Friday, January 31, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Art - Tin Tin Museum (Musée Hergé)


















I loved Tin Tin since I watched the TV series when I was nine. I learned English from the cartoons. Captain Haddock was my great English teacher. I am definitely going to visit the museum before I die.   

Musée Hergé
Address: Rue du Labrador, 26 - B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve

Opening Hours:
Every day except Mondays, 1st January and 25 December.
From Tuesday to Friday : 10.30 am to 5.30 pm

Saturday and Sunday : 10.00 am to 6.00 pm

ADMISSION
Full Price: 9,50 €

How to Visit by Train from Brussels, Belgium:
From Bruxelles-Nord (Brussels-North railway station)  [NMBS/SNCB]
To Gare de Louvain-la-Neuve-Université‎  [NMBS/SNCB]

Round Train Tickt about € 6,20 for a weekend pass 
It is better to book online for an extra discount. 

Official Website of [NMBS/SNCB]


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tupelo Press - "Unnatural Violence"

Tupelo Press accepted "Unnatural Violence" from my 30 / 30 Poetry Project.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Brilliant! Beauty

I have had atopic skin conditions (アトピー性皮膚炎) since I was born. Sometimes I avoid people, even my husband because my face is spotty red, so I hide underneath my cotton blanket. Sometime my lymph fluid in unstoppable from scratches, so I am surrounded by hundreds of towels. Sometime I cannot fall sleep because of itchiness, and then I have to work in the morning with bags under my eyes. 

However, life goes on. I have to wake up and carry on. Random people say, "Why you are so puffy red today?" or "Why don't you go see a doctor?"

My parents took me to various famous doctors in Japan, and I also met a few doctors in the USA; however, the condition has never disappeared. I guess that I have to live with the condition until I am going to die. When I am eighty years old, I will be an extra crispy, barley alive mummy.  

Suddenly, I realized that I have not taken charge of treating it. I just accepted doctor's opinions and medicines. I did not really think of the advantages and disadvantages when I applied steroid cream on my skin. Much worse, I could not explain what my atopic skin condition was.  

From last October, I decided to control the treatment process after reading many articles of medical advice, and so far it works fantastically. I am not wearing make-up, but my face has not been red for a long time. For the first time in my life, I feel pretty, and I want my husband to touch my cheeks.

Last night I had a brilliant moment that I share my experimental treatments in my blog. I want to create a magazine type of blog; for example, Monday Beauty, Wednesday Art and Poetry, etc... When I thought of this new direction of my blog, I was so excited and bouncing on the cotton blanket.

This Monday, I am sharing what I use for my facial and body creams. And the following Mondays, I will write about my treatments such as: Making Own Sauna Bath, 18 hours Fasting, Taking Necessary Vitamins, etc...

When I wash my face, I gently rinse it twenty times with only lukewarm water. I no longer have to scrape off my old skin with a towel. I carefully wash my face like washing an egg shell. And then, I apply:

#1) Chifure Lotion (about $5) from Japan
I buy a year worth of lotion when I go back to Japan. It is a hyaluronic acid lotion without fragrance and alcoholic substance. My skin often does not accept strong scented products.

#2) Aquamoist Cream (about $15) from Japan
My friend kindly exchanged a year supply last Christmas for Chicago deep dish pizzas. The cream also contains hyalurionic acid without fragrance. It is especially for my face since I have a limited supply.

#3) Coconut Oil (about $10) from Whole Foods
After I apply lotion and cream, I seal with the oil. I also use it for my hair. I feel that I am always in Hawaii.

#4) Cerave (about $15) from a drug store
I thought that it is expensive to buy it; however, the little cream from Japan costs the same. Cerave cream contains 16 oz with hyalurionic acid. I use it for the body without hesitation, so I can use less the Japanese cream for the face. It also has no fragrance.

#5) Bag Balm (about $7) from a drug store
The label says, "For chapped conditions and superficial abrasions. After each milking, apply thoroughly... Bag Balm has been the farmer's friend helping keep dairy cows from becoming chapped..."

I asked a pharmacist, "Can this be used on humans?"

When I have a chapped scar and extremely dry skin, Bag Balm helps to seal after applying Cerave. It works pretty well, but it has a distinguished smell. My husband thinks that I smell like a farm.

#6) Vaseline (about $5) from a drug store 
For hands, arms, and legs, wherever I feel dryness. I occasionally try various fragrances, but I like the ones without fragrances the most. 

Japanese and American environments are very different. Sometimes my skin adapts to those very well, sometimes unfortunately it does not. So far those reasonable and super helpful creams work for me living in the coldest winter in Chicago.





Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

小澤征爾さんと、音楽について話をする by Haruki Murakami


I read interviews by Seiji Ozawa and Haruki Murakami in Japanese. This book is the best of all Murakami's books. 



文章と音楽との関係

村上:
小説を書いていると、だんだん自然に耳がよくなってくるんじゃないかな。逆の言い方をすると、音楽的な耳を持っていないと、文章ってうまくかけないんです。だから音楽を聴くことで文章がよくなり、文章をよくしていくとこで、音楽がうまく聞けるようになってくるということはあると思うんです。

僕は文章を書く方法というか、書き方みたいなのは誰にも教わらなかったし、とくに勉強もしていません。で、何から書き方を学んだかというと、音楽から学んだんです。それで、いちばん何が大事かっていうと、リズムですよね。文章にリズムがないと、そんなもの誰も読まないんです。。。

小澤:
文章のリズムというのは、僕らがその文章をよむときに、読んでいて感じるリズムということですか?

村上:
そうです。言葉の組み合わせ、センテンスの組み合わせ、パラグラフの組み合わせ、硬軟、軽重の組み合わせ、均衡と不均衡の組み合わせ、句読点の組み合わせ、トーンの組み合わせによってリズムが出てきます。ポリリズムと言っていいかもしれない。音楽と同じです。耳が良くないと、これができなんです。できる人はできるし、できない人にはできません。。。音楽を作るのと同じ要領で文章を書いていきます。。。

夏目漱石の文章はとても音楽的だと思います。すらすらと読めますね。今読んでも素晴らしい文章です。あの人の場合は西洋音楽というよりは、江戸時代の“語りもの”的なものの影響が大きいような気がしますが、でも耳はとっても良い人だと思います。。。

小澤:
あの人は英語の先生をしていたんですよね。

村上:
そう言う意味でも耳は良かったかもしれません。日本的なものとがうまく組み合わさっていたかもしれない。

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year, 2014!

Ozouni (Zoni)

Ozoni is a special soup with Mochi (rice cake) to have it in the morning on New Year’s Day in Japan.  Traditionally, Daikon-radish, carrots, mitsuba, & mochina are added in Ozoni. For this time, I added Konbu for happy healthy life.

Ingredients
3 cups Dashi
Two strings of Konbu
One handful Wakame
One handful Tororo-Konbu
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Sake
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
4 small Mochi

Instructions
#1) Heat Dashi in a pot at medium temperature and add two string of Konbu, and cook until they become tender.
#2)Meanwhile, bake Mochi in a grill oven about 5 minutes until the Mochi has expanded and browned.
#3) Season soup with soy sauce, Sake, and salt.
#4) In a soup bowl, place baked Mochi and pour hot soup.