Glorious Edo-style cherry blossom music video by Canadian/Japanese band Monkey Majik. Catchy tune and amazing music video. Will this be the song of the season?
(Disclosure: I used to hate this band because the foreigners’ Japanese is so much better than mine. Ok, I was jealous. But I *luv* this video).
Are Japanese men teasing me with their plant-love fashion? This California t-shirt reminds me of happy times that are not allowed in this otherwise wonderful and peace-loving country.
On our recent trip to the “interior” of Japan, we rode a ferry boat with a grumpy pilot. We like to call him Captain Jamaica. He seems to share our love for plants. I love the orange leatherette, too.
For 100 yen ($1.05), I bought this morning glory a few days ago. It’s already twining itself to the balcony railing. The tomato I planted a few months ago is producing quite well. The husband doesn’t like the thick and hard skin, but I find them tasty.
I’ve also started a bitter melon vine. It’s supposed to be super rich in vitamin C and beta-carotine. It makes a good pickle, and also tastes good combined with ground pork (though what doesn’t?).
And the saipan lemon tree is budding. The flowers smell so good. So far it isn’t fruiting much. The husband insists it needs hand pollinating.
Here’s an overview of the bizen pottery I made in Numazu with the in-law senseis. You can see the rectangular plates, small round plates, and various flower vases and lattices.
This was my own design, inspired by fruit pie lattices. It’s meant to be a special occasion flower vase.
See some more photos
I love this “Thank you Mother” sign printed in yellow carnations above (real) grass in front of a Ginza store. Check out the detail below, where one flower has been turned into an Easter-like chick!
Over the Golden Week holiday (May 1 to May 5), I am going with the ceramics senseis and some students to a small town in Shizuoka to make bizen pottery in a wood-fired kiln that will be heated for five days. We will take turns staying up all night to keep the fire lit.
Bizen pottery is very special. It is the oldest form of Japanese pottery, and can only be done in special kilns. Bizen uses no glaze, but instead organic materials like rice straw and pine ash placed on the ceramics produce red and brown markings and spots. The effects are often unpredictable, and they are called “yohen” or kiln accidents.
Here’s two examples of fine bizen: Okayama website, the town that is its original home. And Sachiko Torok’s work, an artist in Bizen.
My first pieces include the four vases above, modeled on the one on the right. My line is still not very good, but I like the trick of turning a round shape into a twisted five-sided shape. I also made four rectangle plates, ten tiny bowls, and five vases that include ceramic lattices for arranging flowers. Two of the lattices are in the shape of steep inverted bowls that sit on top of shallow bowls; three are flat lattices that sit on cylinders and an octagon.
I am curious how they’ll turn out in the oven. We are leaving two weeks from today, and I may make a few more pieces before we go. I’ll post more pictures from the trip and the finished results.
Apparently the bizen town we are going to is super small, and I was warned that there would be no internet. Fortunately one of the students has a nation-wide mobile internet provider for his laptop. I also confirmed with the senseis that while the town is small, they are well stocked with conbinis (convenience stores).
Late-stage cherry blossom madness had this older Salary Man perched on a guard rail above the Imperial Moat, one hand on the tree, the other on his keitai (mobile phone with camera). The multi-petal bossoms are the finale to this pink spring mania. Popular dedication cannot be over-stated.
My tulips are in full bloom on the balcony garden. I planted them underneath my winter pansies. Below is a common bulb called Ipheion that I planted in one of my small flower pots.
A friend sent this photo showing a daffodil in the pot I made. Yeah, spring!