31 Jan 2016

Recycling

When I went to the library the other day, there was a small electrical items recycling collection box. We bought a new electrical kettle last year because of a water leak. So I brought old kettle to the library for recycling. It's very convenient and helpful for us.

30 Jan 2016

Today's Sky




Inarizushi

Since I got Japanese rice, I cooked 'Inarizushi'. It's a pouch of fried tofu (Abura-age) filled with sushi rice. It's named after the Shinto god Inari (foxes), who is believed to have a fondness for fried tofu. For that reason, it always reminds me of fox.

I used to season Aburaage by myself in my country, but prepared pouches of fried tofu were available in a local Asian food shop. Add a miso soup, bon appetit. :)

27 Jan 2016

Daruma

We have a Japanese traditional game 'Daruma-san ga koronda', which literally means 'Daruma-san fall'. Actually, this game is played in various regions of the world. For example, it is also called 'red light, green light' in the US, and 'grandmother's footsteps' in the UK, according to Wikipedia.

In my region, we have another version 'Kuruman ton-ten-kan'. It is only known in my prefecture. Because 'Kuruman' originally came from the name of blacksmith's town and 'ton-ten-kan' describes the sound of their hummer. All these were a sort of way to count number ten (Da-ru-ma-sa-n-ga-ko-ro-n-da, Ku-ru-ma-n to-n-te-n-ka-n).

Anyway, Darma (Daruma doll) is a symbol of perseverance and good luck in Japan, modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism. The designs vary by region and there are some different colours, but it is typically red. There are many sizes from small to big. I remember my uncle has displayed variety sized of local Daruma.

The eyes of Daruma are often blank when sold. Because when you set the goal of something, you fill in one eye, and then when you achieved the goal, fill the other. It's sort of motivation for your big task. You may see a big Daruma at a popular election. Most candidates display Daruma at their office.

We have a small Daruma with blank eyes, but have displayed it as a good luck charm.

24 Jan 2016

Halesworth

We travelled to Halesworth in north east Suffolk by train. It's a lovely small market town. After the beautiful sunset the day before, it became a beautiful day just like the phrase 'Red sky at night; shepherds delight' (meaning it will be fair weather for the sky is red).
 

The first place we popped in was the Halesworth Museum & District which is located in the station building. We were lucky because the museum only opens 10:00-12:30 (Tue-Sat and Wed 14:00-16:00), and it was the first Saturday after the Christmas holiday. It's a small museum but full of great items donated by local people.


A staff member was very kind. She explained us the display items and unlocked and opened a showcase which hadn't been displayed yet. There were amazing heads of valuable tools from the Bronze Age. Their conditions were perfect and it was hard to think they were from the Bronze Age. She let us to hold them. That's why I am wearing a white glove. They were heavier than I thought. I was so excited, because it was a unique experience in my life to touch such precious historic items, even though I am not archaeologist nor their staff. The items were excavated near the town, and she said they have raised money to get them back.

 
We walked to the town centre. It was still quiet but really fun to explore a new town for us.  
 
 
 
The place we always go is a church. We entered the church as the door was open. Nobody was there and inside was cool. 
 
 
 
 
I found a marriages' board on the corner and some strips of heart-shaped papers were hanging. It said to write your names and marriage date on a paper (you don't need to get married at there and regardless of the year), and they pray for our happiness.:) So we wrote our names on a paper and ganged it on the board. It reminded me of Ema (wooden wishing plaque) of Japanese shrines.
 
 
We browsed buildings and some shops. The local shops were nice and very attractive. Each shop has a nice display.
 
 
 
It's a lunch time:) We didn't have a lot of energy because we hadn't had a breakfast. We went to the pub White Hart and I ordered a pie of the week. It was a big lunch after so long! It was a homemade pie and I guessed they have used local food. They were soooo nice!!
 
 
All in all, it was a nice and memorable day. I like Halesworth. People are kind and it has warm atmosphere. We hadn't had a trip recently, so we could feel refreshed.

22 Jan 2016

Shepherds Delight


Language

I sometimes think "it's not fair" in the world, when I see someone who stands out from the others. For example, someone who has a good figure, or who is really smart. I know I can't help it. That must be envy and jealousy. In reality, I just have to accept the way I am as everybody does. What is called, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

When I started learning English language, I felt the world become larger double, triple or more. That's why I like to learn languages. Since then, I'd enjoyed learning English while I was a student. My dream was vague, but now I am here, I am able to live in the another country. But it's also the truth that I've still struggled hearing and speaking English. The brain and mouth don't work together. I notice my mistake soon after I spoke. For example, the brain knows the target is 'woman', but the word came from my mouth without thinking was 'he'... etc... grrrrr

If you apply for citizenship or to settle in the UK (ILR; indefinite leave to remain), you need to prove your knowledge of the English language. Since I've got the ILR, the rule has changed a lot. First, the English test I used to prove for the ILR has already disappeared from the list. And the rule changed. I think I was lucky, even then the rule was already tight.

