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

Ten Things of Thankful

Ten Things of Thankful
   I said last week that it took me as long as forty minutes to get dressed in a yukata, and many of you wondered why it took that long. Well, first, it took me minutes to adjust the length of the yukata. Women's kimono are designed so that one size fits all, so they are always too long for everyone. Each person has to adjust the length by tucking the dress in neatly around the waist. It is very difficult for beginners. Second, I had to redo the obi sash three times. I had to struggle with the nearly 4-meter-long (about 13-foot-long) obi, trying to tie it properly.
    I've found a video at YouTube showing how to put on a yukata, with English subtitles. The lady in the video seems to be an expert, and it takes her only a few minutes.

I am thankful to have found the video above.
I am thankful that we've finally harvested the first two goya bitter melons grown in our garden.
I am thankful for the recipe for a goya salad in the newspaper. According to the recipe, I boiled the thinly sliced bitter melon for a very short time, and made a salad with sliced konnyaku (devil's tongue starch paste). The dressing is made of miso (soy bean paste), vinegar, mustard, and sugar. The salad tasted good.

As you can tell from its name, goya bitter melons are slightly bitter. We find its bitterness refreshing and invigorating.

I am thankful for the goya champuruu that I cooked with one of the bitter melons. Goya champuruu is a popular dish made up of bitter melon, pork, onion, tofu, egg and katsuo-bushi (dried bonito flakes.) All we have to do to make it is slice the vegetables, stir-fry all the ingredients together, and season with soy sauce. 
I am thankful for the flowers of giboshi (plantain lilies) that have come out in front of our house this week. They are in the shaded corner of the small front yard, and they have grown very tall without my knowing it. I might have missed the flowers if my father hadn't told me about them.
I am thankful for my father, who diligently waters the plants in our garden every morning.
I am thankful for the newspaper that is delivered to our house every morning. I enjoy reading it very much. -- I miss it badly on a newspaper holiday, which comes once a month.
I am thankful that the cake I baked for a friend of mine was successful.

I am thankful for Noriko, a new friend of mine, who invited me to have tea at her house yesterday.  I had a very good time. Noriko is friendly, and both of us are interested in patchwork. She showed me some of her works.
I am thankful for my favorite Japanese cake, kumo-gakure, which Noriko served at the tea. I had never told her about my love of this cake before. We had never talked about what kind of food we liked. Besides, kumo-gakure is available only at a very small number of shops in the northern part of our prefecture. It takes at least one hour to drive to the nearest shop. So, I was surprised to find the cake on her table. Noriko's daughter-in-law had got it in Niigata, when she visited the theme park there with her family a few days ago. I am happy about the coincidence.

Aug 13, 2014


  This is a copy of part of my report card from 2nd grade:

The grading for our elementary school was A (excellent), B (average) and C (unsatisfactory.)
A circle indicates performance is satisfactory and a cross shows it is unsatisfactory. 

The following is the summary of my report card in English.

The school year starts in April in Japan.
the 1st term: April -- July
the 2nd term: September -- December
the 3rd term: January -- March 

These are the comments my second-grade teacher, Ms. Harada wrote in the report card.

the 1st term:
Romi often expresses her opinions in class, and her opinions are to the point. She should improve her handwriting.
the 2nd term:
Romi does her best in everything she does. I hope she will keep up the good work in the next term.
the 3rd term:
Romi has been working steadily and diligently. I hope she will continue to be successful next year.

   Ms. Harada was an experienced, reliable teacher. She encouraged me to improve my handwriting. I was very clumsy and awkward. I was hopeless in P. E. I still am.

   I used to be almost hopeless in Music, too. It was Ms. Harada that suggested to my parents that they should have me learn how to play a musical instrument so that I could improve my musical skills. Following her advice, I started learning how to play the electronic organ. -- In those days, no one dreamed that I would be a church organist some day in the future.-- I owe a great deal to my first- and second- grade teacher, Ms. Harada.

This post is inspired by Two Shoes Tuesday  and Linda @ Senior Adventures.

Aug 9, 2014

Ten Things of Thankful: August 2 --August 9

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for the amazing fireworks festival that was held in our city on August 2 and 3.  The fireworks are getting more and more beautiful every year. The mayor says that our fireworks are the very best in the world. The following video found on YouTube will show you a series of fireworks named Phoenix, which was displayed on August 2. It was amazing.

I am thankful that I am learning how to dress myself in yukata, a thin cotton kimono which is often worn for a summer festival in Japan. I put on my favorite yukata on August 2. --It took me as long as forty minutes to put it on, and I felt exhausted when I finished getting dressed.-- Anyway, I managed to tie the obi sash by myself, and I was in time for the fireworks show.

