28 Feb 2014

The Aurora Borealis

Have you ever seen the Aurora Borealis? I've never had. I want to see it once in my life.

BBC said the Aurora Borealis had been giving rare displays last night, over parts of the UK from the north of Scotland to as far south as 'ESSEX' and Gloucestershire. We popped out to our garden three times with pyjama, and directed a curious look toward the north! We could see orange lights, but it was likely a street light. Unfortunately we couldn't identify it, but I think it was nice challenge. And also it was clear and star-filled night sky. It was so beautiful. I developed an illusion that I had got sucked into the huge dark universe‼

We've increased our love of the garden:) I was happy to look up the sky in our lovely garden. Modern people live in a technologically sophisticated world. At night, we stay in home with electric lights and spend most of their time without any regard to how beautiful sky is. Having a view of sky must had been one of an ancient people's little natural pleasures. I wouldn't say that their life was good, but I sometimes wonder about living in the material world and also about myself of remaining and being stuck in such world.

Source; BBC
 

27 Feb 2014

Today's Sky


Ono no Komachi

Do you know Ono no Komachi (c.825-c.900)? She was a Japanese poet. I don't remember if I wrote about her on my blog before. She was renowned for her unusual beauty like Cleopatra. But there's no pictures of her youth, so it's not clear whether she was really beautiful or not. Even if the picture was left, sense of beauty over a thousand year ago, must be different from ours.

One of her poets is my favourite;
Hana no iro wa
Utsurinikeri na
Itazura ni
Wa ga mi yo ni furu
Nagame seshi ma ni

It was written in old Japanese. According to an American-born Japanese scholar, teacher, writer and translator; Donald Lawrence Keene, he translated this into English like this;
The flowers withered,
Their color faded away,
While meaninglessly
I spent my days in the world
And the long rains were falling.

It's a poet about melancholiness of aging. I like this poet because it remind me that we have the same sense against the beauty, as woman, even the time is different. Recently, after I watched my picture, I start worring about sagging skin and bought anti-aging cream today. I am sure that she wanted this kind of cream, if they had:) I just thought about her.

26 Feb 2014

Today's Sky

Our Garden

It's beautiful day. Finally, the garden fence was fixed! We are so happy about that:)
 
Before; Last year, before the tree (right) was cut.
Before; This year. After the storms.

Before; Disaster!! It was completely collapsed after the biggest storm!
After; Absolutely beautiful and bright:)
Also, our jungle which I had no idea where to start is now like this. It's getting better. We work and create our garden slowly but surely.
 
 
 

25 Feb 2014

Today's Sky

I saw cherry blossom has started to bloom! Last year, I saw it on 5 March. So you can see this winter is warm in the UK. Finally, a fencing man will come tomorrow. Let's see how it goes.
 

24 Feb 2014

Daffodils

Daffodils in our garden bloomed today:)

Today's Sky


The Monuments Men

We saw the film 'The Monuments Man'. The story is based on the true story which about WWII platoon to rescue art masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their owners. I thought it would be more serious story under the war, but it was described sometimes comical. Many famous and impressive actors and actresses appear in this film.
 
When the big mouse suggested me to see this film, he said '... and also George Clooney is in the film'. 'Oh, then let's go'. We had only about 20 minutes before the train. The big mouse left the house in first to get train tickets. And I got ready for it in 5 minutes and ran. When I arrived at a train station, the big mouse said that there's no train today, bus is replaced. We missed a bus as well. It's a bit crazy, but we got a taxi to a cinema.
 
Later, I came to myself.  Did I agree to see this film, only because of George Clooney? Did we get on a taxi, only because to see George Clooney?? It was crazy and funny, even I am not a fan of George Clooney... It must be a George-Clooney-magic:) Anyway, we enjoyed the film.



22 Feb 2014

Today's Sky

It was nice weather today. We cut Butterfly bushes which were too long. They stretched out and became thick like a tree. I sawed them down. I used a hand saw. If I used an electric chain saw, I could have finished faster. I felt a bit worried because it was too big and I wonder if we managed them by ourselves. Actually it was hard work, because plants had got tangled around branches and another tree. After we took them down, we cut and sawed them into pieces. We haven't finished yet, but our garden is getting nicer. While we were cutting, a robin came. It always comes when I do gardening. It's so lovely and it was leaping around us within a few metres. A fencing man may come this week to fix our garden fence, so I look forward to this spring.
 

