I love pottery-making!

Today We had the first snow in this winter in my area.
Snow changed to rain and didn't stay.
It's very cold these days. It's colder than previous winters.
When I was small, it was very cold and snowed a lot.
I did snowball fighting and made a snowman with my friends at school.

These days I do pottery-making a lot.
My another pottery were ready.

Those dishes were wrapped by straws and burnt in kiln.
The places where the straws are located become brown color after they were burnt.
But it is very difficult to wrap them by straws.

By the way, I also painted this handkerchief underneath the dishes.

This is a beer cup.
When beer is poured, the bubble of beer becomes smaller in this cup and the taste becomes milder.
I can't wait to drink beer in this cup!!!

This is a set of small bowls.
When you hold them, you realize the shapes are not perfect.
But I love them!!

Before I start making pottery, I have to think what I like to make in advance.
On the other hand, When I paint, I just start painting without thinking too much.
They are very different but I like and need both.

Our life is similar to pottery-making, I think.
We make a plan in advance although we can change in process.
But the foundation is very important.
Nobody starts building a house without blueprint.

I always feel I can be grounded and concentrate on this moment while I'm making pottery.

It is said that when we are grounded and focus on this moment, we can attract things we want and our reality is moving forward.

Actually, I can get a direct contract as a tour guide with my most favorite company!!
Travel agents are always in the middle between guides and clients.
I'm very lucky!!!

I'll do my best and do each job with my whole heart.


another fovorite song♪

I introduced songs of Ayaka Hirahara before.
I love her voice and music.
I like to introduce another favorite song of hers.
This song was the theme song of a drama at Japan's national TV.
The title of the song is `Ohisama~for you, my precious person'.
`Ohisama' means Sun.
I translate the lyrics after the video.
Actually it's difficult to translate Japanese lyrics into English.
But I do my best!
Please enjoy her beautiful voice!

Ohisama(Sun)~for you, my precious person~

Sun shines 
Wind swims
I can live
I thought 

The day when I met you
is my anniversary

Sorry, is it exaggerated?
It's my true feeling

You are my miracle
You are my hope

In darkness
At the dead end
Together with you, it's easy to

Smile together with you
Cry together with you

Please feel me somewhere
That's all what I want

Since I wake up
Until I sleep
I love everything about you
I thought

When you smile,
I shed tears with happiness

Sorry, is it exaggerated?
It's my true feeling

I share your joy
I share your pain too

If this life
I don't need anything

You are my miracle
You are my hope

I always see you somewhere
That's all what I want

Even if people all over the world
become against you
I'm always on your side
Everything is all right
Believe me

Although you forget
I will never forget

In order to sacrifice my life
I'm not hesitant

You are my miracle
You are my hope

Smile somewhere
That's all what I want
That's only what I want


Cooking Part2!

Today, Hakusai(Chinese cabbage) and Daikon(white radish)!!

The price of lettuce and cabbage is 3 times higher this year than last year.
I'm glad my father grows vegetables.

What shall I make?

Cook lots of Hakusai, Shiitake mushrooms and carrots in a frying pan.
Then add meat and shrimps which were cooked in advance.

Season them with salt.
And I add a special ingredient.

We can buy those convenient things at supermarket.
Mix them and finish!

I also made this plate!
Look good!! Taste also good!!

Daikon are boiled with squids and seasoned with soy sauce and sugar.

I cook but I don't think I like to cook very much.
It's hard to think of everyday menu.....
I respect housewives.


the first Full Moon this year

Today is the first full moon in 2012!

Around 5:00pm, I looked up the sky and found a Big Yellow Full Moon which just started going up.

The moment I saw the moon, one thought popped up in my mind and filled up my body.

The thought was `not waiting anymore!'

I don't know what I won't wait for or if not, what I am doing.

Anyway, that's what I felt!

Since this is the first full moon this year,

please trust your first intuition!

Have a great full moon night!!


My favorite movies!

I love movies produced by Studio Ghibli.
The studio is headed by the directors, Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata.

