I Miss Spring!

Hello there! It’s getting more muggy here, and I really miss our wonderful spring! How is the weather there? I hope you are having a good one.

Today, I want to show some photos of plum blossoms that I have taken a couple of months ago. Of course, our plum blossoms bloom in early spring. We can’t see them anymore.

I think our cherry blossoms are much popular than the plum blossoms in the world, but actually, they are really cute. I love both of them.  I especially love the rich pink ones.

I took these pictures at a shinto shrine close to our house.

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Plum blossoms sometimes have been used to a Shito shrine, temple or family symbols like the flog.

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This pink plum tree was so cute! I really loved this one.

 

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This tree is white. The white one is pretty too, but I prefer the pink one.

 

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Well, this is new. The shinto shrine has a pray spot for kitties. Since I am a cat person, I couldn’t help taking the photo!!

 

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We have lots of different pink colors in our plum blossoms. This one is my favorite color!

 

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Do you know what it is? This is called “omikuji” in Japanese. You can read about omikuji here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O-mikuji This is a part of our shinto-ism or Buddhism. We are kind of superstitious and try to know our fortunes.  When I visited here, I tried it out. We usually leave the used omikuji like this in the photo. The white paper things in the photo are all used omikuji.

 

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This plum tree is my favorite one. I really love the rich pink!

 

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Plum blossoms are a good object for painting, and when you look at our ancient paintings, you can see a lot of them on papers, porcelain, woods and so on.

Now, we are having lots of hydrangeas. Which flowers can you see in your place now?

I hope you start a good week! See you in weeks here again!

 

-Yumi

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This Is One of The Reasons That I Want To Learn Another Language

Hello there! Really long time no see! I am very sorry for the delay. I had been very busy with painting, traveling around the States and so on. Now, I finally have settled my life normal and started blogging again. I will update my other art blog soon as well.

Today I want to write about my thing a bit.

A couple of days ago, I finished reading a book which was originally written in Spanish. I read the English version of the book. Since my first language is Japanese, of course, I don’t think I could understand the book perfectly. However, I felt the book was one of the bests which I have ever read in my entire life. It was my first time to feel the way when I read English books.  You might be curious which book I read. You can see the book title and read some reviews here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1232.The_Shadow_of_the_Wind, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2051256._?ac=1&from_search=true, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15827788?ac=1&from_search=true

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After reading it, I bought the Japanese translation version. Right now I am reading the same book in Japanese. While reading, I can’t stop thinking that I wish I could read Spanish! If I could handle it, I did enjoyed reading the original one. I am very curious which translation version is better than the other one between English and Japanese.  I can compare between the English translation version vs the Japanese one. I will write the review after I finish reading the Japanese one on Goodsread. You will be able to read my review there then. I think it’s an interesting way to learn another languages. I want to read two versions of the same books from now on when I find interests in the book.

I am learning both conversational English and Italian, and I am thinking that I want to start learning Spanish after I improve my Italian. One of the goals for my Spanish will be to read my favorite Spanish authors books in Spanish.

I think it’s endless to learn another languages. When I started learning conversational English, I never ever thought I would study Italian. Now, I started thinking studying Spanish. Life never makes me feel bored. I am feeling like I am rowing a small boat to find a land named a goal in the ocean called adventures. I still don’t find any goals yet, but I am enjoying rowing my boat.  I can say that another languages definitely have open my horizons.

Thank you for reading my blog post.  I will update my blog constantly again. Stay tuned!

Imaginary Friend

Hello there! How have you been so far? I am still busy with homework from my painting school. My teacher makes me upset a lot with the assignments because she doesn’t like anything I design. Well, it’s life, right?

Anyway, today I want to write about imaginary friends. A couple of days ago, I finished reading a book in English. The book is for children and written about the protagonist’s imaginary friend. This made me remind me of my imaginary friend when I was three years old.

Have you had an imaginary friend when you were a kid? Yes, I had. When I was three years old, my parents bought their own house, and we moved to the place. I had some friends in my previous place, but I had no friends in the new place. I have a younger sister, but I was an only child then. After moving, I started following my mom because I was scared to be alone where I was not familiar. She sometimes told me that stop following her, but I had never quit it.

One day, my parents bought me a swing. I was playing with it with my favorite teddy bear in our small yard. I thought if I could have a human company, it would be great. Then, a boy showed up from the gate of our back yard. He looked much older than me. I thought it was a bit weird that somebody showed up from the way, but I was glad to see the boy. He asked me if he could join me. I said yes, and we enjoyed playing together. I asked him where he lived, he told me four doors down. When my mom called me from our house, I told him that I would be right back. When I went back, he was not there. Since I didn’t ask his name, I couldn’t call him.

My mom asked me who I was playing because she heard my talking voice. I told her that I met a boy, and he and I were playing with the new swing. She seemed to be happy to hear that. After that, I med two boys, one lived in our next door who was one year older than me, and the other one lived in two doors down who was same age as me in our neighborhood. I made friends with them, and I forgot the boy whom I played with the swing.

