Thursday, May 25, 2006


-- Katsuo Matsuri (Bonito Festival?) held on May 21 in a town called Nakatosa-cho --

These are a couple of pix from the festival. I'll try to finish this post by the end of this month (hopefully).


Katsuo-fishing game

Tokoroten Eating Competition
posted by obachan, 5/25/2006 03:11:00 PM | link | 2 comments |

Friday, May 19, 2006


It’s raining…pouring. It’s the kind of weather that makes you want to stay at home all day when bicycle is the only transportation you have. And that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll spend all my time with my laptop until I leave for work at around 5:30 pm this evening.
posted by obachan, 5/19/2006 10:27:00 AM | link | 4 comments |

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Well, my laptop broke last Saturday and it will take at least two weeks to have it fixed. Two weeks without internet access? No way. So now I’m using the one that I've been keeping as a back-up machine. It is working fine, at least, but all those bookmarks I made on the other laptop…!! I don’t even want to think about re-doing all of them on this laptop.

photo001OK, about this photo:
These are a few of the kimono costumes used for a musical this spring. In the beginning of the season I did some stitching/taping work on them and attached hooks here and there to make quick changes easier and to prevent them from getting loose while dancing. In addition, I made a pre-tied obi (special tie for Japanese kimono) from a regular obi the musical group bought at a used kimono shop.

The obi material broke the needle of the sewing machine a couple of times and I hurt tips of my fingers from hand-stitching, and you know what? The costume work was only less than 1/3 of all the work I needed to do for the musical

Anyway, now all the stitching and taping I did are removed, and a couple of light kimono were hand-washed. Those that require special professional wash were sprayed with generous amount of febreze (I can't afford the professional wash) and now they are being hung dried in my room. The sight really tells me that IT’S OVER … *sigh*

Helping with this musical keeps me rather busy in spring every year, but I do gain a lot from it. For one thing, it gives me an opportunity to take a break from having to behave like a typical Japanese, but that’s not the only advantage. It really expands my knowledge. Now I can understand the jokes about “two nuns and soap” and “an architect and a housemaid,” and I also learned where the word “mayday” came from. See? Obachan is learning...
posted by obachan, 5/16/2006 11:01:00 AM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, May 12, 2006


Looks like I always feel the urge to start or re-start something at this time of the year, every year. It’s no surprise, because the climate is nice -- not too cold, not too hot--, trees and grasses are in fresh green, and I’m usually feeling better after the cedar pollen allergy is gone.

So what kind of urge am I feeling this year? Well, the other day, I re-started my habit of going walking about twice a week. Also I'm planning to spend some time painting a watercolor this weekend. You know it’s such a shame… I have a couple of hobbies that should make myself feel better when I’m too stressed or feeling weak, but I usually don’t feel like doing any of them when I am actually stressed or feeling weak.

Anyway, another thing I started recently is something I’ve always wanted to do: it’s learning about Buddhism and especially, the Hannya Shingyo (the Heart Sutra). Strange, ha? Or you think obachan is really getting older and obachan-like? (That’s the image the majority of people have here in Japan. They think Buddhism and sutra are for elders only.) Well, I AM getting older, like everyone else, but I don’t think my interest in the sutra is so much based on the worries about my health or my future.

As you know, I’ve been blogging about (and by doing so re-discovering and re-appreciating) the customs and traditions here in my home prefecture, which are, in other words, things I always had around me but didn’t actively see. And everytime I blog about our religious customs, I wonder what kind of wishes, or prayers, or wisdom inspired people to start such customs. When I visit temples to blog about the ceremonies there, I always hear about Hannya Shingyo sutra which is said to express the essence of the great wisdom in only 262 characters. So what kind of wisdom is it? This curiosity has been in the corner of my mind for several years, and for some reason, now my inner voice says, “Let’s start learning.” When it happens, it happens. So I guess you are going to see posts about this sutra on this blog once in a while. :)
posted by obachan, 5/12/2006 04:28:00 PM | link | 2 comments |

Monday, May 08, 2006


Well, it was just like that. I went to see the Koinobori festival last Thursday, which was a little chilly and windy day, and I was still coughing quite a bit last Friday. Then Saturday… I was still feeling kind of weak, but did not cough much in the daytime. And yesterday, my mind was so occupied with a couple of things almost all day that I totally forgot about my bronchitis (and forgot about taking medicine, too). In the evening I did a little stretching and even tried a little walking by the river, just because I felt like it. When I went to bed after midnight, I realized that I didn’t cough AT ALL that day!