I guess Hayao Miyazaki is very famous all over the world.
His famous movies are `Princess Mononoke', `Spirited Away' and `My Neighbor Totoro'.
The movie, `Ponyo' was made based on `Little Mermaid'.

My most favorite one is `Howl's Moving Castle'.

The 2nd is `Kari-gurashi no Arrietty' meaning `The Borrower Arrietty'.
This is the story about little people living under the floor and borrowing things from human beings.
It was on the screen in Japan in 2010.
And it was on TV last Dec.
I watched it twice at theater and at home.
I really love it.

The movie was or will be on screen in about 50 countries.
Korea was the first country where the movie was on outside Japan in Sep. 9th, 2010.

It's going to be on screen in Feb. 17th, 2012 in North America.
If you have a chance, please watch it!
The title is The Secret World of Arrietty.



My father loves gardening and growing vegetables.
Now he grows Chinese cabbages(=Hakusai), white radishes(=Daikon), leeks(=Negi), carrots and spinach.
He grows a variety of vegetables depending on seasons.

Then my sister and I are in charge of cooking!

Leeks and spinach!
He just pulled them out of soil and brought back home yesterday.

I boiled spinach, cut them and squeezed them.

When we eat, we put shaved dried-bonito(=Katsuobushi) on top and pour soy sauce.
We can put them in miso soup too.
If some are left, I cook them with ham and egg next day.

Slices of pork, rough-minced leeks and an egg are piled up and seasoned with salt and pepper.
Put a lid on and wait.

Cook the other side and finish!
We pour soy sauce if we need more flavour.

I love to use vegetables grown in local and by people I know.
I'll indtrodule more Japanese(?) food!!


Remember the feeling when I started...

I started to get out of the New Year atmosphere and to make a plan of this year.
In order to know what I have completed, I read my old diary.

I don't feel I completed anything per day.
But I completed a lot per year.

Most wishes I made 2 years ago came true last year.

Compared to now, I was less mature and confident 2 years ago.
But I knew what I wanted and pursued them enthusiastically.

But now I was a bit afraid and tried to protect what I acquired.

While I was cleaning my room today, I found my most favorite photo.
When I saw it, the feeling I felt when I took the photo came back and
I decided to live this year with this feeling again!

This is the photo and my resolution!

shyoshin ni modotte, hana sakaseyo
Remember the feeling when I started, let my flower bloom!

I took this photo in Summer of 2009.

A few years before, I was seriously ill and felt I lost everything.
But after surgery, I recovered gradually.
My physical strength and health fully came back and
I started moving around as a guide without anxiety finally in 2009.
When I guided a group of students, I passed the pond of this lotus flower.
I felt as if this lotus was talking to me, `please take a photo of me.'

But I couldn't stop to take a photo.
So I talked back to the flower in my mind,
`Later when I finish, I'll come back to take a photo of you.'

This was my first time to talk with Nature like this.

After guiding the students, I came back to this pond.
But since the bus departure time was approaching, I once passed the flower.
But the idea came up in my mind, `I shouldn't break a promise with Nature.'
So I went back and took the photo.
The sun was so bright that I couldn't see anything on the screen of my mobile camera.

Anyway, I kept a promise.
I forgot checking the photo and forgot even having taken that photo.

Then after a while, I finally saw the photo and was surprised at its beauty.
I was filled with something warm.

As a tour guide, I visited very many places and felt Nature a lot.
Since then, the number of such moments of `Nature speaking to me' has been increasing.
I learned a lot from Nature.

And today, this flower taught me again!

So many things happened last year in Japan and in my private life.
I don't think I can continue working as a guide like I used to do.
Actually, I became a popular guide and didn't want to give up this position.
But I feel it is the time to change jobs or the way how to work or where to work.

I'll return to the beginning when I didn't have anything.

It is not sad.
I feel lots of possibilities now.
I won't limit myself.
I'll do whatever my heart tells.

Remember the feeling when I started, let my flower bloom!
Never too late to start.
Let's start NOW!!!


