Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hungry Beauty – a Pizza-Ninja at La Place in Amsterdam


La Place in Amsterdam 

“How would you like to cook salmon?”
“Could you grill it until the surface becomes golden and crispy, but juicy inside with sautéd spinach?” I asked. I am picky about fish.
“Do you need potatoes for a side?” the chef asked.
“Yes. Could you add salt and rosemary?”

At La Place in Amsterdam, Netherlands, I could enjoy a restraint quality meal in a more casual environment (attached to a shopping mall). After my hubby chose a cute Miffy’s shirt for my nephew at the mall, we decided to have dinner.

I also made my own salad. I selected a plate from small, medium, and large sizes, which dictated the salad’s price. Some people put everything (cooked carrots, ham, organic carrots in vinegar, broccoli, cus-cus, raw carrots, etc) in the smallest plate and pay the minimum price. Maybe it’s about cost efficiency, but I wonder if their taste buds work that way. And they do not always finish whatever they placed in their plates (and toss it away!). I preferred nicely selecting side dishes with colorful vegetables enough for my hubby and me. 


My hubby ordered a pizza. He selected vegetables and ham. The chef was a pizza-ninja who kept adding ham after an ham… He picked fresh herbs from the counter, added (and added) the ingredients, and quickly tossed it in the oven. My hubby wanted to ask for less ham, but the pizza was covered (like a mountain) by ham. It was definitely meaty.


My hubby and I had dinner on the second floor of the kitchen, consisting of crispy/juicy salmon, bite-sized potatoes, a small salad, a ham pizza, and a banana smoothie. I noticed that around us many people enjoying dinner. Some families spoke French with three adorable kids. Some people read a book or laptop on the table. Four young women celebrated a birthday. They had dinner and shared cupcakes on the table. They dressed up so colorful and fashionable—everyone had a black leather jackets—when I gazed at them, they suddenly changed from speaking in English to Dutch.

At the casher’s desk, I got a free meal coupon for the next purchase. I wanted to give it to the birthday party girls (or family that were dining), but I was shy, so I left it on our table. After seven o’clock in the evening, most of the shops were closed and the streets were already dark.


La Place
Kalverstraat 203
Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 900 2358363

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Poem - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) #8

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 Eighth Poem:


わが庵は

都のたつみ
しかぞすむ
世をうぢ山と
人はいふなり
--喜撰法師

My house,

South East of magnificent Kyoto,
a relaxing, rural life,
but people call me “Ujiyama;”
hiding from this world.
--Kisen Houshi
--Translated by Naoko Fujimoto 

返歌

A poem written in response from me to Kisen Houshi

Nowadays,

it doesn’t matter where you live,
I just need a finger
to read your poem
in a nameless city by daffodil fields.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Brilliant Beauty – Simply Relaxed Morning at Hotel Egmond in Bruges

 The Hotel Egmond in Bruges, Belgium


How important to feel finally refreshed after I slept on clean sheets and had a breakfast at the Hotel Egmond. The hotel is located close to Begijnhof (buildings used by Beguines) in Bruges, Belgium. Before I entered the hotel property, I saw a romantic small lake known as ‘Love Lake’.
At the moment, my hubby and I were not yet romantic when we got lost in Bruges with many one way streets (mostly under construction). We drove through the tiny historical district three times screaming, “Why can’t the GPS find the hotel?!”

We drove through the beautiful Begijnhof streets without knowing which places were historically protected areas (yeah, we drove through a wildlife reserve, even though other employee cars were parked alongside the road). At some point I screamed, “Watch out for the person!”, “too narrow street!”, or “One way again!” My hubby drove backwards several blocks when necessary.

The hotel owner waited for us for almost two hours after our estimated arrival time. He gave us a key and immediately left with his two dogs. When I entered the room, I felt like I time-traveled into the eighteenth century, it was that large and comfortable. I learned later that he went into town to buy fresh cheese and ham for our breakfast.

I opened the windows in the morning. I let an early spring breeze in the room while my hubby was still sleeping. I saw an old church. Crocus and daffodils started blooming—I was just thankful to be there to see it—and I smelled chocolate croissants.


