Monday, August 21, 2017

Summer holidays

It's already ten days to September. (Time flies! )
I hope you all are enjoying your summer.

Here, school summer holidays are from around July 20 to August 31,
and most of the companies have Obon holidays from around Aug.13 to 18 
(just about a week, by adding weekend holidays on it). 

So some people have gone back to work already, 
and school boys and girls are busy finishing their homework 
for the summer holidays now (the last stage for it!).

*Obon (or just Bon) is the time when we commemorate our ancestors.
During this period, people go back to their hometown, visit their graves 
and spend some days with their families.

During the summer, we have lots of summer festivals
such as Tanabata (the star festival), Hanabi (fireworks), Bon Odori (dance), Yosakoi
and various kinds of Matsuri, traditionally-held festivals involve Shinto shrine
which are different according to the region.

Bon Odori(up), Firework(down left), and the Star Festival decoration.

Normally, the weather during Obon season is hot and humid, 
with glittering sunshine and cicadas buzzing.
I somewhat like that atmosphere because I feel "alive".

However, it was quite different this August.
Soon after my previous post, we had continuous rainy days until today.
I gave up visiting some events, most of which were held at night, 
because of the sudden rain showers in the evening through the night.

Just one sunny day, I enjoyed "summer", browsing the town 
with old rows of houses (Koedo-Kawagoe) and visiting the shrine. 

You can enjoy more photos at this site.

When I visited the shrine, there were many couples.
This shrine is an Enmusubi-shrine, 
which comes from enshrined deities (five gods):
two Gods are couples and one God is their son.
"En" meaning "meeting" "fate" and "musubi" meaning "tie".

You see many Fuurin (wind bells) in the photos.
These are Enmusubi-fuurin. 
Couples write their wishes on the strip of paper 
and tie it under the wind bells.

The note on the shrine's website says:
it is said that ancient Japanese people used to say that
the wind brings "Omoi"; its literal meaning is thoughts, 
but "pray" is more suitable, I suppose :). 

They also hold wedding ceremonies.  
You can enjoy one of the traditional weddings here,

I love the words En and Musubi. 
The original meaning of "En" and "Musubi" are deeper 
than just "meeting" "fate" and "tie".
So I would like to write about it next time (as it will be long).
Please just enjoy "Musubi" here:) (sorry this site is only Japanese).

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Like lotus flowers

The lotus flowers are in full bloom now.
As you know, they grow out of dirty mud 
and bloom so purely and beautifully on the surface. 
That’s why lotus flowers are known 
as symbols of spiritual enlightenment in various countries. 

Yet, I suppose lotus flowers never need to contemplate suffering
or enlightenment as they grow. 
We human beings can regard the mud 
as suffering and obstacles to overcome in life, 
which make our hearts grow stronger!  

I’d had the idea that there is a long journey to becoming a lotus flower, 
but lately, I have developed a different view... 
There is beauty in the process!

People who shine brightly show smiles, 
even if they are surrounded by difficulty.  
It seems to me that they never regard their difficulties as mud.
They face reality and do their best. 
They seem like lotus flowers already!
I admit it is true that the mud (suffering) makes them grow stronger.

Well, I've learned from lotus flowers 
and people who shine brightly that
we have the ability within ourselves to blossom in a single minute; 
whether we can blossom or not depends on how we view our situation.

So here's another beautiful moment! I'll enjoy it.

I hope you enjoy your shining moments too:)


Monday, June 26, 2017

To value the sense of season

It's the rainy season in Japan now. 
Usually, we have lots of rain and the air is awfully hot and humid.
However, there has been less rain than usual so far.
Hydrangeas need much more rain, it seems.
Well...I haven't seen snails nor frogs yet...

We used to live in harmonious rhythm with the four seasons,
but I have to admit that the balance has been disrupted due to global warming.

At such a time as this, I would like to intentionally value the sense of season.
During the summer solitude, many people rearrange the rooms, 
change clothes in their wardrobes, adjust bedding or tableware,
and eat seasonal vegetables, to keep cool. 

As for seasonal vegetables, 
lots of shiso leaves (one of the Japanese herbs) 
are growing in my tiny garden.

The simplest dish for shiso leaves is to use them
as a seasoning or garnish for cold somen noodles and soba.  
(There are no photos for cold somen noodles and soba for now, 
but I'll update this when I take them later). 
The fragrance of shiso leaves is so refreshing.

Many summer events are coming one after another, 
such as Matsuri, which is an event held in gratitude towards nature.
I'm hoping to introduce some of these interesting events in the near future.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The sun is always there.

The sun is always present.
It is just the clouds that hide the sun.

The trees have begun to unfold their leaves towards the sun.

So have the flowers.  
The flowers in our tiny garden have just started to unfold their petals 
and are showing us their lovely smiles :)

Our soul, our true self, is like the sun, it seems.
It is shining and smiling deep inside our heart, always and forever.

I remember that whenever I visited Val's former blog,
the photos on her blog appealed to me.
I could sense the sunlight from her photos, 
which was filtered through her eyes, her true self.

