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カテゴリ:Simple Life/English( 6 )

how not only the fact but also the experiences we are having are like In Japan

I think what I will write now is something most of Japanese people must already know after the extraordinary earthquake on the 11th of March. But I would like to tell you this because I am spending a lot of time in England and I have not seen many articles on the web or in magazines or newspapers in English so far telling you how not only the fact but also the experiences we are having are like In Japan.

I would like to let you know how I am feeling as a person who lives at the town next to Tokyo and loves nature like green hills and rice fields, sandy sunny beaches. These are environments you can easily find here in this suburb.

I used to love strolling on the mountains or hills. In early spring like now I saw little wild flowers and sat on the grass and sometimes lay on it. I breathed thick atmosphere with fresh reviving lives of nature, before 11th of March,2011.

About 20 thousand people died because of the Tsunami and that was no doubt the most terrible tragedy of all. But if it was all, now after a year a lot of Japanese should just about have gained the positive view towards the future.

The reality is not quite like that. There has been very uncertain and insecure feelings about our future for probably half of Japanese, especially people with high computer literacy who know more from the internet. These Japanese people and the rest who mainly get information by watching TV are divided and they might have to fight if they live in the area where high radiation levels are an issue.

In the Fukushima daiichi nuclear power station, the melt through of multiple nuclear fuel lots after the explosion of one of the units, the ground, plants, debris, sewage, drains and any foods like vegetables and cattle which ate contaminated hay in mainly northern half of Japan is more or less contaminated by radiation.

We should not forget that around 80,000 people had to leave their homes from Fukushima then. Some of them can expect financial compensation from the government by not being able to go home nor to resume jobs but still I cannot imagine how much loss of their past and difficulties in the future they are feeling. Others are concerned about the risk of the health for their children and decided to move house with their own financial responsibility. Kids’ health can be more affected by radiation as their human cells are still growing fast.

How far and how much contamination are we having? We do not know exactly about it because nobody can measure all over that wide range of the area. You may wonder Tokyo is far enough from Fukushima. It is admitted that there are places in suburbs just 10 or 20 miles away from Tokyo called “hot spots” where radiation levels are as high as areas near Fukushima. This is because radiation travels in clouds and when it rains from the clouds after travelling for some hundreds miles, taking a few days, and rain water contaminates even very far areas.

Radiation from Fukushima is still released and being carried more to the south than the north east of Japan. On concrete grounds and tarmac roads radioactive dusts should have been washed away by rain falls but leaves and ground have been absorbing it. I never imagined how it would be to live in the world like this. We do not sit on the grass nor leaves nor flowers.

I will tell you later more about how in our everyday life I am feeling in this new environment where our government only repeats how safe that is.
by nanaoyoshino | 2012-03-11 13:00 | Simple Life/English

My grandparents’ garden and their dining 1



My grandparents’ garden was surrounded by other 2-story houses and the ground was swollen dump with gown moss with an earthy smell. Through the old fashioned gate and wall made of woven bamboos, when my parents calling my mother’s grandparents, I would jump on the flat white stones positioned to walk in the garden. The garden had a big stone lantern among some trees, and the dark and narrow garden was usually silent.

Their ceiling was almost sunk because of too many books my grandfather kept in his attic rooms. The attic rooms were very dark with the low ceiling and small windows. Whenever I looked at him from the door of the attic, I could only see his back writing and buried in the highly layered books surrounding his back. Later his attic study was completely filled with books and he had to move to the small 3 tatami-mat room on the ground floor beside the entrance hall. At that time, the entrance hall was as big as a small room and the light of his study made the beautiful pattern woven traditionally by fine bamboo branches of the circular shaped window on the wall between the room and the hall.

Since my mother’s brother’s bride came to join the family, the traditionally made cold kitchen on the ground became a modern kitchen and foods were prepared by two women. The dining room was next to the kitchen and my grandmother was grating the hard dried fish (like grating cheese) to make fish soup. I was asked to help her at times. My mother and my grandmother were not quarreling in those days. They used to talk about this and that endlessly with their feet in a warm kotatsu table (*).

My grandmother’s parent was a landlord in the countryside. She met my grandfather when she stayed with his family in town to go to high school. My grandmother loved elegant and exquisite things. Her photos had the scenes of her parents’ garden with the musicians playing the violin quartette or a summer house and its German architect leaning on his work. Taking the western culture at home like this was rather unusual at that time in Japan.

There was a traditional Hibachi fire place with coals in the living room. My grandmother used to do her sewing work there. She occasionally took pieces of Chiyogami paper in various colours and the Kimono like patterns from a chest of drawers made of paulownia wood. She made envelops from the paper and sent us letters in them. I could not accept an elegant umbrella in plain rose with the bamboo stick she sent to me as a present because for an 8 year old girl, I felt as though it was too different from other children’s umbrellas with manga like patterns and it looked for an older woman. I could not either understand the prettiness of a jewelry box with Geisha pictures from Kyoto.
(to be continued to the last half)

*a traditionally used winter table to warm feet, before by coals now electrically with a futon
by nanaoyoshino | 2008-12-14 21:35 | Simple Life/English

An Umbrella mender



There is an umbrella mender near the train station. An umbrella can be mended only for around 700 yen. I don’t remember if I have seen any umbrella menders in my childhood. There might have been umbrella menders in old towns while anyway I first experienced mending an umbrella at this shop. Have any of you ever mended your umbrellas?

In this shop there have been many new umbrellas sold although I have never seen anybody buy one of them. On the other hand I see a few umbrellas mended and waited for ownrs in the counter whenever I visit there. A man takes my mended umbrella carefullly from those other umbrellas with little tags of customers’ names on.