After I shook my hubby awake, I greeted both dogs, a squirrel statue, and several beautiful women—I did not expect so many women to be staying overnight here—to find various cheeses, ham, pastries, bagels, and chocolate croissants beautifully lined up. I was not a big fan of cheese in my life even though my husband had a passion for it. I really love cheese now after tasting a lot of it in The Netherlands. They were fantastically delicious. In addition, all the pastries and croissants were made by the hotel’s caretaker. Only he and his mother took care of the hotel (cleaning, cooking, laundering, gardening, etc…), providing a simple breakfast depicting their art in hospitality.

After the breakfast, I was talking to the owner about how he prepared the chocolate croissants. He easily said, “I used pasty sheets with Belgian chocolates and put it in the oven. It works out well for everyone that way.” 

I decided to adapt the hotel Egmond’s simple style into our apartment. I decorated it with tulips and washed our sheets and pillowcases with no problems—and I baked. I baked chocolate muffins and sponge cake. I used fine chocolate from Belgium. When I showed it to my mother over Skype, my mother asked, “Is this a burnt rice cracker? It looks so flat…” My hubby ate only one piece. I defended myself by saying the taste was not that bad. “Of course, the chocolates came from Belgium,” my mother said.
My next challenge is to use pastry sheets and make chocolate croissants. I already ate all the chocolates from Belgium I saw, so that is another great excuse to buy more chocolate.

Hotel Egmond

Minnewater 15
8000 Brugge
BE0453 730 168
Home Page: **Click**

Friday, April 18, 2014

Lunch with Cupmen



My three little cousins gave me "Cupmen," which is designed by Akira Mabuchi. The orange man holds a lid of a cup of noodles. He always supports me for a lazy lunch.


H-Concept 

3-24-8 Asakusabashi, Taito-ku
Tokyo, Japan



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Poem - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) #7

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 Seventh Poem:

天の原
ふりさけ見れば
春日なる
三笠の山に
出でし月かも
--安部仲麿
--Abeno Nakamaro

In the night sky,
looking up to find
the moon, 
is it the same one 
over Mt. Mikasa in Kasuga, my home?

返歌
A poem written in response from me to Abeno Nakamaro

Interstellar light 
travels thousands of years to the Earth;
when it was born,
you were missing home;
finally here, in my foreign sky.


**Note: Abeno Nakamaro was an exchange scholar about 700A.C. He went to China to study poetry and politics; however, he could not come back to Japan. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hungry Beauty – Le Point de Chute in Brussels, Belgium

 Le Point de Chute, Brussels

Thanks to Google map, I could identify an organic café in Brussels, Le Point de Chute. I will explain why I forgot to take a picture of the café. The café was located right under the Palais de Justice (Law Courts of Brussels) by the glass elevator. It is also on the way to the antique market, the Place du Jeu de Balle.

The café serves organic food and fruit drinks. I really enjoyed having croissant-like pretzel sandwich and berry smoothies. The chef and waitress were very nice along with their friendly cat by the windows. 

But we did not realize the menu stated remember is “NO CREDIT CARDS” in the biggest and loudest impression at the bottom of the first page as we were too entranced by the awesomeness of their breakfast selection. 

“The total is forty seven Euro,” said a pretty waitress. 
My hubby gave her our credit card.
“I am sorry, cash only, please,” she responded.

My hubby and I were frozen because we had only thirty Euro.

So, my hubby ran out to find an ATM. It took about thirty minutes for him to return, wherein the waitress kindly asked in a mix of English and French if I wanted to drink something while I waited. Of course we didn’t have enough for the meal we just ate, so I didn’t want to add onto it with another drink. But they were very kind.

I kept thinking though, what if my hubby could not use an American credit card in Brussels and we could not pay the bill. What could we do for money? Were we going to wash dishes? Peal carrots? I searched every pocket in my bag while he was hunting down an ATM. I found fifty US dollars. If he could not find the ATM, I decided to pay thirty euro with fifty dollars. It was too much, but hopefully they would accept the situation. The waitress asked me again, “Anything? Tea?” I smiled and acted as an innocent Japanese woman who did not understand English nor French.