Happy belated birthday, Val:)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Have I mentioned I was a fan of Harry Potter?
That I am fond of all things fantastic?

Recently I saw the movie derived from 'Fantastic beasts and Where to Find Them'. It rekindled my love for all things Harry potter/J.K. Rowling.

I love the way this author uses magical metaphors to paint the miseries and grandeur of the mind.

The Obscurus struck me as one more powerful image of what goes on in our poor, tormented souls, sometimes. This parasite grows from the suppressed/repressed magical forces of a witch or wizard.
The unfortunate sorcerer, for whatever reasons fate or foolishness or simply Life imposed on him/her, tries to cancel what is in him/her.Thus creating a huge, dark force that he/she can't control.

Such is the way our mind works, it seems to me. The worries and fears we have, we try to suppress. When we do that, we can't cancel what triggers pain or fear, but we do create another power. We generate more fear, more worry, more stress.

I think I did that over the past months. Somehow. Hiding worries. Frustration. Anger. Sadness. Pretending. And developping what never existing inside me before...

What if...this suspicion of illness became really serious? What if I died? What if I started feeling really old? What if I stopped achieving anything good in my life?  What if there was no going back? What if I kept worrying like crazy? What if I kept postponing all the good things? What if I was really alone? What if I felt more and more listless and hopeless? What if it was too late? What if something bad really happened to the ones I love?

Did I become an obscurial? Not quite! :) But I developped bad things. Bad thoughts. Bad habits.

I started procrastinating. I got tired. Depleted. Nervous. I started watching stupid YouTube channels, just to ease my mind and be able to move on to the next day. I started blaming myself for too many things. Imagining worst-case scenarios. Worse than all, I started losing hope. And this all means the opposite of who I am.

These things form a vicious circle from which you suddenly realize you can't escape. From which feeling upset and frustrated becomes the rule. From which chronic pain and exhaustion get hold of you way too often.

But either you become an obscurial, or something clicks in your brain and you realize you're not on the right path anymore. And you change. Again.

I was born in spring. And spring has always been my favourite season. For me it is an eye-opener. A time when the senses awaken. When energy flows fast and merrily.

I have realized what things were missing in my life at the moment. What I needed to do to make things better. Well, kind of...That I needed to really take care of myself. Because noone will do that better than me. Because I too deserve to be pampered and taken care of. Because everything is possible, as soon as you believe again. Because it starts with baby steps. One dream at a time.

Because no kid on earth wants an exhausted, sad mom. Right?

And also because after all, you get what you focus on.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Year 2017

Hello 2017. 
I hope your new year is off to a good start :)

Last year, I started practicing 書道 Japanese calligraphy.
So I wrote 四字熟語 Yojijyukugo, a "four kanji character idiom" message, 
with 墨 (ink) and 筆 (brush) in my New Year's card for 2017.
The left one of the above picture is my New Year's card.
笑門来福 "Shou-mon-rai-fuku" means "Your smile calls the fortune."

I also wrote Yojijyukugo 
which describes the state of mind I want to hold onto this year;
it's sort of my new year resolution :)

The upper right of the picture 森羅万象 "Shin-ra-ban-shou" is
 all of creation, all things existing in the universe.
And the lower right 明鏡止水"Mei-kyou-shi-sui" means 
state of clear mind like a mirror without any blemish on it surface, 
and it's also like a calm still water surface that reflects the viewer's mind.
I am a part of the Universe.
This consciousness brings me a serene state of mind with perfect freedom.

I wish you all happiness.
May all your New Year's resolutions come true:)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

"Arigato" and "kansha"

"Arigatou" is one of my favorite words.  We say "arigatou" to express our feelings of "kansha"(gratitude).

When I say "arigato", nothing is in my mind, but I feel warmth in my heart, thinking of someone or something who has touched my heart. I am so sure that everyone says "arigatou" with a SMILE.

What I'd like to share with you today is the original meanings of kansha and arigato in kanij, which touched my heart when I learned about them.

Kansha consists of two Kanji CHARACTERS; KAN and SHA, as you can see below.
First, let me explain the meaning  of each one.

Kan means to be moved, or to feel.  
Kokoro is "heart".

Sha is to express thanks, or to apologize.
Iu means to tell, say or express.
Iru means shoot.

Arigatou has two kanji characters: aru and nan.
Aru means to exist and nan means to be difficult.
So, Arigato's ordinal meaning is that it is difficult to exist or it is rare and precious to exist.

What touched me? is difficult for me to explain in English, but if I try, these original meanings gave me the following sense: 
Living in this world in this moment is rare and incredibly precious. We are not alone in this world. We are connected to everything around us; family, friends, society, world, nature, universe.  We are alive with gratitude to everything around us.

I also find this saying "arigato" to be a beautiful cycle of energy.
We are moved by someone or something, and express our thanks or send them our gratitude. This is never one way. When you say arigato with a smile, the energy of your smile reaches someone else and will be returned to you someday.

Thank you so much for reading my writing today. Arigato:)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pure and simple

First, I would like to apologize for having been silent for a long time. 
Yet, I have kept feeling this blog was a treasure. 