In fact depending on the extent of how much work he needs to fix them the cost would vary from about 400yen to 1000 yen. Anyway I feel sorry for paying so little compared to his much sophisticated techniques. All I can guess is not many would mend their umbrellas if it costs higher than that in recent years umbrellas can be bought for 500 yen at convenience stores.

Not intending to make money anyway? The upstairs may be rented and that’s how he makes his living really. When we get our umbrellas mended here we usually have such conversations. I cannot help feeling tempted to ask him how long he is doing this business but it looks rather a little difficult to start such a small conversation to the quiet man. Mending an umbrella was also the first experience for Vincent who was brought up in Britain.

He one time had his umbrella terribly broken at the near park in a seriously stormy weather. His umbrella didn’t work as an umbrella at all when we left the park. The man abruptly gives a look at the umbrella and tells us if it’s possible for him to mend it. At that time Vincent got the umbrella back and shouted, “Jesus! This looks brand new!”

Only an umbrellas of mine made the man say ,“I don’t think I can mend this but let me see for a day.” On the next day he said,”I could not mend this because this is made with imported materials and no materials I got fit this. That’s the only umbrella I had to throw away in the last 5 years or so.
Tips ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━○.・.。.・・・‥……
あなたの傘(かさ)大きいね。”Your umbrella is big!”
まるで3LDKの傘だろ。”It’s like our 3LDK.”
2人にちょうどいいよね。”It’s good for us two.”
by nanaoyoshino | 2008-10-10 00:13 | Simple Life/English

Pepole from English speaking countries love poetry.



When I lived in England I saw a sheet of paper on the boad in the libray lounge. I did'nt know what "the poetry reading" meant. I went there because the poetry reading was held in the town center where I used to browse often.

It was a simple gathering by approxmately 10 people and they read out their own poems to others. It was like a post-graduate class meeting in a way, with somone not a teacher who gives a lecture. Instead a man only occasionally gave his short comments to the poems. The biggest difference for me from the post-graduate literature class was that the site was a huge and freezing gateroom of a mideval castle fort probably much the same as a 1000 years ago.

A few years ago I heard that there was a poetry reading in Tokyo. Latelly I went to an English pub in Tokyo instead of a castle gateroom. It was much like the poetry reading in England. Most things happened just in the same way as in England except that some people played the instrunments or had their own or other writer's essays insetead of poems.

I heard this gathering has been continuing for more than 30 years in Tokyo by mostly English-speaking people such as British, American and Australians. The language was mostly in English and sometimes Japanese. Perhaps the events like poetry reading are not unusual in the UK and they could be compared with the Japanese Kukai aslo held traditionally by Haiku lovers since hundreds years ago. My hudsband sometimes reads some poems by T.S Eliot and W.E.Blake to his memory.

Literature sometimes reminds us of the social codes and pressure that we were not necessarily cooncious in everydaylife, other times the mystery of life and the wonder of love.

about the photo
The monitor at the satation shows the tired looking faces going back home from work after the day.
Tips ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━○.・.。.・・・‥……
I’m moved!  かんどう!
How nice! すてき! 
I’m angry!  はらたつ!  
How bad!  やば!
Amazing!  すごい!
by nanaoyoshino | 2008-09-03 23:43 | Simple Life/English

Simple Life


日本語訳はこちら→「Simple Life with 「普段着の英語」」

I will write my diary from today. The theme is "casually spoken English" from our everyday conversations.

Today on the way home from work I phoned home and met my hudsband to go to a fried pork restaurant. There the wife of the restaurant owner gave us some persimons from her parents' garden. She said,"Is there persimons in England?" My hudsband said he occasionally saw persiomons in the exotic fruit section in supermarkets.

She said she had seen persiomns in Viena sold and called "Kaki" like Japanese call them. She claimed from the experience that persiomons were only produced in Japn. I suppose the fruit was brought to England from some British oriental colony long time ago and the word "persiomon" may have been used since then.

I remember at a village in the southern end of Spain, I had a piece of fried pork my Spanish friend's grandmother cooked for me and her which was just like the one I had today at the restaurant in my neigborhood. Is there anybody who knows when fried pork was brought to Japan?

Things to eat in Japan/日本の食べ物
Fried Pork=とんかつ
About the photo
A packet of drink on the table - bringing strangely Déjà Vu feelings. /Tokyo
by nanaoyoshino | 2008-08-03 11:44 | Simple Life/English

36 About this blog

“FLLLPA” is the collected capital letters from “far”, “look”, “light”, “laugh”, “positive”, and “appriciate”. These words are for me to cheer myself up when I feel down or discouraged. I’m working for the advertising area.

About "Simple Life" from 2008 January.
One of the themes of this blog is "simple life". I suppose there is no life which is just simple in the reality because we do not always live with only what we like and life cannot necessarily be fully under control. So "simple life" is not a goal. It's an attitude not to choose things, that is not prior in a long run. Most people find it difficult to resist temptations, desires and lies. As a result we often cannot continue what seemed important once. We tend to keep too many alternatives at one time which lead us nowhere after all.

What I write in this blog
I love traveling. Things I encounter in various countries are often too complex to understand. On the other hand I met my partner Vincent and his family on the way of traveling. This relation had me understood that life could be led simply. It seems my partner and his family naturally know essentials in life such as love, consideration, honesty, sincerity, hard-working ness and continuation (to achieve). This is the first hint and inspirations for my blog and I would like to write about what seems like "simple life" to me.

This blog contains such as people, books and films, conversations I (Japanese, female) and Vincent (English, male) had in Tokyo, and some holidays in Britain. I put the different names for the people that appear. Please note inappropriate comments will be deleted.
by nanaoyoshino | 2008-06-21 02:05 | Simple Life/English