31 Dec 2015

At The End of Year

There were not always good things in our lives this year, but I am very glad that we are able to embark on a new year together.

Next year, I will mark the 5th anniversary since I moved to the UK. Wow, it's unbelievable! Time flies so fast. Though, still, I show the white feather about my English. Well, I can survive at my current English level I guess, but sometimes I feel it's a seemingly-far away to master it to a level that I am satisfied with. I feel I would struggle with it forever until the end of time. But this year, I tried one of the translation competitions. The result was not really good. I was disappointed, but sure, it was a great challenge and experience for me. More importantly, I am satisfied with what I've done.

I don't know what 2016 will be like yet, but I want to look after our health and to have long walks a lot. And I want to keep exploring my potential. Also I want to cope with ageing and to be strong mentally and physically.

Thank you for visiting my blog and see you soon again!

30 Dec 2015

Today's Sky

Chazutsu

"Chazutsu" is a container specially designed to keep green tea fresh. There are many kinds of chazutsu are sold in my country from wooden to steal one.

These were small and simple bare steel tins, but I transformed and decorated them with lovely papers. Looks so pretty, doesn't it? If you go to the tea shop, souvenir shop or others in Japan, you can find this kind of chazutsu using Japanese traditional washi paper.


28 Dec 2015

My Baggage

I think I keep my things very well.

This baggage was a birthday present from my parents when I was around 10 or 11 years old (not sure)! That means it's more than 30 years old. I think its condition is quite good apart from the inside fabric. Maybe because I didn't use this so often. It has small key locks as well. When I travelled to my grandparents' house during summer, I always packed my stuff into this baggage. Apart from that, I had used this as just a storage case at home.

Recently, this wicker baggage has played an important role at a craft fair. It serves a dual purpose, carriage and display. I still love this baggage.

27 Dec 2015

British Christmas

How did you spend Christmas day? We had a quiet and relaxed Christmas as usual. I cooked roasted potatoes and chicken, and we enjoyed having mince pie and Christmas pudding. I think they were more British-style this year. Though, I've still looked for our own style of 'British-like-perfect-Christmas'. Christmas decorations, meal, etc... there are a lot of things I want to enjoy during this season, because I am Japanese. Western Christmas is a sort of yearning event for Japanese people.

It's completely different from Japanese Christmas. People work on a Christmas day as usual, and after the midnight of 25th, all Christmas decorations in the town change into New Year's one. (Because New Year is more important for Japanese people). People clean the house and workplace (like spring cleaning in the UK), and do shopping to be ready to get the new year started. Between Christmas and New Year, it become such a busy period like before the Christmas in the UK.

I like Japanese New Year, but I am happy to be able to bask in the afterglow of Christmas in the UK.


24 Dec 2015

Come Home Alive

I came back from a battle field (aka supermarket before the Christmas). It was busy but not so bad this year:) Phew... Have a Merry Christmas, everyone.
 

21 Dec 2015

Loser !?

I read an article of The Independent saying 'Angry single men protest against Christmas in Tokyo'. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/angry-single-men-protest-against-christmas-in-tokyo-a6779691.html --- What an idiot!

In fact, Japanese couples tend to spend Christmas day together. Unlike in European countries, we have a wrong idea and a different meaning of Christmas. But it's our own Christmas culture. As I mentioned on my blog before, the climate for Christmas is a little bit harsh for singletons. And commercial strategies fuels general atmosphere, and media amusingly describe singletons as 'loser' or 'parasite'. 

Why are they highly sensitive about Christmas? I think school education is the underlying cause, because Japanese people learn cooperation rather than uniqueness at school. People tend to feel release doing something one has seen someone else do. And if you do something different, it sometimes tends to be attacked. That's why they think themselves 'loser with woman' because Christmas is now major for couples in Japan. I don't like these Japanese claims. It might be a joke, but some people take it seriously.

If I borrow their words, I was a loser. So what? Think about it. You are just manipulated by a imported culture. What's wrong with singleton? And also, if you are the anti-Christmas person, I think you don't need to celebrate it, to be vividly aware of Christmas nor to be self-conscious about it. Just you spend 24th and 25th December openly and squarely as a singleton. Above all, I don't think they are really anti-Christmas people. It's only temporary. Soon after they find a girl friend or wife, or have children, I bet they enjoy celebrating Christmas together. This is my theory.

