Contents in 1990


no. dating title

1

1/18

- - -

New Year's Resolution

2

1/25

- - -

Superstition

3

2/15

- - -

Favorite Word

4

2/22

- - -

Earthquake

5

3/1

- - -

Live For Myself

6

3/8

- - -

Kamakura

7

3/22

- - -

Best Trip

8

4/5

- - -

Space

9

4/12

- - -

A Reader's Column

10

4/19

- - -

A Seasonal Changing Of Clothing

11

5/17

- - -

A Sudden Disease Of My Husband

12

5/24

- - -

Yokan

13

9/6

- - -

Trip To Izu Peninsula

14

9/27

- - -

A Cluster-Amaryllis

15

10/4

- - -

Aids In Soviet

16

11/15

- - -

Tataki Of Bonito

17

11/22

- - -

Themes In Mind

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January 18, 1990


New Year's Resolution


My theme of this year is "Simple life." But it has been my theme for many years. Anyway I want to live a simple life in the mental and material sense.

Nowadays there are so many attractive things around us that our small space is full of unnecessary things immediately. So is my house. So is my life. I want to get rid of a lot of junk, and to live with only favorite things around me.

On the other hand, I like books, china, music and so on. I need and want books, a big cupboard, and a set of audio system, tapes and other things like that. I have been in a dilemma between the two desires for long.

This story reminds me of an episode of Mark Twain. Once he said, "To stop smoking is very easy, because I tried it over twenty times." If I had succeeded in realizing a simple life, I wouldn't have picked up this theme.

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January 25, 1990


Superstition


When I was a child, my grandmother often said to us, "Don't lie down after meals, or you'll become a cow." "Don't whistle at night, or snakes will crawl out of the dark."

As I was not a well-behaved girl, I said why and I did what she forbade on purpose. By the way there are two kinds of superstitions in the world. One group consists of the rules of manners. And the other is based on scientific theory.

The former two examples belong to the group of manners.
An unlucky quarter in building the house is an example of the latter group. To place the kitchen in the southeastern corner is not good, because the high temperature damages food in Japan. All the superstitions are not unbelievable.

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February 15, 1990


Favorite Word


To tell the truth I don't have any special phrase I like best. In other words there are so many words, turms or phrases that I can't mention them all.

I like some of them because of their meanings, and some because of their sounds. For example I like the Japanese word "Akogare" meaning "longing", because its sound makes me nostalgic. I like the German word "Sehnsucht" which also means "longing." I like its original meaning, that is "Eagerness to see." But I don't like the English word of the similar meaning "Adoration" so much because of its sound.

By the way, three of my favorite phrases are, 'Nothing comes from nothing,' 'Let the matter take its own course,' and 'Every cloud has a silver lining.' It seems those phrases reveal my optimism.

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February 22, 1990


Earthquake


On Tuesday we had a big earthquake in the afternoon. It was the biggest one that I have ever experienced since I moved here. At that time I was making fruit cake in the kitchen.

Immediately I put out the gas. The building shook quite a lot and the clock and pictures on the wall swung for a short while. Nothing broke or fell. Whenever we have earthquakes recently, I remember that the electric current was often cut off owing to earthquakes when I was a child. The damage of the present is less than that of the past because of the technological progress. But on the other hand I am afraid of the reaction, so to speak, the revenge of nature.

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March 1, 1990


Live for Myself


To tell the truth I want to spend all my time in doing just what I want to do. But I am a wife, and a mother, too. Every day I have many things to do. I finish them as soon as possible, and after that I do what I like. But as I don't have so much time, it's difficult and painful to choose a few things and to cut down many things.

Recently I made up my mind to live a little bit more selfish. Because I have realized that the behavior and the way of thinking of mine had been considerably tied to public opinion or social convention. And I have come aware that it's my life, I have to live as actively as possible, and think as freely as possible.

I won't live for others, but I live for myself.

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March 8, 1990


Kamakura


They say Kamakura is a small Kyoto. In a sense it might be true. But I think Kamakura has a different character from Kyoto.

One reason is that samurai built our city. And the other reason is that it faces the sea.

By the way I'd like to recommend you the seashore walking from Koshigoe to Inamura-ga-saki. During the off season the seaside is deserted and clean. When I walked there with my husband last month at the first time, it made me feel as if my heart were purified. Around at four or five o'clock the reflection of the sinking sun tinged the water in beautiful orange. It was very attractive. At that time I felt happiness to live near the sea.

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March 22, 1990


Best Trip


The best trip I want to make is wandering in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. I don't like a package tour or a busy and exhausting trip.

At first you should decide the theme of your trip, and then choose a city or a place you visit. There your might perhaps get some impression. Something you would see or its impression could stimulate you to go to another place. Probably the question that you should have would let you decide the next trip. Or if you please, you can stay there as long as you want.