What we did not realize was that the banks all close for a 60-90 minute lunch hour, and we finished eating right after they closed. My hubby actually tracked down two banks since the first one did not work, and even the first ATM in the second bank would not make a withdrawal. But since he had done this in other countries, he patiently read the icons above the different types of ATMs in the bank’s front room and waited for someone to make two dozen consecutive withdrawals from one he assumed would work. 

When he returned with the cash I was relieved. We paid and left a good tip for their patience (Europeans rarely leave tips). The waitress reminded us that a lot of small cafés does not accept credit cards, so customers should carry some cash. We quickly left from the café when the chef said, “Thank you very much!”


Le Point de Chute

Rue de l'Épée 10
Zwaardstraat 10

1000 Brussels

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Poem - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) #6

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 Sixth Poem:

かささぎの
渡せる橋に
おく霜の
白きを見れば 
夜ぞ更けにける
--中納言家持

A magpie crossing the galaxy
like an ancient story of the bridge,
frost covers it;
deeply white,
time passes after midnight.
--Chunagon Yakamochi
--Translated by Naoko Fujimoto


返歌
A poem written in response from me to Chunagon Yakamochi

My toe is frost bitten,
foot prints left on the hill
when I cross the bridge 
to your warm room,
don’t let the lamp go out.
  
**Note: Chunagon Yakamochi referenced an ancient love story in China in his poem. A woman and man could meet once a year over the Milky Way on July 7th. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Brilliant Beauty – “How Much?” at Place du Jeu de Balle

The Place du Jeu de balle in Brussels, Belgium

“HOW MUCH?” I asked an old man with the loudest and slowest tone I could manage.
My hubby was whispering that I should have respectfully asked in French and he repeated, “How much” in French (c’est combien).

The old man showed two fingers, so I assumed that it was two Euros.

My hubby and I visited the Place du Jeu de balle in Brussels to find our cat’s water bowl. The place is a publically known antique market place– just like a huge garage sale without a ceiling – and we found buckets after buckets of junk called antiques.


There were buckets of typewriters’ keys, metal handles, tea cups & plates, rings, some paints, old maps (and I mean old), family photos…surprisingly I could find everything that I could think of, we just couldn’t think of what would compel someone to buy personal family photos of a stranger’s family. We could not, however, find a perfect water bowl for our cat. Our princess cat is very picky, especially about china.



The old man was selling buckets of broken chandelier pieces. Pieces of crystal and wires were simply in huge yellow buckets. Those broken chandeliers reminded me of “The Phantom of the Opera”. I imagined that the old man swept those pieces up after The Phantom dropped it. It also reminded me of an old melodramatic Japanese comic, “Haikara san ga Tooru”, where a wealthy Russian woman was crushed under a chandelier during an earthquake in Japan, and an old man carefully collected sad remains from the scene. Anyhow, it was too tough to break chandeliers into that many pieces under any usual circumstances.


I started picking through those pieces and found some in great condition. Beautifully cut, round shaped crystals were beaded together with a wire at the end. I assumed that it was used to connect a larger decorative piece.

As if knowing what I was thinking, the man suddenly took it from me and attached the huge crystal decoration. He made me a beautiful crystal ornament from those broken pieces. When I said, “Merci,” he showed three fingers. The decoration was simply raised from two Euro to three Euro under the name of antique shopping. 

From the beginning, I did not have two Euro anyway. I showed him inside of my coin case. He smiled and waved his hands with acceptance.  I only had 1.57 Euro.

Now, the piece is in our bedroom above the night lamp. The crystal shines through before I go to bed every night. I realize again how important it is decorating one special piece of my memory makes me feel relaxed and thankful at the end of a day.


Location: 
Place du Jeu de Balle in the Marolles District (BRUSSELS)

The market is open every day, all year round, from 6am to 2pm on weekdays and from 6am to 3pm on weekends.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday Announcement



 Thank you very much for posting my blog!
Bistro Maurice has a Facebook page.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Kusa-Kusa White Hyacinths


























White Hyacinths with My Art

Bulbs from the Chicago Botanical Garden are blooming so well! I got them when I went to the Orchid Show(They are super stinky, though...)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Poem - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) #5

