April 27, 2009

Happy Mondays

Happy Monday 幸せな月曜日(shiawase na getsuyoubi)

The kanji character for Monday is Moon and Day...!


Mondays are my day off.  Rain or shine or cloudy (like today), I am happy on Mondays.
Sunday evenings are good too.
Yesterday after work, I went to a cafe in Osaka with a friend I had not seen for over a month.
She gave me a birthday present, so it was like I had a second birthday!
I like how she pays attention to detail and has used cute wrapping paper for the ribbons as well.She knows what my favorite animal is too.


My new job does not require any creativity.  
I use to work in creative fields so my new job can be quite stressful...lots and lots of memorizing.  (My pea brain is about to pop like an egg in a microwave...)  

This assortment of materials finally got my creativity flowing again.

So today, Happy Monday became Happy Sewing Monday.
I made a book cover and stuck two buttons on both sides.  When I take the book outside I can wind the ribbon around the two buttons so that the book will stay closed in my purse.  

I deliberately gave it some red stitches to add a homemade touch and because I currently do not own a sewing machine... 
Oh, the buttons are made of some kind of very light wood with a four leaf clover motif.

The red ribbon you see sticking out from the top is also sewn at the bottom to keep the cover from sliding off of the book.

Other blogs with great stories and ideas about book covers:

I may have mentioned her site before but just in case you haven't seen it check out loritimesfive.

This one is in Japanese ... so is this one... but they both have pictures...

And I also like this idea at a Hazy Moon because it has given me inspiration for a new book cover project!  I bet you can guess what it is!

Oh and in case you missed my last post about book it is.

Happy Monday!

April 24, 2009

dear diary...herb garden part 2 roses aren't blooming yet but life can still smell like roses!

Since I was having trouble deciding on which pictures to put on my blog about the Herb Garden...I decided to just pack a few more in...

The man in the background with the dandelions... my husband's blog debut!

The one red soda is rose and soda!  It was very refreshing after walking around a b it in the garden.  I t was sweet and smelled like...roses!  The rose garden should be blooming sometime in May...I'd love to go back again to see what kind of roses they have!

Kokeshi Doll?!

Today I went to town in search of kokeshi (Japanese wooden dolls).  My hunt was unsuccessful. So I looked around the internet and I found some new, modern kokeshi

In a nutshell, kokeshi were being made by artisans who usually made bowls and other daily things out of wood.  They started making dolls for extra money to sell to tourists who came to their villages... I've also heard stories about how people bought the dolls to take place of their children when they had to send them out of the "nest".  However, I have found close to nothing on the internet that confirms that "rumor".  

The dolls were toys for children...but since old toys are often replaced with new shiny and plastic toys...they became less and less popular with children and more and more popular among collectors.  

My Japanese grandmother's side of the family used to be a successful kokeshi manufacturer.  I had totally forgotten about that bit of family history.  I mention this now because I called my mother to ask her about "all those kokeshi dolls we used to have"... unfortunately we do not have a single one left...thus no pictures and one of the reasons why I went on a search today.

why kokeshi now?

because...I recently received these wonderfully strange kokeshi "dolls"...

Yep, they are matches!  Kokeshi Matches...
On the box it says "jinsei no tomoshibi" = "the flickering light of life" ...
Let's take a closer look at the "doll".
LOL.  The things people do for art.  I love art.
I walked around town in search of a small wooden doll and found this...huge feet?
A GIANT wooden doll...It's name is Breechan.  It is a 12 meter tall wooden marionette.
According to the sign, Breechan moves 8 times a day.  I didn't get to see it move today maybe next time.

April 20, 2009

dear diary, today I went to the Herb Park...

It was a cloudy day off, but nice and warm for a walk in the hills...AND miraculously, my husband had a day off too!  I can't remember the last time that we had a day off together!
So, to "celebrate" we went to Kobe's herb garden.
This is the city of Kobe seen from the ropeway that goes up to the Nunobiki Herb Park (altitude 400m).  A 10 minute ride.

