December 2009 Archives

I Am Small!

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In the Spiritual Workshop at Biwako, I drew a picture of my early recollection. I was about five years old, very small. My family always visited my father's parents for the New Year's greeting. My father was the youngest child among five siblings and I am the youngest child, too. Almost all uncles, aunts and cousins used to gather at Grandparents' house every year, and I was the youngest among all of them. For me, all people there were adults, and only I and my brother were children.
ER.JPGSo I was always following my brother who was two years older than I. When he sat I sat beside him, when he walked I walked after him, and when he turned I turned with him. Then one of my aunts said to me, seeming somewhat disgusting, "Oh, you always follow your brother, Aya-chan." I felt I was blamed to be sticking behind him.
Now, my Life-Style: I am so small that I cannot do anything alone. People criticize me. World is an unfamiliar place to me. I should be protected. Therefore, I should find someone who will love and protect me and I will follow him/her.
Spiritual approach: My mental function of body says that I want to be with my brother. My mind function says that I should be independent. My heart function says that I should love him, or contribute for him, for I always think of myself. My guardian animal, an eagle, tells me to act, not only to receive benefits. I am not that small now and I can give him something.

A Cleaning Day

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As I had not yet done the general housecleaning this year, I hastily did it today. I cleaned the kitchen, the restroom, the veranda, and wiped the floor. I was fairly diligent in cleaning the bathroom and wiping the windows before I went to the Workshop.
During this New Year's holidays, my daughter will stay at her newly-wed husband's house in Kagawa. She will learn cooking from her mother-in-law. My son will spend his holidays almost with his friends and he says he will not come to see me until January 4. Then, I think I do not need to cook New Year dishes, Osechi, nor New Year soup, Ozoni. This is the first New Year that I have no obligation to cook since the age of 24. However, I will cook some and want to carry it to my parents' house. I will make Tazukuri, Kazunoko, and Nishime, and perhaps Mother makes Kuromame and Kinton.
It started raining from evening and it has become very cold again. Today I did cleaning all day and tomorrow I will cook all day. Thus this year is passing.

An Yiddish Speaking Vampire

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I read a very interesting story this morning. Let me share it to you:

A vampire flew into Patrick O'Rourke's bedroom one night for the purpose of drinking his blood. Remembering the stories his mother told him, O'Rourke grabbed a crucifix and brandished it frantically in the vampire's face. The vampire paused for a moment, shook his head condolingly, clucked his tongue, and commented genially in the purest Yiddish, 'Oy vey, bubbula! Have you ever got the wrong vampire!'
Now, if the vapire is Christian, good! You can show the cross. But if the vampire is Jewish, then what? .... If you have a certain belief and life does not fit with it, what are you going to do? You can go on showing your crucifix -- .
Life is so vast and beliefs are so small; life is so infinite and beliefs are so tiny. Life never fits with any belief and if you try to force life into your beliefs you are trying to do the impossible. It has never happened; it cannot happen in the nature of things. Drop all beliefs and start learning how to experience.

    ---from THE ART OF DYING by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

I went to Omi-Hachiman to attend the Spiritual Workshop for four days and had a very beautiful time. The most grateful thing was the transformation of the participants, and the greatest thing I learned was to classify my mental functions into body, mind, and heart. Mind always clings to beliefs, and heart always experience life.
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Being Busy on Preparation

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Because the end of this year is near, people seem to be busy cleaning thier houses, but I do not feel like doing my house chore. I went to buy snacks and candies for the Spiritual Work in Biwako from December 25 to a big bargain shop, Don Quixote. I came back with many plastic bags of the shop, and put all the necessary things into cardboard boxes, such as stationery, name card cases, instant coffee, tea bags and snacks.
coxcomb.JPGI will send the boxes tomorrow from a convenience store. I have talked enough to the clerks of the hotel in Omi-Hachiman, and every necessary issue has settled. I will go there on the 25th and shall do anything I should do.
I went to the nearby market in the evening. At a flower shop I found some funny shaped flowers and a girl in the shop told me it was a kind of coxcomb. I used to avoid coxcomb flowers because I felt them a little bit grotesque, but this one was cute. So I bought them with some red small flowers. Yes, buying flowers can be the beginning of the preparation for the New Year.

New Clothes and Bad Atmosphere

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One of my friends told me that perhaps the wrong part was in the electric wire, so in case my whole body was frozen, I went to buy an electric cord for my kotatsu. As it was still very cold today, I decided to go to "B-- Camera" in Namba which was nearer than "Y-- Camera" in Umeda. However, the shop was so crowded and noisy, and to make matters worse, they were short of the electric cord for kotatsu. Too bad! I felt the atmosphere of the shop was so unhealthy that my legs became heavy. The clerks in the shop were somewhat strangely excited, restless. I have heard that the place "B-- Camera" built was once an execution ground. I do not think it was the reason for my exhaustion....
Anyway, I left that shop and went to "J-- Electric Shop" nearby. The salesman in the "J--" was kind and sincere, and lead me to the equipment. It cost only 500 yen. The atmosphere in "J--" was settled, and I felt relaxed there. Thanks to this cord, I will be warm and cozy.
After that, I felt like buying new clothing and walked around the underground streets in Namba. I found cute pants and a suit jacket. I bought them without thinking about the finances of my bank account. No, I do not regret. I like these clothes ... and perhaps I should have dispersed the evil by buying new clothes!

