All posts filed under: Photography

Authentic Japanese Cucumbers |神田四葉・相模半白きゅうり

As far as my memory goes, this year’s rainy season in Tokyo seem to go back to a norm cycle of raining since the start, early June to the present day. It has been wet, raining, drizzling, mizzle, downpour, cats and dog…name it, it has been raining a lot and still no signs of end proclamation yet from the weather bureau. So this is our view from our kitchen, most everyday. Rather grim looking, not much sunlight. 今年の東京は「ザ・梅雨」というほど長雨が続いています。梅雨宣言がされた6月の初旬から今日までここ数年でほぼ連日雨が降っています。我が家のキッチンから見える朝の風景は雨、雨、雨。通勤の方々や学生さん、びしょびしょ、びしょびしょとお疲れさまでございます。 This weekend, our family friend, who takes cares of a piece of farm land outside Tokyo has brought to us, an unusual cucumber which I personally have never seen. Cucumbers in Europe and/or the United States tend to be large in size, but Japanese cucumbers as like our nationality are dainty and small. Apparently these cucumbers are as large as ones encountered in Ireland and Los Angeles, to know it is called “Kanda Suyo Long Cucumber” and “Sagami Hanjiro Cucumber”. さて、週末に我が家の友人で埼玉の方に畑を管理している人から珍しい胡瓜をいただきました。神田四葉胡瓜 (かんだすうようきゅうり)、相模半白胡瓜 (さがみはんじろきゅうり)というそうでどちらも私には馴染みのない胡瓜でした。神田四葉胡瓜 は細長く、30cmほどの長さと存在感は外国の胡瓜を伺わせます。相模半白胡瓜はお尻のほうが黄色くなっていて、半分くらいが白いきゅうりです。どちらもイボイボがかなりゴジラ風でサラダには堪え難い力強さを感じました。 しかし、調べると「神田四葉胡瓜」は中国山東省から日本人に知られる。なんとなく硬い感じを受けますが、歯切れ良い食感と「やわらかさ」がある品種。 「相模半白胡瓜 」江戸以前に渡来した華南系。 どちらも一晩考えて食材として使用してみました。 “Kanda Suyo Long Cucumber“, it’s origin seems to from China’s …

Dried flower roses and rose oil | 薔薇のドライフラワーとローズオイル

While having a rose garden at home, caring and gardening the roses can be rewarding but also relentless. Once the roses commence it’s bloom, the garden is well looked after by my husband, while my daily chores (as an assistant) is cleaning and sweeping. As the flowers fade to the end of life, the petal feather down, especially during the rain, moist and wind. To save the flowers for a little while longer, the flowerpots are often rushed for cover protection from the rain. Dead flowers take away the vista of the rose garden. The treasure of having a rose garden is of course, the everyday beauty of blossoms, a picturesqueness at times seems endless. However, every organic life has its limits, as we do. To preserve the beauteousness the house turns into a shelter for ‘dry roses’. 見事な薔薇園になった今年。主人は10年近く薔薇を大切に植えていますがやっとコツがわかった!と自負。自負ができるほど今年は素晴らしく咲いた年を言えると思います。 「咲かせるのは男の仕事」・「綺麗にするのは女の仕事」という分担で春の一ヶ月間はほぼ毎朝お庭の掃除に明け暮れる日々が続きました。花は雨、風を嫌います。綺麗は花は旬をすぎると朽ちていきます。花びらが散ります。それを片付けます。そんな繰り返しかな?(笑) 花の時期を見ながら「ドライフラワー」作りもしてみました。3分咲きのもの、5分咲きのもの、7分咲きのもの。いろいろと試してみると多々の形状に残っていくものです。色も残るお花と黒くなっていく花と色々とあり、発見を楽しんでいきます。 Another challenge, tried this year is making ‘rose oils’. With such numerous DIY projects and information from the internet, a bucket full of collected petals were soaked in jojoba oil, first kept over a …

“Roses” to brighten the rainy days |今年の薔薇、ローズカーデン

Past spring, our rose garden (to be precise, my husband’s rose garden) was of heavenly beauty. My husband has been growing roses nearly over a decade but this year seemed to be of utmost beauty. This is a post is a gallery of our garden roses, to brighten the rainy season, commenced last week. Enjoy! 梅雨が始まり、太陽がすっかりと隠れてしまいました。この雨の季節、気持ちが落ち込み気味になる方は多いのではないでしょうか? ましてや、この季節がさると暑い、暑い、日本の夏が訪れます。 今年の春、我が家の庭な「バラ園」と言っても過言ではないほどの薔薇に包まれました。長年、多くの薔薇をそだてきた主人のお庭ですが見事でとても綺麗な薔薇の数々をお楽しみください。雨で少しでも気分が晴れることをお祈りして。

