last day of July

It's going to be the last day in July tomorrow. I'm very busy these days. I have many things to tell you. This month is full of new events to me. I'll report to you little by little since I have to be ready for my 2nd pastel workshop tomorrow. Then the next day, I'm going to Hakone to stay there for one night. I'm very looking forward to seeing the fireworks from my Ryokan(Japanese-style inn) room! The fireworks will be displayed over this lake!

Lake Hakone

However, the weather is not good these days. The sudden and heavy rain damages some areas in Japan.

When we see the world, lots of bad news are heard like terrorism in Norway, bullet train accident in China and heavy rain in South Korea. Some were done by Human and some were done by Nature. Human beings are powerless in front of power of Nature. I wish everybody remember the fact and view things on a large scale.

I hope the weahter will be perfect soon!!


My first pastel workshop succeeded!

My first pastel workshop succeeded at my friend's salon on Jul. 9th.

I was ready and waited for my students' coming!

2 sets of new pastels for students! They are beautiful!!

These 4 ladies attended the class on this day. It may be special technique my pastel art school invented. Pastel are shaved into powder and they use fingers to paint.
Since our hands are connected to our heart, we can express what our heart desires. And it's good for art therapy too.

These are their first art works! This is very basic of  the pastel art which I learned. By just painting circles, they can face their own emotions and feelings and release them. They kept painting for 1 hour. If I didn't stop them, they never stopped, I think.
All are very beautiful. I repeat this is their first pastel painting in their life.

The title of the next painting is the hill of hope. They seemed to be more relaxing. They painted their hill with their favorite colors.

Their original and unique hills of hope in the world were completed. Very gentle color!

They were my first beautiful students! All were satisfied with their works of art.
While they were painting, they went back to the days when they were at kindergarten.
I was happy to see them happy!! But no photo of me this time since teacher looked tired...
But very happy about the great success of my first pastel workshop.

After I was home, I found this cute gift from my sister.

The letter says,
For my sister,
Congratulations on debuting as a pastel teacher.
This is also your new way. You have lots of things.
Let's Enjoy!

I love my sister!!
She knows I was disappointed at the fact there were no tours since 311 and tried to find out the new way.

I took this photo in a different day. This is my lovely sister!

me and my little sister

I felt like I lost everything. But I didn't.
All what I can do is to walk on this way since there seems to be only one right now.
When the way is separated, I'll think at that time which way I'll choose.

My next workshop will be on Jul. 31st at my pottery school. Now 2 decided to join!
I'll wait for more people joining!!


Nadeshiko Japan!

Nadeshiko Japan, Japan's women's soccer team won the FIFA Women's World Cup Germany 2011. They beat the USA team, 2-2(PK3-1) on the 18th. The game started around 3:00am. I was sleeping but today all the news were about the game. I could catch up with it.

Japan kept loosing the matches against USA 24 times. USA won the victory twice and rank at NO.1 in the world. Finally Japan beat them for the first time in the 25 matches and won the first victory in Asian countries.

We prayed for their victory but many thought it difficult. Therefore all of us are very happy!

Nadeshiko Japan is the team name. Nadeshiko is a flower name, a frilled pink carnation. Nadeshiko means pure love in  the language of flowers.


There is also a word, Yamato Nadeshiko. Japan was also called Yamato in ancient times. Yamato Nadeshiko means an ideal Japanese women who are neat and tidy.
If you like to know more, please check here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamato_nadeshiko
In the link, it says Yamato Nadeshiko is used in the context of nostalgia, referring to Japanese women with "good old" traits, as they are increasingly rare.
I think after the idea which is men and women are equal were widespread, Yamato Nadeshiko may be an endangered species now. Women over 60 still keep these traits.

At least, we still love the word and our soccer team! I post YouTube of the highlight of the final game yesterday.


Summer has come!

The rainy season was finally over. Hot and humid summer has come. It is said that the climate in Japan is becoming like one in the tropics.

Summer holiday for students is starting soon. Students except for college ones have only a month holiday until Sep.1. Students in college and university have 2 months holiday until the end of Sep. I spent that 2 months in Seattle, USA to study English when I was at university.

However, students have lots of homework like taking care of morning glories and keeping a diary of their growth. Many students do their homework at the last week of the holiday with their parents' help.

Although it is hot and humid, I like this season because lots of festivals are held. The most popular one everywhere in Japan is the one like the photo below, Bon Odori (a kind of folk dance, we don't add `festival' at the end).