An Incident!

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I heard that people in Osaka had some winter event along the Ookawa River, which was similar to the event I saw a huge floating duck. So I brought a digital camera and planned to walk along the river this afternoon. However, it was too cold to stroll outside today. I know the temperature in Osaka is not as cold as in Hokkaido, in the northern part of Japan, or in the northern regions in Europe. You may think I am exaggerating much, I am sorry, but it is so cold that it is going to snow in any time and it is very rare in Osaka. Please understand that I am a very weak person against coldness. So I missed the Duck and went home as soon as my job was over.
I crawled into the electric home kotatsu (a small table with an electric heater underneath and covered by a quilt) and tried to warm the whole body. But, alas! Something was going wrong. My kotatsu did not work at all ... in this coldest evening. Perhaps it is broken somewhere in the electric line. So I turned on the gas heater from behind my back, moved my computer to the dining table from the kotatsu table. Although the rooms are heated enough, I feel the cold climbing from the floor. If I had known the electric was broken last night, I would have bought the substitute heater somewhere around my workplace. I must endure tonight and go out tomorrow to buy the heater.

Winter Has Come!

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It is getting very cold now even in Osaka. Unconsciously, I stiffened the muscles yesterday in order to warm the body, perhaps. So my back and shoulders had become very hard and aching by the evening. I warmed my body in the hot bath to relax the muscles. People often are surprised to hear that I take a bath of 43℃, but I like taking a hot bath in short time. Today it was colder than yesterday, so I set up a body warmer to my back above the hips. It kept me warming all day and I feel much better this evening. I will endure this winter with Vanda (the Orchid) from the south country .

A Nice Rainy Day

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daiwabdg.JPGToday it was raining all day, but I went to an exhibition of pictures of my friend. I went there in the lunch break of my counseling work. I had received the invitation postcard and the gallery seemed to be near from my workplace. It was.
I could find the building easily. The building was very old, a kind of a retro building I like.
The pictures my friend painted are delicate and fine. I like some pictures with cherry blossom petals. She is also a haiku poet, and each picture represents her haiku. It was very interesting to see her pictures while reading her poems. I was happy that we could have a chat for a while. Her talk on the art was very stimulating to me; for example, her way of dividing space as a standard rule, and the role of some concrete objects in her pictures. I appreciate her sensibility in seeing the world.
After I went out of the gallery, I happened to pass by a Dutch restaurant. As I had not taken lunch, I went in alone. It was on the second floor and the view of the Dojima River was open from the big windows of the restaurant. I enjoyed the Dutch pancake (Pannenkoeken) with syrup. Pannenkoeken is a kind of thick crepe of about 30 cm in diameter. I remember in Antwerp I ate it with sliced apples with Iku-chan! Syrup was sweet, tea was hot, and I felt full.

Riding a Taxi a Long Distance

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Yesterday evening we had a year-end party of the clinic in Nishinomiya where I am working on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We went to a nice Japanese restaurant in Toyonaka, Sakura-e (a cherry blossom party). The restaurant was small but the food was very tasty (and perhaps very expensive). The dishes were so delicately and beautifully composed. I heard it was given three stars in Michelin Guidebook. Anyway, we enjoyed the party until ten o'clock.
Very luckily, we could use taxi tickets when going home. Riding such a long distance by taxi was a very rare opportunity for me. One of my colleagues rode the same taxi together and she got off near Umeda station. I was surprised to see so many taxis were stopping and blocking the streets. The taxi driver said that always this area was crowded after ten in the evening. They were waiting for the customers going home after drinking. The taxi driver was a good man and talkative. He said he started this job eight years ago because he must take care of his parents. As a taxi driver of a company, he works for one day then he can stay home the next day. And he can pick up customers at Hankyu stations, which is very big merit. He was born in Uemachi, Osaka, and he was proud of his home town. When I told him that I had moved to Osaka last year, he recommended me a walk around the alleys in Uemachi. He kindly taught me the course of Osaka Women's Marathon of February: The course goes around the Osaka Castle. I told him I had not visited Osaka Castle yet, then he said, "I never visited Osaka Castle either, though I was born and brought up in Osaka. It happens!"
The cost from Toyonaka to my house was 5,220 yen. What a luxurious day today!

