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Showing posts from 2014

Berkley Poetry Review - Pushcart Prize Nominations

2014 Pushcart Prize Nominations!
November 20, 2014

Berkley Poetry Reviewwas pleased to announce their nominations for the 2014 Pushcart Prize.  To read these poems, pick up a copy of our 44th issue from the store.

Steven Alvarez, “1522”

Kay Cosgrove, “A Western”

Dan Encarnacion, “Denomination.”

Naoko Fujimoto, “Sixty Seven Years Later”

Ryan Harper, “Hubble Creek”

Amy Newman, “After Robert Lowell Starves himself for Lent, a Seaplane Deposits Gertrude Buckman on Loon Islet and She Swims Across the lake”

Thank you very much for the nomination!

David Dodd Lee's "Animalities"

I went to a fabulous party called "Beers Giving". I tasted varieties of craft and local beers-- I have not had many beers since my Belgium trip! It was a wonderfully artistic party meeting college writers/friends and professors; a reunion in a way. 

I was helping the host of "Beers Giving." I even drilled into three pumpkins to make lanterns. I have never carved a pumpkin before, but now I am pretty good at it after three huge pumpkins. I also drew a welcome board for the party in the picture. The quote is from a new poetry book byDavid Dodd Lee, "Animalities."His actual word was "Soda" but I changed it to "Beer". And I was aware that a coin cannot into a beer bottle... 

I was reading his book on the South Shore Line back to Chicago. There are many favorite poems in the book, but I would like to share one. His book makes my heart sentimental, like drinking lemonade with a little bit of life bitterness. 

by David Dodd Lee

The joy…

Ogura Adaptation Poetry Project - LUNCH TIME ATLAS

Inspired by the twelfth waka from Ogura Hyakunin Issuhu

I say, “Take my hand,” 
on a perfect day to climb up to the November clouds. 
My flat shoes fell off but we must reach the cracked sky.   
I look into his gray eyes and my mouth moves, “Almost.” 

When a microwave beeps in the lunch room,
he stands up and passes me down the stairs.    
Only his sandwich’s crumbs are spread on the table.  

Today is the forty seventh day—

 I could not say, “Do you like fried rice?”

Ogura Adaptation Poetry Project - HIS HIDDEN HOUSE

Inspired by the eighth waka from Ogura Hyakunin Isshu

He hides in a mountain South East of Kyoto; 
without visitors and girlfriends, he paints words after words
and studies stories from nameless foreign cities. 

Once he wrote me, “What do you know about love?”

All summer long, I think of his meaning
when I wash my face and look at my wet cheeks in the mirror;
when I put cold cream on my legs;
when I listen to the radio in the car with the wind blowing.

After parking, I walk up to Mt. Ujiyama. 
At the end of the narrow slope, there is— 
catching my breath— his house. 

The Three Broomsticks and Tiny-Tiny Bacon

"Why do theme parks' meals not taste good?" I kept repeating this thought during the trip.
I dined at two restaurants & cafés that were supposed to be the best of all in the Universal Studios Orlando (from online reviews). I visited the Three BroomsticksRestaurant at Harry Potter's Hogsmead and Lambard's Seafood Grillein the San Francisco Area.
Afterthe Dragon Challenge (a magical roller coaster feeling like riding a broomstick), I needed breakfast with a strong cup of coffee. It was a mistake to ride the coaster on an empty stomach (for me, my hubby was totally fine). I forgot to scream during the ride as I was not feeling well. I could not walk straight afterward and he left me to ride the second track of the roller-coaster (there were two rides from the same line), and he totally enjoyed it (jealous!). While I hate being more pale than my hubby, I was finally able to sit down at the Three Broomsticks Restaurant for breakfast. At the restaurant (in the Harry …

Kennedy Space Center, Orlando Florida

It is always mixed a feeling, fantastic and nervous when I visit a new place. Especially when my budget and vacation time meet (miraculously I still have two day vacations), I must travel. My hubby and I decided to visit Orlando, Florida in the last minute. Airplane tickets from United Airlines were acceptable (and Double Tree Orlando by Hilton had a special discount).
On the first day, after renting a car, we visited the Kennedy Space Center. The most exciting and educational centers there were the real space shuttle (Atlantis), legendary Apollo Projects, the moon stone, and many other excitements. I booked tickets through their website; therefore, I did not have to wait in a long line (even though it was not a popular season to visit). I should have registered online ahead of time because I could have received $10 gift cards. It was my only regret and my hubby said "stop saying that."
The space shuttle Altantis was huge. I could see burn marks on the surface which told how t…

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

Poetry Reading at the Book Cellar

Have a Happy Summer!

Are you having a good summer? I am writing!

Oil Painting Project - Drying

I cannot wait for the second project.

My Oil Painting Project

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

#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.

#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.

#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.

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*
Hotels:  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 

Restaurants:  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  P…

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. …

#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.

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

#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.   

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…

Been There! Anne Frank's House in Amsterdam

Anne Frank's House in Amsterdam

#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.

#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.

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 g…

#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. 

Been There! Tin Tin Museum, Belgium

Surprised? Today's story about Tin Tin Museum in Belgium is written in Japanese. 

Tin Tin Museum, Belgium





Poem - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) #9

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 Ninth Poem: 


Cold spring rain falls onto
cherry blossoms; fading
their color slowly over time
just like my beauty
while I think of you.
--Onono Komachi
--Translated  by Naoko Fujimoto

A poem written in response from me to Onono Komachi

You are pieces of
dried skin and bones
under the graveyard,
but your poem is still
like a grayish pink spring day.   

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 d…