2011年1月26日(水)に、丸の内カフェ(千代田区丸の内3-3-1 新東京ビルジング1F)で旅と英会話スキルのセミナー”「私だけの旅」をつくる簡単英会話”の講師を勤めさせていただきました♪受講者の皆さんが、ノリノリで発音練習を一緒にやってくださったので、嬉しかったです。




December 31, 2008

Year of the Ox

The symbol animal of year 2009 is OX. Pastelaria Gojo in Tokyo's Ichigaya district has offered annual special sweets based on the Oriental Zodiac. And the newest version is "Ox Cakes."

The cheese cake-based sweets are too cute to eat... But I couldn't help but eating them up...NO, I just ate one of them!

"The Year of the Rat" might be the good one for many people on the earth. But for me, the year 2008 was just great! I had such a wonderful time with my family, friends whom I know for years, and new friends I just met this year.

Thank you for the year 2008 and Hello to the year 2009!

I'm looking forward to making good memories in the coming year.

December 25, 2008

Heart Warming Christmas Eve

Santa Claus has not visited my place for decades, but I still believe that something sweet will happen on me if I am a good girl. So, even on the night of Christmas Eve, I worked hard until late as usual.

When I got home, I recognized that I have received packages. One was a box and the other one was a big envelope.

I opened the box first. It was from Marlo in Southern California. And in the box...there are boxful of penguins! My favorite ones!!

"The kids tried to find anything like penguins in their toy collection and whenever we went out to send to you. They remembered that you loved penguins, so now you have many more to add to your collection! We hope you like them."

Trinity and Jett found them for me! How sweet they are!!

While holding the penguinful box, I couldn't help but warming the cookies of my heart.

Isn't it nice to have somebody who remember me overseas?

I also opened the other parcel. There was a book, "Dewey" (by Vicki Mayson) and a Christmas card from Mary in Medford, Oregon. She wrote a lot for me with her heart-warming words.

Finally, tears came from my eyes.

Thank you my friends! I always love you and miss you!!

I believe Santa Claus came to deliver those parcels for me, while I was gone for work...

So...let me say..."Thank you, too, Mr. Santa Claus!"

Besides there presents, I have enjoyed such a wonderful Christmas season this year.

Dec. 20 -- Christmas Dinner at Ritsuko's House: I made Roasted Chiken and Chinese Pork for five good girls. Everybody loves my dishes. Ritsuko prepared salad with 'miracle' honey mustard dressing, which was innovated by accident.

Dec. 21 -- Christmas Dinner with Mika. We enjoyed Spanish food at El Camino Comedor in Kagurazaka, Tokyo.

Dec. 22 -- Breakfast with Mr. Santa Claus (winter-only! who came to Tokyo from Kyoto for work) in Roppongi, Tokyo. We had such a nice talk over the breakfast, as usual, and I had abdominal muscle-ache as we laugh too much. Thanks to him, I manged the busiest-day-of-the -week while keep smiling throughout the day.

Dec. 23 -- Christmas Dinner with a new friend. We have known each other for months via Internet but just found out we in the same area of Tokyo. I asked him for dinner as my favorite restaurant offers special Christmas menu on Dec. 23-24. As he runs a popular gourmet blog with hundreds viewers daily, I thought he must be an ideal person to go out with on the night... and I was right! It was such a nice dinner, something "VERY CHRISTMAS."

Hope everybody, my dearest friends and the people on this earth, be happy like me!

Happy Holidays!!!

December 10, 2008

Traveling Kyoto In Late Fall

Kyoto is one of the most popular and must-to-visit cities in Japan, according to many people and travel books. Of course I also visited there in my life, however I did not recognized the beauty of the old city when I went there as school activities.

We visited there to see historic sites, seeing wooden Buddhas, taking photos with friends and etc... It was not really fun, honestly to say, when I was a KID.

However, the real beauty of the city started talking to us all of a sudden. It might be a sign of telling us "OK! You're finally good/old enough to appreciate Kyoto." And time has come to me, too. After living in the U.S. for years, traveling Europe and Africa, I finally was able to have an ability to find the true value and importance of the city.

It was surely nothing else but boring to see the old wooden statues in a shabby temple when I was a teenager. But I can feel the power of people's thoughts and sorrow when they built the old temple and the Buddha statures to make their wishes for peace. The silence along with old wooden houses, which were totally unfamiliar with me who grown up in a big modern cosmopolitan, could even touches me... the nostalgia!

Why it happened? Maybe because I became older and cultural knowledge, which was formed in the U.S. and Europe, helped me to awake my DNA as a Japanese. Of course I always love skyscrapers in Tokyo as they I grown up with them. I also love red brick buildings and European churches and castles I dreamt of visiting for years.

BUT I now fell in love with wooden old temples, castles and statures built hundreds years ago, as well as the perfect matches with autumn leaves.

Here is my compromise. I did my painting in the garden of the Nanzenji Temple and the red brick building is a bridge with waterway built in 1890. Though the bridge is not really old, compared to the ones in Europe, it is one of the oldest western-style waterway bridge in this country. Besides, the colors of autumn leaves make perfect contrast and reflection on the red bricks!

I finished this painting in 35 minutes. Am I quick? Yes, of course! Because I WAS NOT ABLE TO STAY THERE ANY LONGER, because of the rapidly dropping temperature there. It was about 5 Celsius, or 40 in Fahrenheit; the coldest day of this year!

As soon as I folded my palette, I got out of the temple and ran back to the subway station nearby. Though the scenery was perfect, the autumn leaves in sunset, it was not the prefect season/timing for my painting. I became feverish by the time I am back to Tokyo and spent a whole day in a bed...dreaming of Kyoto.