Learning Encouragement from a Dentist

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I go to a dentist once in two months just for scraping off tartar and examining the gums. This morning I went to his, but these two months I had been extremely busy, and I knew I had not brushed my teeth enough. The Dentist is a kind person and he never scolds me. However, I was as timid as a girl forgetting homework. So I confessed that I had not brushed my teeth enough. When he looked into my mouth, he noticed that at a glance. He said, "Ah, much tartar this time." While scraping it off closely, he started encouraging me. "You have succeeded in putting the toothbrush on the gums at a right angle. You could not do it before." A part of my gums had been damaged as I scratched it strongly with the toothbrush. I told him that I was not sure of brushing that part rightly. He said, "So you brushed it too strong. But I believe you did enough." When the treatment was over, he said, "If you continue brushing in the way you do now, every day with care, I believe the result will be much better." Oh what a good doctor!
I usually brush my teeth just before going to bed, and perhaps this is the problem. Because I am already too sleepy to brush carefully by the middle of the night. I will do my toothbrushing immediately after supper from this evening. Yes, I will!

Blue Orchid

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vanda.JPGOne of my friends gave me a pot of orchid called vanda. The name was derived from Sanskrit and its origin is East Asia. Vanda is famous for blue (actually a very bluish purple) flowers as you see in the picture. I am enchanted by the color of the flowers. I studied in the Internet how to grow this orchid, but they say it is difficult for it to live through Japanese winter. It needs temperature around 20℃ through the year, or at least, above 15℃. Well, I think I cannot either get along in my house under 15℃, so I hope I and the vanda can survive together.

vanda2.JPGThe roots of it are not buried in the soil, but are put in the pot without the earth, because they absorb aerial water. So I bought a sprayer, special for vanda. I have a feeling that this orchid is a new girl coming to my house I will take care of.
You may see my room has become wilder like a jungle with big East-Asian plants. With flowers of vanda blooming on top of the tall stem, large leaves of Taro the Beauty (Dieffenbachia tropica), and some ivies drooping. The small banyan tree grows up well in another room. Surrounded by this green company, I feel relaxed and at ease.

Good Acoustic

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These days, my son often plays in a band called "Nora" with his girlfriend. When he came to my house last month, he told me he and she would play many times in December. They usually play with two or three other groups in one hall, in one evening, for saving their money. The problem is that, though I love to listen to my son's music, other groups are usually play rock music and are too noisy. Sorry to say, I guess many young people of amateur rock bands seem not to sing; they just shout. So I asked my son in which concert I could enjoy music. He said they would play in a "Good Acoustic" live on December 4, and it would be an adult-like concert. So I went to Kobe to hear them this evening. "Nora" was the last group of the three. Others were really "acoustic" with no electric noise, so I could enjoy their music too.


nora1.JPGAnd "Nora" was splendid! You may think I am such an indulgent mother, but they really were! I mean "they." His girlfriend had such a good voice, her pitch was so sure, and she sang very well. They played their original songs and some pop music. She sang and talked, and my son accompanied her with the guitar and did chorus, speaking nothing; it was a good combination, I thought. She had a good talent of a singer and her song was more gleaming with my son's guitar and chorus. I was glad to see his sense in music and technique of guitar contributing much.
And more interesting thing was that I met my ex-husband there. He came with his girlfriend. I first met her and she seemed to be a very nice person. Moreover, I saw the parents of my son's girlfriend. I felt warm to see young people trying to actualize their dreams, and to notice older people around them (including me) watching them warmly. I went out of the hall at nine and found the moon in the east sky. It reminded me of Jolanta and Nara.

moon2.JPG

Color of Street Lamps

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On the second day of Jolanta and Nara's arrival to Japan, we had a welcome party for them. After the party, I walked them to their apartment house which is just one block from my house. It was almost the full moon. The street from the subway station to the house was located at the end of a long market, and lit by white street lamps. After enjoying the heartwarming party, we all felt satisfied and happy. Nara said the sight of the street was so beautiful, and Jolanta mentioned the beauty of the color; she said the colors of both the moon and the street lamps were the same. To my surprise, they seemed to be very much moved by the sight. I was walking that street every day and never noticed the color. In fact, I had thought the street ordinary and shabby. After that we talked about the shadows on the moon. In Japan, we say it is a rabbit, whereas in Latvia, they say it is a human face.


moon1.JPGLast Saturday, after "Good-bye Jolanta Workshop," we again walked along this street together. The moon was high and the street lamps were lit like the night two months ago. I remembered what Jolata had said, and she also remembered it. Yes, we both had good memories. Suddenly, the fact that they would go back to their country in two days struck me. I told her that I would never forget the time we walked together on this street. She said yes, she would never forget the time we spent together....
She became one of my best friends speaking English. From now on, I will be coming back to the evenings with Jolanta and Nara when I walk along this street under the moon.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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