Aug 30, 2014

Ten Things of Thankful

Ten Things of Thankful
I'm thankful for the fig jam I made on Monday. It is delicious! I like to have the jam with the homemade yogurt for breakfast.
I'm thankful for the flowers in the city park near the railway station.
I'm thankful for the book, Shizenha Oyatsu (Natural Snacks), written by Ejima Miuta, which has recipes for low-calorie cakes, pies and cookies. I have been using this book for more than fifteen years. (I wish it were translated into English.)

I'm thankful for the manjuu (steamed bun with adzuki bean jam filling) that I made on Monday, according to the recipe in the book mentioned above.

I'm thankful for the third goya bitter melon we've harvested from our garden.

I'm thankful that I've heard from the editor of RBC Ministries Japan. The pages I translated a few months ago are now being printed, and the devotional booklet is to be published in October. 
 I'm thankful that I've finished another translation assignment for RBC Ministries.
I'm thankful that I'm working at the municipal International Affairs Department as a volunteer twice a month. I help a few international residents learn Japanese there. I talked with a lady from the Philippines, a young lady and her father from Spain yesterday. There were four other Japanese volunteers joining the group, including two local junior high school students. The group was much larger than usual, and we enjoyed talking with one another in Japanese for two hours.
 I'm thankful for Sarah, who mentioned the book Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden in her comment two weeks ago. I've found the Japanese translation of the book in the city library and enjoyed reading it. The Japanese version is titled Sayuri, after the name of the heroine. I empathized with the heroine, and finished reading the story in two days.

I'm thankful that it has been getting cooler and more comfortable these days. I can stay asleep all night now.


Aug 29, 2014

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch 154

 I am joining Patrice @ Everyday Ruralty
for Chats on the Farmhouse Porch.
Everyday Ruralty 

1. Please tell me something you have done recently that was really fun.
I had a good time talking with several people at the municipal International Affairs Department this morning. I am helping some international residents learn Japanese there, and I talked with a lady from the Philippines, and a young lady and her father from Spain today. There were two local junior high school students visiting the facility as an assignment, and they joined us, too. We talked about our hometowns, favorite foods and sports. It was fun to get to know them. We spoke mostly in Japanese, but I am happy I had a chance to say a few simple sentences in Spanish and made myself understood. -- This might not sound very exciting to other people, but it was a lot of fun to me.

2. Do you worry about any issues regarding food/food quality/food production?
I worry about genetically modified foods.
3. Have you painted any of your walls with colors other than white, beige, or tan?
Our Japanese-style rooms have walls made of khaki plaster, and the western-style room and the kitchen have beige wallpaper. We have never had our wall painted since our house was built.
4. What is your favorite way to have a hamburger? If you do not eat meat, what is your favorite sandwich?
I like a cheese hamburger.
5. Please finish this sentence. If I could, I'd like to play_____________________. This could be a musical instrument, a part in a play- use your imagination:)
If I could, I'd like to play the organs that J. S. Bach played.

Aug 28, 2014

My Answers to Liz's Questions

   Liz @ Laws of Gravity has nominated me for the Liebster Award, asking me the following eleven questions. I am going to answer her questions today.

1. Have you ever noticed how JJ Abrams likes the number 47? Or how the answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42? Certain people identify with certain numbers. I already admitted to having an affinity for 11. What is your signature number?
I don't have any signature number. I've never thought about it.