Today' Sky

Tomorrow is the darkest day of the year; the winter solstice.
 
 

17 Dec 2015

Surname

Japan's supreme court has upheld a 19th century law that married couples must have the same surname. It was the outcome of a trial suing the Japanese government. Was it right? Always an adjudgement against a new matter needs caution. I don't know it was right or not. But at least, in these days of changing form of marriage, such as same-gender marriage, I feel it's an anachronistic attitude.

Usually, a wife takes her husband's surname. It's not peculiar to Japan. I changed surnames for my first marriage and changed back again when I divorced. Every time I changed surname, I had to buy a new seal, apply to renew a passport, bank account etc. etc... It was troublesome.

Now, we use separate surnames. I can do this because of international marriage. In our case, I could decide freely if I use separate surnames or the same surname within 6 months after submitting a notification of marriage to the Japan Embassy. If I want to change my surname from now, I have to get permission of the Japanese family court. Of course I have to pay for it.

Frankly speaking, I didn't change surname only because it's troublesome. Also I couldn't see any merit of it. Now I don't feel any inconvenience at all. If I'm forced to say something about inconvenience, it's hard to be remembered by everyone because of unfamiliar surname. If we have children, the situation would be different.

There are various forms of couples, marriages and families, so why not using separate surnames? As long as Japan doesn't permit using separate surnames, also allowing dual nationality (which is also banned in Japan) must be a long way away.

Today's Sky

14 Dec 2015

Being Loved

My parents-in-law came and gave us some early Christmas presents. They are really nice and kind to me. We don't have much chance to see each other, but we talk on a phone every week. I am happy, I feel fully loved by them. Thank you.
 

13 Dec 2015

How many more nights...?

My sister said that a year usually passes quickly like riding a roller coaster, but this year, it has passed so quickly ever like rolling down from Mt. Everest. I see... as a mother whose children sit for entrance exams, she must be unsettled until they finish. My 2015 has passed quickly as well. I thing because we spent the first few months in my country Japan.

We have a new year's song, which start with intonation 'how many more nights do we have to go to bed until New Year's day? Perhaps you say 'how many more nights do we have to go to bed until Christmas' in Western Countries. To be honest, I've had bitter  experiences on Christmas Eve in the past.

One Christmas Eve, there was heavy snow. We suffered from a power outage, and the road became gridlocked with traffic. My mother was supposed to be back home on time to bring a special treat ice-cream cake, but of course she was delayed. My sister and I were young. We were not allowed to use matches, but my sister lit a candle and stove with a match to survive. We had nothing to do, so we enjoyed drawing with keeping eyes closed by candlelight. Suddenly we could hear and smell something burning. It was my hair fringe. My sister laughed but I was shocked...

Another Christmas in my early 20's, I was supposed to have a date with my boyfriend. He was tall, handsome and younger than me. I had already worked and he was a university student. It should have become a happy Christmas. But without any expectation, I was stood up by him. Unlike in European countries, young couples usually spend a Christmas day together. Couples were here and there in the town, I felt so miserable. I called my friend with a sob, who had a long-distance love, and she came around me to comfort. Later, I knew he had a trouble with his family on that day, but our relationship finished soon...

All now are good and funny memories. I am here after having such experiences. Now Christmas is totally divorced from such miserable events. We are surrounded by cozy and festive atmosphere:)

4 Dec 2015

Make A Wreath

Towns are surrounded by festive mood. I love it. I couldn't decorate the house last Christmas season, so I really wanted to make a new wreath. I got a small ring from a charity shop and just attached a Christmas decoration (from a pound shop) on it. It's a simple but effective, isn't it?

1 Dec 2015

Monkey

Gee, it's already December. When I was walking on a street and gave a way to a lady, she said 'Thank you and Merry Christmas'. Gee, it's already Merry Christmas. I need to start preparing Christmas cards.

In my country, New Year's card with a zodiac sign is common. Well, what's the zodiac sign of next year??? It's easy to forget about it if I am in the UK, because I don't see any commercials for New Year's card on TV. So I checked it online. Monkey. 2016 zodiac sign is monkey! Yes, I remember it's sheep this year. I saw a lot of sheep items in Japan.


Talking of Monkey, Japanese macaques are known for having a hotspring bath. Their performance is like human. :)

source; Wikipedia