Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Joy of Autumn

Autumn is the season of harvest.



I made a smidgen of jam from the fruit of a Russian Olive, 
which bore for the first time in our tiny garden.
The sweet and sour taste of the jam matched cold tofu 
with pickled Yuzu (Japanese citrus) in honey.

...*...

My absolute favorite is the clear blue sky with crisp air!

It cleanses my heart and fills me with power, hope, and joy!





...*...*...

Additionally:
I hope you enjoy these videos (sorry, they're just short music, though)
and a picture of the autumn festival, which was held in the middle of October.

For more information, please visit the following sites:





Above are the stands for food, masks and games along the streets.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Micro and macro perspective for our peace.

Our physical bodies consist of different organs.
Each one works in harmony with the rest. They help each other to balance,
to keep our hearts working and to live.
When we analyze them further, we see that 
so many parts of our body function to help another.
If one part is damaged, other parts will make up for it.


I often speak about "oneness", or say " We are all part of the universe.",
or "We are all the same on the inside". 
Those ideas remain unchanged, and I'm sure they will never change.

It seems to me that our world is losing the balance environmentally. 
Especially when we consider the international situation right now, 
which is going in the opposite direction from world peace.

As a member of this world, I'd like to do something to promote peace.
I wonder what I can do.  Doing some good to other people, 
starting with those who are right in front of me?
It seems like a very small act and would take a long time to change the world,
however, it will at least create positive energy in our world.
I can't help thinking that conflicts create endless negativity.


I started my former blog "steps to the sky" with the purpose of
contributing to world peace myself, even if only a tiny step,
by exchanging some thoughts with other people, not only Japanese, 
but also from other nations.  
Finding similarities to confirm "We are all the same on the inside", 
and also to learn the differences so as to become a better person.
 I think learning differences and being a better person 
is one of the reasons why we came into this world.

Upon reflection, I admit I haven't done enough yet to achieve my objective.
I should write more. So I will keep writing without giving up, 
until I'm able to realize it.:)

*...*...*

By the way, I mentioned about "en 縁" and "musubi 結び " in my previous post.
One of the meanings of "en" is fate, or to be meant to be.  
We use "en" like "これもご縁ですね。kore mo go-en desune."
(We are meant to be met).
While one of the meanings of "musubi" is to tie 
or to bind (holding the meaning "create" or "produce").


Well, so, when You have read this post, "Kore mo go-en desune :)",
I would be very happy if you could leave a comment, 
to create another step towards world peace.  
Thank you very much:)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Summer holidays

It's already ten days to September. (Time flies! )
I hope you all are enjoying your summer.

Here, school summer holidays are from around July 20 to August 31,
and most of the companies have Obon holidays from around Aug.13 to 18 
(just about a week, by adding weekend holidays on it). 

So some people have gone back to work already, 
and school boys and girls are busy finishing their homework 
for the summer holidays now (the last stage for it!).

*Obon (or just Bon) is the time when we commemorate our ancestors.
During this period, people go back to their hometown, visit their graves 
and spend some days with their families.



During the summer, we have lots of summer festivals
such as Tanabata (the star festival), Hanabi (fireworks), Bon Odori (dance), Yosakoi
and various kinds of Matsuri, traditionally-held festivals involve Shinto shrine
which are different according to the region.


Bon Odori(up), Firework(down left), and the Star Festival decoration.


Normally, the weather during Obon season is hot and humid, 
with glittering sunshine and cicadas buzzing.
I somewhat like that atmosphere because I feel "alive".

However, it was quite different this August.
Soon after my previous post, we had continuous rainy days until today.
I gave up visiting some events, most of which were held at night, 
because of the sudden rain showers in the evening through the night.

Just one sunny day, I enjoyed "summer", browsing the town 
with old rows of houses (Koedo-Kawagoe) and visiting the shrine. 


You can enjoy more photos at this site.

When I visited the shrine, there were many couples.
This shrine is an Enmusubi-shrine, 
which comes from enshrined deities (five gods):
two Gods are couples and one God is their son.
"En" meaning "fate" and "musubi" meaning "tie".

You see many Fuurin (wind bells) in the photos.
These are Enmusubi-fuurin. 
Couples write their wishes on the strip of paper 
and tie it under the wind bells.

The note on the shrine's website says:
it is said that ancient Japanese people used to say that
the wind brings "Omoi"; its literal meaning is thoughts, 
but "pray" is more suitable, I suppose :). 

They also hold wedding ceremonies.  
You can enjoy one of the traditional weddings here,

I love the words En and Musubi. 
The original meaning of them is a bit deeper than just "fate" and "tie".
So I would like to write about it next time.
Please just enjoy "Musubi" here:) (sorry this site is only Japanese).

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Like lotus flowers


The lotus flowers are in full bloom now.
As you know, they grow out of dirty mud 
and bloom so purely and beautifully on the surface. 
That’s why lotus flowers are known 
as symbols of spiritual enlightenment in various countries. 

Yet, I suppose lotus flowers never need to contemplate suffering
or enlightenment as they grow. 
We human beings can regard the mud 
as suffering and obstacles to overcome in life, 
which make our hearts grow stronger!  


I’d had the idea that there is a long journey to becoming a lotus flower, 
but lately, I have developed a different view... 
There is beauty in the process!


People who shine brightly show smiles, 
even if they are surrounded by difficulty.  
It seems to me that they never regard their difficulties as mud.
They face reality and do their best. 
They seem like lotus flowers already!
I admit it is true that the mud (suffering) makes them grow stronger.