So that was it. My bronchitis is gone and I’m cured! :D
Oh I’m so glad…
posted by obachan, 5/08/2006 11:36:00 AM | link | 3 comments |

Sunday, May 07, 2006


- May 4, 2006 -

Usually people in the food-service industry cannot take many days off during Golden Week; it is the busy time of the year for them, if not the busiest. Of course I had to work at the kaiseki place every night from May 1st to 5th, and I had bronchitis. So my Golden Week this year was almost going to be a totally eventless one. But when I accidentally found out about an event in a town called Ino-cho, which is not too far from where I live, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to go take a quick look.

Whenever this kind of idea comes to my mind, I just can’t stop. I packed my lunch (lemon chicken, avocado-tomato sandwiches and boiled potatoes) in a great hurry and spent all afternoon by the Niyodo river.

It was a 3-day event held to celebrate the Children’s Day, and carp-shaped streamers called koinobori were the center of attraction. As I wrote in my previous post, Ino is famous for the production of washi (Japanese traditional paper). So you can imagine the koinobori used in the event were not regular nylon ones but had something to do with their local specialty. Yes, those koinobori streamers were made out of paper, and instead of floating in the wind, they were swimming in the river!

How come the paper streamers can stay OK in the river for 3 days? Actually they were made of what we call “Fushokufu 不織布 (unwoven fabric?)” which is supposed to be very strong and water-resistant.

These koinobori on the roadside were also made of the same unwoven fabric, and each of them had a photo of a baby printed on it. I guess it was a part of the event and local moms paid some money to have their baby’s photos printed on the koinobori.

These koinobori in the air looked like nyron ones. Very cute and colorful.

Some kids borrowed koinobori and had fun flying them.

Others were having a good time in the river.

Some people went very close to the streamers in the river by boat.

This is how the paper koinobori looked like in the river. (Photos taken from the bridge.)

According to a Japanese article about this event, this is how the koinobori streamers were made: They first did the drawing and coloring (with water-based paints) on flat, rectangle pieces of unwoven cloth, then rolled each piece into a cylinder. To join the edges, no glue was used -- they were ironed together.

To me, the idea of “paper koinobori swimming in the river” is interesting, and more than a hundred colorful streamers in clean river water were worth watching. And kids’ laughter in beautiful countryside scenery! Something always nice to see anywhere in the world. But I just thought it was probably better to take a train to Ino station and walk from there. My friend and I had to stay in the car for a while in a waiting line to get into the venue, and to get out, we needed to take a very small path to go a long way round, which was kind of fun, though.

Flowers near the parking space.

So, at least, I did something to post about in Golden Week this year and I'm happy about that.
Oh, Dr., I think it would probably take a little longer to cure my bronchitis ;)
* Sorry. I corrected the pronunciation of 不織布. How embarrassing … :O

posted by obachan, 5/07/2006 02:21:00 PM | link | 5 comments |

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


OK, I’m officially sick now. I have a bronchitis. Frist time in my life. Well, at least this is my first time being officially diagnosed with bronchitis. (Maybe I had this several times before, but just didn’t go to the hospital and didn’t know I had it. ;P)

The doctor was a young man who was, according to one of my colleagues, a cute guy. Yes, the colleague was the one who recommended the hospital and the doctor to me, saying “Oh you should see him. He’s cute.” Well, I guess there’s a little difference between her definition of “a cute guy” and mine, but anyway, he was nice and seemed to be a good doctor.

Anyway, I’m supposed to be on antibiotics for a couple of days and have a good rest. Rest? Yeah, I have no special plans for this Golden Week except the work at night, so this will be a very restful week for me (if I neglect all the washing and cleaning I’m supposed to do in my apartment.)

BTW, the weather is so strange here now. It was so hot today in the morning, and now it's totally cloudy and wind is roaring outside --- no rain, just the wind. It might start raining soon, or I wouldn’t be surprised if it’d start hailing. It just looks too strange. And whatever would come, I’ll have to ride my bicycle to work tonight. Rest? The Dr. told me to rest well? OK, Doc, I’ll try… when I can.
posted by obachan, 5/02/2006 02:19:00 PM | link | 2 comments |