Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Blog 新しいブログ

I create a new blog with a new URL very two years, and this year falls on that year, so here is a new blog.

It's quite something to think about the fact that I started writing a blog in the year 2006, which is 8 years ago... At that time, I was often asked what I was up to, and I wished that there was a platform where my family and friends from around the world could access whenever they wanted and see what I was doing. I was researching if there was such thing on Internet, and then I came across with the word, "blog." I was thrilled when I discovered it, thinking, "Yes, this is what I was looking for!!" 

If you happen to be following my blog, I am sorry to add an extra step on your side, but would you please bookmark this new URL? Also, if you want, you can receive an email whenever I post a new blog entry by entering your email address in the "Follow by Email" box.

I look forward to be connected with you at the new blog.

------- Japanese -----



もしこのブログを常時見てくださっているようでしたら、お手数おかけしますが、新しいURLをブックマーク(「お気に入り」に入れる)して頂けますか?また、私がブログを更新するとメールでお知らせすることも出来ますので、もしそのようなサービスをご希望の方は、新しいブログサイトの右上にあります、「Follow by Email」の中にご自分のメールアドレスを記入して頂き、「Submit」を押して頂きますと、確認ページに移ります。そこで見えている変な文字をタイプして頂くと、確認メールが届きますでの、その確認メールのリンクをクリックして頂くと、手続きが終了します。


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Books I Read (between July and Dec '13) 読んだ本たち(2013年の後半に)

The last blog entry of the year 2013 is going to be about the books I've read in the last half of this year. They are all written in Japanese, though.

The first series of books to introduce is "Ryoma ga yuku" written by one of the greatest writers of Japan, Ryotaro Shiba. Although he is one of the greatest, I hand't known him until this year. I was introduced to him by one of his books called "Komyoga tsuji." He writes historical fiction so well with so much research and ground work.

After I was exposed to his first book, I wanted to read all of his work. My Japanese friend named Fusayo who lives on Maui told me that she has brought all 8 books of "Ryoma ga yuku" all the way from Japan. I was thrilled! 

I could not put the book down as soon as I started to read. Good thing it was during the summer break; otherwise, I would not have been able to work. I think I was captured so deeply not only because the main character Ryoma Sakamoto (who actually lived) and I are from the same town (his house was very close to where I used to live) but also because of his way of living - his philosophy and actual work based on it. Moreover, I was fascinated with the people who lived at the end of Bakumasu era. 

Here are some of my favorite quotes of what Ryoma said (according to the author).

"Politics should be done for the sake of people's happiness."

"What is my most fit mission in my life?"

"Until the world wants me, I focus on honing my skills."

"I would not follow religions blindly. I think for myself."

"When you forget about whether you'd live or die and the result of your battle, and when everything becomes the emptiness, and by becoming one with the emptiness, you would reach the state."

"I want to live with the brightness that every baby has, without ego and any attachment."

"I want to make this world where every single soul can fulfill its life's mission."














Here are "Komyo ga tsuji" - my first introduction to Ryotaro Shiba.
My friend Yuki who also lives on Maui gave me the first 3 books. (She was getting rid of them.) When she gave me, I had zero interest, but as soon as I opened the first couple of pages, I was captured.

This series was also about someone who was from my hometown. He was a lord named Kazutoyo Yamauchi, who governed my hometown before Ryoma was born (the lord was not originally from there, though), so I was very interested to learn about my hometown's history. What really intrigued me was Kazutoyo's wife. She was a wise, sophisticated lady. She educated and guided her husband to become a great lord without making it look that way. She was the one who was moving the history from the backstage! but she did it so elegantly without hurting her husband's ego or pride. She was so cool! I wonder how many women like her existed in the history of mankind, while women could not go out to the front stage of society.



But a problem arose, a big problem. The last book (the 4th one) wasn't there. I called my mom in Japan, and she immediately sent me the last book. As an avid reader, she'd read the books a long time ago. I cannot tell you how excited I was when I received it!!!


This is "Taikouki" by Ryotaro Shiba. It's a story about Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Mr. Hideyoshi climbed up the ladder from the very bottom to the very top, and what amazing about him is that he created the ladder himself. There seems to be commonalities among people who have pioneered improved one's life against all the odds.