I'd like to stay one place for a certain period, and if possible in a boarding house. After living like a citizen for a while, I could make a swing-by like an artificial satellite to another city.

That's my best trip I want to make, and it is my dream.

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April 5, 1990


Space


For the last two months I attended the class for the citizen in the title "Outlooks on the universe in the past, in the present and in the future." It was very interesting.

The people in ancient times thought that they were in the center of the world. The people in the Middle Ages thought that the earth was the center in the universe. After Galileo the people began gradually thinking the world objectively.
It is so surprising, I think, that Galileo was a contemporary of Shakespeare. When Shakespeare was playing in the sea of words, Galileo was sailing the ocean of stars with his telescope for the first time.
Nowadays scientists are studying about the space and engineers are trying to fly to Mars and live there. Perhaps it's a wonderful thing to travel here and there in the space.

But to tell the truth it's a problem of great urgency. Because mankind has been making a terrible mistake that is trying to control the nature, and at last it has disordered the cycle of nature. Many scientists say that mankind can live on the earth only the next 80 years. We can call it the revenge of nature or a natural selection. I think the two mean the very same thing.

The other day I had an opportunity to listen to the man who is observing stars. While hearing about the history of a star, the coming comet and constellations, I felt my soul melt into the space and the death not worth fearing.
The two touching experiences have awakened my interest in astronomy. I am eager to visit the astronomical observatory again and spend the night in bathing the starlight.

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April 12, 1990


A Reader's Column


Mrs.Sasaki, one of readers, was bringing up two sons. Her elder son was a first-year student at junior high school. And the younger was a fourth grader.

She was so busy that she couldn't help her younger son with his homework. So she gave her elder son 500 yen and told him to help his brother.
In the evening, the younger son said, "I'm very happy to get the money. Because my brother gave me 300 yen and told me to do my homework by myself."

It's a very funny story. It was only Mrs.Sasaki, a mother, who lost something. At first she intended all the three to benefit. That is she was free from teaching, the elder son gained the money and the younger son did homework well. She was very sorry not to help the younger son, but he didn't seem to worry about it. The elder son was very clever. He got money without making efforts. At last only the mother made a fool of herself.

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April 19, 1990


A Seasonal Change of Clothing


In Japan, especially in the office and at school, workers and students change their uniforms according to the season. Usually from May to September they wear uniforms for summer, and in other months those for winter. We call this custom "Koromo-gae."

It is said that "Koromo-gae" goes back to the Heian period. At that time people changed cloths five times a year according to the old calendar.

But nowadays we change twice as I have said before. At home homemakers are busy in changing cloths in the drawers. As a matter of fact, "Koromo-gae" is an unreasonable custom, because the weather doesn't go along with the calendar, and people don't feel it in the same way. So "Koromo-gae" is gradually receding now.

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May 17, 1990


A Sudden Disease of My Husband


Last week I said that I had had nothing special during Golden Week. That's why my husband complained that he felt very tired and sluggish, and so he thought he must have had a cold.

After a few days he still had no appetite, and it was very unusual. He wouldn't have even his favorite food. In the morning of the next Monday he went to hospital to be examined, and in the afternoon the doctor called him and said, "You have an acute hepatitis, and you must enter the hospital tomorrow morning."

We were so surprised that we couldn't believe it at first. As we have heard that the hepatic disease is serious, he entered the hospital immediately. Every day he had various medical examinations.
Last Monday he got the result of the most important test. Fortunately it was good and that proved that his hepatitis is of the slightest kind, type A. The doctor said that the source of infection is virus in raw seafood. Enough nourishment and rest in bed are required now.

I think it is a good rest for him, who is one of middle managers and suffers from so much stress. At first he was very tired physically, but now he is terribly tired of lying in bed idly.

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May 24, 1990


Yokan


Today's topic is something particular to Japan, and my story is about yokan, a bar of sweetened and jellied bean paste.

This is a kind of sweet paste peculiar to Japan. Japanese people mainly have it with green tea. The ingredients are beans, sugar and agar; a kind of gelatin made from seaweed named tengusa (agar-agar). Its taste depends on the kind of beans, but sometimes chestnuts or sweet potatoes are used instead. Generally it looks like a chocolate- or green-colored bar and its size is just like a remote controller of a TV set, of course with no buttons. When we eat it, we cut it into several pieces. It tastes very good and matches green tea specially, I think.

Originally yokan is a Chinese dish, hot soup with liver-shaped mutton. It came to Japan with Zen-culture, and was changed by Japanese Buddhism. In short the material became botanical, avoiding fish and meat. In the Kamakura-Muromachi period it was a steamed dish made from azuki beans and flour, and used in tea ceremony.

