28 Mar 2016

Today's Sky

Sky has changed so quickly because of Storm Katie. 
 

26 Mar 2016

Sunflower

I saw these pictures of sunflowers in Chelmsford the other day, drawn by students. The sunflowers remind me of Vincent Van Gogh's series, but they also remind me of the funny event in my life.


One day, when I was a child, my grandmother was visiting us. A delivery man came to bring us a parcel. But, my parents hadn't come back from work yet, so she received the parcel. At that time, when you received a parcel, using a personal (surname) seal was very common to use, instead of writing a signature. My grandmother opened a drawer and searched for the personal seal. She finally found the seal and gave the delivery man a receiving stamp. He tilted his head in confusion and he went back. My grandmother had thought he was strange but didn't doubt anything. Later, she explained to my mother about that event after my mother came back home. And we all laughed at the event. Because the seal she gave to the deliver man was not a personal seal, it was our toy stamp of sunflower.

23 Mar 2016

Zao

A place of my memories in Japan is the Mount Zaō, which is a complex volcano on the border of Miyagi and Yamagata Prefectures in Northern Japan. I've visited there many times since I was a child. There is a famous crater lake which is called 'Okama' also known as 'five colour pond' as the water colour changes depend on the weather. It was created by a volcanic eruption in the 1720's. When I was young, this view was a bit scary because of the natural steepness and crag of the volcanic mountain. A strong wind often blows. I always have scary images of blowing away or rolling down into the lake, or something like a natural monster swallowing me alive. I have a photo with my dead grandfather here. It's my memorable and precious photo. I was wearing a strip of white and red long socks (and my sister's red and white).


You can see Miyagi Prefecture at the bottom of the mount. Over the towns and villages, it's the Pacific Ocean, where the Tsunami happened.


There are some view spots to see waterfalls.


In autumn, you can enjoy watching autumn foliage. And in winter, the snow monster is famous, which is created by strong wind and snow against the trees and their branches. But the part of roads to Okama is usually closed during a winter (Nov-Apr) because of heavy and thick snow. When the road opens again in April, a several metres high white snow wall appear along the sides of the roads.


On a way back to downtown Zaō, there is Fox Village and also the Zao Cheese Factory. I've never been to Fox Village, but you can see some kinds of foxes there. And at the Cheese Factory, you can enjoy shopping. One of my favourite products is 'Zao White'. It's a 'cheese drink' which is a lactic beverage with a slight cheese flavour. It's popular among local people, at least among people I know. Someday, I want to visit there with the big mouse, a cheese lover.

21 Mar 2016

Make a Puppet

My aunt likes dolls. I remember that there were many dolls in her rooms. Some of them were rare character dolls like Peko-chan and Betty Boop. She got married but she didn't get rid of them. After she gave birth to a baby girl, I visited her house. I found a new Barbie doll in a glass cabinet. Once I thought it's for her daughter, but I noticed that the cabinet was completely locked for safety, from not touching by the girl. Hahaha, it was one of her doll collections. :) Loving lovely and kawaii dolls (soft toys) probably runs in our family. I like them and also my niece has a lot of animal soft toys.

Well, I received a stitch kit of rabbit hand puppet before, but it was sleeping in a drawer for long time. And finally I sewed it because Easter is coming. I didn't feel like to do blanket stitch, so I put ears inside and sewed around. Consequently ears stuck out awkwardly. It looks odd a bit... But you know, handmade is unique, so I didn't fix it. I am happy with it. (Rabbit; Are you sure? Are you happy with me, 100%?) Well, 80% happy, maybe? (What's rest 20% means?) odd ears... (So, you admit my ears were failure?) Well, not failure, just I thought... I could have made them nicer. You know, looks a bit awkward... (I don't mind. You did a good job.) Thanks.

This face reminds me of Doraemon, a Japanese cartoon character though...

20 Mar 2016

Hooray To You

My sister is delighted that her daughter passed the entrance exam for the first-choice high school. She had really studied hard. I remembered that when I passed the entrance exam, I screamed out, because I was really really glad about it. But, when I was a student, I didn't study like her!! I am so proud of her. Congratulations!