The purpose of this blog, as set at the beginning, was focusing on to beauty and peace and sharing them across national borders.  I am still so sure that it will bind us all together and also, give us hope to change this complicated world to be beautiful and peaceful. 
Today, for the first time after a long silence, I’d like to share two videos. 
With lots of love to you all:)

I think we all have the sacred place deep inside our hearts, searching for beauty, peace, and love. So I'm back too, to restart sharing some with you. I am so grateful to Val for allowing me to do that.

The older I get, the more I learn from pure and simple things. I'm always told that we sometimes put too many unnecessary thoughts in our minds. Once we get rid of them and become more pure and simple, we'd be able to recognize a lot of beauties and peace.

*Hug Time

*The Charlie And The Seal:

As for my writing, 
I sometimes use unnatural expressions or uncommon words...
Could you please let me know when you find any?


Friday, October 7, 2016

We're never there, are we?

Before sharing my readings, my musings, my craftings...I'd like to share a video I stumbled upon a few months ago, and that has deeply shaken me.
Mainly the video explains things I knew already, a different way, and I had a kind of epiphany. I realized most of the time, in spite my intellectual understanding and awareness, I still am not there. I always am somewhere else in my mind.
My mind, like most of us, is a wild horse, taking me to another place where truly I should there.
Yes, I know life is short. Life is precious. We all say that, don't we?
I know, I know...but hell, I mustn't know much, to keep moving forward in my mind.
In the video, we hear a brilliant mind, Alan Watts. I heard so many of his talks, but this one brought me back to my centre and my essentials. It is beautiful. It is true. I daresay it is useful.

Alan Watts - Life is a dance, not a journey

I am a project girl. I live for hope and strive for improvement.  But that shouldn't stop me from enjoying the dance. Yet, I believe I have so many times thought about the ending.
I have so often seen my life as a journey. Not as a dance.
In our society, I feel most of us are in a mad rush. We are rushing our kids in this mad race.
In my civil life, I am...a teacher. I know see so many young people. Great, funny, ambitious, bright. But I see so many focused on their future career, their grades, their successes. Some of them told me they hadn't really considered what they liked, they had only considered what they should do, what was the likeliest path to success. Many told me money was necessary for them to be happy.
I am a mom and my eldest has entered junior high...and I see the mad rush there too. So many parents doing their best so that their kids... are the best.
We take our kids to leisure activities that have become a source of medals and certificates (not that I am against them, but are they the ultimate goal?).
But...are we there? Are we there to cuddle and kiss, breathe the fresh air, enjoy this morning sunset when we set off to work?
Are we there to taste this meal we're eating? Do we really feel this coffee we're drinking?
Do we have time left, in our lives and in our minds, to enjoy the security of this roof over our heads?
Worse, are we there to listen to our kids, I mean, really?
Our lives are short, but don't we shorten them by getting lost in a maze of thoughts and prospects?
Don't we miss out way too much?

Since school year started (beginning of september in France), I've made a point to stop hurrying. I've been determined to be slower. I've found that I am still on time at appointments, that people seem to smile back more often, that my body unwinds in a much needed way, that I don't get angry so much. That I am more present and that it feels good. That I realize even more how much is missed out and what mad pressure we undergo in our modern busy active lives.
I find I do enjoy the dance. And I'm done with the journey.

Lots of love to you all,

Monday, September 26, 2016

We never stop growing up, do we?

As this blog is now a place I come to to share, look for and shed light, I'll share my thoughts today.
I've just read this post by Kelle Hampton:
The middle place
It has struck me recently how much I have changed. Maybe not as much physically as mentally. I've had hopes and illusions to throw away, I've had a new skin to grow, I've had deaths to accept... I have changed, and maybe I am a puzzle now of all the 'me' I've been. I feel our minds never stop expanding then shrinking then expanding again, depending on the events we live, the place we are in, the people we meet or live with, the destiny that befalls us. What's the point of growing up though, if it is not to evolve and try to be a better person. Better for oneself and better for others.
Right now, I am in that middle place. My babies have grown, and I feel just the same as Kelle.
How amazing isn't it, that no matter whether we are French, American, Japanese, Chinese etc etc,  we are so alike and so diverse.
Kelle has things in her life that I don't have. I have things she doesn't, probably. We don't have the same life at all. She doesn't know me. I've never met her. She shares openly so much about her life. I don't. We are so different. And yet, so alike. And I feel my heart echoes with the same tender vibrating notes as hers.
I feel the babyhood slowly and steadily receding (clothes are being passed on to younger ones, conversations become philosophical, and hey, worries appear and evolve too). I feel it is demanding sometimes to face a life where, for my part, parents are not here anymore, and babies turn into young kids...this is all so harsh and yet so beautiful. It is an amazing thing to watch your kids bloom into little individuals who want to explore the world and understand it all! It is difficult, sometimes, to be the grown-up, to be the first on the battle line. Yet I wouldn't stop for a second being this mom pursued by her kids from the break of dawn to far after nightfall. With or without the 'helping hand' of the grown-ups before me. As Kelle says, let it last, let it last, let it last!