Diary-May 19th-Gardening

I wrote recently in my diary, that I started cultivating flowers and took on the challenge of flower arranging also.
The reason why I started flower arranging was because of some cyclamen.
The master of the farmhouse who gave me the cyclamen told me that not only potted cyclamen but also arranged flowers in some kind of vase are beautiful.
According to his advice, I tried to cut the cyclamen flowers and put them in a glass.

The flowers were definitely beautiful, but they were not stylish somehow.
Since I thought that it needed something green be, I added a few of mint leaves.
Although it was better than the flowers only, it was not very sophisticated.
So, I searched for websites about flower arrangement on the Internet and researched how to use greenery to hold flowers.
Better, isn’t it?
I was not satisfied with the first wesite, So I kept searching around for various other arrangement ideas.
I bought different pots and vases and things to use for arrangement as well as magazines and books about flower arranging. I made a flower arrangement for my friend, bought wrapping paper and searched again for websites about how to do gift wrapping.

However, I didn’t spend much money.
The books and magazines are from secondhand bookstores and the containers and goods for wrapping were from a 100 yen shop. Some containers were empty containers for sweets.
It might seem to be stingy, but I think that it’s better that it’s not so pompous and doesn’t bother my friends that I give my arrangements.
I have no intention to be an expert with flower arranging. All of these things are a by- product of my gardening.
On my veranda, many roses are budding.
I’m looking forward to seeing them bloom!


Diary-April 21th-Gardening

I wrote last year in my diary that one of my hobbies is gardening on my veranda and I am only interested in edible plants, so there are only herbs and vegetables on my veranda.

However, I have to tell that recently there was a little change regarding that.

Now, flowers are propagating on my veranda.

It started around November of last year.

I visited a cyclamen farmhouse at work and bought a small pot of cyclamen.

At first, I was not going to buy it, but my coworker bought one, so I also bought one. This is a traditional custom in Japan called “giri”(social obligation) or “tsukiai.” I am a typical Japanese.

The master of the farmhouse gave me another pot for free, so I have two cyclamen.

I didn’t intend to have a long relationship with them.

I heard that a cyclamen season is short and it’s difficult to make them bloom yearly although it’s a perennial plant.

I only cared for them halfheartedly, thinking that I wouldn’t mind even if they withered.

However, they did not wither.

Although it is said that a cyclamen flower usually blooms during winter and last until spring, my cyclamen still continues blooming and budding one after another and continues even today, April 13.

While developing a relationship with them, (I also drew picture) I became attached to them gradually, and became interested in flowers in general. When I go to a florist, I started looking at not only vegetables and herbs but flowers as well.

First, I bought red and yellow ranunculus. With this as the start, jasmine, marguerite, and miniature roses joined my veranda garden.

Recently, I also took on the challenge of flower arranging. My “moe” for flowers is likely to continue for a while.

Diary-I love sakura.

I went walking in the nearby park “Shikinomori Koen” in Nakayama. The sakura (Japanese cherry blossoms) in the park were at there peak and there were many people who were doing “hanami (cherry blossom viewing).” While walking, I thought, “I really envy them. I wish I also could do hanami.”

You might think, “You were also able to watch the cherry blossoms while walking in the park, weren’t you?” Yes, I watched the cherry blossoms, but I could not do “hanami.” Because in Japan, a word “hanami” does not just mean looking at cherry blossoms, but to also have a picnic (if possible, with alcohol) under cherry blossoms.

Natsume Fusanosuke, who is a reviewer, asserted that on a certain TV program, that hanami in Japan is a divine service to unite with the spirit of cherry blossoms. I think that his opinion must be taken with reservation, but I usually say the same thing following his opinion when I was asked why the Japanese get drunk during cherry blossom season.

By the way, I read that in the West, people have improve species of cherry blossoms trees to make cherry trees bear edible fruit. While in Japan, people improve species of cherry blossoms trees to bloom with more beautiful flowers, so Japanese cherry blossom trees do not bear edible fruit. Though there are edible cherries also in Japan now, they are the sort from western hybrid trees.

