May 30, 2011

Peonies and flowers and pastels

Peonies, along with camellias, are one of my most favorite flowers (my least favorites are tulips and lilies ... it's got to be something to do with their shapes and smells).  Peonies can be found in most florists in Japan right now, and I discovered that a big portion of them are grown in the northern part of Japan.  It's not for eating, so I don't have to worry about the radiation and such.  Besides, they are full of dreams and faeries.
I love drawing very complicated flowers with simple lines.  I think this has been my style since long time ago.
Let me show off some of the gifts I received for my birthday this year.  Above, a preserved rose (I don't know how you call it - the flower is not dry, but won't fade), and below, a beautiful pottery bowl (the color is pale royal blue, not gray).
There is something about these beautiful colors - sending me a vibe.


Since finishing a sweater in 3 weeks, I feel more and more motivated to knit something that I can wear now. Something in cotton, but not like the 4-ply torture (I finished the back panel, but the front is still hibernating), something enjoyable and fun.  Then I remembered that last year the master-knitter Roko-san gifted me her GALA pattern.  This is it!  So I ordered a yarn and pounced on it.
I chose this yellowish / mustardish color, only because no one has ever used it for GALA as far as I know.  But I am glad.  It's looking pretty. Yey!
On the other hand, I am still knitting this Fall-Away-Cardigan.  It's more than 60% done, but you see, the last of 3 balls of yarn was much lighter color than the other two.  As I knit further, the motivation declines.  Want to finish this in a week or so.

May 29, 2011

Under Water

A typhoon is here.  It's probably coming closer to Tokyo as we speak.  The rain drops are unbelievably heavy.

Rain of this magnitude is rather refreshing.  The noise on your umbrella is like a drum roll, loud and stereo surround you.

I remember my high school graduation ceremony.  The rain was falling hard on the auditorium rooftop and it sounded like clapping and applause of a huge crowd. It was exhilarating.

The painting I purchased arrived this morning.  The artist/friend delivered her work in the pouring rain.  The painting is making me want to swim in a lake.

I want to show you the picture of the painting, but I won't, for now.  For one thing, the color is impossible to capture, when the painting is all about color.  Also, I want my guests to look at it first in person.  So, you have to come and see it.  It is really least for me.

May 23, 2011

New Perspectives

This book was discovered in my bookshelf when I was packing.  The title is "Learn to see the world and Japan at seventeen", but it's really for anyone.  The beginning part is a bit all over the place, though overall it was a great read.  A very realistic and logical deciphering of Islam, Christian, Indian and east Asian religions and Japanese religious beliefs.  It's not a comprehensive overview, but it connected many different dots for me.  I learned many new words, like "冷えさび", which describes the way the traditional arts and literature valued the beauty of cold and frozen winter.  Which is exactly what I like.
I always wonder why Christian religion and culture is so bellicose and hostile.  In many instances in the history, if one of the involved party had been Asian, the war would not have begun. ( I know we have attacked our neighbors and did horrible things, while trying to catch up with strong countries by imitating what they were doing, and there is no excuse for that.  But generally, Japanese people are totally domestic, non aggressive group who would rather stay indifferent of what happens outside of the country.)  The book gave me interesting insights, which legitimacy I am not sure, but became some starting point for me.  I love history.

Productive Weekend

The previous posts were so gloomy, affected by the toothache.  I am totally recovered now. 
I've finally emptied the last box, and my apartment feels more like home - I assembled a wall picture, rearranged books, bought some flowers.
I also finished reading a book, finished a sweater, fixed my macbook (the battery was inflated after 4 years - is that possible?), and did plenty of shopping. 

I really needed to shop.  I was crushed after I had to cancel my vacation plan.  Now that I postponed it to July, I can't use my flight mileage and it will cost me extra $1000.  If you are an Expat, your company will pay huge amount of money wherever you vacation.  So not fair.

But I feel like I am reaching to a new stage, my micro cosmos is probably getting closer to the universe's entrance.  I dreamed about a redemption, a festival, blue moments, and a long journey.

Oh, after today's french lesson, I (as well as my classmates) became most knowledgeable about Baroque interior decorations, especially about the boiseries, the whole history of them. The nerdy details were fascinating. 

May 17, 2011

A Dream Now Lost

While I was holding my breath not to increase the already unbelievable toothache, my eyes were somewhat blankly following the journey of USS Enterprise.

