Tuesday, 30 April 2013


The kids are on their way home from school. I can hear the little boys run by, yelling insults at each other.

"baka!" says one.
"BAKA!" says another, louder.
"AHO!" chimes a third, upping the ante.
"aho baka!" says the first boy, trying hard to keep up.

"Amerika-jin baabaa!" yells the second boy and dashes off down a side street. The other two are silent. Apparently this insult can't be topped.

I briefly consider jumping out behind the curtain and giving them some lecture on culture awareness and multiculturalism and... but I can't help myself as I start to giggle.

I'll just chalk it up to yet another reason why I'm glad to be Canadian.

Tuesday Then & Now - Oji Teahouses

More photos from the Nagasaki University's Metadatabase of Japanese Old Photographs... I missed the cherry blossoms by a few weeks, but the little park along the Shakuji River below Otonashibashi Bridge, behind Oji station, is a peaceful little oasis.

In the Meiji period the Shakuji River was a pristine river and Oji was marked with teahouses along the water and a shrine on the top of the hill. These days the shrine is still there, above a water treatment and containment area that controls the amount of water through a picturesque but very much man-made stream. No teahouses, but a few cheap izakaya and other restaurants.

by Felix Beato -

and April 2013 -

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Tuesday Then & Now - Kegon Falls

More photos from the Nagasaki University's Metadatabase of Japanese Old Photographs... Back to Nikko, I fear!

Kegon Falls: then...

and January 2010

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Sakura Watch 2013 - Day 29

Remember the stubborn bud sticking its tongue out at me? Well guess who gets the last laugh?! Or the last sob, they really are gone...

Tuesday Then & Now - Asakusa Sensoji

More photos from the Nagasaki University's Metadatabase of Japanese Old Photographs... Asakusa Sensoji in Tokyo.

Late 19th to early 20th century:

March 2008:

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Knitting at a Yarn Store

I've started attending a monthly Saturday evening SnB held at a yarn shop that, while I can hardly call my "local" yarn shop, has definitely become my favourite. Hitsujidama is a tiny little yarn shop tucked away in a corner of a building and a bit of a pain to get to by public transport, but it is full of lovely natural yarn, hand-knits, and wonderful people! The owner is an American woman (married to a Japanese man) and the B portion of the SnB runs from current events to Japanese in-laws to Japanese partners. Of course the alcohol helps, but it is the perfect way of ending the week!

I discovered last month just how a SnB at a yarn store can benefit the S portion too - I was nearly finished a scarf (and really wanting to be finished!), but I knew it needed... something. 

I mentioned this fact and immediately the store's owner handed me a ball of yarn (same weight, perfect complementary colour) and a book of edging patterns (and opened it to a page with the perfect edging). And then she handed me the perfect little doohickey that meant I could start the edging right away instead of waiting until I got home and could use needles with a longer cable. 

The scarf that had been dragging on and sapping me of my desire to knit?


Finished two days later, blocked, and given to its recipient - who is thrilled beyond belief. I'm thrilled to be done with it, and have moved on to a bright red lace shawl. I'm even more thrilled to have found a SnB that I love!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Sakura Watch 2013 - Day 24

The petals have started to fall... I don't work again until Tuesday and I doubt there will be anything left, sigh!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Sakura Watch 2013 - Day 23

The petals are starting to change colour... Sniffle!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Sakura Watch 2013 - Day 22

I worked offsite for a different department on Friday and Saturday, and the weather over the weekend was pretty bad - rain and wind, so I wasn't sure what was awaiting me when I went out for a look at lunch today. I had no reason to be worried, my tree is now at peak blossom and is a gorgeous mass of pale pink puffs!

Tuesday Then & Now - Naritasan

More photos from the Nagasaki University's Metadatabase of Japanese Old Photographs... The Naritasan Temple.

Late 19th to early 20th century:

November 2007:

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Sakura Watch 2013 - Day 16

The rain stopped while a coworker and I were having lunch so we were able to enjoy the few remaining cherry blossoms as long as we watched out for puddles! And I'm fairly certain I got the wrong spot yesterday - blame it on the rain.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Sakura Watch 2013 - Day 15

The blossoms on this year's tree exploded over the weekend and what was a mass of pink buds turned into a mass of puffy pink flowers - very bedraggled wet flowers, that is! What with the mass of flowers weighing down the branches I couldn't even be certain I had the right branch... And my iPhone did not want to cooperate and focus so I had to use my camera, juggling that and my umbrella in the rain.

But, even wet and bedraggled as they are, The Blossoms are gorgeous. I'm hoping against hope that it will be somewhat nicer weather tomorrow so I can enjoy them a little bit longer...

Tuesday Then & Now - Kamakura Buddha

More photos from the Nagasaki University's Metadatabase of Japanese Old Photographs... Another Great Buddha, or rather the Great Buddha, of Kamakura.

Late 19th to early 20th centuries:

March 2008: