August 30, 2010

True, actual, alive

Today I read an incredible story on the latest issue of Courrier Japon magazine.
Have you heard about a lady called Marta Eugenia Rodriguez de la Torre?
Her IQ is 220, and her resume proves that there is such a thing (or person) called "genius" on this earth.

Marta dissembled a washing machine behind her mother's back at the age of 5, being curious how it worked.
She earned 26 degrees from American universities before she turned 18.
It's like a movie or fantasy story.

While she was in college, she was interested in computers then got bored with them, for computers can only do what humans ordered.  Now she studies about human brains.

I was fascinated by what she is studying, and I really want to read something that she has written, but so far what I found was all in Spanish.  If anyone knows about her publication in English,  please please let me know!

August 29, 2010


One more post, then I'll stop.

I have been knitting so many projects these days, so it took me longer to finish something to show to you.  Here are some recent wins!

Project: Pogona by Westknits (Stephen West)
Yarn: Colormart Extra Fine Merino (DK), about 480 yards
Needles: US size 6 or 7 (sorry I forgot)

The pattern is just ingenious.  When caped around your shoulders, the shawl looks just triangular, but it's actually pentagonal.  I finally learned how to use my blocking wire...!
I love it, I am going to knit the pattern again.
The yarn is from Colourmart, a yarn shop in UK.  They sell industrial yarns/threads very inexpensively.  Some of the materials are leftovers from Lolo Piana or other luxury fashion brands... which make me SO HAPPY TO BE ABLE TO KNIT MYSELF!

Pattern: Emmaline by Jennifer Wood
Yarn: Pierrot Yarns Ami Cotton (Bulky) in Kahki (about 380 yards)
Needles: US 9

OK, SORRY, it's my very cluttered bathroom.  But I love this pull, and I wear it all the time.
Great free pattern!

Pattern: Dawn by Kim Hargreaves
Yarn: Rowan Calmer in beige, about 780 yards (4.4 balls)
Needles: US 5 & 6

Glad I finished this before the summer ends.  I bought perfect and pretty gold buttons to go with this cardigan, so as to mitigate the dullness of this color.

I know many Japanese people tend to knit with beige and whitish colors, and I wonder why... Beige is a very tricky color for Asian skin.  It has to be a perfect shade and tone of beige to make you look presentable, and every one of us has slightly different skin tone, which makes it even harder for us to choose.  

Many people wear trench coats in beige or brownish colors in Japan, only to make their face look muddy and bad complexion.

I think, in this case, I barely picked the right shade of beige, and I am going to wear it.

I bought these buttons in the neighborhood shop which I mentioned before... the tiny papa-mama shop.  Like I said, nobody goes there so the whole selection of semi-antique buttons are saved for me!!! Yes!

Have a great week, everyone :)

Cultural Exchange

More on my friend's visit.

Surprising but true.  French girls these days love Japanese dress-making books!  Can you believe it?

My friend showed me several very popular French crafty blogs (blogs by crafty people who sew, knit, etc.).  They buy Japanese dress-making books all the way from Japan, and although they can't read Japanese, they still love them.  (All this time, Japanese people try to imitate what French people are wearing... hmmm, it's interesting.)

To me, most of the Japanese sewing patterns (洋裁の本) contains mostly baggy and dull (filled with beige and grey colors) designs.  But those French people adopt the original design to themselves, pick more beautiful and colorful fabrics, and create really beautiful clothes.
It's really interesting that in France, because of the feminism in the 70s~90s (not sure about the exact time period), women stopped sewing (sewing was regarded too womanly?).  As a result, young people these days have to teach themselves how to sew, because their mothers didn't know how.  Also, most of the sewing patterns are from very old days, very unfashionable.  That's why they love Japanese books.

I think the other reason is that French women are generally thin and petite, so are Japanese, so they can wear what we wear in Japan.   Again, it really surprised me that French people love Japanese yarn and fabrics too...!

