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Showing posts from May, 2014

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:

ちはやぶる
神代も聞かず
竜田川
からくれなゐに
水くくるとは
--在原業平朝臣

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:

立ち別れ
いなばの山の
峰に生ふる
松とし聞かば
今かへり来む
--中納言行平

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:

君がため
春の野に出でて
若菜つむ
我が衣でに
雪は降りつつ
--光孝天皇

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:  

陸奥の
しのぶもぢずり
誰ゆゑに
みだれそめにし
われならなくに
--河原左大臣

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.

返歌
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:

筑波嶺の
峰より落つる
みなの川
恋ぞつもりて
淵となりぬる
--陽成院

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

返歌
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
アムステルダムへ旅をする機会があれば、アンネフランクの家へ訪問してみたいと思っていた。朝一番に並んでも大変混雑すると聞いていたので、オンラインでチケットを予約することにした。
アンネフランクのウエブサイトからチケットを購入するとき、その日のウエブサイトの混雑状況や、クレジットカードの相性によってとてもつながりにくい。なかなか購入できなくて、直接カスタマーサービスにメールを書いた。
ヨーロッパ以外からのクレジットカード予約はつながりにくいから、時間を置いてから試してみて。それでも駄目ならもう一度メールしてください。とすぐにお返事をいただいた。それから数回メール往復をすることになって、祖父の話をすることになった。
祖父は第二次世界大戦中、広島の近くで海軍として勤めていた。原爆が落ちたときは広島から少し離れたところにいたが、”広島が大変なことになった”と聞いて、広島へ向かったらしい。火傷をした人々、顔が真っ黒になって女性だか男性だかわからない身なりをしている人、妊婦さんを助けて、祖父もだんだん真っ黒になってきた。その時、ぜんぜん知らないおばあさんが、一枚のタオルをくれた。そのタオルがとても白くみえて、大変ありがたかった、と祖父は言っていた。
世界中からいろいろな思いを持ってアンネの家へ訪問してくれます。みんなの共通する願いは平和ですとメールには書いてあった。1週間後、3枚違うクレジットカードを試して、ようやくオンライン予約ができた。
アンネフランクの家は、博物館と隣同士になっていて、正面からみると現代的に見える。しかし、本棚の裏、急な細い階段をあがって隠れ家へ入ると、アンネがポストカードなどを貼った壁紙はそのまま、古いキッチン、きしむ床、お手洗い(お便器にオランダらしい青い模様が入っていてとてもきれい)はそのままにされている。
アンネは日記やショートストーリーを、一緒に隠れている家族達に毎晩発表するのが日課だった。そのとき第二次世界大戦を生き延びたら、日記やストーリーが出版されるかもというアイデアをもらって、希望を持って書き続けていた。
もっとも印象的だったのは、アンネの父親のビデオドキュメンタリーだった。一人だけ生き残った父親は毎日、一生懸命働いて、家族のことを思い続けていると言っていた。戦後、アンネフランクが象…

#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:

天つ風
雲の通い路
吹きとぢよ
 をとめの姿
しばしとどめむ
--僧正遍昭

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

返歌
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:

わたの原
八十島かけて
漕ぎ出ぬと
人には告げよ
海人のつり舟
--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.