Somehow, all the sudden, when I was around seven years old, I remembered him. I asked about him to my mom if a boy lived in four door down. That’s because since then, I had never met him. My mom said that there were no boys there because the house was a dormitory for nurses.  I probably mixed up our next door boy and four door down boy together. However, I thought that boy was much older and taller than them.  He didn’t look like them. I asked the boys how we met. They shared their memories, but they didn’t relate to the swing. Then, they and I visited the house where he told me that he lived in, but we couldn’t find any boy there.

So, what did I see? Did I play with a ghost? I think that was my imaginary friend. I was always lonely without any friends in the new place. My mom was always busy with settling up their house. Then, I created the boy. I don’t know why it was a boy who was much older than me. Does it make sense to you?

In the book the protagonist could see his imaginary friend whenever he wanted. However, in my case I saw him only once. I have never seen him again. Even so, can I call him as my imaginary friend, or he might be a ghost?!

Thank you so much for reading my blog post. I hope I will update my other blog (My Porcelain Painting Blog) in two weeks.

See you around here again in two weeks!

 

-Yumi

 

Food Art in Japan

Hello there. How are you doing?

I wanted to write about my previous place where my family and I had spent for seven years, but I don’t have enough time to blog this time. I have to start over my last tea set for my painting school. So, I changed my mind. When I have enough time for blogging, I will write about the place. I am sorry for this. In stead of this, today I want to show you so-called food art. I took these pictures when I ate dinner with my hubby, family or parents at some French restaurants. In Japan French cuisines are expensive. I like dressing up and going out with my hubby or family there. I hope you enjoy the photos.

La Baie, The Ritz-Carlton hotel  This restaurant have been given one star from the Michelin Guide.

https://www.ritz-carlton.co.jp/restaurant/labaie/

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The second picture is some bread. I was inspired by the way they served them. We can keep bread warm longer in the box.

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Some salt with two different butter. I really loved the butter in the right side.

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This is the Japanese portion, lol!!!!  Now you know why we don’t have BIG people here.

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Don’t you think this looks like art? I think both Japanese food and French food are very visual food.

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This crepe had a bit alcohol, brandy and I couldn’t eat it. ( I am weak at alcohol. My hubby enjoyed eating it.)

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They served us more deserts. Oh, I loved their service!

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On the other day, my family and my parents went to the other French restaurant, Restaurant Varier. http://www.restaurant-varier.com/menu/index.html

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Well, Japanese portion again, lol

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This dish is very artistic!

 

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The color red and the color green, the contrast is very pretty!

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My favorite, Foie gras with stake, of course, Japanese portion, lol

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This plate is also very artistic.

 

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Did you find some art in Japanese French cuisines? I am wondering which one is more artistic, real French food in France or Japanese French food in Japan? I would love to try out real French food in France in person some time!

Thank you for stopping by my blog. See you around in two weeks!

-Yumi x

 

 

 

 

Castella, the Oldest Japanese Cake

Hello there! How did your new year start? Have you set up some goals to achieve for this year? What are your new year’s resolutions?

I have set up some goals that I really want to achieve and made some new year resolutions. I will try my best to reach my goals this year as well, and I will see the result at the end of this year.

Today I want to introduce Japanese oldest cakes to you. I hope this blog entry is interesting for you who are interested in Japanese culture or history.

The cake is called “castella”.   It is around 400 years old. You can read the history here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castella   In the 17 century, the Edo period my country had closed our country from other countries to protect ourselves. It had been keeping in 300 years. During the time we created our own unique culture. Castella was born in the 17 century. Even though, we didn’t open our country to others, we had exchanged stuff with Portugal and Holland.  They brought us guns, Christianity, Western culture like western medicines, western science and so on. Castella was introduced by Portuguese. We had a large port in Nagasaki, the Kusyu erea. They came to the port with Castella. They started living with Japanese people in the area. Some Japanese people learned how to make Castella from them. Since then, Castella is very popular among all aged Japanese people. I love the cake as well.

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Castella texture is different from Western cakes. They are very soft and mild.

 

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I found a very interesting advertizement paper with the Castella box. Since I took some photos of it, I want to share them with you.

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This seems to be very old advertizement of Castella. Since some Japanese characters are very old, I can’t read some words even though I can guess the meaning.

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You can see a Castella factory in the advertizement.

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You can see when the Castella factory opened. It says “since 1624”. Actually, the factory name is “Fukusaya” and it’s in Nagasaki prefecture. I think the Castella factory is the oldest one in Japan, and I really love the castella from the factory. I think the shop’s one is the best!

They have an English HP! http://www.fukusaya.co.jp/global/en/index.html According to the HP, the current shop owner is 16th generation from the first one. I am very amazed! The factory also have very long history with their Castella!!!