21 Feb 2014

Today's sky

Air is a bit cold, but beautiful sunshine like spring! Daffodils seems ready for bloom!
 
 

Mushi-Pan

I made Mushi-Pan today, from my sister's recipe:) Mushi-Pan is Japanese steamed egg buns, but it's more cake-like. It's also healthy and easy to make. Taste is like a maffin, but more light and soft.
 

Withdrawn

Yesterday afternoon, soon after finishing the workshop, a lady brought me a bad news that the shop will be closing in its current form at the end of this month. It was a sudden news. The lady who often visits the shop even didn't know about it until yesterday afternoon. Actually, We visited the shop in the morning and I displayed new items, but we weren't told anything. I am very disappointed about that news, because it was one of my first joys in this new country. And also I still have many projects as I can't make enough of them, and I have stock of material. I collected some of my items from the shop yesterday, and I am going to collect the rest next week. I keep making but unfortunately these items has nowhere to go at the moment. Such is life. Anyway, I payed fee to the shop every month, but luckily I didn't end in the red. Thank you for buying my products at the shop.
 

19 Feb 2014

Sochi Olympics 2014

Have you enjoyed watching Sochi Olympics? Yes, I have, in my own way. In the UK, I feel the media doesn't make fuss about it, compared with Japan.

I asked my mother 'when the Tokyo Olympics will be held'? She said 'it's about 7 years later'. It will be held on 2020. I got a bit of a nasty shock, because I will be nearly 50 year old. 50! 50 year-old! I can't imagine myself! I have mixed feelings about it...

18 Feb 2014

Today's Sky

The days are getting longer:)
 

Kakishibu

My mother sent me this dyed cloth last year. She brought me back this as a souvenir, when she travelled to Ise, Japan. This is dyed by 'kakishibu (persimmon tannin)'. It's a beautiful natural brown colour. This design is for the Girls' Festival, and dolls are called 'tachibina', standing imperial and emperor.
 
The Girls' Day is celebrated each year on 3rd March. So I set up decorations for the festival. I can get a feel for Japan in the UK:)
 

17 Feb 2014

Her

We saw the film 'Her' an American science fiction romantic film. The film received some nominations, but to be honest, I was disappointed. Just because it was not my cup of tea. My husband said it was nice film, but unfortunately I didn't think so.

It's a story about a lonely man who are proceeding to end his marriage. And he develops an unlikely relationship with 'Samantha' a fictional woman in operating system. She learns and grows psychologically and he fell in love with her.

In fact, the film is built up with beautiful pictures and musics, but I felt that it's just a story about a computer otaku's fantasy, who lives in a virtual world and turns his back to the real. There is no wonder that he falls in love with her, because she is the woman who is designed and programmed to adapt and evolve as his princess. He alternates between joy and grief against a non-existent woman. It seem like crazy from the outside. In reality, I am not fascinated in such a guy, rather I developed a feeling of disgust, that's why I was disappointed with this film (sorry). But good thing was they split up at the end.

Perhaps, this is our modern world. We live half in virtual, and half in real. It's not a bad thing, I just can't have empathy with it, when it comes to be in love.

15 Feb 2014

Storm

It's incredible weather. We had very very strong wind last night. I think it was the strongest during this winter. The light went out last night as well. It was good it restored soon. And still the wind has been blowing. The fence is getting worse and worse, but there's nothing we can do under the bad weather.

We are lucky because this area is not flooded. I mean, the river has been a bit flooded, but not affected to the houses.

14 Feb 2014

Happy Valentine's Day 2014

It's a stormy day again. I wanted to go for shopping in the morning, but I didn't. Because my husband wanted me to stay at home. It ringed a bell. Ah, he sent me flowers on the Valentine's day:)

Eventually, a deliverer arrived after 3pm. Gosh, they are so beautiful:) It's my favourite colour. These colour reminded me of our wedding bouquet. We've already got a chocolate, so I bought the big mouse's favourite yesterday. Yes, CHEESE:)

So, I was creating a poster for our new workshop 'sewing bee' today. And I was creating Easter packages as well:)

But apart from that, we do nothing special for the valentine's day. I think it's just the day to excuse to get our favourite things:) Even so, it's a nice traditional event, isn't it? Happy Valentine's Day! 