2. Back in January, TIME magazine published an article on bad passwords. (I managed to find this again to illustrate a point while having a conversation with some juniors at the end of the last school year. They argued that a bad password was great protection as no hacker would try these anymore. I disagreed.) Have you ever used a "bad password"? Did you think it was good, or did you just need something easy?
No, I have never used a "bad password". However, I use the same password for many things, which I know is bad, but I don't want to memorize so many different passwords.
3. What time did you go to bed last night?
At 22:50. I sat up late reading a magazine last night. I usually go to bed at around 22:00.
4. What's the last movie you went out to see in a movie theater?
I saw a Japanese movie, Kono Sora no Hana, (Flowers in This Sky) more than two years ago. The story is set in the city where we live, and it is about fireworks, history, and hope.
5. As you all know, Tuesdays are my "what if" question days. And I'm running a bit low on ideas. What's the best "what if" question you can come up with? (Or come up with a mediocre one. I'm kind of desperate.)
This is the toughest question. --What if I couldn't think of even a silly question?-- In fact, it took me hours to come up with this one:
"What if you woke up one morning to find yourself literally invisible?"

6. Where are your car keys right now?
Nowhere. -- I don't drive a car.
7. Donna's New Day links to a random quiz on Sundays, and a couple weeks ago she found a quiz from the Oxford English Dictionary on finding the best new word for you. (They recently added a bunch of words.) Take the quiz (either frivolous or serious, or both if you're feeling adventurous), and give us your new word.
The new word you need: 5:2 diet
The definition:
diet that involves eating normally for five days out of a seven-day period and greatly restricting the amount of food eaten on the other two days.
Why?: You’re interested in the latest dietary trend.
8. Are you right or left-handed?
I am right-handed.
9. Are you with me in the cult of Doctor Who? (Are you watching the new season?) Who's your favorite Doctor?
I've heard of the drama, but I've never watched it.

10. If I were to offer to knit you something (anything) you'd like, what would you request?
I would request an Aran sweater.

11.Besides blogging, what's your favorite social media outlet (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.)?
Facebook, though I use it for less than ten minutes a day. I've signed up for Twitter and Pinterest, but I seldom use them.
 I am thankful to Liz for these interesting questions.

Aug 27, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge Vol. 187


1. As August draws to a close, share what's been your favorite weekend of the entire summer?
The first weekend in August, when we went to the fireworks festival in our city.
2. Labor Day is marked in the US of A on Monday, September 1st. What paying job have you held that you've loved the most? Liked the least?
I've loved teaching English as a foreign language at high school the most. I also worked part time as a private tutor when I was a student, and I liked the job, too.
3. Does the new school year start before or after Labor Day where you live? When do you think it should begin? There is much discussion now about older students having later start times to their school day...your thoughts?
In Japan, the new school year starts in April. The second trimester used start on September 1st, but these days it begins about a week earlier. The summer vacation has been shortened so that students will study longer in classrooms.
There are some people in our country who argue that the new academic year should start in September, but I think it is better to start in April, when it is far more comfortable. 
4. What's something you've worked at recently that could be deemed a 'labor of love'?
I have been working at the municipal International Affairs Department as a volunteer, teaching Japanese to some international residents twice a month.
5.Which of the following work idioms can you most relate to right now...'A woman's work is never done.', 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.' 'Many hands make light work.'
'A woman's work is never done.'
6. Crab or lobster or thanks, but no thanks? Favorite way to have your choice prepared?
Crab. Boiled crab seasoned with vinegar and soy sauce would be the best.
7. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, 'Three rules of work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.' Which of the three do you consider to be the most important? Share one of your own 'rules of work'.
'In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.' I think it is the most important because it seems the most challenging to find opportunity in difficulty.
One of my 'rule of work' is 'Take one thing at a time.' 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I have taken this picture in the park near the railway station. I don't know the names of these flowers, but I love their colors.

Aug 25, 2014

The Bench

   We went to the park on the hill in the eastern part of our city on a sunny day in early November. My mother had lived near the park before she got married, and we would often go there on weekends in my childhood. The park is famous for its cherry trees, and it is crowded with picnickers when they are in blossom.

   On that day in November, however, there were few people in the park. My parents and I sat on the bench by the pond and had lunch. After that, my father and I wanted to take a walk. My mother said she would rather take a rest, and remained there.