I am thankful that I served as the organist at the worship service on August 3. I couldn't play perfectly, but I did my best. I am glad that I have become one of the regular organists at the local church.

I saw some beautiful lilies in front of the city library. I am thankful that I find some new flowers there every time I go to the library.

I am thankful that I have finished sewing a new skirt. It is made of the traditional cloth I found in a chest my mother had left meIt seems to have been part of her old kimono. Most of my friends notice that it is made of kimono fabric and ask me if I have made the skirt myself. I am thankful for their kind comments.

I am thankful for the open air market I went to on Tuesday. I got a lot of fresh tomatoes, eggplants, green peppers, onions, and peaches there. They were less expensive than those sold at supermarkets.
 I am thankful that I have finished my latest translation assignment for RBC Ministries this week.

For the last 10 days or so, the high temperature has been around 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) where we live. We are thankful that we are somehow surviving the summer.
I am thankful for the popsicles that we have in the afternoon on extremely hot days. Our favorite popsicles have sweet adzuki bean jam in them.


On Friday, I had lunch with M* at the restaurant in our neighborhood. I am thankful for the delicious grilled sweetfish and rice served there.


Aug 8, 2014


   I fill the watering pot and water the plants in my garden.
   God fills me with His love so that I will share His love with others.
Watering can P1080280
*This post is very short, but it is all I can write in 5 minutes today.

Aug 7, 2014

My Earliest Memory, My Favorite Pasta Topping, and so on

Everyday Ruralty

I am joining Patrice for Chats on the farmhouse porch today.

1. What's the earliest time in your life you can remember? Can you remember being 2 years old, 5 years old, etc?
My earliest time in my life I can remember is, if my memory serves me, the day when I visited a preschool for the first time with my mother a few weeks before I officially started going there. I was almost four years old. I remember an older pupil gave me a pinwheel made of origami at that time.
2. What's do you like to put on pasta? (Your favorite topping.)
Stir-fried clams, onions, garlic, red pepper, and Parmesan cheese.
3. Is there something that takes time away from more important things in your life? (TV, internet, talking on the telephone, etc.)
I guess I am spending too much time on the Internet.
4. Do you buy many clothes that are "high maintenance"? (Clothes that need to be ironed, dry cleaned, or hand washed)
No, not at all. My most important criterion for choosing a new clothes is that it is NOT "high maintenance."
5. Please finish this sentence. "I'd like to visit the beach today and-------------------------."
... observe the sea, swim a little, collect seashells and sea glass on the beach, and relax in the shade.

Aug 6, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge Vol.185

I am taking part in Wednesday Hodgepodge,
hosted by Joyce @ FROM THIS SIDE OF THE POND.

1. What would you say is the key to success?

2. Have you ever been to the Florida Keys? Any desire to visit that part of the US of A?
No, I haven't. The beautiful place seems to be worth visiting.
3. When and where did you last see a real live donkey? Monkey? Turkey?
I saw monkeys in the small zoo in Oyama last April.
4. An old Portuguese proverb says, 'Beware of the door with too many keys.' What do you think this means? Share an example of how this has proven true or false in your own life.
I have never heard of this proverb, and I am wondering what it means. -- The door with too many keys can be interpreted in two ways:
(1) This door has only one lock and too many identical keys.  There are too many people carrying a copy of this key. There are too many people who can access what is kept in the room or the building.
(2) The door has many locks and we need a different key for each of the locks. We need to have all the keys with us in order to open the door. It is not easy to enter the room or the building.
An example in my own life?-- I'm afraid I cannot seem to find the key(s) to the place(s) where relevant memories are stored away.
5. Besides your home, vehicle, and special jewelry, what is something you keep under lock and key?
I don't keep anything else under lock and key, unless I am figuratively speaking.
6. When did you last get keyed up about something?
'Keyed up' -- 'anxious or excited' -- Personally, I have been leading a peaceful, quiet life, and I don't remember getting remarkably 'keyed up' recently.
7. Who thinks we need an easy one right about now? Key lime pie...yes please or no thank you?
Yes, please. In fact, I have never had key lime pie, and I would like to know what it is like.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
Have you watched this video?
Patrice @ Everyday Ruralty wants to take a course on Nutritional Psychology Coaching, and hopes to win a scholarship. We can help her win the scholarship by watching her video on YouTube, and click on the 'like' button. For more detailed information, please visit Patrice's original post. Thank you in advance.