And under the new rule, an applicant has to met the A2 level English (A1 before), for further leave to remain visa, (A1 for fiancee visa, B1 for ILR). On the government website about the new rule of English language, there was a spelling mistake earlier on though... Well, I think I should stop nitpicking about the government website, shouldn't I?

19 Jan 2016

Amulets

Japanese amulets are commonly sold at religious sites and people tend to buy them at new year to wish for good luck and protection. My mother sends new amulets to us every year (as a tradition). This year, they were these mini-amulets which bring happiness. :) Lovely.
 

Today's Sky

18 Jan 2016

A Chocolate Pound Cake

I baked a chocolate pound cake after so long. Well, to be exact, it might not be a pound cake, because I didn't use a 'pound' of each of four ingredients. I reduced a volume of sugar, but added cocoa and orange extract. Yummy... 


17 Jan 2016

Passport

Since last December, the big mouse has felt butterflies in his stomach. The reason is my passport. My passport passes its expiration date in July. Hummm... He said if we travel to other countries, they normally require passport holders to have six months of validly. He is a worrier, in contrast, I am easygoing. We don't have any plan to travel anywhere at the moment, and I think it's too early, but he wants me to secure it, just in case.

For that reason, I started to prepare for it. I don't have British nationality, so I have a Japnese passport. My current passport is navy colour (5 years), but the new passport will be red (10 years). I had 10 years passport before, but I needed to renew the passport with 9 years of validity left for a certain reason. I had to pay for it twice. Since then I've always had a 5 years passport, for a just in case.

However, I feel a personal attachment to this passport. Because UK fiancee visa is in it. It was really hard work to get the visa. Now, it's a good memory.

16 Jan 2016

Today's Sky

Swan

It has been so cold for a couple of days. Two swans have stayed in the pond for a while. Everytime I pass here, I stop and watch. I felt they were huge if they were out of water and stood on the ground.


14 Jan 2016

Today's Sky

You can't do anything about the LENGTH of your life,
but you can do something about its WIDTH and DEPTH.
 
- Evan Esar, Humorist
 

13 Jan 2016

My Project - Granny Square Something

As I make a lot of crochet items and sell them, I have a lot of small balls of yarns. Most of them are different types and different colours. As one of my 2016 projects, I decided to make a granny square something for myself to get rid of them. Hopefully a single bed cover. I used to make a granny square blanket and a cushion cover before. I always bought the same type of new yarns for these projects. But this time, like a traditional patchwork, I only use leftover yarns. Some are thick and some are thin. It may a bit awkward, but it would be something unique. :) Let's see.


12 Jan 2016

Today's Sky



Butterflies In Stomach

Suddenly something made a big sound in the middle of night. I was completely asleep in the bed and took a time to recognise what the sound was. ...It was the telephone. The telephone rang in the middle of the night. I thought it was a wrong number and I ignored it at first, and then I thought who was it? I felt butterflies in my stomach. If it was an emergency??? I woke up and checked the recorded number. Yes, it was from Japan. Suddenly I had butterflies in my stomach again. I thought something unusual must have happened. Something happened to my grandmother, family or relatives? Have I mentally prepared for what's ahead? Anyway, I called back soon.

"Hello, it's me. What's up?"
"Sooooooooory!!! I made a mistake with the time to call you."
Grrrrr. It was my mom... Oh dear... Can't be too careful though...

9 Jan 2016

Miracle

The world population is now over 7.3 billion. When you think about it, interpersonal encounter is nothing short of miraculous. When it comes to marriage partner, it's more than that. I have met many people since I was born. Some are still in touch, and some were like ships that pass in the night.

7.3 billion. It's too big number and it's beyond my imagination. But we have lived in the same earth and the same era. Most of them you would never meet.

Sometimes, my memories let my mind drift back over people who I met before. Some I met only once, some are not in touch anymore. Where are they and what are they doing now? They would never care about me, or don't remember about me at all, but in a sense, I think these each encounter was a miracle in our lives. A person who sat next to me in the airplane, a person who asked me a way to somewhere, we normally tend to forget about them soon. A person who had a date before, people who studied many things together at school. They are the past but they were some of the 7.3 billion in my life. They may not see me again, but I feel that was a miracle.

6 Jan 2016

At The Station

It was a misty morning. I was waiting a train at the station. I enjoyed fantastic scenery. :)
 

4 Jan 2016

Today's Sky

Shusse-uo

We are going to take down the Christmas decorations before the Twelfth Night. It's so sad that all decorations are taken down, so I decided to display a new year decoration.

I hung this Japanese towel which I bought in Japan when I went back last time on a wall. It's not a new year decoration but I think the design is very Japanese. Actually, designs are varied and they are popular as overseas gift as well.

This design is about a yellowtail. In my country, this fish is called Shusse-uo, it literally means a fish that is called by different names as they grow larger. And it is thought that it is a good luck symbol because people used to change their name as they achieved successful careers and changed their status in Edo period. It must bring our home a good luck.