Saturday, March 31, 2012

Japanese andromeda

Japanese Andromeda is in full bloom. It has large drooping clusters of small, waxy lily-of-the-valley-like flowers. The plant is poisonous if consumed by people or animals. Its Japanese name "asebi (馬酔木)"means "a tree to get drunk a horse". Understandable.

This is linking to Floral Friday Fotos.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring in the air

It's warming up.
The sun is shining.
And the flowers are blooming.
Spring is in the air.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nishiki Market

 Dear friends,

Fist, thank you for giving me your warm heart. To my surprise, my toenail is 90% all right. Luckily and surprisingly, thanks to the prompt treatment, I have no pain at all. I was able to walk long with no pain today.

Today I went to one of my favorite places, Nishiki Market in Kyoto. It is a 400-meter-long local market of more than 100 small shops. Mainly foods, such as pickles, seafood, beans, sweets, vegetables, etc.  It is called "Kitchen of Kyoto".

shop of only egg rolls

There are many shops which sell bite-sized food. So people enjoy eating while walking.
These pictures are part (not all) of what I ate. I must say, each piece is not a big amount, so I can enjoy many kinds. This makes a good attraction for many tourists both domestic and abroad.

seasoned small octopus

tempura of potato and butter

shop of only beans

I found cherry blossom has started to bloom. Beautiful flower.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Yellow vehicles

When I came to the fire station, I found this. Fire fighters have just come back??
They must have been too busy for some reason.

too messy
ambulance is on duty

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ingrown nail

Spring is back and forth around here. After two days of rain, we enjoyed a beautiful morning, but in the afternoon suddenly a cold, strong wind started to last beautiful sunset. Unstable weather.

I have ingrown toenail. But I don't think it's not in a very bad condition because I don't have a constant pain. But since a month ago, the pain became bigger day by day, yet I didn't think if I should go and see a doctor. I was patient. This morning when I talked about this to my husband, he said, "I'll take you to the hospital right now."  Like this way, in my life I have been taken to the hospital by my husband many times.

After seeing my right toenail carefully, the doctor explained about the treatment briefly and performed a surgery for the correction of an ingrown nail using a plastic material. First he injected two local aesthetics, but they didn't show enough effect, then two more aesthetics added. ..Patient. Finally it ended.
I want to see my toenail in detail, but for me it is impossible to check it. Can you?  Maybe my body is not flexible. I hope it gets well soon.
Thank you hubby.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Nishijin Fabric

The other day I had an opportunity to visit a museum and two factories where Nishijin fabric is woven.

Nishijin fabric is a gorgeous, silk fabric and brocade produced in Nishijin district of Kyoto(not far from the Golden Pavilion). It has a long history of more than 1000 years to meet the demand of the Imperial court and aristocracy.

Nishijin fabric is most concisely characterized as diagonally woven and patterned fabrics made from died yarn so as to come out much richer colors.  Its production involves many complex processes and they can be divided into five major areas: planning and making Mon (design sheet which guides the design structure to the loom during weaving), preparation of materials (including dyeing thread), preparation of looms, weaving, and finishing. Each of these processes is carried out by specialists working in a production network based on the division of labor.

The high-class quality of Nishijin fabric is compared with Lyon silk from France and Milan silk from Italy. Today it is used for not only for kimono and obi sash, but also for tie, handbag, shawl and many others.

I was able to hear the story of  several people in the different processes. And I understand their craftsmanship has been in a family for generations, but today young people wouldn't succeed any more because of its hard work. So they all are concerned about the industry future.  Worrisome prospect.

famous "Big Wave" by  Hokusai

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ume and the Seto Inland Sea

a small island and farming rafts

Please let me show you ume apricot once again.  Don't say, "No more ume." Because  I love this blossom so much.
Today I drove to the west for two hours to visit World Ume Park, which has around 350 kinds of ume from Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea. Now is the best time to view them. Why I came so far? Because this ume grove is located on the mountain and the opposite side is facing the Seto Inland Sea. So I can view both the blossoms and the sea at the same time. Let's enjoy some pics with me!

