Sleeping In The Train

I usually sleep for five hours at home but I will be very sleepy if I can’t sleep more than six hours.

So I usually sleep in the train because I’m on it for an hour.
You may think that it’s dangerous for me because someone might steal my wallet or something.
However, more than half of the people riding on the train try to sleep.

One of the reason is that it’s safe on the train in the daytime.
I sometimes see on TV that a drunk got his wallet stolen by pickpockets on the train late at night, but I think that this is rare.

Second reason is that most of the people including me need to commute for a long time.
It can’t be helped There aren’t any jobs outside of the city. Working from home is just a pipe dream.
Japanese business customs are old-fashioned.

Third reason is that Japanese want to use their time as efficiently as possible regardless of whether it is really useful or not.

These are the reasons that I sleep on a hard chair. I wish that there were beds on the train.

The Flowers In My Garden

I’m busy keeping the garden and studying flowers on weekends as the temperature rises up,

This is the kousa dogwood blossoms.
This tree is popular for Japanese home gardens.
You can eat this fluit but I feel it has an acidic taste.
We can enjoy the changing colors of its leaves in autumn

This is catmint.
This catmint has a nice smell and it attracts many bees than cats.
This is so strong that it invades other grasses and flowers.
So I often need to trim this.

This is agapanthus blossoms.
This beautiful blue flower originates from in South Africa.
I’m surprised that this lily flower lives in such a hot country.

This is lavender whose flower means “I’m waiting for you.”.

This is cherrysage (Salvia microphylla) which blooms for a long time.

This is Hellebore (Christmas rose)
Even now they bloom beautiful.

I forgot the name of this flower but found it interesting flower.

I’m busy but I can learn about the changes of the seasons through my garden.

Voice Of Evacuees

I had a chance to talk with evacuees from the Tohoku area the other day.

1 A woman around seventy years old

“I told NHK(Japanese broadcaster) that the whole town disappeared.
The water pipe in my house was broken and gushing water.
This was as much water as I used for a whole year.
I saw the Japanese Self Defense Force working hard everywhere.
I saw the heavy machine braking the rubble at full power.

(About the day that the Fukushima nuclear plants exploded. )
I saw that it was gray with light smog as if it was cloudy.
Then I heard the voice from a fire station “Don’t leave your home. “.
So I stayed at home for ten days but I didn’t know what I should do.
At this time I thought that I wouldn’t be able to live in this house anymore.

I really appreciate that I can sleep in a place which has a roof and I can eat food three times per day.
I thank the many workers who helped me.

People who lived in near nuclear power plants are better off than other evacuated people because they can receive a lot of money from TEPCO.
Others whose houses was swept away by tsunami get nothing.

From now I’ll ride my bike to relax. “

She talked us about her experience for thirty minutes while we were standing.

2 A man around twenty years old

“Tonight, I’ll go to watch a baseball game thanks to a ticket donated by the stadium. I have never been to a domed baseball stadium.
Sometimes I need to go out the evacuation center. I’m looking forward to it.”

3 A man around forty years old

“I got a job in Tokyo at last. I have to work for a living. So I’ll prepare to move. “

There are many job offers for evacuees both in Tohoku area and around Tokyo.

I don’t have any comments to add.
“Go for it Japan!” (Ganbaro nihon がんばろう日本)

Working Healthy Or Old Business Customs

This year some companies will start “cool biz season” earlier than usual.
“Cool biz season” means that salarymen don’t wear a tie and can wear more casual during the summer season.
This is because it is estimated that there will be a large energy shortage this summer in Japan.
If you will not be able to use AC, you can’t bear a hot meeting room without a window or being in a tall building in which you can’t open any windows.

I always think that we don’t need a tie and suit in every season.
Those clothes are just for old Japanese business customs which include many ceremonious meetings, needless greetings and agreements, etc.

We should rethink and omit the old business customs.
Eventually we will not need any our ties and suits at all.
Moreover “cool biz season” isn’t enough to work healthy.

Which do you choose, working healthy or traditional business customs?

If You Can Use A Magic, What Will You Do?

My elder daughter, seven years old, was writing on her self-introduction card.
The card had some questions about herself such as “What food do you like? What color do you like?”

From the questions, there was a question that is
” If you can use a magic, what will you do? ”

My elder daughter answered that she wants to help those people in the affected area by using the magic power.
I asked her “How do you help them?”
She said that ” I”ll send delicious food to Tohoku area. ”

I was surprised that she knows the word “affected area” and her kindness.
I don’t know how much she concerned about the affected area but she can understand that many people have a difficult time.
I appreciate that my elder daughter is growing up mentally sound.

I note this incident down so that she will never forget for the kindness she once conceived even when she grows up.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wildlife Communicate With Giraffes

I was surprised at the news that people have to wait for five hours to see a panda
in Ueno zoo which is one of the most famous zoos in Tokyo.

So I went to a small zoo which we can get to in thirty minutes last week.
This zoo, which is called Hamura zoo, has small birds, small animals such as monkeys, deers, pigs and others.

The most interesting feature of this zoo is that children can feed giraffes by a long stick.
I saw the faces of giraffes’ face closely and they were eating grass.
Their faces look modest.
Children looked like they were having fun although ostriches sometimes came to eat the giraffes’ food.

