Friday, July 25, 2014

Poetry Reading at the Book Cellar

Poetry Reading with 
(from left) Alessandra Simmons, 
Naoko Fujimoto, Timothy Yu 
Wendy Vardaman, and Kristy Odelius, 
at the Book Cellar in Chicago on 7/24/2014

Sunday, July 13, 2014

New Poem - On The Blue Line

Inspired by Alessandra Simmons 
“St. Pachomiun of the Unemployed” fom St. Peter's B-List.

In the blue line from O’Hare Airport, 
St. Pachomius wiped windows and scraped chewing gum.
He sprayed seats; 
the hibiscus ocean scent filled the dark and musty inside.  

Nobody kneeled down toward the saint, 
but they said, “Now, the saint is taking over our jobs.”

They gazed at him—murderous in a way—eyes upon eyes. 
Their fists beat the rims of their seats.

“Where is my job,” the banging gets louder.
“How can I feed my family,” they kicked the backs of the seats.

They marched around the Saint and kept screaming,  
“Where is my miracle, where is my miracle?”

The hibiscus scent was gone, but human sweat remained.
Seconds later, they already forget St.Pachomius was here.
They quickly left from the train to where they belong. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Have a Happy Summer!

Are you having a good summer? I am writing! 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Prairie Schooner

Prairie Schooner accepted my poetry!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Oil Painting Project - Drying

I cannot wait for the second project. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

My Oil Painting Project

My First Oil Painting Project
This Project was listed as one of my 2014 New-Years Resolutions 

Monday, May 19, 2014

#17 Poem - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首)

The Seventeenth Poem:


Even heaven
doesn’t have this beauty, 
the River Tatsuta
in ancient-Chinese-red
leaves on the floating water.
--Ariwarano Narihira Ason
--Translated by Naoko Fujimoto

A poem written in response from me to Ariwarano Narihira Ashon

The Japanese maple leaves 
float down the river,
to the ocean under the moon,
decaying into a piece—
a part of the big blue waves.  

Sunday, May 18, 2014

#16 Poem - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首)

The sixteenth poem:


I must leave now
to Mt. Inaba,
its pine trees wait for me but 
if I hear from you,
I will come back to you.
--Chunagon Yukihira
--Translated by Naoko Fujimoto 

A poem written in response from me to Chunagon Yukihira

Over the mountains,
your friends wait for you
with whipped cream 
in the midnight coffee, 
just like your college days.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

#15 Poem - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首)

The Fifteenth Poem:


For you,
I go to the spring field
to pick young green
even on my sleeves 
snow is falling.
--Emperor Kouko
--Translated by Naoko Fujimoto

A poem written in response from me to Emperor Kouko

My grandmother 
picks seven herbs  
and cook them with rice;
it tastes like salty and
spring bitterness.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Belgium's and Amsterdam's Best Restaurants and Hotels

A Random Entrance Door in Belgium. 
The country is so beautifully artistic. 

*All links will be lead to my articles in the blog*

People at the front desk were super nice. I had comfortable and relaxed nights in a foreign, unfamiliar country. 

Hilton Brussels City (Five Stars)
Place Rogier 20, Brussels,  BRU, Belgium 1210

NH Galaxy (Five Stars)
Distelkade 21, Amsterdam, 1031 XP Netherlands

Hotel Egmond (Five Stars)
Minnewater 15, 8000 Brugge, BE0453 730 168 

The following restaurants were the best with taste and service. My hubby and I visited many restaurants during the trip. I only wrote articles about the best ones.

Good local beer at Grand Place in Brussels: La Brouette
Belgian waffle at Grand Place in Brussels: Maison Dandoy Tea Room
Shrimp croquettes and steak in Brussels: Bonsoir Clara Brussels
Breakfast around antique market in Brussels: Le Point de Chute
Fish and Chips: Six Nations
Belgium traditional meals in Brugge: Bistro Maurice
Dutch Pancake in Amsterdam: De Sneeker Pan 
Pizza in Amsterdam: La Place 
Cozy local bakery in the Netherlands: Waal Kootwijkerbroek

Sightseeing Spots:
My most favorite museum in Belgium: Tin Tin Museum
Antique market in Belgium: Place du Jeu de Balle
My Japanese article about Anne Frank's House in Amsterdam
Meeting Windmill Masters and Walking: Kinderdijk
Red Light District : Rabbit from Amsterdam
The Cathedral of Our Lady, a Roman Catholic cathedral in Antwerp, Belgium

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Hungry Beauty - Six Nations in Brussels, Belgium

Six Nations in Brussels, Belgium

My hubby said, "I want to eat good fish and chips."