Happy 2012!!

I wish all of you Happy New Year 2012 filled with inspiration, love and laughter!!
The New Year is a good chance to make your resolutions.
I'm making a list of this year's resolutions and what I like to do this year!

I spent very traditional New Year holidays.
I went to Yasukuni Shrine.

It was my first time to visit this shrine at New Year's Day.
Most Japanese visit a shrine or temple for the first 3 days of the New Year to pray for the happiness and health of the year.
Therefore, all the major temples and shrines are unbelievably crowded.

It was the line to approach to the offertory box.
Yes! It was a long way! But compared to other temples and shrines, the line was much shorter.
It's because this shrine is a controversial shine according to our history.

This is a chrysanthemum flower with 16 pedals, which is a family crest or emblem for our Emperor.
This emblem can be used only by the Emperor.
We don't have a state religion after WW2.
But until WW2, Shinto was a state religion and according to Shinto, our emperor was considered to be a living God.
Under the name of the Emperor, many fought and died.

Have you ever seen a movie, Letters from Iwo Jima?
In this movie, soldiers committed suicide by a grenade, shouting `Let's meet at Yasukuni Shrine.'
Actually, this part wasn't translated properly in English.
This shrine was the place they believed their soul would come back after they died.
Yasukuni Shrine WAS a state shrine until WW2 and the soul of people who died for the wars were enshrined here.

I said `controversial shrine' because some Asian couturiers don't like or hate this shrine.
August 15th is the day of the end of WW2 and whenever our Prime Minister visits this shrine, our government receives many criticisms.
I'll stop talking about this shrine now.
It is not the history lesson.
I know and understand many opinions.

Based on these ideas, less people visit this shrine.
So I decided to visit here especially after last year's disasters.
Personally, I feel this shrine is our shrine although this receives so many criticisms.
I wanted to pray for the recovery from disasters, and the happiness and prosperity for our land, Japan.

Before joining the line, I washed my hands and rinsed my mouth,  which is a proper way before visiting a main edifice.

This is Torii Gate, which is a barrier against evil spirit.
Almost at the main edifice!

We can't enter inside.
The proper way to pray,
throw money, bow twice, clap hands twice, pray and bow again.

After praying, we buy talismans.
A variety of talismans are sold depending on our wishes like health, success, safe-driving, easy-delivery, matchmaking...etc.

I wrote my wishes on Ema, a votive picture tablet.
Those tablets are burnt by fire to make our wishes come true.
One of my wishes I wrote was, `Japan should be covered with much love and rejuvenated.'

This structure was behind the main edifice.
There was less people and it was quiet.
A pair of bamboos is a New Year decoration, called `Kadomatsu'.
They are landmark to show this place is ready to welcome God or deities.

This is another New Year decoration at my house entrance to welcome God or deities.

After I visited the shrine, I was looking for what I would eat.
There were many food stands.

caramel popcorn stand
seafood and sake stand

Tako-yaki stand, a kind of octopus dumpling 

Okonomi-yaki stand, Japanese pancake

I tried this Okonomi-yaki.
It was like pancake made of cabbage, wheat, egg and meat.
It was very good!

Maneki-neko stand, a good-luck cat
Daruma stand

This Daruma doll doesn't have eyeballs.
When you make a wish, you black one eyeball.
When your wish came true, you can black the other eyeball.

It was a very good start of 2012.
I got a fortune telling paper.
When I decide to get a fortune paper, I always ask the god of a shire to give me a message in advance while I was praying.
This is the answer to my prayer.

It says,
People gather in front of God.
They sit in a circle and enjoy singing.
Their hearts are modest, peaceful, and are communicated and united.
Peace is born and a strong-will for tomorrow is rejuvenated.

The other side of the paper tells me more details.
Everything is very good.

A fortune telling paper is supposed to be tied at a certain place of a shrine or temple to make good fortune stay good and bad become good.
But I prefer keeping it to remind myself.

I hope you also had a very good start of 2012!!