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Old Microwave Oven

レンジI've used my microwave oven for nearly 25 years. Its dimension is 55cm×40cm×40cm. Have you ever seen such a big microwave oven?

It has been very tough and has never broken down since I began to use. I may be able to use it for another several years or more. However, I've heard that an old electrical appliance would cause a fire if worst comes to worst最悪の場合には. So I decided to buy a new one. This old one knows my family's history. It must have heard my children shout for joy when a cake was baked. It has stayed with me all the time, in joy and in sorrow, in my kitchen. Good-by, My Old Friend!



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White Gardenia

くちなし



clouds hanging low

white gardenia

at its whitest


曇天に山梔子の白極まれり




Yesterday I attended the English conversation club(90 minutes)in the morning and haiku in English club(120 minutes) in the afternoon. I'm glad to have opportunities to speak English. I can check it out if my daily effort in learning English at home works in both clubs. I'm not good at speaking English still now, but writing English is surely improving my speaking ability little by little. I hope so.



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篤姫

Today is already Friday. How fast time flies! Although I am always at home, I feel somehow relaxed on weekend as well as working people or students.
On Sunday, I watch NHK TV saga “Atsuhime”. This saga is one of the biggest hit in recent years and a talk of the town. My daughter and her two sons in their teens also like to watch it. The drama seems to be supported by wide range of generation.

Atsuhime’s personality is as follows, I think.
1. active
2. cheerful
3. courageous
4. thoughtful
5. studious


I am a big fan of 堺雅人 as well as 宮崎あおい.He plays the role of Tycoon Iesada very well. Recently, it turned out that Iesada played the fool on purpose わざと. He amuses me a great deal. I’m looking forward to watching the next development of the story.



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Mt. Rokko (2)

From Rokko-san Country House, I got on a lift for a few minutes. After getting off the lift, I walked on the mountain path in a forest for about 20 minutes. There are many wild boars 猪 living in Mt. Rokko. There were some lands dug by animals on the path. I was sure that the lands had been dug by wild boars. I made sure that I didn’t have any foods which were aimed by wild boars. Some people living near Mt. Rokko are sometimes attacked by the animals when they have plastic bags containing foods. I safely reached Alpine Botanical Garden 六甲高山植物園.



シチダンカ
シチダンカis a kind of hydrangea which was introduced to the world in “日本植物誌” written by Siebold. The flower is very plain, but neat and clean 清楚.




エーデルワイス
An edelweiss エーデルワイス is called “Alpine Star” from its shape.




にっこうきすげ
ニッコウキスゲhas started to bloom, but only a little. In July and August, you will be able to see many flowers.



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Mt. Rokko (1)

Rose.jpg
The weather was holding this morning, so I went up Mt. Rokko by cable car. I got around at the top of the mountain.

Rokko-san Country House バラの小径 ローズウオーク June 14~July 31This rose garden is not a formal garden and is more naturally arranged with roses and trees. You can enjoy the harmonious beauty of roses and trees. The garden is more like an English rose garden, though I haven't seen a real one. I could enjoy seeing roses, filled with sweet fragrance. I felt refreshed a great deal.
Rose2.jpg



Rokko Garden Terrace 英国&バラフェア June14~July21
I dropped in at Rokko Garden Terrace and took a rest at グラニットカフェfor a while. I ordered a set of Rose Cake and Rose Petal Jam Tea. I could enjoy rose-flavoured cake and tea. You can buy many kinds of rose goods at a shop near the cafe. I bought a box of rose tea containing rose petals. You can enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding Kobe, if it is fine. Unfortunately, it was cloudy today and I could enjoy only misty scenery from there.
ke-ki.jpg



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Bayberry ヤマモモ

やまももThis is a bayberry ヤマモモ. I bought a plastic pack of it at a souvenir store in Shikoku the other day. This was the first time for me to see it. My husband had a good memory of its sweetness and wanted to buy it. The price of one pack with 25 pieces was 600 yen. I thought it was very expensive. I hesitated to buy it for a while but I wanted to try. At first, it was a little bit sour and I waited for getting ripe for three days. Unfortunately, it has not gotten ripe yet. It may take another three days to get ripe. My husband got a ripe bayberry directly from a tree many years ago and it tasted so sweet. The tree was some 10 meters tall. Anyway, its color is crimson and very beautiful. I’m afraid that the color in the picture above is a little bit lighter than the real one. Its diameter is about 2 cm.