12 Feb 2014

Buta no Kakuni

'Buta no Kakuni' is one of Japanese traditional slow cook using pork belly. It means Simmered Pork Belly Cubes. I got pork belly at a supermarket this morning and had cooked in the afternoon for making the big mouse happy. I was excited for cooking, but now I am out of spirits. I lost my enthusiasm for cooking dinner, because... I burned 'Buta no Kakuni' black at the last moment... Oh, dear... Please excuse the ugly picture.

 

A Pub

After so long, we went to a local pub the other day. There used to be a pool table, but now it was moved out, instead, there are more comfy sofas and tables. New decorations are unique and lovely.
 



11 Feb 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street

Last weekend, we saw the film 'The Wolf of Wall Street'. It's 3 hours long film. It was my choice, and the big mouse smiled and jokingly said, 'oh, you want to see naked DiCaprio'. If so, what's wrong with it? :)

Anyway, it was funny, I enjoyed Leonardo DiCaprio's act, and the film itself as a comedy with southounds of bad words. But nothing more than that for me. Because it is based on actual person Jordan Belfort's experience. He also appears on the last scene of the film a little. So I doubt if this story is made more mild and soft than the fact. Becoming rich is amazing and envious, but I can't feel empathy for his way. Being soaked in drug and alcohol is a path of depravity.

10 Feb 2014

Today's Sky



Snow

We haven't had snow yet here, rather we have had a storm. But in Japan, a rare snow storm has hit the wide areas of Japan. My hometown Sendai City, northeast Japan, got 35 centimeters, the most in 78 years. My mother sent me a picture of their garden. Wow, it's a lot of snow! When I was a child, I thought we had had a deep snow more than this, but it was probably because I was a small.

 

9 Feb 2014

Today's Sky


Bunting Flag

We started to have a new sewing bee! The group is not a big, but it's nice to exchange ideas and get other people's opinion and advice:) I am going to make a bunting flag for craft fayre.

8 Feb 2014

Swollen River

The river had kept barely under the border for a while, but it swelled by the rain.




7 Feb 2014

Today's Sky


Hungarian Dances No.5

When my grandfather was in critical condition, I was playing card with my sister and great aunt at his house. I was 9 year-old. It was after we visited him in the hospital. My grandmother and my mother had taken turn nursing. He opened his eyes and stared dully into us. I am sure he saw me, he recognised me. I still remember clearly about his face with a tube. It was the last time I saw him alive.

He died of a stroke, aged 69. When I knew his death, the music of Johannes Brahms' Hungarian Dances No.5 was played round and round in my head. I don't know why it was Brahms', but I couldn't think anything except of this melody. Since then, I don't like this music very much, because it reminds me of that night. It was the first time to confront the loss of my family.

I came across Hungarian Dances No.5 today, and I felt like writing about this. If he was still alive, I wonder what advice would he gave to me?

A Hole

In this world, there are drought-stricken areas. In contrast, flooding is very serious in the UK now. According to the news, parts of England have had their wettest January in more than 100 years. Not only rainybut it's been blowy. Why is it so wet and windy?

Our garden has been messed up now. The garden rubbish is left uncontrolled in the garden, because we can't drag rubbish bin to the garden through the house, because of too wet. The fence is still leaning. A fencing man can't fix it because of bad weather. Every time strong wind blow, I worry whether the fence is still there. Once I had a bad dream that the fence was blown away! And yesterday, I found a big hole in the roof of gazebo! Oh, nooooooo!! Don't break anything anymore, please!

Today's Sky


It's been raining miserably since this early morning.

5 Feb 2014

Rice

I grew up in Northern Japan. It's a famous rice-producing region. I've raised on particularly esteemed cultivar rice such as Sasanishiki and Hitomebore, because my uncle produces rice.

The other day, I bought Japanese rice after so long. I usually buy Korean, risotto or jasmine rices, because it's easy to get them around here. Nowadays, you can get almost everything you want. I appreciate that.
 

4 Feb 2014

Seagulls

When I passed by the pond yesterday, I saw some seagulls. Usually there are ducks. When I was in Japan, I had thought seagulls are typically coastal species, but it's not rare to see them inland here.


In my hometown in Japan, there is a famous sightseeing spot, called Matsushima. It's one of the top tree views of Japan, which is made up of 260 small unique shaped-islands. You can view these islands by 50-mins boat cruise. Many seagulls come and follow around the boat, and you can feed seagulls. I don't think it's good for seagulls, but they love Kappa Ebisen, a Japanese snack food produced by Calbee.

Today's Sky