28 Aug 2015

Blue Sky

Blue sky makes people feel happy:)
 

23 Aug 2015

A Small Shrine

A small shrine is nestled in my grandfather's mountain, now owned by my uncle, which seems to have been built by someone who had the same surname. His name is carved in the stone shrine. We guess it's our ancestor, but we don't know who he was. He must had built this to dedicate to a nature god of the mountain. Every time before we took bamboo shoots here, we visited the shrine and offered a glass of water.


My grandfather especially loved this place very much. We visited this house several times a year, when I was a child. We enjoyed BBQ and fireworks during the summer. While we were absent, it seemed many animals visited the garden such as snakes and boars. Also there were fruit trees, and we harvested them.

My grandfather was a lovely man who had a child-mind and often dug a hole here and there to find a treasure. He had believed that there was a treasure under the ground, and had a map, but nobody knew about it after he died. Also there is a rumour that my grandfather had a conflict with a neighbour over the ownership of the mountain and once he was nearly killed by an axe. He was OK but the conflict lasted until both died.

Everything is history now. The house has been quiet and empty even in the summer. The garden has been covered by thick weeds, and the house has rusted. Once we had an idea to run B&B there, but everybody was indisposed.

But the small shrine is still there, the same as before. Only it knows everything which we don't know. It has kept watching everything there. Sometimes I still miss my grandfather very much. I wanted to learn more from him.

22 Aug 2015

Dragonfly

I saw a big blue dragonfly in our garden yesterday morning. It was resting quietly on a rose.


The first time I saw some small turquoise or emerald blue dragonflies, at the nature researve in the UK, I felt as if I was in dreamland. They were so beautiful. I had never seen such beautiful dragonflies.

However, dragonflies remind me of my childhood. The largest species of dragonfly native to Japan is called 'Oniyanma' or 'Anotogaster sieboldii'. According to Wikipedia, it can grow 95-100mm length. When I was a child, my sister and I chased dragonflies, butterflies, other insects or frogs while holding a butterfly net, in our grandparents' garden. The garden was surrounded by my grandparents' own mountain.



17 Aug 2015

Tattoo

Many people have tattoos on their body as a fashion nowadays. However, if you have a 'tattoo' on your body, you may be refused entry to a hot spring bath in Japan. Sounds a bit odd, but behind this background is the fact that tattoos have traditionally indicated yakuza (violent gangsters) in Japan.

Going to a hot spring (in Japan), that means you are emotionally ready to be 'NAKED' in public. No swimwear. If it's a private hot spring bath or a tattoo-friendly hot spring, you are allowed. If the tattoo is a small one, which may be possible to cover up with a bandage, perhaps you may allowed. Now it's a controversial issue due to increasing number of visitors from overseas. It may change the rule in the near future, with the march of the times, but it's a still difficult to respond flexibly and appropriately.

Japan is a strange country. You may struggle to understand Japanese, because some Japanese women, especially old women including my mother, tend to be hesitate to wear skimpy outfits, but they are ok to be naked in the public bath. In a sense, Japan is a naked society. :) We have a phrase 'hadaka no tsukiai', which literally means 'naked relations/ friendships', which means relaxing in the bath makes you feel easy to share your true thoughts or feelings and to speak frankly to each other.

15 Aug 2015

Today's Sky


Ethics of Parking

- Ethics means a set of moral principles, especially ones relating to or affirming a specified group, field, or form of conduct.

Recently I've been edgy, because car parking round our house is too much to tolerate.

Our neighbour has renovated a house. And several cars have parked around the both sides of the narrow street all day long. The builders commute there by their own car. Our parallel parking space along the street has been blocked by their cars and vans all day. That means cars form two rows along the street. Technically speaking, there is a single yellow line area and a bus route as well. Their cars have blocked pedestrians and scooters. More worse, they started to park a van ON our parking space without notice, because they noticed we DON'T have a car and it's an CONVENIENT for them. But I've thought something is wrong. I am not happy at all that they use our private parking space without notice. What is ethics?

In my country, when you build or renovate a house, a builder or a owner(-to-be) of the house visits neighbours to explain that how long construction may last and to apologise in advance to them for the big noise and the inconvenience. Some people bring a small gift, such as a soap or a towel. It's  traditional good manners to avoid conflicts. I am sure it's a different custom in a different place. I don't think a gift is always necessary, but at least, people should mention about it around neighbours wherever the country is.

One day, I couldn't stand by and watch any longer, I talked to a man who parked a car ON our property as if he owned the place. Seemed like he didn't feel any prick of conscience, but he didn't see me. Seemed like he understood that time. But day after day, he parks a car on our parking space directly in front of our house door... It's absolutely uncomfortable for us. It's not temporary like a delivery car, but every day.