Second characteristic is that there are some play equipment in addition to animals.
My daughters enjoyed riding on a SL train and Tomas train.
I was annoyed by Thomas train because we had better enjoy natural things and it costs another money.
However, my younger daughter cried and shouted, “I wanted to ride on it much more. ”

Third characteristic is that there is a large lawn area which families can eat and play freely.
We ate rice balls which my daughters cooked.
Even my three years younger daughter could make rice balls well.

Anyway that is enjoyable enough to satisfy our young children.
We could see all animals without queuing.

Gratin For Mother’s Day

I can’t choose a present for my mum and wife every Mother’s Day easily
because I don’t know what both my mother and my wife want to recieve.

Basically I miss my tip about presents.
I usually find a carnation or a handkerchief at the Mother’s Day gift in some stores
but I want to choose something unique.
So I ask my wife directly
“What do you want for mother’s day?”
“I don’t want anything.Instead, I want to eat delicious gratin as dinner. ”

That was easy to understand.
I prepared the ingredients which were sweet potatos, onions, minced meat, a cheese and a soy milk.

Then I cooked a gratin by the recipe which I found on the internet.

1 Fry minced meat and onions with salt and pepper.
2 Mix them with sweet potatos, flour and soy milk
3 Fry it well, then top it with cheese and bake it in an oven.
4 After twenty minutes we can eat it while being careful of the very hot plate.

That’s it.It isn’t difficult for me.
We enjoyed celebrating Mother’s Day.

By the way, my daughters gave my wife paper flowers and pictures which they drew themselves.
On the other hand, my wife and I bought my mother a scarf and shirt.

Walking in Kawagoe City Part 3 “Passion For Styrofoam”

This topic is about styrofoam figure.
You can find various cute animals when you’re walking around Kawagoe City.

These animals are nearly as tall as human beings and look just like the real animals.
These animals are made out of styrofoam varnished to protect them from the rain.

It is interesting that these animals exist not only in public spaces such as public museums and roads but also in private space such as gardens of a house and shop.

I don’t know whether these figures fit into the cityscape
but I saw many people going close to them and taking a photo.

The man making these figures had worked at Kawagoe City Hall until two years ago.
He retired around fifty to make these figures.
I guess that he can’t live easily just by making these figures.
However, he seems happy that he can do only what he wants to do.
I envy his way of living and I want to plan for early retirement.

Walking in Kawagoe CIty Part 2 “Food”

One of the main reasons people go to Kawagoe City is to eat Kawagoe food.

They vary from snack to Japanese sake.
Adults can buy Japanese pickles and local beer.
Children can buy snacks and ice cream.

Anyway everyone can enjoy eating them at a bench or while walking as soon as you buy them.

For example we bought rice crackers which were divided in bite size pieces.
We bought it because they were sold at toward the road and smelled of good soy sauce.

You can also find some kinds of pickled plums.
You can try a food sample and hear about it in detail.

However the most famous ingredient in Kawagoe City seems to be sweet potato.
They are used in ice cream, doughnuts, soba, distilled spirit(shouchu) and other snacks.

We ate rice dumplings that contained purple sweet potato.
This color and taste is natural.All my family was satisfied with this rice dumplings because it doesn’t contain eggs.

burdock pickles
toasted soybean flour candy

We also bought toasted soybean flour candy and burdock pickles .
We could go on forever buying many foods.
We feel these foods are more delicious than they really are because they are displayed beautifully and smell good.

If you buy these souvenirs, you can really feel like a tourist.

Walking in Kawagoe City Part 1 ”Architecture”

During the Golden Week, tons of people go to various tourist spots.
The road is so congested that we can’t go to far place easily.
So I went to a near tourist spot, Kawagoe City, with my family yesterday.

Of course many people also went to this city to do sightseeing.

I walked around and observed the various styles of traditional architectures again.

This is handmade soba noodles shop.
This architecture, which is registered as a tangible cultural asset, was built in 1930.
Western design old architectures is rare in Kawagoe City.
Even now this shop is popular as you can eat delicious soba noodle.

This is an eel(unagi) shop.
You can find various eel shops in this city and some shops have been opened since 1800.
I love eel set menu but I can’t eat it often because it’s expensive.

This is Kashiya(snack) street. Kasi means snack.
In the past craftsman had made traditional candy in this street.
You can buy various nostalgic snacks, such as candy, rice crackers and dried potatoes.
I guess that this street is the most crowded because of its narrow alley(roji).
People seem to be attracted by this crowded place.

This black building is used as post office.
This black color is like an “Kura” which is a storehouses made of roof tile and clay.

If you’ll build a building in this district, you need to think about the building design
to match the city scape.

It’s interesting that everyone uses an old architectures to repair or reuse for their own purposes.
Or they seem to talk about other architects.

It’s a good vision they have in common that they should preserve this townscape better.
These mindest gives this city the power to compete with other tourist spot.
This city can improve more due to a lot of people visiting there.
This tourist traffic is supported by citizens, merchants and public officers.

I’ll write about Kawagoe food next post. See you next post.

Kawagoe City 01
Kawagoe City 02