Anyway, I would like to post the websites that she showed me, so I won't forget.

Petite Pimprenelle : I love this blog so much!

Z comme Zoe

Une poule a petits pas

Petites Choses : she has her own sewing and knitting patterns as well.  Actually, I translated one of her knitting patterns into English, and posted on Ravelry.

The Sewer Cat : my another favorite

There were a few more, but not sewing/knitting related, so that's it for now!  Thank you so much, my friend :)


As I wrote before, I had a friend coming over from France.  She stayed with me for a few nights, and we had so much fun together.  Because I met her through a knitting community, we had lots of common interests, and it's fun to talk with her.

Here is the only shot I got from our little adventure to the famous fish market.  I heard it's a popular tourist spot, so I wanted to show the place to her, but gosh, it was hot even in the very early morning, smelled fishy (of course), and so busy...  I was wearing to go to work afterwards, so I felt completely out of place.
But the sushi we had there was fantastic (thank you, L, for treating me).


Well, tonight both Ade and Melissa got kicked out (please see the previous post) right before the season finale, and I am literally disappointed.  But I will be strong, be ready for a new week to start.

I've watched some films recently so here they are:

The A-Team
I know, it's just another stupid Hollywood film, but I really wanted to watch it because 3 of the starring actors were my favorites.  I am really glad I did!  It's shallow, yes, but so much fun!

The Blind Side
The Blind Side:
Heard that Sandra Bullock won an Oscar with this film.  Based on a true story, a rich southern woman adopted a homeless kid off the street, and he became a pro football player.  People's hearts were so warm and caring, characters great, and I absolutely loved it!

The film is also based on a true story, about South African rugby team winning the World Cup right after Nelson Mandela was elected as their president.  I had no idea how great a man he is.  The word "Great" cannot even describe the man.  Loved it.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus:
I really wanted to watch this when it was still in theaters, but I missed it.  The last film with Heath Ledger, and he was brilliant.  Because he passed away while filming this project, Johnny Depp and 2 other actors replaced the un-filmed parts.  We lost a great actor at so young an age... I didn't care when River Phoenix passed away, but I still miss Heath Ledger.
The film was very interesting and beautiful.  Wonderful execution.

August 28, 2010

Beautiful Dance

This is a routine from last week's So You Think You Can Dance (they are running Season 5 in Japan right now), by top 8 dancers Ade and Melissa.  It's my favorite summer time show, when American Idol is over.

It is hard to imagine a dance with a theme "a woman fighting breast cancer".  You've got to watch it with your own eyes to understand.

I cried, not because all the judges are crying, but because I thought about my aunt, how she has been struggling, and how she may be feeling so alone and without someone who supports her, like Ade did in this dance.

Ade and Melissa are my all-time favorite couple this season.

August 15, 2010

Glass study

This green glass bottle is from my mom's old home up on a mountain in Western Japan.  Until over 40 years ago, her family had tons of these and used it for housekeeping stuffs (perhaps for making their own saki?).  But it was so common that nobody paid any heed and the bottles were abandoned in the back yards, from where my mom picked up one.  Wish they still have these, but unfortunately no.

I cut out the hen in the green glass some years ago.  Mom kept it and put it in a glass.

This gold/amber glass pot is from Okinawa (I am not so sure) which my grandpa bought as a souvenir before I was born.


A beauty salon in my parent's neighborhood is full of birdy stuffs which I absolutely love.  The last photo is the neighborhood -  so green and pretty.


I went back to my parent' place for my 3 days weekend / summer vacation, and spent a very crafty weekend! I picked the easiest pattern out of my favorite dress-making book - ソーイング・トーク.
The fabric is from Kamakura Swany:  They have great selection of fine quality fabric, and most of them are pretty inexpensive.

It's cut biased, so even the fabric is cotton/linen, the dress is pretty stretchy.   
I lined neck and arm holes with biased tape (or whatever called in English...).  I did it for the first time in almost 20 years, so it was quite a work.  I used to make my own clothes when I was in high school, but haven't done it ever since.