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 Fifth Poem

奥山に
紅葉ふみわけ
鳴く鹿の
声聞くときぞ
秋はかなしき
--猿丸大夫

I hear from the deepest forest,
deer steps on red maple leaves, 
and cries;
cries,
I feel the autumn.
--Sarumaru Daiyuu
--Translated by Naoko Fujimoto

返歌
A poem written in response from me to Sarumaru Daiyuu

The autumn is not so lonely,
for the longest night,
I write a letter
remembering my first trip to Kyoto,
picking up maple leaves with my mother.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Food – Waal Kootwijkerbroek, the Netherlands



On the way to the Kröller-Müller Museum while my hubby was driving, I found two bakeries where I would have loved to stop by. After visiting the museum, my hubby and I ‘accidently’ passed by one of them. It was a random opportunity for trying new pastry.

Inside, a woman greeted us and started preparing my tea. The bakery and the person reminded me of my favorite Hayao Miyazaki’s movie, “Kiki’s Delivery Service.” And loafs of bread were lined on the walls. There were many colorful chocolates for Easter celebrations—chocolates shaped like little birds and flowers were deliciously decorated in a case. Since my hubby was still recovering from Brussels’ water, I ordered a croissant, caramel, a walnut cookie, and an almond cookie. He just had an apple turnover.

The best apple turnover I ever had!

It was shaped like a triangle, and inside the apple was not too sweet, and had a little sour flavor. I tried apple flavored meals in the Netherlands—even the hotel had complementary apples at the front desk—but this apple pie was amazing. I’m glad my hubby ordered it (for himself).


While I enjoy eating there, a local woman bought a huge Easter basket full of chocolates and cookies. I wished that I could send a basket like that to my mother.

Address:
Veluweweg 1 - 3774 BK
Kootwijkerbroek 
Tel. 0342-442423

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Poem - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) #4

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 fourth Poem:

田子の浦に
うち出でて見れば
白妙の
富士の高嶺に
雪は降りつつ
--山部赤人

On the Tago,
I walk by the seashore.
On the highest,
whitest edge of Mt. Fuji,
it’s still snowing.
--Yamabeno Akahito
--Translated by Naoko Fujimoto 

返歌
A poem written in response from me to Yamabeno Akahito

The cold sea water soaks
your tabi-socks,
shells still sleep 
under the sand, 
spring is not yet coming.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Brilliant Beauty – Meeting Windmill Masters and Walking at Kinderdijk

Kinderdijk

I drive forty minutes to work. I sit down in front of two computer screens from eight to five. My office exercises are to get coffee, go to bathroom, and laugh with coworkers. I try to walk during lunch time; however, it is difficult to devote a good amount of time to exercise. My energy is super low after work on the couch with chocolate cookies.


I wish that my neighborhood is an exciting place to walk like Kinderdijk!

Kinderdijk is a village in the Netherlands and protected by UNESCO World Heritage. There are nineteen authentic windmills. Visit their home page:


I gasped when I saw the windmills between small houses. I was really surprised and moved by the scenery. Nineteen big windmills randomly stood along small river banks. They stood like great god-like figures—now I really understand why Don Quixote was crazily attached to the windmills in Spain—On the day we visited, the main park office was closed, so my hubby found a perfect parking spot and we decided to walk around.


At first, we did not know that we parked in a residence area. But the people were very nice to us when we approached them. A man and his son were working to restore the windmill when we approached.

The man said, “Come in! Where are you from?”


We then had a private windmill tour after we parked in the private residency area. I noticed that people from the Netherlands are very kind and super relaxed.

“Are you Red Sox fan?” asked the man after seeing my hubby’s ‘South Side’ shirt. It was an unexpected question but he answered, “What? White Sox!”


And he explained that there were many visitors from Boston when he ran tours for the area, so he became a de-facto Red Sox fan. He even joked that he made people with Yankees hats remove them before his tours.

His son then released a rope, and suddenly the windmill started moving. The wind raised and it made a ‘whiz’ sound. It hypnotized me, making me slowly walk closer to the moving wings.

“Don’t go to close. It is lethal!” the man said with his Dutch accent. We eventually left, having felt thankful to meet the two men and see the windmill so closely.



On the apartment couch, I said again, "I want to walk through Kinderdijk!!" My hubby said, “Well, it is little far from here. But we have very nice forest preserve nearby.”