Sakura fruit is not edible, but the flowers themselves are delicious. In spring, sweets using sakura come on the market in Japan. There are not only traditional Japanese sweets, like sakura mochi but also resently sakura sweets like sakura cookies, sakura ice cream, sakura dacquoise, ect…

Sakura-cha(tea) goes well with sakura sweets. This is picled sakura bud. Pouring hot water, the buds bloom in the water and give off a fragrance of sakura. Why is the sakura flavor so tasty? Although I have to go on a diet, I cannot defeat the temptation of sakura sweets.

Diary-November 3rd Nakayama festival

November 3rd was a public holiday, Culture Day.
That day, it was very lively in the streets near my home, since a festival called the “Nakayama matsuri” was being held.

I don’t usually like festivals. I cannot enjoy these kinds of events because I don’t like crowds. Also, the food stalls at festivals are mostly not good.
However, the Nakayama festival is an exception.
The nearby restaurants and shops set up stalls at this festival. Some of them are my favorite shops and restaurants. The food at those stalls is fairly good.

The picture to the left is of a stall of a Chinese restaurant called “Ichiban.”
They sold steamed dim sum in a traditional bamboo basket.
I bought some crispy spring rolls and a chimaki(rice-dunpling wrapped in bamboo leaves.)

Diary-Octber 14th Jojoparty

I went to a drinking party with my otaku friend.
 She is an administrator of a fan-site of “Jojo’s bizare adventure,” and I also have a fan-site of “Jokjo’s…” This was a party of “Jojo” fans.
We met at aJojo event and promised to go for a drink.

The restaurant was a Japanese-style dining bar, “Yuzu no Komachi.” Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit. All dishes of this restaurant have yuzu.
I like yuzu. Ihave a small yuzu tree on my veranda.
he friend’s pen-name on her site is also “Yuzu.”
So, this restaurant was perfect for this party.

These are the dishes:
Carpaccio, boiled pork,

Deep-fried dishes and Yuzu sherbet.

The all of dished were delicious.

Also, all the rooms of this restaurant are separated, so we could otaku talk freely without reserve. It was very fun!

review/manga “Rohan au Louvre” by Araki Hirohiko

Rohan au Louvre
Rohan au Louvre

The other day, I bought a book from Amazon.co.jp.
The title of the book is “Rohan au Louvre (Rohan goes to the Louvre)” and the author is Hirohiko Araki, who is famous for the manga “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.”
“Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” is the second longest running manga in the Weekly Shonen Jump and it has over 100 volumes.
This “Rohan au Louvre ”  is Araki’s newly written work for the “Bande Dessinee Project,” which is a project that Musee du Louvre in France is developing in collaboration with the publishing company, Futuropolis.
La bande dessinee is a European comic movement mainly from Belgium and France.
In this project, five cartoonists received the requests from Musee du Louvre, to create a work on the theme of Musee du Louvre freely. Araki was the only Japanese artist to participate in it.
Araki’s book was published in France in April of last year and the Japanese version was put on the market at the end of May of this year.
(I’m wondering why there was a lag time for the Japanese version like this? I’m sure Araki must have written it in Japanese and it didn’t need to be translated.)
The main character of this book, Kishibe Rohan is a sub character in “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.” He is a manga author in Japan. In this story, he goes to Paris to search for the mysterious “Blackest Picture in the world.”

To begin from the conclusion, I thought that it was not bad, but this is not the best work by Araki Hirohiko.
I think that he is better at long stories than short stories. If you expect to enjoy this as much as “Jojo’s…” then you will be disappointed.
However, the art work is really excellent and the first full color book by Araki Hirohiko is worth seeing.
Also, there is something to enjoy for fans of “Jojo’s.”
Kishibe Rohan is a character from “Jojo’s” and some other characters from “Jojo’s” appear in this story too.
You can see Josuke, who was the protagonist of part four of “Jojo,” and his friends, Okuyasu and Koichi. (Although Josuke had no dialogue and we could only see his backside.) If you are a fan of part four, you will be glad to see them.
You can also see young Rohan before his debut as a manga author and his first love. I love part four very much and my number one favorite character in “Jojo” except for the protagonists is Kishibe Rohan. So, I enjoyed this sufficiently.
Although I said that this is not his best, if you don’t compare it with other works of his, this story is sufficiently good.
I thought that this story was one volume in the “Thus spoke Kishibe Rohan” series, although there is no clear explanation on this story’s relationship with the other parts of the series.
It’s a series of short stories in which Kisibe Rohan talks about mysterious incidents he comes across.
死刑執行中 脱獄進行中 (SCオールマン愛蔵版)
死刑執行中 脱獄進行中 (SCオールマン愛蔵版)