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Musical Film "The Little Prince"

71KSEVBBQBL._SL500_AA280_[1]I watched the DVD of a musical film”The Little Prince” yesterday, for the first time. Needless to say, it is a well-known fable for children and grown-ups. There are a number of impressive phrases throughout the book. Those phrases make us think about what is important in our lives.

In the musical film, I was so attracted to some of the dancing scenes and music by the snake and the fox. Those dances express the nature of animals and reptiles very well. In particular, the snake’s dancing is absolutely wonderful. The movie gave me more pleasure than the book.

I like this book very much. I have already read it in Japanese, but not yet English version. Today, I bought the book translated from the French by Richard Howard. English in the book seems easy enough for TOEIC 470



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朝青龍

商流時The next day, I visited Shoryuji-Temple 青龍寺. I had to go up a steep stone stairs with 170 steps. It was very slippery, so I had to be most careful, especially when I went down. I’ve heard that a Yokozuna, Asasyoryu 朝青龍 trained himself, going up and down this stairs many times every day in his 明徳義塾 days. So he was named in the name of this temple. Hydrangea consoled me while I was going up, gasping.



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Lightly Roasted and Sliced Bonito カツオのたたき

岩本
Fortunately, it didn't rain so heavily as I had expected. Only when I visited Iwamoto-ji 岩本寺 in the southwestern part of Kochi Prefecture, I had to use an umbrella and a raincoat. In other five temples, it rained slightly on and off. I felt happy because I didn't get drenched.

It took 3.5 hours to reach Iwamoto-ji from Kobe. It was a long bus drive. There is a round hall(円形堂宇) dedicated to 歓喜天. You can see a beautiful painting on the ceiling. I was surprised to see Marilyn Monroe's face drawn on the ceiling. Her face surely looked like a Buddha's face. I saw a wax effigy蝋人形 of Monro in the Sakamoto Ryoma's Wax Museum 蝋人形館 on the previous bus trip. People in Shikoku seem to like Monroe very much.


龍間の宿DSCF0781_convert_20080621175646かつおのたたき
I stayed overnight at 龍馬の宿, Hotel 南水 in Kochi City. The hotel is built at the place where Ryoma was born. Speaking of Tosa土佐(Kochi Pref.), lightly roasted and sliced bonitoカツオのたたき is the most famous. I was served a dish strongly flavored with garlic. Big and thick-sliced garlic!

To be continued


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Art of Calligraphy

納経
The sky is clouded over and it looks as if it's going to start raining any moment.

I have to prepare for the 6th bus trip to Shikoku as a part of the 88 temple pilgrimage. I am going to stay overnight at a hotel in Kouchi City and visit six temples for two days.
I got Noukyoutyou 納経帳 for stamping and am always amazed to see fine art of calligraphy.

Some of the tour members wear white clothes of Ohenro お遍路 as the picture below、though I don't wear it. I hope it won't rain much in Shikoku tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.


遍路姿




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Blue Hydrangea

あじさい



misty mountain-

blue hydrangea carrying

the sea breeze





In Kobe Municipal Arboretum(神戸市立森林植物園), various kinds of hydrangea are now blooming.




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King Kong(2005 remake)

Beau-ti-ful[1]
I watched the movie ”King Kong”(2005 remake) on TV the other day. I had not been interested in “King Kong” for ages. This time I only wanted to kill time on weekend. I never thought I would cry while watching it. Unexpectedly, I was sometimes moved to tears. The beautiful music also promoted my cry.

This is a story of pure love through breathtaking adventures. That huge King Kong looked so cute like an innocent middle school student who fell into his first love. He only hoped to save and protect a beautiful woman, Ann (Naomi Watts), and to stay with her. In spite of his risky fighting against dinosaurs to save her, he didn’t expect anything more in return from her. What kind of love is this? Paternal love? Love for humanity? Love between a man and a woman? Longing for a beautiful woman? First love?