Well, I've learned from lotus flowers 
and people who shine brightly that
we have the ability within ourselves to blossom in a single minute; 
whether we can blossom or not depends on how we view our situation.

So here's another beautiful moment! I'll enjoy it.

I hope you enjoy your shining moments too:)

Sachi

Monday, June 26, 2017

To value the sense of season

It's the rainy season in Japan now. 
Usually, we have lots of rain and the air is awfully hot and humid.
However, there has been less rain than usual so far.
Hydrangeas need much more rain, it seems.
Well...I haven't seen snails nor frogs yet...



We used to live in harmonious rhythm with the four seasons,
but I have to admit that the balance has been disrupted due to global warming.

At such a time as this, I would like to intentionally value the sense of season.
During the summer solitude, many people rearrange the rooms, 
change clothes in their wardrobes, adjust bedding or tableware,
and eat seasonal vegetables, to keep cool. 

As for seasonal vegetables, 
lots of shiso leaves (one of the Japanese herbs) 
are growing in my tiny garden.


The simplest dish for shiso leaves is to use them
as a seasoning or garnish for cold somen noodles and soba.  
(There are no photos for cold somen noodles and soba for now, 
but I'll update this when I take them later). 
The fragrance of shiso leaves is so refreshing.


Many summer events are coming one after another, 
such as Matsuri, which is an event held in gratitude towards nature.
I'm hoping to introduce some of these interesting events in the near future.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The sun is always there.

The sun is always present.
It is just the clouds that hide the sun.


The trees have begun to unfold their leaves towards the sun.


So have the flowers.  
The flowers in our tiny garden have just started to unfold their petals 
and are showing us their lovely smiles :)



Our soul, our true self, is like the sun, it seems.
It is shining and smiling deep inside our heart, always and forever.


I remember that whenever I visited Val's former blog,
the photos on her blog appealed to me.
I could sense the sunlight from her photos, 
which was filtered through her eyes, her true self.


Happy belated birthday, Val:)


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Obscurus

Have I mentioned I was a fan of Harry Potter?
That I am fond of all things fantastic?

Recently I saw the movie derived from 'Fantastic beasts and Where to Find Them'. It rekindled my love for all things Harry potter/J.K. Rowling.

I love the way this author uses magical metaphors to paint the miseries and grandeur of the mind.

The Obscurus struck me as one more powerful image of what goes on in our poor, tormented souls, sometimes. This parasite grows from the suppressed/repressed magical forces of a witch or wizard.
The unfortunate sorcerer, for whatever reasons fate or foolishness or simply Life imposed on him/her, tries to cancel what is in him/her.Thus creating a huge, dark force that he/she can't control.

Such is the way our mind works, it seems to me. The worries and fears we have, we try to suppress. When we do that, we can't cancel what triggers pain or fear, but we do create another power. We generate more fear, more worry, more stress.

I think I did that over the past months. Somehow. Hiding worries. Frustration. Anger. Sadness. Pretending. And developping what never existing inside me before...

What if...this suspicion of illness became really serious? What if I died? What if I started feeling really old? What if I stopped achieving anything good in my life?  What if there was no going back? What if I kept worrying like crazy? What if I kept postponing all the good things? What if I was really alone? What if I felt more and more listless and hopeless? What if it was too late? What if something bad really happened to the ones I love?

Did I become an obscurial? Not quite! :) But I developped bad things. Bad thoughts. Bad habits.

I started procrastinating. I got tired. Depleted. Nervous. I started watching stupid YouTube channels, just to ease my mind and be able to move on to the next day. I started blaming myself for too many things. Imagining worst-case scenarios. Worse than all, I started losing hope. And this all means the opposite of who I am.

These things form a vicious circle from which you suddenly realize you can't escape. From which feeling upset and frustrated becomes the rule. From which chronic pain and exhaustion get hold of you way too often.

But either you become an obscurial, or something clicks in your brain and you realize you're not on the right path anymore. And you change. Again.

I was born in spring. And spring has always been my favourite season. For me it is an eye-opener. A time when the senses awaken. When energy flows fast and merrily.

I have realized what things were missing in my life at the moment. What I needed to do to make things better. Well, kind of...That I needed to really take care of myself. Because noone will do that better than me. Because I too deserve to be pampered and taken care of. Because everything is possible, as soon as you believe again. Because it starts with baby steps. One dream at a time.

Because no kid on earth wants an exhausted, sad mom. Right?

And also because after all, you get what you focus on.




Friday, January 13, 2017

The Year 2017



Hello 2017. 
I hope your new year is off to a good start :)

Last year, I started practicing 書道 Japanese calligraphy.
So I wrote 四字熟語 Yojijyukugo, a "four kanji character idiom" message, 
with 墨 (ink) and 筆 (brush) in my New Year's card for 2017.
The left one of the above picture is my New Year's card.
笑門来福 "Shou-mon-rai-fuku" means "Your smile calls the fortune."

I also wrote Yojijyukugo 
which describes the state of mind I want to hold onto this year;
it's sort of my new year resolution :)

The upper right of the picture 森羅万象 "Shin-ra-ban-shou" is
 all of creation, all things existing in the universe.
And the lower right 明鏡止水"Mei-kyou-shi-sui" means 
state of clear mind like a mirror without any blemish on it surface, 
and it's also like a calm still water surface that reflects the viewer's mind.
I am a part of the Universe.
This consciousness brings me a serene state of mind with perfect freedom.

I wish you all happiness.
May all your New Year's resolutions come true:)