I watched the 2009 movie 3 times during the weekend, sometimes half asleep.  I couldn't knit because it hurt to move my arms, let alone read.  I wanted to watch something simple and relaxing, some story that I know very well.
As the pain receded I became curious about the old Star Trek series.  I rented the movie 1 ~ 4 on iTunes and watched them all in one breath.
The old movies were surprisingly well made.  The special effects were obviously very low tech, but not corny.  There were many small episodes that lead to the new film, which was a pleasant finding.

The designs of space crafts, items, how the world functions, must have given great amount of thoughts.  It was the future the 60s to 80s people had imagined and dreamed with such great expectations.  Now the reality is revealing itself from behind the curtains, and we are realizing that we are, and should be, very happy to stay on this planet.

The mere USS Enterprise itself has several hundreds of crews, as many shuttles enough to evacuate them all, not to mention food and fuel to support its journey for many months.  This ship is for public peace-keeping, not for-profit.  Even if, in 1000 years from now, we have the technology to build this kind of ship, it's very unthinkable that the world would function that way.  Or will there be a true breakthrough, like computers had come about in this world in the last 60 years?

If the dream is no longer a dream for us, at one point, perhaps we should have a funeral for the lost dream...  It's a little sad.


Last week was my xx-th birthday and was such a wonderful week.  Thank you everyone for your messages, calls, gifts, and above all, your warm wishes.  I feel so blessed!
(above image courtesy of Marie-Claire Idee spring edition (April?))

On the evening of my birthday, my close friend invited me to a piano concert of a small scale, the music was just fantastic, and I totally enjoyed the great company there, except... my teeth started to ache, more so, with some champagne.

I wrote a long paragraph about my horrible toothache experience, but I decided to summarize it in one phrase - it was the worst pain I'd ever had!  It was mainly because I can't take antibiotic medicine (allergic to it).

I've known of my allergy since my childhood, because it caused heart, liver, kidney etc failures when I was 8.  It took me (and my family) a few years to recover to the OK level, and a blessing to live my life nonchalantly was lost forever.
But then, people have some limitations or another, be it financial, ability or family related, etc. So I can't say I am completely unfortunate.  I have a great family who always supports me.  It's just I can't do everything I want to (like volunteering for the disaster relief activities, choose a very challenging job and work like hell, or living in the unsanitary countries to help them rebuild their communities).

If you are healthy and are gifted with talents, please don't waste them.  There are people who are yearning for that health.

On entering the 2nd half of my life, I decided to be more thankful for what I have, what I can do, and to take a better care of myself.  And spend more time with all of you, my dear friends.

May 11, 2011


Oh, let me add one more thing - I still don't know why I am studying French.

These days I started to feel that perhaps it has something to do with my past life.  But then, if I had lived somewhere in the French-speaking countries in my previous life, why am I struggling now?

It does not make sense.

Self Discoveries

Hello everyone!  It's been a while since my last post, and I missed this blog so much.  I am finally been settled, plus, my Macbook (named Alain, if you still remember) miraculously mended itself so that I can blog tonight.

I really wanted to write and communicate with you for 2 reasons.

First of all, as I have mentioned a few weeks ago, I am participating an eCourse called Unraveling.  I have spent a lot of time with myself and with my fellow Unravelers, to unravel layers of myself and my memories, to rediscover myself a little bit.  Because I had been so busy all the while, I haven't been able to do as much exercises I wanted to, but still, it has been a great journey.

Secondly, I have been studying French quite a bit in the last few weeks.  Why this has something to do with blogging?  Because, it has been so SO frustrating!  I can't ask questions during the classes because I don't know how to phase them in French.  I have to keep my head low so that I won't be caught looking blank and helpless by my teachers.  In my entire life, I have never been so helpless during the classes!  I had always been the one to speak up and ask questions, point out mistakes if I find any.
Because it's French, and partly because I am taking an advanced class, I am hanging in the back seat, my both hands tightly holding a rail, knuckles white.  Uggggh.

These two, Unraveling/self-discovery and French lessons are somewhat inter-related.  I am discovering how deeply I am stuck in an English(/American) culture.  Although I speak Japanese because I live here, my mental world has shifted to English quite a bit, totally behind my back.  Sometimes I can't come up with the right Japanese words, and it's frustrating and uncomfortable.  Adding French to this situation makes my mind more confused and entangled.
I feel disconnected to the immediate world around me, partly because I moved into a new neighborhood, but also because my world is not here.
These days, dealing with numbers feels a lot easier than coping with words.  I think I am in a little trouble here.

Has anyone had this kind of experience?  Would this stage pass soon?

I am knitting so that I can sort myself out.