"Kokyo bouji gataku sourou" by Ryotaro Shiba

「故郷忘(ぼう)じがたく候」 司馬遼太郎


"Saigo no Syogun" by Ryotaro Shiba

「最後の将軍」 司馬遼太郎


"Nihonjin wo kangaeru" by Ryotaro Shiba

「日本人を考える」 司馬遼太郎


"Boku no kotori chan" by Kaori Ekuni

「ぼくの小鳥ちゃん」 江國香織


"Rika san" by Kaho Nashiki
"Nishi no majyo ga shinda" by Kaho Nashiki

「りかさん」 梨木香歩
「西の魔女が死んだ」 梨木香歩


"Hashiru kotoni tsuite kataru tokini bokuno kataru koto" by Haruki Murakami

「走ることについて語るときに僕の語ること」 村上春樹


"Ringo no namida" by Machi Tawara

「りんごの涙」 俵万智


"Arigato, Sayonara" by Maiko Seo

「ありがとう、さようなら」 瀬尾まいこ


"Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Fukushima" by Randy Taguchi

「ヒロシマ、ナガサキ、フクシマ」 田口ランディ


"Hesiei Kanto Daishinsai" by Harutoshi Fukui

「平成関東大震災」 福井睲敏


"Jintai mokei no yoru" by Ramo Nakajima

「人体模型の夜」 中島らも

"Otousan no Backdrop" by Ramo Nakajima

「お父さんのバックドロップ」 中島らも


Monday, December 30, 2013

The Relationship between Haiku and Photography 俳句と写真の関係

Taken at 8:53 pm on Dec 6th, 2003
2003年12月6日 午後8時53分撮影

I'm amazed at a feature of digital cameras - showing every photo's very date and time when it was taken.

I came to Maui right after finishing high school. 

"Buy a digital camera" was on my to do list before I left Japan. I wanted to send as many photos as I could to my parents. I felt bad for going so far away from them. I thought that sending them photos would be a way to stay in touch with them as well as to show how much I care about them. It was about when digital cameras became popular. I bought a laptop computer and a digital camera with money I earned from a part-time job I had during my high school years. (FYI: the camera was Canon's IXY Digital 200, and I loved it!)

I went to an electric appliance store, which was in the neighborhood of where I used to live in Kochi. It was the very first time I negotiated a price on my own. I vividly remember the moment. I mustered up my courage from every corner of myself and said, "Would you please lower the price a bit? I came with money I earned doing a part-time job. I'm going to study abroad, and I'd like to send photos to my parents." When the price was lowered than the tag, I was really thrilled. I thought, "Wow, it doesn't hurt to give anything a try." I also thought, "The saying - 'asking is only a moment's shame' - is really true." 

Looking back the moment, I think that the challenge I imposed upon myself was my way of preparing for the journey ahead. I said to myself, "If you cannot do this with your native language in your hometown, how are you going to survive and thrive on Maui where you don't know the language and anything?"

So with the laptop computer and the digital camera, I sent many photos to my parents, but I started to think, "I wish there was some sort of a platform where I can share my photos and my thoughts all at once without sending any email, and whoever want to see and read can come whenever they want..." I researched and found out that there was such thing, and it was called blog. That's how I started to write a blog in 2006. It startles me to think that it's been already 8 years.

I was just browsing through some photos I took with my first digital camera. When I saw the date and the time when the above photo of a pink plumeria was taken, it brought me back memories of that time. I was a full-time college student. I was studying from early morning to late night everyday. I think the book underneath the flower is a textbook. When I took the photo, I was thinking that the petals looked like ceramics, and I was caught by its beauty. I probably took this photo in between my assignments (it can be called procrastination :))

I think it was around that time when I started to notice that I actually like photography.