We walked about one hour and finally found a British pub called, Churchill's. 

"Can I order fish and chips?"

The owner at Churchill's said with an authentic British accent, "We do not serve fish and chips." (I love international English, maybe because I have a heavy Japanese accent.) The owner's assistant suggested we visit Six Nations around the corner of Grand Place.

Often restaurants in the middle of very famous sightseeing spots do not taste good or have bad service because their location ensures customers will keep coming anyway; however, Six Nations was an exception.

They had the best fish and chips ever! And I loved my Caesar salad wraps. 

So, we wanted to eat their fish and chips again before leaving Belgium. But the restaurant was packed because people were gathering to watch a live succor game in England. Everyone held a bottle of beer and cheered so hard. We could literally not fit through the doorway and the people were spilling out into the street to watch the outside screen. Therefore we could not get seats for the night.

48-50 Rue Gretry, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
+32 2 203 07 33

Thursday, May 8, 2014

#14 Poem - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首)

Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) is a classical Japanese anthology of one hundred waka-poems by one hundred poets in the thirteenth century. My challenge is to translate the poems and write a return poem (返歌) in English. 

The Fourteenth Poem:  


In the end of the northernmost street,
like tangled ivy patterns on a kimono,
you make my heart 
twist and lose;
I am forgetting myself.

A poem written in response from me to Kwarano Sadaijin

I hate when my heart is twisted
and needs tweezers and pliers 
to unravel it,
un-reciprocal love is only
good for a young poet. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Hungry Beauty - La Brouette in Belgium

La Brouette in Belgium 

La Brouette is the perfect location to have Belgian beer. The restaurant and pub is located in Grand Place. There are many local beers available and the waiters are very witty and knowledgeable about the breweries. 

My hubby and I ordered a simple meal (baguette sandwich and french fries) along with a variety of beers. It was fun to share glasses of beer with random people at the bar. We shared beer with two men from London and Chicago.    

"Omer" gave me a rash (the ingredients might be too strong and heavy for me). However, I really liked a peach flavored beer called "Pecheresse." The British man bought "Chimay" for us. All the beer tasted fantastic.

With new friends, good beer, and nice service at the beautiful Grand Place, several great evenings in Belgium. 

Grand Place 2, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
+32 2 511 54 94

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

#13 Poem - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首)

Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) is a classical Japanese anthology of one hundred waka-poems by one hundred poets in the thirteenth century. My challenge is to translate the poems and write a return poem (返歌) in English. 

The Thirteenth Poem:


From Mt. Tsukubane,
its highest peak, 
a small stream called Minano 
becomes wider and deeper 
like my “koi” feeling toward you.
--You Zei In 
--Translated by Naoko Fujimoto

A poem written in response from me to You Zei In.

“Koi” is one step before being in love
like thinking of you
from the edge of the pacific ocean;
I wish I could say it aloud—
only seawater keeps flooding between us.   

Monday, May 5, 2014

Hungry Beauty - Maison Dandoy Tea Room in Brussels

Maison Dandoy - Tea Room in Brussels 

At the Maison Dandoy Tea Room, I ordered a Belgian waffle with cherry & chocolate, and my hubby ordered a spinach and tomato quiche. Both dishes were very delicious.

We sat down at outside tables (the second floor was very crowded and kind of messy on the empty tables). I also realized that outside has the particular perfume of Brussels. (The famous piss boy statue is down the street along with many human imitators at night.)

There are two waffle styles -- the familiar square Belgian waffle and the liège waffle -- my first choice was Belgian style; however, the liège waffle is much cooler.

Liège waffle has a distinguished weight because it is like pancake batter baked with brown sugar and honey. The waffle is surprisingly heavy. Since it is baked with a lot of sugary syrup, it is also super sticky.

I should have asked for a paper plate rather than paper towels. The paper towels stick onto the waffle and participating fingers. I accidentally ate the paper and it stuck between teeth. Eventually my handbag and jacket became sticky -- I was a walking Liège waffle with a Japanese twist.  

