Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Blue and Green

I seldom stay outside for a rather clinical reason than out of preference. (You can find it out in my entry if you are interested: http://diaryofajapanadian.blogspot.com/2009/07/sun-and-me.html. ) But last Sunday, I joined a BBQ that took place under the late summer sun for 6 hours or so. I hadn't been out for that long in a long, long time. I was perfectly fine, though, since the leaves of trees provided really nice shade the whole time we were there, despite the otherwise scorching sun.

Anyway, to get to the point, I can't get over how magical the place was. It was a camping site up on a mountain and quite secluded, yet close enough from the civilization that it only took us a mere 10-minute drive to get. The cloudless blue above us gave a really nice contrast to the green that was around us.

I had forgotten how nice it feels to be in woods. The air feels nice and clean in your lungs. You feel like you have a better eye sight. I wish I could have had a nap there.

Until next time,


Monday, August 24, 2009

The Power of Blueberries II

Mom made a bunch of jars of blueberry preservative this weekend with the berries that were harvested from her little garden, one of which I hawked from the kitchen counter when I had the chance. Duh! As if I would walk bloody past by jars of freshly-made jam!

I am a huge fan of jam of all sorts, but blueberry tops it all, I think, especially the one mom makes. The health freak that she is, mom makes it with sugar to the minimum. Did you know that a regular jam recipe will tell you to use the same weight of sugar as whatever fruit you are using? And did you also know that, a cup of, say, strawberries, would need, like, three cups of sugar if you follow the recipe? And did you know that that's utterly gross?

To hell with recipes, mom says. And so her preservatives taste actually like the fruit themselves: sometimes tart, even sour-ish, just the way I love them.

Anyway, the best possible way to enjoy mom's jam is with lightly toasted English muffins. They are a tad on the pricey side of bread isle here in Japan, but I'm not going to skimp on enjoying mom's heavenly creation to the fullest.

Bon appetit!!

Thank you, mom!

Until next time,


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Power of Blueberries I

As hard as they are to come by in the land of Japan, especially good ones, when you are lucky enough to have one, your morning never gets better... or so it seems. At least while you are at it...

Is it me, or the blueberry bagel looks like it's smiling at me on the plate?

Until next time,


Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Ordinary Everyday

My parents and sister just came back from a week trip to Egypt. I got a text message from mom who had just arrived at Narita Airport, which read, simply, "we are back."

For the past one week, I was more worried for them than I wanted to allow myself, which I didn't realize until I got that message on my cell phone. I was at work. I was about to head out to get my lunch. I saw "mom" in the sender's box, and I wanted to cry.

When I made the decision to return to Japan two and a half years ago, my prominent reason was my family; for dad who had fallen ill. He had a cerebral hemorrhage two years prior. He was a vegetable for a half year, every day of which the rest of us was prepared for the worst. I made 4 trips a year to my home land to be a support for not just dad, but for mom, bro, and sis who had to live their everyday life with him as a center of their attention. He got better and moved from a hospital to another, and eventually came back home. But he became a completely new person.

My return to Japan was probably the first choice I have made in my life that was not for myself. It hurt me to think that I would have to leave all that I had and to stop what I had been working for. But it hurt me more to think of not choosing to.

I knew it would be a challenge for me to be living in Japan after 12 years of being away from it; it would take a bit of adjustment and I would miss the life I led in the northern America. But I really wasn't ready for feeling so completely lost. Everything I did and had in my new life seemed too surreal to conceive of for a long, long time. Work. Friends. Even family. At first it was OK. It felt like an extended summer break in a foreign land. But after about a half year, when the idea that I was here for good at least for the foreseeable future sank in, I started having problems. Problems with sense of self. Or absence of it.

I moved out of my parents' house a year ago. I do go back there on my day off, though, twice a week. I am saner around my family that way. I needed the loophole to stay as nice to them as I wanted and intended to be. Sometimes, the closeness between you and the people you care so much for can bring many uninvited conflicts and it can hurt both parties, let alone wear them out.

When mom decided she is taking dad to Egypt this summer, I flipped and told her off for being crazy. He is much, much better compared to two years ago, yes, but the former mathematician can't even speak in a language any of us understands. But mom thought, since Egypt was the only place he had ever told her he wanted to go in his life time, - and he never requested anything else in his life, really, she should take him while he still has the chance. "He isn't getting any better than he is now," she told me before she left. "Anything happens to him, at least he has seen what he had wanted to for the past 60 years of his life." My sister, a doctor, decided to tag along, which made me feel a bit better. They left last Saturday. I felt OK. I was happy for dad.

I went back to the empty house on Tuesday to feed the koi in the front yard pond and water mom's garden. I found a note left on the kitchen counter. It wasn't even a letter or a message. Mom had left bro and me where to find the documents of her bank accounts and insurance and everything that might be required in case...

In case...

I stood by the pond and fed the fish. Looking at their eager mouths on the surface of the water, I started feeling like running, like I couldn't stay there still. Like I had to be doing something productive. Something meaningful. Something worthy. Anything. Anything that would magically make dad be safe in the Egyptian desert of sand and heat. In a place without me being fucking there to render my shoulder for him as he walked limping.

Sometimes, it takes being away from your beloveds to realize the value of having an ordinary everyday, even if that ordinary everyday is something you gave so much up for in the first place to have. And it scares you shitless when the beloveds leave you right where you are and go out of your reach. Because that's when you realize the impact that will be dropped on you if you lose that ordinary everyday that you take for granted.

And today, I feel like I have regained at least a part of sense of my self that I thought I had lost.

By the way, sis brought back a chart for the Hieroglyphic alphabet, which I found very intriguing.

Until next time,


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Greeting from Britania

And, another one from London arrives today! Quite a lovely picture of the bridge, really.

(K seems to have a night-view fetish when it comes to postcards. I will confirm with him on that.)

By the way, it so happens that I plan on visiting the UK next year; a few days in London, and hopefully more days in the country side of the kingdom from which a lot of my beloved literature works come.

Until next time,


p.s. Yet another very special thanks to K who has made my day again.