So, one Sunday afternoon we walked in the neighborhood park and saw a fisherman by the river…

Taking time and walking is fun!

Address:
T: 0031(0)78 6912830
F: 0031(0)78 6918294

Overwaard 2
2961 AT Kinderdijk
Netherlands

Friday, April 4, 2014

Dining Table Gardening - Kaiware-Daikon Planter


I found a kaiware-daikon planter in Amsterdam that goes perfect on our table. The second harvest has almost arrived. Dille & Kamille is a popular kitchen store in Brussels and Amsterdam.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Poem - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) #3

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 Third Poem:

あしびきの
山鳥の尾の
しだり尾の
ながながし夜を
ひとりかも寝む
--柿本人麻呂

Pheasant tails are
often so long;
dragging
like endless nights
sleeping by myself.
--Hitomaro Kakinomoto
--Translated by Naoko Fujimoto

返歌
A poem written in response from me to Hitomaro Kakinomoto

I did not know
a male pheasant sleeps
miles away from his wife,
thinking of
how soft her tail is.



***
Back Issue:
#1) Emperor Tenchi 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Food – Bonsoir Clara Brussels, Belgium


Bonsoir Clara Brussels, Belgium

The receptionist at the Hilton in Brussels recommended Bonsoir Clara as a good place to dine on our first night in Belgium. She drew us directions and stated, “It is close to St. Catherine’s, you cannot miss it.” She called the restaurant for us and made a reservation (in French) for 7:00PM.


A lot of dinner restaurants in Belgium open at 7:00PM. Around Grand Place (a public square surrounded by amazing historical buildings) or famous sightseeing spots, restaurants and cafes are open all the time. However, small, local restaurants are not open all day. Even for lunch, they rarely open before noon. Those shops, cafes, and restaurants gradually open, but always close at 6:00PM sharp.  


My hubby and I are quick to get lost, so we decided to find our reserved restaurant at 5:00PM before exploring the area. We walked around a large church and crossed many streets on our way there; but of course, we got, as my hubby calls it, ‘temporarily misguided’. We were so hungry from our hike to find our restaurant that we bought sugar donuts and croissants at a local bakery to fuel up.

We finally found a spot to sit down and snack around the church we circled so many times. Many people were there enjoying cigarettes, tea, and huge soap bubbles provided by some random entertainer. There are many fish markets in that area, so some people had mussels and other seafood. After we recharged with the pastries, we continued looking for our evening culinary destination. 


Finally, at 6:40PM we found the restaurant; but it was empty, pitch dark inside. So we read over the menu fixed to the window over and over to mask our panic that the place was closed for the evening.

When we visited the restaurant again (just after 7:00PM), there were several waiters, chefs, and other customers inside to greet us. I almost looked for the magic lamp they all appeared from so suddenly. My hubby and I ordered shrimp croquettes and steak. Croquettes are very popular in Belgium and the Netherlands, as we saw shrimp croquettes in nearly every restaurant we visited.


The restaurant was contemporary—with stained glass windows and romantic candles—and the appetizer consisted of a bean soup and delicious bread. The steak was so juicy and soft that my hubby (whose appetite was actually debilitated during the trip) wanted to have a second one. To top it off, the French fries were served in an adorable container. I have never seen such big shrimp croquettes before. The texture was perfect, with no sogginess. And the crème brûlée was not too sweet like in American. I loved it.


The waiter gave us a small French lecture, and my hubby was excited to finally put his high school French to use and order in the local tongue (we later learned that we should have ordered a large bottle of water instead of four smaller ones). I was hesitant to speak to the waiter in French, but after dinner I could loudly say, “Merci Beaucoup!”

Bonsoir Clara
Rue A. Dansaert 22-26
B-1000 Brussels

Monday, March 31, 2014

Poem - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) #2

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 Second Poem:

春すぎて
夏来にけらし
白妙の
衣ほすてふ
天の香具山
--持統天皇

Spring is gone,
summer is already here;
white sleeves
whittle over
the evergreen Mt. Kaguyama.
--Emperor Jitou
--Translated by Naoko Fujimoto

返歌
A poem written in response from me to Emperor Jitou

The wind raises
your long black hair,
beads of sweat
roll down your white neck
with the sweet smell of summer break.