The light blue car is direct on our parking space rudely!
But what can we do? All neighbours have had the same feeling 'annoying'. We've understood there is no space for cars, and didn't mean to push them out. So we've been a little bit patient. But it's all about their lack of morals, isn't it? That made us feel annoyed. Even I open the front door to go out, they don't see me, don't say hello, thanks or sorry, just ignore me as I am invisible. Does their reaction and behaviour come from their guilty feelings???

According to the guide book of the Life In The UK Test, to establish a good relationship with neighbours you must keep around the house clean. I think the basic of ethics is the same. I needed to pass this exam to live in the UK, so why don't they know this basic rule??? They should consider a bit more about neighbours.

The thing is, community relationships are built on ethics. Our feelings would be different if they mentioned it to us, say hi or sorry. If the street is narrow, they should have given up their own car for commuting, or parked a car somewhere in a spacious place. Even though they could build a nice house, I don't think they are professional unless they consider about others. They should have considered not only their works but also neighbours during their work.

13 Aug 2015

Today's Sky

Did you see Perseid Meteor Shower? We did.

9 Aug 2015

Today's Sky & Flowers

When the big mouse went for shopping, he got me my favourite flowers.:) Lovely!


8 Aug 2015

Tanabata

New photos of Sendai Tanabata Festival 2015 (Star Festival) have arrived.:) It's a quiet festival compared to other festivals, because there is no dancing. You just walk through under the beautiful ornaments, touching and feeling gentle Japanese washi paper. I sometimes felt annoyed with busy people when I commuted during the festival, but I love it!!



This must be the origami crane's ornaments that I mentioned before, wishing for world peace and earthquake disaster reconstruction...maybe?


7 Aug 2015

Today's Sky


Energy

I passed through a park and a cathedral, and beautiful flowers caught my eye. Bright colour gives people energy!!
 



Yesterday's Sky


4 Aug 2015

Today's Sky


Unconsciously I Do...

I read the Independent article; '390-year-old bonsai tree survived the Hiroshima nuclear bomb - and nobody knew until 2001'.

When I was a high school student, we had a special class to think about world peace during summer. Because Japan is the only atom-bombed country. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are far away from my home town, but we visited Hiroshima on our school trip. We visited Hiroshima Peace Memorial and the Peace Memorial Museum. In the museum many mementos were displayed. The most unforgettable item was a girl's flower printed shirt. The white shirt was remaining but only parts of flower prints were burnt to a crisp. Because the colour white was able to protect both humans and objects from the effects of radiation. I and my friend had stayed in the museum longer, and lost all concept of time. We got yelled at by teacher for being late back to a bus. When we went back, all students were eating lunch boxes in the bus, but we couldn't feel like eating after visiting the museum. At night, we heard the details from atomic bomb survivor about how they survived. They were nothing less than miraculous. Japanese people are fully aware of the paramount importance that war stories should hand down from generation to generation and don't repeat it.

It doesn't only mean that it's the 70 years since the end of WWII, but I always think about the war in August unconsciously. In fact, I used to have scary dreams of war during summer. Perhaps because summer has many meanings for Japanese such as atom-bomb and end of the war. And also I had had such classes at school and had committed to make many origami cranes for Sendai Star Festival to wish a world peace every year. They were decorated at the festival as Thousand Origami Cranes. It's a group of a thousand cranes which is believed that anyone who folds cranes will be granted a wish by cranes.

Why don't you try to make an origami crane?

3 Aug 2015

Yesterday's Sky


Gosfield-Halstead Walk

We got off a bus in the centre of Gosfield (Essex) and enjoyed walking this weekend. It's a short walking course of about 2 ½ miles. We got directions from here; http://www.gosfieldparishcouncil.org.uk/site/images/stories/Gosfield%20to%20Halstead%201.pdf.

The funny thing was that we couldn't print this pdf file out, because our printer is broken. So the big mouse wrote directions down quickly. That means only the big mouse can read his handwriting note...




We walked through the Gosfield Nature Reserve. We saw a baby bird on a tree. Seemed like a fluffy baby bird, but we couldn't confirm what the bird was. I should have brought binoculars...

We found a few ways to walk the nature reserve area. We can try another time perhaps?



Cross the field, stile and wood bridge, but we got a slightly different route by mistake. However, it was no problem. It wasn't a difficult route at all. We enjoyed watching nature.



We reached a town, Halstead. We could see this church's pointy-roof from the field.




We explored this town a little bit and had a nice lunch there. The riding time of the bus was longer than walking:) But we could enjoy walking and travelling.