O-Bon (`O' is a polite prefix) is a kind of Japanese Halloween. We believe the spirits of our ancestors come back home. In order to welcome them, we dance Bon Odori.

People wear Yukata (a casual cotton kimono) and dance together around the platform.
There are food stands and game stands.

Besides Bon Odori, there are lots of fireworks displays everywhere. Again, we like to wear Yukata to see them.

Tohoku area, the northern part of Japan which was devastated by disasters are famous for many summer festivals. In order to stimulate the situation, people in Tohoku advertise and try to hold festivals as usual.

It is still a long way to recover and there are rather big earthquakes these days. If we worry too much, we never stop and may attract the situation which worry us more. Therefore, we just live right now and try to focus on what we like to do. I like to enjoy this summer!


Make a Wish!

It is the Star Festival today! I explained about the festival in the previous blog. It was cloudy and windy but it hasn't rained. Therefore, the separated couple can see each other at the Milky Way!

Thinking of the festival, I painted and made wishes!

It is not the Full Moon today but it's alright! After painting, I glued the small stars one by one. It took time but it looks like just dust on the photo... It's much better to see it directly.
I consider the stars as the Milky Way and imagine the couple can see there!

If you don't make wishes yet, please do so while watching my set of the Star Festival!


Star Festival

Star Festival, Tanabata in Japanese is on July 7th. It is not a notional holiday but we love this festival.

This festival is based on this story below which I extracted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanabata.

Orihime (Weaving Princess), daughter of the Tentei (Sky King, or the universe itself), wove beautiful clothes by the bank of the Amanogawa (Milky Way, lit. "heavenly river"). Her father loved the cloth that she wove and so she worked very hard every day to weave it.
However, Orihime was sad that because of her hard work she could never meet and fall in love with anyone. Concerned about his daughter, Tentei arranged for her to meet Hikoboshi (Cow Herder Star) (also referred to as Kengyuu ) who lived and worked on the other side of the Amanogawa. When the two met, they fell instantly in love with each other and married shortly thereafter.
However, once married, Orihime no longer would weave cloth for Tentei and Hikoboshi allowed his cows to stray all over Heaven. In anger, Tentei separated the two lovers across the Amanogawa and forbade them to meet.
Orihime became despondent at the loss of her husband and asked her father to let them meet again. Tentei was moved by his daughter’s tears and allowed the two to meet on the 7th day of the 7th month if she worked hard and finished her weaving.
The first time they tried to meet, however, they found that they could not cross the river because there was no bridge. Orihime cried so much that a flock of magpies came and promised to make a bridge with their wings so that she could cross the river. It is said that if it rains on Tanabata, the magpies cannot come and the two lovers must wait until another year to meet.

Orihime and Hikoboshi can meet only once a year. That's kind of sad! And if it rains, they can't meet!
When I was an elementary school student, I really believed this story and my friends and I prayed hard for the good weather.
However, there was always a little mature student who told us that the Milky Way was over the clouds so it never rained although it rained here. I still remember how shocked I was!

This photo is from Wishes for the Star Festival.
For this day, we write our wishes on the paper and hung it from bamboos. When Orihime and Hikoboshi can meet on this day, July 7th, we believe our wises also come true like their wishes come true.
Now I can see many bamboos and blank paper everywhere like stations and supermarkets. We are free to write and hung our wishes. Usually children love to do it but I can't resist doing it.

Although I know it never rains over the clouds, I hope it's sunny on July 7th and they can meet happily!


the latter half of this year has started!

July has started! We finished the first half of the year 2011. And the latter half has just started!

In addition to that, it is a new moon today, July 1st. It is a good timing to make your wishes. Today's new moon is at the Cancer which helps you to make your wishes especially related to Partnerships come true. Partnerships mean not only the ones between couples but also between friends and business partners.

July has one more new moon. Your wishes come true easily this month!

It is already very hot and humid in Japan! Last year, hydrangeas near my house could been beautiful until the end of July but they are dying this year...

We worry about energy shortage and are afraid of a sudden blackout. In order to avoid it, each company gives the workers different days off and introduces the different working hours. However, although they finish earlier, they go home and use an air-conditioning, a microwave, a computer and so on. Total energy consumption might be the same. Nearly 100% of the energy supply a day in Tokyo is consumed these days. We might have to have the planned blackout, which nobody hopes. Last year, about 2700 died of heat. If it conducts, there might be more....
Please keep your fingers cross for us!

I like to introduce a new video made by tour guides in Kyoto. Since Lady Gaga promoted our safety, I hope tourists start to come back!