them to the top of pegs. Voila! A few minutes and done:)