   My father and I walked around the pond. Some leaves had already turned red or yellow, but most still remained green. The path was covered with fallen leaves and acorns. In twenty minutes or so, we came back to the place where we had started.

   There was no one sitting on the bench. We looked around. My mother was nowhere to be seen. She may have gone to the powder room. We sat on the bench and waited.

   While waiting, it occurred to me that the day would surely come when she would disappear from sight forever, leaving my father and me behind. Things would never be the same again... My concern was not groundless.  My mother had been diagnosed with serious diseases years before. One of the reasons why I went to the park with her on that day was that I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible while she was still up and around.

   A few minutes later, I began to wonder if I should go to the powder room to see if my mother was all right. I stood up, and started walking. Soon I saw her coming up to me. I felt relieved to see her.

   We spent about one more hour chatting in the park, and my parents went back to their house, and I went back to my apartment.

   As it turned out, it was the very last time that I talked with my mother face to face. When I look back on that day, I often think of the presentiment that the empty bench evoked.


I am taking part in Two Shoes Tuesday
hosted by Josie @ Two Shoes in Texas.

Aug 24, 2014

Asiatic Dayflower

like tiny blue birds
Asiatic dayflowers
in the morning dew

I am joining  Gillena @ Lunch Break for Sunday Limes.


Aug 23, 2014

Ten Things of Thankful

Ten Things of Thankful
Ten Things That Help me Survive the Hot and Humid Summer
 ice cream
 iced coffee
(barley tea)

boiled edamame
(green soy beans)

(c) .foto project

(pickled Japanese apricot)

Aug 22, 2014

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch 153

Everyday Ruralty

1. What are you most looking forward to in the remaining months of 2014?
I'm looking forward to going hiking in Higashiyama in late September or early October.

2. Tell us about the last movie you saw, or book you read.
A few days ago, I watched Fahrenheit 451 on TV. It is a science fiction movie created in 1966, and it is based on a novel by Ray Bradbury. The story is set in the world where people are prohibited from owning and reading books.
3. Do you ever make smoothies or juice?
No. We prefer eating fruit as they are.
4. Who do you wish you could talk to right now?
Right now? No, I can't think of anyone in particular.
5. Please finish this sentence. "If I could spend a week in a lovely cabin in the mountains I would like to_______________________."

... paint a picture and write poems while staying there.

Aug 20, 2014


    My native language is Japanese, and the verb 'gather' can often be translated as 'atsumaru,' or 'atsumeru.' The former is an intransitive verb, and the latter is a transitive verb.
   Both of the words are spelt with this kanji character:
   The kanji for 'gather' is made up of two components. The upper half is a symbol for 'bird', and the lower half means 'tree.' This kanji comes from the image of birds gathering in a tree.

   In fact, we are now using a simplified from of an old Chinese character, which conveyed the meaning more accurately. Originally, there were three birds in the tree like this:
  Like one of the birds singing in a tree, I enjoy chatting with people through my blogs, though my song may often be out of tune...


Aug 16, 2014

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch 152

Everyday Ruralty

1. Are you still enjoying (or not) summer, or are you geared for fall?
Judging from the temperature and the humidity, I still feel as if I were in the middle of the summer. However, seeing plants like these reminds me that fall is just around the corner.

According to the traditional Japanese calendar, August 7 was the first day of fall, and in the world of haiku, it is already fall. 
I am still enjoying the summer, but I appreciate harbingers of the new season.

2. What's the one room in your home that you'd like to make a big change to?
Right now, I don't want to make any changes to our house. I feel as if our house had no room for improvement... Not that it is perfect, but I like it just as it is now.

3. Do you ever send "snail mail"?
Yes. I sometimes send snail mail to people much older than I am.
4. Do you dream? Often? Do you have nightmares?
I seem to dream less often than I used to. I don't remember having any nightmares recently.
5. Tell me something that makes you happy. Please.
Visiting one of the city parks makes me happy. These are some of the photos I took in the flower park yesterday.

snail vine