Chinese-style viewing platform

outside petal is more pink than inner petals

This is part of Floral Friday Fotos.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Inn of Camellia

 Today I visited "Camellia Honjin" in Ibaraki city, which is temporarly open to the public. This traditional Japanese house used to be used as an official inn for feudal lords called "Honjin
本陣" in Edo period.
When the Tokugawa military government united the country in the beginning of the 17th century, it ordered feudal lords to move periodically between Edo (present-day Tokyo) and his clan, typically spending alternate years in each place. His wife and children were required to live in Edo as hostages. The expenditures necessary to maintain lavish residences in both places, and for the procession to and from Edo, placed financial strains on the feudal lords making them unable to wage war. The frequent travel of the feudal lords encouraged road building and the construction of inns and facilities along the routes, generating economic activity.


400 years ago, feudal lords entered this gate in the lavish palanquin. "Camellia Honjin" was named after the notable Camellia tree standing just by the front gate. It is said to bloom five different kinds of flowers. I'm not sure five kinds.  Beautiful multi-petaled camellias.

Furthermore, in front of the entrance this weeping pink ume apricot is proud of its beauty.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mellow Yellow Monday...Paper lantern

Thid is part of Mellow Yellow Monday.

 These are the shots I took a few days ago. I love the mellow yellow light of the candle.
You can see the hanging decoration of small pink and white balls, which is made of rice cake.
I've never lived in such an old-style house, but I feel a pang of nostalgia for this room.

This flower arrangement was placed just by the front door. Every one is welcome.

In the yard I found several small statues. The left is a raccoon dog  and the right one is a Chinese-style old man doll.

Silver Pavilion

Two days ago, I visited the Silver Pavilion with my guests and had a very lovely time there. So today I'll take you to "the Silver Pavilion" with my photos. Its official name is Jishoji Temple,which is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto and one of the World Heritage site.
The Golden Pavilion is really gold color covered with gold leaf. But as you see below, the Silver Pavilion is not silver color. It's a wooden two-story architecture. (The main reason of not using silver was due to financial problem.)The original building was built in the late 15th century by the 8th Ashikaga Shogun (Yoshimasa Ashikaga). The first floor was built in samurai housing style and the second in Zen temple style with lotus-flower-shaped windows.

You can appreciate the beautiful sand garden. The cone-shaped sand is shaped into Mt. Fuji, and the striped sand shows the waves of the ocean.

Let's enjoy strolling along the path around the pond and on the mountain. The left room blow (only part of it) is said to be the first tearoom and the fist flower arrangement originated in this room.


 Green moss carpet and the sound of a brook give us fresh feeling and calmness. This place is my recommendation to those who want to enjoy Japanese "Wabi Sabi" -which is based on the idea that beauty lies in simplicity.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Floral Friday Fotos

Ume apricot is a symbol of the Tenmangu Shrines, so many ume blossoms can be seen in there. Tenmangu Shrines are Shinto shrines where a historical hero "Michizane Sugawara" is enshrined. He loved ume blossoms very much.
Shinto is the indigenous religion of Japan. It is polytheistic, and its gods are worshiped at shrines.
It is based on nature worship, hero worship and ancestor worship. It has neither a specific founder nor any books of scripture.

This bonsai tree has both red (pink) and white blossoms. I don't know how to create it, but it takes long time and energy to make it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Graduation Ceremony

In Japan, the school year starts in April and ends March. And the opening ceremony and the graduation ceremony are the two most important days in a year.
Today at many junior high schools in Osaka, the graduation ceremony was held with solemnity.

From the graduating class entered the gym to the end, the gym is filled with a sense of tension. The graduation proceeds with  the conferring of diplomas, speeches, and then a succession of songs. The first song, a kind of farewell serenade, is sung by the 1st  and 2nd grade students. Then it is graduating class's turn to sing a song. Probably some girls (boys too) struggle to sing while trying to hold back tears. Today is the final day of the junior high school and from now they all go to their next step, different high schools and works.
Not only graduates but also teachers remember their good days and bad days for the past three years.

For parents, too, this ceremony is very important. They can see their children's growth.
I remember  graduation ceremonies as a mother and as a teacher. Every time I fought back a flood of tears.
The graduation ceremony is a sad but beautiful, painful but joyful day.