Friday, September 30, 2011

Kimmokusei-Fragrant Orange-colored Olive Tree

I love to smell flower scents. To be honest, I'm proud of a good sense of smelling.
When I walk out and smell some scents, I always nose around like a beagle dog.

Among various fragrant flowers, kimmokusei is one of my favorites. Kimmokusei is a fragrant orange-colored olive tree. I can see the trees in the parks and gardens everywhere around my house.
The small orange flowers are also attractive.
The smell is so pleasant. When I can start to smell this scent, I know autumn has surely arrived.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ise Grand Shrine

Luckily, today I had an opportunity to join the one-day tour to Ise Grand Shrine in Mie Prefecture, which I won in a lottery of a certain cafe.

Ise Grand Shrine is considered to be the most sacred Shinto shrine in Japan. Why?
Because it enshrines the Sun Goddess Amaterasu Omikami, who is believed to be the ancestor of the Japanese Imperial family. For this reason, the Emperor visits here when he assumes office, and on other important occasions. They say it was founded roughly 2000 years ago.

In the Edo period (1603-1868), Ise Grand Shrine is the important pilgrimage site most Japanese people wanted to visit in their life.
In the huge compound, I breathed a clean air and felt a solemn feeling.
I love the limpid river and super-beautiful carps.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sakai Town

Today I went to Sakai with my friend. Sakai is a very unique town with historical and cultural charm. The city is blessed with many temples, shrines and old houses. Among them, the world-largest tumulus named the Nintoku-ryo Tumulus is the most appealing to me. I can't imagine how large it is by just standing in front of it. I can only see a large stone torii gate and rich forest.

The town is also famous as the place where Sen no Rikyu was born. He was a tea master who had a great influence on the Japanese tea ceremony in the 16th century. We visited Nanshuji Temple where he practiced Zen meditation and his grave is located inside the precinct. I felt a quiet air with rustling pampas grass.

I also enjoyed the peaceful Japanese garden and the objects of cute elephants.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Asuka II in Kobe Port

Today I had a wonderful time both in the mountain and the sea.

In the mountain area, I saw a lot of big chestnuts, pampas grass, and golden rice ears. They are all autumn gifts to me.

After an hour's drive, I was just at the waterfront of Kobe Port. Luckily, the Asuka II, the most luxury liner in Japan, was anchored there. She has a beautiful white hull with  two red lines of the top.

 Asuka II offers a variety of facilities such as 8 passenger decks, a pool, bars, casino, fitness center, 277-seat theatre,etc and can carry 800 passengers and a crew of 470.
In addition, it has a viewing grand spa on the top floor, which is very Japanese!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumnal Equinox Day (Higan)

Today is the middle day of autumnal equinox week and a national holiday in Japan.

In the equinoctial weeks, they say spirits of ancestors return to this world. So special Buddhist services are held at the temples and people pay a visit to their ancestor's grave to offer flowers, incense and rice dumpling covered with bean jam called Ohagi.

There is a common Japanese saying "Summer heat or winter cold doesn't last after the equinox."
I hope real autumn finally arrived.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wonderful Day!

Today I had a wonderful time with lovely people in Osaka.
Thank you so much for coming to Japan now!
A cute junior high school student came to us to present a beautiful paper crane.
Beautiful memory of Osaka Castle.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Osaka Station City

JR Osaka Station was born again on May 4th by the name of "Osaka Station City."
Roughly speaking, it consists of South Gate Building, North Gate Building and Osaka station. There are two gorgeous department stores, an elegant  mall, big movie theaters, sports facility and many others.

Osaka Station City features five plazas and each one has a distinct clock.
My favorite clock is Water Clock at the South Gate Plaza. The moving pattern is different by season. Now several designs symbolizing autumn such as grapes, dragonflies and rice harvest are used for it.  Amazing!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Japanese Bush Clover Temple (Temple of Hagi)

 Today I visited a Buddhist temple named Tokoji Temple in Toyonaka, which is famous for its Japanese bush clover, hagi in Japanese. The precinct is filled with beautiful pink and white bush clover. There are some hanging strips of paper on which haiku is written.

Haiku is a very compact Japanese verse form composed of 17 syllables in a 5,7,5 line pattern including a seasonal word. Bush clover is a general seasonal word for autumn.

It is a harbinger of the arrival of autumn, although it has been still very hot today.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY  September 15th

Outside my is dark now.  It is much better than last month, but today's high temperature was 33 degrees Celsius (91.4 degrees Fahrenheit)  in Osaka. Autumn is just around the corner, hesitating to come here.

I am thinking...about what my old dog Annie can eat. When she was young, she had a big appetite and was a bit plump. But now she eats very little and is very skinny. I'm looking for what she can eat.