Maison Dandoy - TeaRoom
Karel Bulsstraat 14
1000 Brussel

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Been There! Anne Frank's House in Amsterdam

Anne Frank's House in Amsterdam









アンネの父親の気持ちを知ったとき、私の自分勝手な詩の創作に悲しくなった。私は祖父の第二次世界大戦の経験や、新聞などで読んだ東北大震災の記事をもとに詩を書いている。詩集は、発信すると意味を込めて"Radio Tower"として編集中である。平和な日常や大地震を忘れないためにも詩を書き続けるのが目標だった。他界した祖父は惜しみなく応援してくれたが、大震災を生き残った人が私の詩を読んだら、繰り返しやるせない気持ちになるかもしれないと思うと、とても心が痛い。


Friday, May 2, 2014

#12 Poem - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首)

Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) is a classical Japanese anthology of one hundred waka-poems by one hundred poets in the thirteenth century. My challenge is to translate the poems and write a return poem (返歌) in English.

The Twelfth Poem:



Blowing blue winds—

close a path between clouds
to heaven;
let five celestial maidens
dance one more time.
--Soujyo Hensyo
--Translated by Naoko Fujimoto


A poem written in response from me to Soujyo Hensyo

When you read a love poem;

I want Chopin’s waltz
to dance;
I take off my flat shoes
and step up to the November cloud.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

#11 Poem - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首)

Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) is a classical Japanese anthology of one hundred waka-poems by one hundred poets in the thirteenth century. My challenge is to translate the poems and write a return poem (返歌) in English. 

The Eleventh Poem:

--参議 篁

In the endless sea,
over many nameless islands,
I’m heading to “Oki,”
help me to spread these words,
dear fisherman’s boat.
--Sangi Takamura
--Translated by Naoko Fujimoto

Return Poem (返歌) to Sangi Takamura from me:

Your dear, 
dear fisherman’s boat doesn’t talk,
it’ll be a lonely time in “Oki,”
where it’s cold with winter ocean winds,
why don’t you rent some Chinese birds?

*Note: Sangi Takamura was one of the Emperor Saga’s best friends about 1200 years ago.
The Emperor wanted him to visit China as an exchange governor; however, Sangi Takamura refused to go there after he wrote satire poetry about the exchange programs. Therefore, the Emperor sent him to out of nowhere, “Oki” island as punishment.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hungry Beauty: Dutch Pancake at De Sneeker Pan in Amsterdam

 De Sneeker Pan in Amsterdam

I had a Dutch pancake for the first time at De Sneeker Pan in Amsterdam and I immediately became a fun of the Dutch style. There were also very pretty and kind waitresses working at the café. The kitchen counter was nicely organized with fresh baked chocolate cake—I wished that my stomach was slightly larger than now—cookies and pasty. Very cute plates and cups were decorated along with fruits in a bowl. The café welcomed us in a cozy morning moment.

I ordered an apple pancake, of course, Dutch style. When they brought my breakfast, I was really surprised.

I said, “It is so huge!”

The waitress said, “This is Dutch style, enjoy!”

The pancake neatly folded over the plate. It was like a thicker style of crepe with many thin slices of apples and raisins. Apple sweet and sour flavors were matched with additional maple syrup and powdered sugar—later I learned that some local people added brown sugar on the top of the pancake. I enjoyed having the pancake along with green salad, French bread, and an omelet breakfast combo. I thought that I might have ordered too much, but my hubby and I ate everything. It was delicious.

When I came back to my apartment, I tried to make Dutch pancakes. So far I tried four times to get it right, but at least they’re getting better. The Dutch pancake needed patience because it was huge, so it is difficult to flip when cooking. In addition, when I searched for a recipe for Dutch pancake, there were many versions and cooking styles available.

I used an iron frying pan on the stove when I made it. I stir fried slices of apples with unsalted butter first, and then I poured flour mix. I waited until the bottom became brown and flipped it with two spatulas. But there was another cooking style; put the iron pan into the oven after cooking the apples and pouring the flour mix. After twenty-some minutes, the pancake will become golden crisp on the top. I have not tried the new style yet. It will be a fun experiment for another weekend breakfast at home. 

De Sneeker Pan

Kerkstraat 48,
1017GM Binnenstad, Amsterdam
Phone: +31 20 6223660

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

#10 Poem - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首)

Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) is a classical Japanese anthology of one hundred waka-poems by one hundred poets in the thirteenth century. My challenge is to translate the poems and write a return poem (返歌) in English. 

The Tenth Poem:


This is the way
to go east or back to Kyoto;
farewell for a while,
we’ll meet again
here at “Ausaka no Seki.”

Detroit is my airport
to fly in from Nagoya, Japan;
there is a tea cup shop
where a bald guy used to work.
After nine years, he is gone.