***
Back Issue:
#1) Emperor Tenchi

Brilliant Beauty – Rabbit from Amsterdam

Red Light District in Amsterdam

 
There are many varieties of rabbits sold in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. Small rabbits with bow ties, large ones with pearl necklaces, blue ones with flash lights, super long & super short… They are super cute.

Every shop & street is clean and bright without any negativity. There is even an old church near the end of the district that some kids walk by regularly. Most people there are kind; and some are deceptively nice, like the one who advised me, “Do not buy drugs from people on the streets around here” before asking for a few Euros. And the girls on display in the windows—like public telephone booths—are gorgeous (when not talking on their cell phones). I would definitely spend time with them if I have enough cash on me. My hubby even told me, “This is the best kind of window shopping. Five stars!”

I really loved this open-minded culture. The business of sex is treated as equally as any other business, like a bakery, pharmacy, or plumber. The women do not hide behind dark curtains in the corner of a bad neighborhood. If they have problems, police immediately come to their aid; and the girls are protected by law and various government health programs. Likewise, they have the right to refuse any customer if they are not comfortable. Of course, like any other industry, there are risks.

My hubby picked out a cute blue rabbit for me. I liked the pink one, but the blue one came from a good breed. When I stroke my rabbit, it gives me therapy. It vitalizes the body and metabolism. Some doctors say that it stimulates the immune system. More importantly, it makes me feel beautiful, and my hubby doesn’t compete with it for attention.


If I would like to get other kinds of rabbits, online shops kindly ship them in a plain, unmarked box. Nobody suspects that there is a rabbit inside. One rabbit could be the secret of a brilliant beauty in Amsterdam.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Forgotten Lost Underwear Shopping Spree at a Church

The Cathedral of Our Lady, a Roman Catholic cathedral in Antwerp, Belgium

Inside of Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (The Cathedral of Our Lady, a Roman Catholic cathedral in Antwerp, Belgium), there are several small chapels. One of them is where people visit to pray for finding something they lost— glasses, wallets, maybe rings— then God will find their lost objects (the origin of the chapel is that Jesus’ foreskin was there and God forgot to take it back to heaven, but that’s not really advertised at the entrance).

My grandmother used to chant an incantation when she lost her cooking timer (my sister and I also hid it in a kitchen drawer and set it for 60 minutes). When she lost her things, she tied scissors to a long rope and dangled them from a tea kettle. Over her dining table, the scissors would hang from the kettle as she chanted, “Please lead me to my watch.” I just find it easier to blame my husband for losing whatever it is and make him find it—maybe it’s a generational thing.

In Antwerp, minus scissors and a kettle, there is a beautiful and well decorated alter for people who lost things. The walls are painted historical family crests, and candles light angels along the walls. I felt that I could definitely find my lost things when I tried to recall what I lost recently.

I did not lose any objects (that I remember); with the exception of my glasses, I am usually good at placing my things in the same place every time. Once I found my glasses in my hubby’s underwear drawer—perhaps that’s when I lost that “falling in love feeling” after five years. Could God help find a “feeling” like a lost object? I came here from far away so I must try to pray. I lit a small candle and closed my eyes saying, “Please let me fall in love again.”

Suddenly it occurred to me after this trip that I should clean up my closet. I really want to throw away old underwear and replace them with all spring colors with laceworks (or that’s the excuse I will use when shopping for them). I know someone will like the new collection. I hold my hubby’s hand to leave the church. 


De Kathedraal 
Address:
Groenplaats 21, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium

+32 3 213 99 51

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Poem - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) #1

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 first poem:

秋の田の 
かりほの庵の 
苫をあらみ 
わが衣手は 
露にぬれつつ
--天智天皇

After harvested fields 
in a borrowed shack, 
through the patched straw roof 
dewdrops creep down,   
soaking my sleeves over the long night. 
--Emperor Tenchi 
--Translated by Naoko Fujimoto 

返歌
A poem written in response from me to Emperor Tenchi

My white sandals stain summer dirt  
under an empty blanket. 
I want a brush to paint 
what you see in the field,
though I only have brown in my pocket.


***
Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) #2
Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) #3
Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) #4
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