Today's Sky


15 Mar 2016

Birds Friendly

The other day, I found a lovely bird feeder at the Poundland. It's a cast iron and I thought it's good value. Soon after I hung it out, robins came to eat. How do birds know when a meal is served?? Do they have special sense of smell or vision? It's really amazing, isn't it?

Now, we hung another bird feeder outside. It's really nice that many kinds of birds come to a garden in the UK. In my country, sparrows, doves and ravens are the most common to be seen. Our garden is birds friendly, but not for cat.

13 Mar 2016

A Second Button

My niece left a school and will start a new high school life from this April. So I was thinking about my schooldays.

We have an interesting tradition among students after the commencement ceremony, that girls make a request to a boy in mind or a boyfriend for giving her a second button of his school uniform for a memory. This is always the second button because it's located the most closest to his heart.

This originates from war time, it is said that a girl had kept the second button of her boyfriend who went off to a battlefield. It meant 'always think of him' and 'always with him'.

I am not sure whether this custom is still alive. When I was a student, we had it, but I guess most students didn't know the real meaning. I had someone in my mind at that time, but I wasn't interested in this event. Because it's just a 'button'. So I didn't ask him. Anyway, I became to like him less...

11 Mar 2016

5 Years Ago Today

Several days ago, I read the news saying that the human bone which was meshed by fisherman’s net and found early this year was identified by DNA test after 5 years. She was one of missing people after the tsunami of 2011 in Japan. Outside our conscious awareness, searching for missing people has continued for families under the faint hope.

5 years ago today, I was shuddering in the cold and fear. No electricity, no gas, no water, inside the house was freezing cold as the same as outside. I was wearing thick snowboard wear all day, even in the bed. I was completely in despair at that time. I always worried about my grandmother and uncle who had lived near us. Also I worried about my parents' health and our damaged house. How to get food and water for tomorrow? What would happen tomorrow??

Once a year, at this time of year, I open a magazine to look back how awful damages we had in my hometown. I just don't want to forget our tribulation for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami and for our future. I appreciate that I am living from the heart. Now, my second half of life is here, in the UK.

R.I.P.

7 Mar 2016

Mystery of A Mushroom

I bought these mushrooms of garden orngaments last year. And recently, I noticed something.


Where have white dots gone??

6 Mar 2016

Today's Sky

A helicopter passed overhead.
 

Ooops

It is said that Girls Day's dolls should be took down immediately, otherwise the girls would have late marriage. . Ooops. I forgot to take the dolls down immediately this year. The big mouse said "No problem, because you've already married". Good point. :) Belated, the song of the festival is like this;

Happy Doll's Festival
Words by Satou Hachiro, Song by Kawamura
    Translation from Kouyouhttp://thejapanesepage.com/audio/hina_matsuri
 
Let's light the paper covered lamps
Let's give flowers, peach flowers (to the dolls)
Five (doll) musicians with flute and taiko (drum)
Today is the enjoyable Hina Matsuri

The Emperor and Hina dolls
The two lined up with straight faces
My sister-in-law who, coming as a bride,
Looked similar to the (doll) court lady's white face

On the golden folding screen, the light
Gently flickers in the Spring breeze
Did you have a little white sake?
The Minister of the Right doll with the red face
 
Changing clothes; tying the obi
Today I also will dress in my finest
For this special Spring day
More than anything--Hina Matsuri

5 Mar 2016

Retro-Flavoured

I did shopping at Franklins. It's one of the largest sewing machine retailers, established in 1956. I sometimes go there because they have some craft shops. Their retro-flavoured paper bag which celebrates their 60 years is nice:)


4 Mar 2016

Today's Sky


Hina-Arare

We ate Hina arare, because it was Girls' Day (Hina-matsuri) yesterday. Hina arare is a  rice snack for this special day, common dyed white, pink, green and yellow. Yum yum.


1 Mar 2016

A Viaduct

Crossing the field while watching sheep, when we walked to Chappel (Essex), we saw the huge railway viaduct (Chappel Viaduct). It was built in 1947-49 using over 7 million bricks!




It reminded me of another viaduct; the Leaderfoot Railway Viaduct in the Scottish Borders, which I saw with my frined in 2002.

Leaderfoot Viaduct  ©i-adnes.blogspot