When you come to Japan, get some Castella at an airport! You will love them!

See you around in two weeks again!

Have a lovely week, everyone!

-Yumi x

 

-Yumi

My Review in 2017

Merry Christmas! How have you been so far? I hope you are having a happy moment with your family.

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I took this beautiful Christmas tree photo at The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Osaka when I had dinner there with my family.  I will write about this on my other blog entry some time.

I want to review my year this time, and this is supposed to be the last blog entry for this year. I will update my other blog, my porcelain painting blog at the very end of this year, though. Please visit my other blog then!

At the beginning of this year, I made some new year’s resolutions. I do this every year. I can be proud of myself with two things that I achieved. First, I lost 4.5 kg with exercise. Now, I got back a very flat stomach, and I can wear anything I want, even a bikini, lol! This makes me very happy. Secondly, I finished reading 38 books, 9889 pages in English! This year I focused on reading more advanced and thicker books. I am glad that I can enjoy reading in English now. Beside these, I almost finished my current porcelain painting course. I am going to the final course next year. I am getting closer to my goal!  I started learning Fair Isle techniques in knitting. It was a long time dream for me. I am glad that I finally made this come true.

On the other hand, I feel ashamed with something that I couldn’t achieve. I didn’t study conversational Italian before and went back to Italy. Of course, I couldn’t communicate with people in Italian at all. After I returned to Japan, I started learning conversational Italian. My progress is very slow, but I want to keep going. I wanted to knit something with an English pattern, but I didn’t do this. I wanted to get a higher award from the city art show, but I couldn’t.

Next year I want to get a higher award from the city art show. I want to make a master piece that I can be proud of!!!!  I want to lose at least 3 kg more and build more muscles. I especially want to lose fat around my waist. I want to read more advanced and thicker books in English. I hope I will be able to finish my final course of my porcelain painting school, I mean I want to finish it at the end of March in 2018. I want to learn crochet. I want to knit something with an English pattern. I will keep studying conversational Italian and want to memorize basic stuff. These are more concrete wishes for me, and of course, I want to stay healthy and enjoy my life.

How about your 2017? I hope you could achieve a lot of goals. I think setting up some goals and making lots of efforts to achieve them is the best in our lives. We can feel the meanings of our lives.

I really hope 2018 will be better for all of us! I will keep making efforts to make my dreams come true, and I hope you will do the same!

I hope you all have an amazing New Year. See you around here next year again!

 

-Yumi x

 

 

Cafes in Japan

Hiya! How have you been so far? I am doing great to enjoy my life.

Today, I want to share something interesting with you. You know we have weird cafes, like maid cafes, right? Our cafes are getting more diverse. Now, we have lots of cafes where we can enjoy getting together to share our interests.

Cats cafes where we can touch cats or conversational English cafes where we can speak in English with foreigners or English teachers are more popular. We have more cafes like rabbit cafes where we can touch rabbits. Rabbit cafes are getting popular in Japan as well. I don’t think it’s a clean place to drink something, though, lol.

I have never been to those cafes before, but I had an opportunity to go to a knitting cafe recently.  I have to say that knitting is my hobby. I have found knitting is meditation for me, and that’s why I love knitting. I found a knitting cafe where I can learn Fair Isle technique from Scotland and went there.

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There were 10 students plus three teachers there. We all knitted the Fair Isle techniques.

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Fair Isle knitting started for fishermen, but they have become more sophisticated.

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We can see lots of Fair Isle knitting products which the instructors  have placed on the walls. They were so perfect! I was in love with them at first sight.

A student was knitting her sweater with the technique. According to her, it takes 6 months for her to finish one product!! Oh, I need a lot of patience to finish one piece!!!!

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The instructors show us lots of traditional patterns and books to make us think we can make these!

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Since I am a definitely beginner of this technique, I have nothing to show. I just started learning this technique. My goal is to knit sweaters for all my family! The yarns for the technique come from Shetland, Scotland. Their yarns are very light and warm like cashmere. Since I love conservative, classical and traditional style of fashion a lot, I really really love these knitting patterns!

Cafes where we can learn something is different from schools or clubs. When we learn something in schools or clubs, it’s hard for us to quit after one experience. However, it’s easy for us to quit in cafes. We don’t need to go to the cafes constantly. Whenever we want, we can book the cafes and keep learning. The knitting cafe is open 8 days each month from 10 am to 1:30 pm for students to learn . My plan is to go there once a month to learn. It’s more convenient for us to save time and money. It’s easier for us to start learning something new. Of course, we call these “cafe”, so we order something to drink while we learn.

I had a wonderful time there with knitting people. All of them were very friendly to share their products, ideas and technique.

I think these style of cafes where we can learn something will be more popular in Japan.

Thanks for stopping by my blog entry. I hope I will be able to update my other blog, my porcelain painting blog next week!

I hope you all start a great week! Take care!

-Yumi x

 

 

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