The first maker of the paste-styled one was Surugaya Okamoto Zenemon in Kyoto in 1589 in Azuchi-Momoyama period.
I didn't know these things above so far. Though I intended to choose very typically Japanese thing, I happened to study the relation between China and Japan. It's very interesting.

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September 6, 1990


Trip to Izu Peninsula


Last week I went on a trip to Izu with three friends. We've been friends since our sons were in the grade school, and we became intimate more and more after their graduation. As we've been waiting to have a chance to make an overnight trip without kids, we were very happy and enjoyed so much.

In Shimoda, we stayed at a hotel in pure Japanese-style, Seiryu-so. And to our surprise our room is the one where the former President of USA, Mr. Carter, had lunch during his service. The dinner was extremely gorgeous and it was too much not to leave dishes unfinished.

The next day we got on a regular bus through Naka-izu to Shuzen-ji. On our way we visited beautiful waterfalls on foot at Kawazu-nanadaru and Zyoreno-taki, and walked through the old tunnel of Amagi. In this district they call a waterfall "taru" or "daru". I was very impressed with the scenery with mountains, rivers, and many waterfalls. We were so delighted, relaxed and satisfied with our holidays, that we decided to have another trip to farther place in the near future.

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September 27, 1990


A Cluster-Amaryllis


The other day I've heard the very interesting story from an old man, a Buddhist priest. It is about a superstition.

It is generally said that a cluster-amaryllis is ill omened. Some people call it a flower of death or of graves. When I was a child, I loved the flower so much and in fall I often picked up many to bring back home. At home my grandmother told me to throw them away because she took them for loathsome things. She believed that they might bring misfortune and she hated even to touch them.

But the priest told us the following story. That is: in olden times dead bodies were buried in the ground in Japan. There came hungry wild boars and they dug the graves and ate the flesh. So people planted many cluster-amaryllises around the graves, because their roots have alkaloid poison. So the boars could be driven away, and our ancestors could sleep in peace.

But those who didn't know this reason believed the flowers were ominous, because they were blooming around graves.

As you know now, cluster-amaryllis is not unlucky but very useful, though they have poison in the roots. And in spite of the poison, some people in Asia ate the starch made of their roots in the time of famine. As I've loved this flower since my childhood, I'm very happy and proud to know that.

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October 4, 1990


Aids in Soviet


This article is rather old, in July or August, but then I was very shocked by that news. In Soviet a researcher of epidemic study reported that Soviet mothers got Aids from babies.

She explained the reason. There are many infants who are infected with Aids. Some mothers breastfeed their babies, and the others don't. More than half mothers who breastfed their Aids-infected babies became infected themselves, while no mothers who didn't breastfeed their infected babies became infected. It's a terrible tragedy.

In the western countries, we know, mothers infect their infants before birth. So it's unavoidable to stop the infection except an abortion. But in Soviet and in Romania the conditions are quite different. There the sterilizing is inadequate, and the poor infants are infected through dirty syringes and needles by hospital staff. It's like developing countries.

Innocent infants and affectionately breastfeeding mothers are miserable, and besides it's a big world problem nowadays.

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November 15, 1990


Tataki of Bonito


Today I will introduce tataki of bonito. This is one of the most favorite menus in my family.

First prepare a few spindle-shaped pieces of fresh bonito cut for sashimi and an upper half Japanese radish. For a kind of marinade several green leeks called "banno negi", ginger, several perilla leaves, vinegar and lighter-colored soy sauce are necessary.

At first for the sauce, mix two parts soy sauce to three parts vinegar in the deep vessel. Add chopped green leek, ginger, perilla leaves and grated Japanese radish. Next salt the black part of bonito. Skewer the pieces and grill only the surface over an open fire.

Put them into the prepared marinade for about 3 hours. Before eating slice and pour the marinade.

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November 22, 1990


Themes in Mind


The author of Tensei-jingo says in his column that he had a composition lesson for several years with hundreds of people, who were men and women of various ages.

Every week he assigned a subject and students had to write compositions on the subject. While reading all these compositions he found out that there might be two types of having interests. Besides the types seemed to depend on their ages.

Roughly speaking, younger people have an interest in a new thing, and write various sentences from the new point of view every time. Older people, on the contrary, have one or two important themes in their minds. So their thinking and writings are always around their own themes, even though they are given a common subject.

For example, if the subject of this week is whose theme is "watch", and next week "letter", the man whose theme is "war" will write about the watch of a person killed in war, and about the letter from the battlefront.

And the author says the dividing line seemed to be the age of thirty-five, of course with exceptions.

This opinion is very interesting when I think of my sentences. When I was younger and I had to write something in certain theme, I was very afraid that I was inexperienced and didn't know much about the theme. So I managed to write something after some research and consideration even with some anxiety. But now I am a little confident that there are so many ways of thinking and my poor opinion might have some stimulation for others, and so I have made up my mind to say what I think in my own way.

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That's all in 1990.



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