I am thankful...for all the bloggers who stop by this blog. 

In the kitchen...there is a big pot of vegetable curry of zucchini, eggplant, tomato and so on. I'll eat it in three different ways. First, curry and rice, next, wheat noodle topped with curry, and fried curry rice.

I am short and gray T-shirt. Comfortable wear.

I am creating...a picture album for my website.

I am buy a cute ornament to be attached to the baby buggy for my grandson Rintaro. I'm sure it will work to entertain him.

I am wondering...if I am healthy. I had a headache when I was sleeping yesterday. It was my first time. I'm getting less confident about my condition. But tomorrow I'm going to play tennis outside with my friends.

I am reading...To kill a mockingbird. In August edition of Simple Woman's Daybook, I found someone wrote about that book and the post let me to read it. 

I am more natural disasters will happen (at least within this year). Two weeks ago Typhoon Talas hit the central part of Japan. There still remain several landslide dams. This year too many natural disasters attacked many places in the world.

I am looking forward to...the arrival of the cool autumn. Autumn is my favorite season. It is  filled with beautiful colors and delicious foods.

I am hearing...the sound of a motorbike rumbling and an electric fan. Sometimes someone's big sneezing, which is a little annoying.

Around the house...there are weeds I need to pull up, but it's too hot for me to do now.

I am pondering...I should take care of myself more. I am responsible for my condition to myself.

One of my favorite playing tennis with my friends. Sometimes I win and other times I lose. Before I lost most games, so now it is much better. Playing a game is more fun than just practicing how to play in the lesson.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Tomorrow, I will play tennis. This Saturday I will drive to somewhere to get some early autumn harvest with my family.

Here is picture for thought I am adorable pet Annie.

Click to visit The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Great Shock

I'm really disappointed.
Now I am creating my website to offer a private tour in Japan with the help of PC school teacher. I started my blog first as one main part of the website. I've worked very hard for that these two months. But today I realized I should restart it from the beginning once again because I have made some serious mistake (but now I don't know what happened) My teacher pointed it out and next time I'll know.

It seems a long way to launch a website. I wonder when I can put up my website. But I'll stick to it. I'll never give up. Pray for me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shin-Osaka Station

 Around seven in the evening, I was on the Shinkansen bullet train platform in Shin-Osaka Station to help a foreign traveler to transfer to another super express train for Kansai International Airport.

"Shin" means "new" in Japanese and Shin-Osaka station was made for Shinkansen that started its operation in 1964.
This station is always crowded with travelers and business people. Especially around this time, traveling businessmen rush onto a train to go back to their hometown. Many people buy something to eat such as box lunch and snacks as well as a canned beer.Short  Relaxing time.
The front face of the popular bullet train really resembles "platypus."
Cool but a little comical to me.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Harvest Moon Viewing (Tsukimi)

Tsukimi used to be a harvest festival to celebrate good rice crop in viewing the full moon. Unfortunately this custom is disappearing these days.

Still, at some homes, pampas grass are displayed and many families enjoy special rice dumplings covered with sweet red bean paste, which look like the moon partly covered with a cloud. Very, very sweet.

This year's moon viewing falls on today. So, I drove to nearby mountain to see the beautiful harvest moon with my husband. I'm satisfied with the beautiful moon with nice cricket singing.
A feeling of well-being.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Expo Park

This is a picture of my favorite place. It's Expo Park in Suita, which is not far from my house.

In 1970, Japan World Exposition was held here from March through September. Japan was in the midst of the rapid economic growth at that time and the event was very successful. 64 million people came here from around the world.
After the event, this vast place turned into a huge park with a wonderful Japanese garden and two museums such as National Folklore Museum and Osaka Folk Crafts Museum.

This tower is "Tower of the Sun" which was created as the simbol of the expo by Taro Okamoto. It has a very unique figure with four faces. You can see a golden face which simbolizes "Future Sun" and a front face which simbolizes "Present Sun." On the back there is a black face which simbolizes "Past Sun."
But one more face "Underground Sun" has been missing after the event. It was kept somewhere. No one knows.

This place is very much like my garden.  Every season I come here to find something attractive to me. I love this park!

Friday, September 9, 2011

September 9th

There are lucky numbers in the world. And probably they are different depending on the country and custom.

In Japan, generally, even numbers are not favored, because they can be divided, signifying parting and breaking. Many people imagine 1,3,5,7 as good numbers.
But nine is not considered to be a lucky number. It's because nine is "ku" in Japanese which means suffering and agony.