 Not sure if people do this in other countries, but my mom taught me how to mark the lines with threads and stitches, like this. The dress fits me perfectly!  Although the dress is very simple, it took me a full day.... phew.

With a small piece of soft gauze (double sided, one side stripes, the other side plaid), I made a simple  scarf for summer.  I cut up 100cm x 50cm fabric into 4 pieces, sew them back together in 25 x 200cm scarf.  My mom gave me a ribbon to hide where I joined the pieces, and when I looked closer, the ribbon says "Wedgewood"!  But I used it anyway.

August 09, 2010


「幼年期の終わり」― と、小説のタイトルを小見出しに使うことも考えたのですが、Clarkeの綴り方が大好きで、タイトルに付けたかった。



Esquireが廃刊になった際、まだ書店にあったバックナンバーを大人買いしてキープしてあったSF特集。2008年のもので、クラークが亡くなった直ぐ後に作られたもののようです。 雑誌は手元に暫くあってディックや若手SF作家の記事は既に読んであったのですが、ここでもクラークの偉業を語る特集は飛ばしていました。興味のなさが伺える。。。(笑) 先週、なんとなく読み返してみたらすごく面白かったのです。




August 02, 2010

Dreaming of..

I feel ashamed but confess that, I dreamed about me dating Syler (from TV series Heroes), knowing that he was a psycho killer. Crazy, gosh, I know.
But in any case, I like the actor, Zach. He played Spock in Star Treck, and he was so much like Spock. I guess I shouldn't have watched Star Treck so many times over the weekend.
I wish I dream of something more sensible and romantic.. *sigh*

恩田陸さんの『ライオンハート』を読みました。最近苦労してWeb Analyticsなどの本を英語で読んでいるせいか、日本語でしかも小説だとすいすい読めてしまって、あっという間でした。エリザベスとエドワードが何度も生まれ変わりながらその度に出会う、不思議な物語。5枚の絵画から着想を得てストーリーを組み立ててあって、絵の中に世界観が広がる様は「真珠の耳飾りの少女」を着想にトレイシー・シュヴァリエが書いた小説のよう。ふんわりとしているのにディテールにも凝っていて、不思議な読了感でした。エリザベスとエドワードの二人も、別な人生で出会ったシーンを繰り返し夢に見ます。

An Observation

These days I cannot help but notice the lack of understanding in nuclear radiation among the general American people (by "general" I don't mean to include those educated and interested people).  My assumption is based on the fact that what appears on TV indicates the average level of understanding in certain subject.  At least, it is true in Japan.

When Jack Bauer (in 24, of course) narrowly escaped nuclear explosion in Los Angeles, my mouth fell open.  It is not a joke.   How can someone think about a nuclear explosion in such a populated city?!  (And if you see an explosion in such a close distance, you would probably die...)
Thousands of people would perish within seconds, and tens or hundreds of thousand people, even if they survive, would suffer from immunity system failure or cell regeneration failure, cancer, leukemia, as long as they live.  High percentage of survivors would die within several years.  That was what the nuclear bombs were capable of, over 70 years ago. (And I don't know how much progress scientists made in the past 70 years...)
It is too bad luck to even think about a story of nuclear explosion over a major city, in my opinion.

And then, there was a TV series Heroes (which I watched recently and loved so much).  One of the guys  had a power to cause nuclear explosion when he gets upset.  I was so surprised when no one tried to run when he was about to explode.

It seems that those Hollywood film makers think nuclear bomb is an upgraded version of fire bombs!  I sincerely hope that the ignorance is only among those rating-seeking TV series makers in LA, not the general public.

As we speak, UNESCO decided to add Bikini Islands to their World Heritage list.  The US conducted nuclear bomb testing 67 times there, and people who live in surrounding islands still suffer from the exposure.