Osechi

our traditional Japanese New Year Food On New Years Day, the ‘Osechi’ is our traditional food accompanied with mochi (rice cake) in a soup broth called ‘Ozoni’. The Osechi comes in a infinite variety of styles, differ in region and household but the most common ‘Osechi’ (dishes or items) have a certain meaning to it’s portion. What I have prepared this year is very simple, most probably the minimal as my intentions on New Years Day family get together was to go ‘Western Style’ upon request from my children and grandchildren. However the ‘Osechi’ which I put together were as follows – Kuro-mame (Syrup stewed black beans) | Representing longevity Kamaboko (Red and white fish cake)| Genuine meaning quite ambiguous but the color-red and white represents festivity. (This is an off the shelf item) Datemaki (Egg Roll) | The roll having similarity to the old scroll books represents the wish to the cultural development. Namasu (Red and White radish and carrots blend) | Representing happiness through the colors of red and white. White Beans | …

one of the oldest shrines in Japan – Izumo Taisha

an excerpt from our camping car trip in 2018 Our trip to Izumo Taisha Shrine located in Shimane prefecture took place early October 2018, when the longest and hottest summer gradually started to loose force, surrendering itself to the next season, the fall. Izumo Taisha Shrine is considered the oldest shrine in Japan, in existence in the early 700s as revealed by the nation’s oldest chronicles; and has always been my ‘must see places in Japan’. The access is about a 820 kilometers drive from Tokyo, a 9 hours non-stop drive according to the Google Map which we managed to achieve in our first day of our trip. The majority of Japanese endeavor to see Izumo Taisha, as according to our history, Izumo used to be ruled by a powerful clan in pre-historic times, and plays a central role in Japan’s creation mythology. The main deity (kami) enshrined at Izumo Taisha is Okuninushi no Okami and according to the creation myths, Okuninushi was the creator of the land of Japan and the ruler of Izumo. …

Welcome 2019

  I often wonder why we love to organize our time into segments; minutes, hours, weeks, months and then years. Every moment of our lives must be just as precious as any but the accomplishment of completion, achievement bringing satisfaction quite often is measured by time, I the same. Year 2018 had been quite a turbulent year to our family, not as gentle as we hoped and expected it to be. My husband underwent surgery after cancer test claimed in doubt, my daughter is suffering from serious migraine attacks unfortunately with no successful remedy disabling her daily life. Unfortunately we do not live in a world of fantasies, miracles and abracadabras, nor do I have a magic wand to let troubles and worries go away. But this is the start of a brand new year 2019. Letting our worries aside, January 1st which we call ‘gantan‘ in Japan, calls for a day to celebrate with gratitude from our hearts. Although we have our own traditional ritual food for New Years Day, ‘osechi’ ; I’ve decided …

a summer day..hiking…Nishizawa Gorge(Keikoku)|西沢渓谷ハイキング

It’s a  ‘hot’ summer, rather an ‘extremely hot’ summer. Japan, like the other countries has been encountering, perhaps due to the global warming, days over 35C continuing since early July. Outdoor activities tend to be quite dangerous from high heat but luckily, this day, August 7th was like a crevasse between the hot temperature and typhoon and a perfect hiking day with the kids, my lovely nieces and nephews and my lovely sister. 酷暑と台風の繰り返しの日々が続いています。 台風13号が上陸するか、しないか、という8月7日、私の妹と姪達と甥と一緒に「西沢渓谷」に行ってきました。東京は雨模様で台風の上陸まじか。山梨、西沢渓谷はラッキーにちょうど低気圧と高気圧のクレバスのような場所になっており、、気温も20度前後。山歩きには最高の日となりました。 西沢渓谷は勝沼ICからフルーツラインを抜けて約60分程度、東京からは車アクセスがとてもいい場所です。初級者向けのハイキングコースで渓流の脇を通りながら10本の滝を通過しながらいく、夏でもとっても涼しいコースです。   Nishizawa Gorge is one of the most beautiful gorges of the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, covering over 1250 square kilometers of densely forested mountains, dynamic gorges and crystal clear rivers in the prefecture of Yamanashi. It is a hiking course along the river, the trail takes approximately 3.5 hours to complete, along side with the 10 waterfalls spotted during the trail.                         保存保存 保存保存

Spring has arrived…|春の到来です

Oh dear……time flies. Each month seemed busier than the previous, for reasons not prefer to mention specifically but to be blunt…’a natural ebb and flow of life’. Anyway my last post was (way) over a month ago, disengaged from the habit of blogging nevertheless it has been on my ‘to do list’. I hope to grow back into the habit of blog posting upon the arrival of spring and the beautiful cherry blossoms yet in full bloom in some areas of Japan. なんだか、、 あっという間に月日が経ち、、 久しぶりの投稿です。 気がつくと「春」。そして今年も日本列島は桜で大騒ぎ。 我が家の近辺は桜が多し。 いつも特別なお花見なぞせずですが山梨に野菜に買いに行ったついでに、、いつも素通りする「神代桜」に立ち寄ってみたら、、ほっ、ほっ、ほっ、ラッキーに樹齢2000年の桜「満開」でした!     This cherry blossom is approximately 2000 years old, ‘Jindai Sakura’ in Yamanashi prefecture.           What our small garden looks like…..    

New Year’s multi-culture washoku | 2018年に願う「彩り」元旦

New Years Day, dinner. For us Japanese, New Year’s celebration is a traditional event, most likely THE important day of the year in which we celebrate the day with ‘traditional Japanese osechi’. If anyone of the readers are curious of what ‘osechi is?’, many sites will explain the meaning of some of the osechi dishes. This year I decided to venture out from the tradition to a somewhat non-tradtional ‘washoku cuisine’ to something which I call it ‘multi-cultured washoku’.