1/1(January 1st) is New Year's Day, 3/3 is Dolls Festival  (Girls Day), 5/5 is Children's Day (Boys Day), 7/7 is Star Festival. They are all special days and people celebrate these days (especially family with small kids)

9/9 is not so popular now, but in ancient times, September 9th was a special day called "Chrysanthemum Day" to wish for longevity. They say chrysanthemum flowers were displayed and people drank chrysanthemum-floating rice wine.

By the way, my favorite number is "3", because I was born on March 3rd.

What is your lucky number?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Great Expectations

Autumn is surely coming around here. High blue sky without any clouds and insects singing at  night. Now I am really looking forward to "Danjiri Matsuri" or autumn harvest festival.

Danjiri is a float with elaborate sculptures of historical war battle scenes and samurai on it. Many men wearing the same happi coats pull floats along the streets.
In the southern parts of Osaka Prefecture, this longstanding tradition still remains. Each town has a danjiri float and they are pulled by hundreds of people to compete each other to boast their courage and unity. Participants wear special cotton trousers, jikatabi or rubber-soled cloth foot gear and the same happi coat.

 During this time, festival goods are sold at the supermarket. Even  13-cm foot gear for young kids are sold. From a little child  people learn to enjoy and support this festival in this area.

Last night when I went to Sakai city to see Rintaro, I had a chance to see young boys practicing music instruments for festival which will be held over one month ahead. They were listening to the leader's advice in a very serious way. Good relationship.

This might be a good example of lifelong education.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Two-month blogger

As a two-month blog beginner, now I think posting a blog is much more fun than I expected and reading other people's blogs is far more attractive, because each blog has a different design, different circumstance, different interests and different point of view. It makes my world larger and more exciting. Now I must admit that I am a big blog fan.

Today when I checked one of my favorite blogs, I found a super funny video of  nice ballet. I made a happy laugh for a while, so I want to share it with you.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Autumn is just around the corner

Thanks to my wonderful friend, I had a chance to harvest her (her husband's) field today.
Just after the heavy rain caused by the typhoon, I felt the air became fresh and clean and autumn is just around the corner.

Rice field has turned yellow to wait for the harvest time. I heard some ducks quacking in a rice field. It looks like an organic duck farm which leaves ducks as fertilizer instead of chemical one. I just heard their quacking  but I couldn't see them because the rice has already grown very tall.

Today's harvest:  four figs, two yellow melons, three eggplants, a lot of green peppers, green and red shiso Japanese basil. Now I'm thinking of making shiso juice. I need to check how to make it on the Internet.
Rich in vitamin C.

Well, Typhoon #12 has passed Honshu main island with big damage left.  Sadly, up to the present time, 31 people were killed and 55 are missing.
It made me realize again that Japan is a natural disaster-prone country.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Samma Pacific Saury

This is my fist samma of the season. It was around 30cm and very delicious. Samma is Pacific saury and it is a harbinger of autumn in Japan. Eating with grated radish and citrus was really wonderful.

But this year  is different after March quake.

The waters within 100 kilometers off the Fukushima troubled nuclear plant usually become major sanma fishing sites around October to November, according to the sanma fishery co-op.

But there is a move to address concerns among wholesalers, retailers and consumers about possible radioactive contamination of seafood in the area. So this year fishermen will have to go to a little farther and wider than usual to catch samma.
The samma I ate today seems to have been caught in waters near Hokkaido. From there, the fish will gradually travel south, with fishing boats moving along with them.
I wonder how many people will avoid eating samma and other sea food from the area.

By the way, as for Typhoon #12,  I have prepared for the monster storm coming, closing the shutters and stowing things away from the veranda. The typhoon slightly veered the course. In the daytime it was cloudy, sometimes rainy with strong wind. At last it is storming now.
I wish it will go away soon.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Typhoon #12 (Typhoon Talas)

Typhoon #12 is approaching Japan.  The weather reporter says Typhoon #12 is a large, strong typhoon moving slowly and we will have heavy rain these two days.
Typhoons are violent tropical storms which occur in the northwestern Pacific and often strike Japan from early summer through autumn. According to the survey from 1970 to 2000, on an average, 26.7 typhoons are born in a year. Among them, 10.8 typhoons come close to Japan and 2.6 typhoons hit Japan. ( Now one is coming.)

In Japan, we usually call typhoon with the number. But each typhoon has a name like hurricane. For example, this coming typhoon #12 is Typhoon "Talas" which means "sharpness" in Filipino. The international names for typhoon were made in 2000 by Asian countries and USA.
There are 140 different names of which each country named several. For example, Tembin and Yagi are adopted from Japanese words.
But in spite of such effort, these international names are not favored in Japan. I'm sure number is much easier to remember and pronounce than some unfamiliar foreign words.
Still, I'm interested in those names.  Damrey  which means elephant in Cambodia, Haikui which means sea anemone in China ......