The last moment of King Kong on the top of a tall Manhattan building at twilight was miserable, but absolutely wonderful in a sense. There was a real meeting of minds between King Kong and Ann. It’s worth watching.

Nomi Watts (the movie 21 Grams) and Andrien Brody(the movie ”The Pianist” 戦場のピアニスト) played important roles in the movie.


20051017004fl00004viewrsz150x[1]





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2008 Iwate-Miyagi Inland Earthquake

A magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit Iwate, Miyagi and other areas in northern Japan yesterday morning. At least six people died and 79 were injured so far. Further aftershocks are warned.

I experienced the Big Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. Fortunately, there was not so much heavy damage in my area, however, lifelines like water, electricity and gas inevitably stopped. Imagine that you can’t access all of them all of a sudden. The electricity was restored at first and next was the gas. Water was the last. I couldn’t wash my hands, cook and gradually faced a shortage of drinking water. The biggest problem was the toilets. When a water supply truck came to my area in about three days, I was really relieved.

I have been storing emergency foods and bottled water in my closet near my door. Small vinyl bags and cooking scissors are very convenient for emergencies. You can cook foods without knives and cooking boards, and then mix some foods in a vinyl bag. Portable gas stoves are needed.

Plus, it would be better for you to remember the names of medicines which you regularly take. Many hospitals and clinics were destroyed and medical prescriptions for patients were not found soon at that time,



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Large Trash Collection Day

Today was a large trash collection day and my turn to clean the garbage dump. On the second Friday of the month, we can throw away plastic garbage and glass. On the fourth Friday, we can throw iron goods and batteries. Large wooden trash within the size allowed for by our city regulations can be collected on both Fridays.

Our neighborhood association rules say that we must clean up the garbage dump in turn. After the garbage truck collected the trash, there were many small things left there. They were nails and metal clasps. We have to pack small things tightly in a thick vinyl bag and throw it away. Anyway, I have finished cleaning the garbage dump.



large trash collection day---粗大ごみ収集日
garbage dump----ゴミ捨て場
neighborhood association rules----(町)の自治会のきまり
metal clasp----金属製の留め金



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Keep Its Fragrance

ばら




a rose petal

keeps its fragrance

even after falling




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A Fortune-teller

A NHK program featured “Spiritual Boom” last night. This stressful society tends to make people nervous and unstable about their future. Companies can’t help competing with each other keenly to make a profit. Many workers are stressed out. So, they go to a fortune-teller to seek some advices. A working woman said that she had felt as if her head had become lighter and had gained energy by a fortune-teller’s treatment. Some people were healed only by telling their troubles, but some were demanded unfair money.

I like to read the column of astrological forecast in a newspaper for fun. I am in Aquarius. It says,” This week, you are capable of brilliant innovation. It’s very creative period, so take full advantage of it.”

Oh, I am already tired in the middle of the week.



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The Movie "21 Grams"

D111728573[1]I took interest in the title of the movie"21 Grams". I wondered whose weight it was. 21 grams is equivalent to the weight of chocolate bar or a hummingbird.

Shockingly, the movie says that we all lose 21 grams at the exact moment of our death. I was astonished that our lives could be expressed as figures.

Is life so light? Life is heavier than the earth, isn't it? In the movie, people fall into the deepest sorrow and solitude when they lose their beloved ones. Finally, the movie tells us that life is the heaviest thing around us.



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Evergreen Magnolia

たいさんぼく
I went to a clinic for a regular check-up this morning. There was only one patient in the waiting room when I reached there before 11:00. It was lucky that I didn’t have to wait for a long time to see a doctor compared to a crowded hospital. My blood pressure was 125 systolic, 86 diastolic. I was quite relieved to know it was normal.

On my way back home, I went the long way round to take a walk. I was very happy to see a big flower of a evergreen magnolia 泰山木 for the first time in many years near a playground. The tree will become big and tall in the future.




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The Scent of Sweet Lilies

yuri.jpg



stopped

by the scent of sweet lilies

under leaden sky





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The Movie "Blue Butterfly"

D111752790[1]I watched the film ” Blue Butterfly” on TV last night. This is a 2004 drama/adventure film directed by Leo Pool and starring William Hurt and Marc Donato.