The first story of the series is in Araki’s collection of short stories, “Carrying out execution and breaking out of prison.” The second one was published in the magazine “Jump Square,” but is not published in book form. (I prefer the second one, so I hope that it will be published in Araki’s collection book.)
If you want to read the second one immediately, you can read it on this site.
(Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan – Mutsukabezaka
The original Japanese title of the series is “Kishibe Rohan wa Ugokanai (Kishibe Rohan doesn’t move/act)” This title means that Kishibe Rohan is not the protagonist but the narrator for these stories.
He does not fight for justice nor does he battle with vicious enemies.
He only talks about strange occurrence that he experiences (or is involved in) when he was collecting material for his manga or just for his own curiosity.
This is the difference from the Jojo series. The protagonists of Jojo are the heroes and heroines of justice. They fight with vicious enemies and of course win. They are perfect characters for “Weekly Shonen Jump.”
The “Kisibe Rohan” series doesn’t have a good and fresh feeling like the Jojo series.
I think that this is the reason why the fans of Jojo complain.
However, I like this series.
He is an attractive character even though he is not a hero of justice. He primarily appears as an antagonist in the story of Jojo. He is a genius manga author, has super manga skill and doesn’t spare any effort for his manga. But, for the sake of making his manga his personality is very forcing, selfish, amoral and unfeeling for others.
In spite of being very eccentric, he is very attractive and he became a popular character on par with the protagonist.
It seems that he is the author’s favorite character. It may be the reason why Araki writes many spin off stories using this character.
I heard that people think that Araki is an eccentric person and came to be afraid of him because Kishibe Rohan is a very eccentric and arrogant character, but it is said that Araki is an affable person with commonsense in fact.
Kishibe Rohan is probably Araki’s ideal rather than his self-projection.

However, in “Kishibe Rohan goes to the Louvre,” his eccentricity is more restrained than in “Jojo…” and other stories.
When Araki was asked about this point in an interview, he answered like this;

“This Rohan is little bit different from “Jojo..” and other stories because this is a story for the Bande Dessinee project for Louvre. Although it’s possible that he is doing strange things out of the story…(Laughter) ”

It seems that Araki can change his character flexibly adjusting to requests, but there was a point that he didn’t dare to change. 
Araki also talked about his work for Louvre like this;

“Bande Dessinee is avant-garde art rather than entertainment, different from Japanese manga. However, I wanted to be obstinate about making entertainment, because Japanese manga is entertainment. I thought this was the intention/purpose that they requested this work of a Japanese manga writer.”

Araki Hirohiko has pride as a manga author and is a fastidious manga author.
I think that he is an excellent manga author, although he is not like Kishibe Rohan.


diary/July 16th Okinawan music in Buten

There is an Okinawa restaurant in 30 seconds on foot from my home. The name of the restaurant is Buten.
At Buten, a live show of Okinawan music is performed at 8:00 every evening. I sometimes go to the restaurant to see the show.
Yesterday,I went to the restaurant after a long time.
(Everytime I met the Mam of Buten in front of the restaurant, She tells me to come more.)

I ordered “hirayati”,”rahute” and shot glasses of three kind of awamori.
Yesterday’s live was Tomioka Massi.
Honestly, in Buten’s performance, there is a gap between the good and bad so-so, but fortunately,yesterday was good.
He plays not only san-sin but also aruhu.
The various kinds music was mixed to the traditional Okinawan music.(He played little bit Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik also.)
At the last song, audience in the restaurant stood and danced “Kacha-shi (Okinawan traditional dance).”
It was a good performance.

In fact, I bought Aruhu four months ago, but I hardly play it because I don’t know hou to play.
After the performace, I asked him about aruhu. He kindly tought me how to hold aruhu and useful goods for aruhu and so.
Thank you very mach!

This is the site of Massi and イチャリバーズ
(The article in this site about the war in Okinawa is very good.  I recommend to read it when you have time.)