私は高校を卒業してすぐにマウイに来たわけですが、日本を発つ前に必ずしようと思っていたことが、「デジタルカメラを買う」でした。マウイで出来るだけ沢山の写真を撮って、父と母にメールで送ろうと思ったからです。親元を遠く離れてしまことを申し訳なく思う気持ちがあり、写真を送ることで少しでも親孝行をしようと思ったのです。デジタルカメラが発売され始め、主流になってきた頃のことでした。高校時代にアルバイトで貯めたお金をラップトップコンピューターとデジタルカメラに費やしました。(ちなみにそのデジカメはCanonのIXY Digital 200でした。すごく気に入っていました。)




今、昔撮った写真を見ていました。そしたらちゃんと日付も表示されていて、しかも撮った時間まで見る事が出来て、「おぉ!」と思いました。一番上のピンクのプルメリアなんて2003年。大学生真っ最中の頃ですね。勉強に明け暮れていた日々を思い出します。きっと下に見えているのは教科書です。プルメリアの花びらが陶器のように見えて、「こんなに美しいものがこの世にはあるんだなぁ」と思っていたのを覚えています。宿題の合間にでも撮っていたのでしょう。(休む言い訳でも探していたのでしょう 笑)


Taken at 9:08 am on Feb. 16th, 2008
2008年2月16日 午前9時8分 撮影

I think for me, taking photos and making haiku poems are very similar.

Today, I'd like to share the haiku poems I made this year.
However, I'm sorry. I cannot translate them to English at this point (no time), and quite honestly, with my translation skill, I don't know if I can really extract the subtle nuance of Japanese into English while following the 5, 7, 5 rule.
I will attempt someday.
Sorry, not today.

This year, I could not attend as many Haiku gatherings as I could last year. However, by creating some whenever I could, I was able to go inside the world of nature and inside of myself, and depicting the sceneries of those worlds with words was so much fun.

(Here and here are blog entires about my passion for haiku poems written in English. )








波乗りて 飛沫(しぶき)萌えし 初明り
封開き 郷愁誘う 初便り
初泣きの 子の顔拭きて あやす朝
凛と立つ 凍てつく吐息 野水仙
視野広し 世界広がる 竹馬よ
初明り 過去と未来が 混ざり映え
手書きの字 変わってないね 初便り

Taken at 9:08 am on Feb. 16th, 2008
2008年2月16日 午前9時8分 撮影

土かぶり 柔(やわ)し竹の子 顔を出す
黒土に 白肌際(きわ)つ 筍よ
夏めくや 緑の香を 風運ぶ
袖めくり 額拭う君 夏めいて
人興せ 心興せと 祭り神
余花(よくわ)かて 君の面影 うつし出し
新緑に 心洗われ また一歩
生を受け 祝う喜び 母の日よ
母の日に 偲ぶあなたは 宙(そら)の人

Taken at 2:57 pm on December 8th, 2006
2006年12月8日 午後2時57分 撮影

刺されても 栗を目指して 毬(いが)をむく
台囲み こぼれし笑顔 栗ごはん
腰伸ばし よだれ垂れ来る 栗拾い
そっと見る 軒下とまる 小鳥たち
風吹きて 小鳥と揺れる 椰子の木よ
菊手にし 目を細めし 老人よ
日だまりを 探してほっと そぞろ寒
映りしは 夏の思ひ出 照葉(てりは)かな

Taken at 3:29 pm on Mar. 12th, 2005
2005年3月12日 午後3時29分 撮影

次世代に 想い託して 落ち葉舞う
風吹きて 空を彩る 紅葉かな
駅の隅 時雨見上げて 父を待つ
時雨るる ぱっと咲き立つ 傘の花
日を受けて 道草光る 夕時雨
待つほどに 想いを写す 青写真
切干しの 煮ゆる幸せ 噛みしめて
祈りあげ 留守もる月を 見上げては

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bounenkai 忘年会

I cooked daikon (Japanese radish).
I guess I could have made it a little more flavorful.
My potluck contribution #1


I love Konnyaku.


When I was a child, I didn't know how this was made.
One day, I saw my mom do the little trick, and I was really excited to find it out.


My potluck contribution #2

My potluck contribution #3

I had an end of a year party (Bounenkai) with my Japanese friends.
I was able to eat lots of Japanese food, and I was so happy.


Even Takoyaki was there!


With great friends and great food, there was nothing more I could have asked to appreciate the end of the year.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

What Flowers Have Taught Me 花たちが教えてくれたこと

These flowers are blooming around my house.
When flowers are open, the air around them seem brighter.


There are many things I learn from flowers.


Like about being with people's pain...

One day, I found a fairly long line scratched with something pointy along the side of my car. I guess my car got keyed. But it could be an accident. Someone who was carrying something heavy right by my car may not have realized that a part of his or her cloth was scratching my car. But if it was an intentional act, I felt sad, not for me but for the person who did it and for my car that embraced the pain.