It’s based on a true story about a ten-year-old Canadian boy who suffered from brain cancer and was iinformed that he was dying within some months. His only one dream in his limited life was to see and catch a blue butterfly, which was the most beautiful butterfly in the world. An entomologist昆虫学者 helped him go to the jungle of the up-country, Amazon in South America, to seek the blue butterfly.

After their dangerous adventure, the boy and the entomologist saw the miraculous blue butterfly flying, shining in the jungle of Amazon but didn’t catch it. To make matters worse, they dropped into a deep hole and the entomologist was injured seriously. The boy could manage to go up to the ground and ran desperately to the nearby village for help, being terrified with the darkness of the jungle at night. Fortunately, the entomologist was helped.

One day, a gentle girl living in the village gave him the blue butterfly in a cage, The boy was very glad and tried to make specimens 標本にする of the butterfly. However, he let it go. The butterfly flied away happily. Miracle happened. His cancer was cured after the adventure. This is a true story.

The nature in Amazon is magnificent. I highly recommend you, if you like to see the beauty of nature. The catchphrase of the film is “The only way to catch a miracle is to believe in it.”



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The Turn of the Season

I supposed the weather would hold until this evening, but it got worse earlier than I had expected. It began to rain here around 11 in the morning.

The temperature is still moderate and I’m wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt. The climate is changeable, so suddenly I’ll need summer clothing.

I put away spring clothes out of my chest and put them into a closet, still leaving some of them in the chest. Instead, I put summer clothing in the chest.

I can’t easily throw away old clothing and I have many (?) old half-sleeved T-shirts, skirts, and stuff. I don’t have to buy new summer clothing this year, though I am often taken with new-fashioned clothing in the store. I think I can put up with my old things that I have.

It’s time for me to reduce things and to lead a simple life. I am now ready for hot summer and that's really quite refreshing.



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Light and Shadow

光と影
The weather is getting better. The temperature seems to soar to 25℃. The sky clears up ,though there are some beautiful clouds ---cirrus 筋雲、cirrocumulus cloud いわし雲. The contrast of light and shadow is very beautiful. I did laundry a lot this morning.



canopy of green leaves-

girl running towards me

dappled with light and shadow




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Every Child Costs the Mother One Tooth

In the English conversation class, our teacher brought several different news reports (150~200 words) copied from a newspaper. Each of us chose one of them that we liked. “Read the news, summarize it in three points and explain it.” Our teacher said. I chose the news titled”More kids equal less teeth for moms”.

There is a German proverb that every child costs the mother one tooth. Women who gave birth to more children tended to lose more teeth during their lives, regardless of financial status.

The data on 2,635 U.S. women ages 18 to 64.

In the highest socioeconomic group,
no children-----less than one tooth
one child--------two teeth
four or more children---five teeth

In the lowest socioeconomic group
no children-----two teeth
one child--------three teeth
four or more children---eight teeth


Anyway, a mother makes lots of sacrifices for her children. I recall my mother to my mind. Thank you, Mom!
I think the number of the teeth women lost in giving birth is also related to balanced diet, nutrition and heredity (DNA).




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The Rainy Season

海
Akashi Kaikyo Ohashi and the Inland Sea


The weather has been changeable these days. It began to rain shortly before noon here. The Meteorological Agency says that it seems the rainy season has set in about 12 days earlier than last year in the Kinki, Tokai and Kanto regions.




foghorn

suddenly closer to me

drizzling day




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A Returnee from New York

I attended the English conversation class yesterday morning. My new teacher never overlooks my mistakes in pronunciation, sentences and words. I’m very glad to meet a good teacher. Pronunciation is the key to good communication. I am often corrected in my pronunciation of L and R, V and B, S and TH, etc., etc.

There is a 13-year-old returnee from New York in our class. She came back to Japan one year ago. She is now studying in an international school in Hyogo Prefecture. Her pronunciation is superb and is quite different from mine. I sometimes can’t follow her as well as when I watch a movie in English. She uses her tongue and lips more effectively and opens her mouth more widely than I when speaking English. I need to record my English and check it more frequently.



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