The Herb Park is up there...with hundreds of different types of flowers and herbs.
My blog "debut"... I'm standing in from of one of the greenhouses next to a "unique sculpture".
In the greenhouse...

In the park...

I thought this was interesting...a bit of Pennsylvania in Kobe...
The above "pavilion" was made in the USA..."just like you" my husband said.

So many flowers, so many pictures...I can't choose!

It wasn't overly crowded being a Monday... I did "spy" a group of people from the UK admiring the herb garden, couples having lunch on the grass and park benches and a silly man who kept asking his wife to take a picture of him adding "be sure to get the ropeway gondolas in the picture too!"   

We strolled around for about 2 hours.  The air was nice and clean compared to what we've been breathing down in the city.  But my husband kept looking for an ashtray.  He is a walking, talking chimney.  His "blog debut" will be coming soon.

April 13, 2009

my day off with the flowers

It had been a while since I really went for a walk.  Alone.  No appointments.  
I had "homework" from work, but I thought..."No, I'd rather enjoy spring."
So I did.
The first flowers that welcomed me on this warm day were, of course the tulips. 
Red tulips are my favorite, but this year these pink ones have really caught my eye.  I peered inside one, not that I thought that I would actually find anything...but there, right there, you can see a cherry blossom petal!
So, I set off to Sakura Shukugawa to see the Sakura.  A 10 minute train ride from my home.
I was shocked...
The flowers here were already falling like confetti from the trees.
Sakura blossoms that have lots of baby leaves like this are called "hazakura" (leaf sakura)...
and the word sounds so sad, because it means the end of the cherry blossom season.
But with hazakura you can take a good look at the tree's trunk since the blossoms aren't as prominent as when they are in full bloom.
                                               Sakura trees have beautiful branches, I think.
If you look really closely you can see some people enjoying lunch under the cherry trees.
Shukugawa (Shuku River)
夙(shuku) is a kanji character that means 'young' or 'early' the middle ages the Shuku were the people in this area of Japan who worked for shrines and more recently for people who crafted things with clay or bamboo.  
However, these days it is only used for the city and river name.
The pink petals that have been blown off the trees by the wind, float down the river...
This is another type of sakura tree.  There are quite a few different kinds of sakura.  The one above is Shukugawa Mai Zakura  and the one below is called Kanzan.

April 8, 2009

spring did come!

The tulip that I so gallantly claimed would be red...turned out to be pink.

and here are some yellowish ones too!

other things are blooming too!

this is a small "grove" of young cherry trees right along the street where I live!

Yeah! My spring is official now!

I was sick for a few days and EVERYTHING had stopped in our house...washing, cleaning etc... BUT Mother Nature is always moving along outside!

Dear Diary, spring has arrived and I got sick!

Tulips as of April 3rd...
I think this tulip is planning on being red.

Oh dear...I have never been away from my computer this long...while at home!  
I had a fever of 39°C (102.2℉) and was COMPLETELY delirious.  
The doctor says (since it wasn't the flu) that the fever came from an infected throat...rrrgh.

I was supposed to go to work on Saturday and Sunday but that was impossible!  
Everyone at the new office was pretty cool about it...they think it is because of the stress on the job.  I have NO IDEA!  I just noticed that on Friday night that I did not feel like reading! AND that food did not taste that good!

While I was in "Tulsa's Never Never Land"... a few things seemed to have happened here in Japan... 
The pro baseball season started, North Korea fired a missile that flew over northern Japan,
I turned 38, and flowers started blooming like crazy...

a block away from where I live there is a young peach tree...
Speaking of peaches! From my very talented friend Peach, who lives in northern Kyushu:
Aren't the cherry blossoms lovely?  I need to go grocery shopping today...let's see if I can come home with some pictures of the flowers in my area! (Kansai)