I found myself tracing the line with my finger and felt as if I was tracing the person's scar in him or her. I prayed that he or she who could not help to do it found peace now.




Flowers have taught me that bravely and gracefulness can coexist.


Flowers have taught me the beauty of not making excuses.
Just be and accept one's fate. 
They do not complain where their seeds have been placed.
They do their best to blossom as beautifully as they can regardless of their environment.


Making excuses for why I’m too tired to practice is easy, but actually getting myself to the studio has been challenging with a full-time (and I’d say demanding) job and other part-time jobs.

My heart yearns to dance, but my body says, “Oh boy, I am exhausted.”

I conciliate, intercede, and inspire myself and reach the studio.

Once I step into the studio, the exhaustion I was feeling disappears, and then I wouldn’t want to leave for a while. It’s a mystery.

Anyhow, I try to get to the studio as often as I can - even for 15 minutes while hoping that it would cultivate something in me - so that when I dance, I can access “the space” more smoothly and bring out the essence and share with the world around me.






Whatever happens, we will be fine as long as we are facing the sun.


Flowers remind me that we might be alone, but we are not alone by ourselves. We are alone together, so we are together ultimately. If we think this way, the loneliness itself becomes something endearing.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Last Half of December 12月後半

My messy desk


Sy reading a book


I think his view is like this when I hold him and circle around.


I liked how the sun was shining through the fabric.


During the winter break, my classroom will be deep cleaned (this
happens once a year), so all the furniture were moved to one side.


My classroom looks empty.


The carpet will be washed.


Big thanks to the janitors!
We will be able to welcome the new year with a clean room.


To celebrate the winter solstice, I went to the top of the world (on Maui) with my friend. 


The first day of winter break was spent by bringing my car to a dealer shop for the semiannual check up at 7 am, by going to a dental appointment at 9 am, and by seeing a doctor for a follow-up at 2 pm.

I didn't mean to schedule them in one same day, but they naturally happened. It's so hard to get to these things while school is in session. Oh, a visit to Office Max (to buy a new pencil sharpener for my classroom) and to a post office (I finally mailed out my hair), and to a bank (to deposit a check which is a good thing!) were added in between those appointments.

Phew. I took a nice break between some of them, so that I wouldn't exhaust myself. At the end of the day, I practiced (Odissi dance). It's the treat I was looking forward to all day. 




Went to a gym class at 6 am. Surfed at Hookipa from 7 to 7:45 am. Went back to the gym to take another class (Power Plate) at 8. Can you tell how stoked I am?? Some kind of chemical (I don't know what) created from the morning exercise is rushing through my body. Winter break, here I come!! Now, I'm going to take a morning nap and will get on a translation job that is due soon. 


That afternoon, I had the 4th computer lesson with a lady who cannot see. Her perseverance and determination are admirable. In order for her to use the Contacts on MacBook, she needs to know how the Contacts' layout is set up. I didn't know how to explain that to her (words have their limit), so I made this texturized (bumped) sheet, so that she can feel and "see" in her mind (the pictures of the butterfly didn't have a meaning, but it looks pretty for us who can see; I just used available sheets of papers). 

When you're using the VoiceOver feature, you don't use a mouse, and the computer lets you move in a certain way. You have to know this layout in order to understand how to navigate yourself.

I would like to thank her for teaching me many lessons, such as not taking what we have for granted and sticking to what you put your mind on no matter how hard it is. All of these may sound like cliche, but when I'm with her, they have a whole different level of meaning.



One of wonderful gifts I received on Christmas day is a couple of spines of Wana (sea urchin) from surfing (my first time ever in my 12 years of Maui life). Luckily someone at the beach had vinegar, so I soaked my foot in it for 20 min or so, and the spines got noticeably smaller. Wow, vinegar!

I didn't mind the pain at all, but the first thing came to my mind was, "Oh, shoot! Can I dance?" Today (the following day of the incident), I danced. It hurt a bit, but it was doable, so I think I'm good to go. Phew. Well, it was a good reminder that the nature is out there, and chances are that we are hurting it more than it is hurting us. (Sorry to the wana who got stepped on by me.)



Someone else at the beach told me to make paste out of MSG and bitter and put it on the affected area. Apparently, it dissolves the calcium that composes wana.