Posts Tagged 'Life in Japan'

In March, I…

What a month it was.

It felt and still feels like it was a time out of time. Does it make sense ?

It went by so fast, and at the same time it felt like slow motion.

I don’t remember the beginning of the month, but have very clear memories from the 11th. I had just entered our apartment, went to wash my hands and started to feel dizzy. I went to drink a glass of water and still felt dizzy. Then I looked up and saw the ceiling lamp swaying gently. After a quick check, every single hanging thing was swaying. It was so very strange. I sat down and thought for a minute that it was over, but as I checked the ceiling, the lamp was still moving. More than 2 minutes had passed.

I used to live in a region with very frequent earthquakes. A few a week. Then we moved to Kyoto where I only felt 3 of them in 2 years. Usually, your common earthquake starts strong, lasts for 20, 30 seconds, sometimes just a bit more, and then stops. This one was so incredibly long. It felt more like an underground wave than an earthquake.

When it finally stopped, I knew something big must have happened because such a slow shaking over a few minutes couldn’t be a good sign. I switched the TV on to discover that every single channel was in alert mode, the tsunami alert having already been issued and the whole coastline being at risk. I stayed like that, a bit awestuck until the evening, as I watched the tragedy unfold in front of my eyes in the safety of my living room. Mails were sent, lots of them. Then mails started to come, the phone started to ring.

G. got back home in the evening, having felt the quake, but without knowing exactly what had happened. And we stayed there, stuck to the TV, for 2 days straight, trying to process the images on the screen.

That was the beginning of March in my memory.

So, a whole lot happened in March, among which

  • Friends came to live with us for a while
  • Family came to live with us for a while
  • I cooked and cooked, and cooked some more
  • I cried a lot at other people’s loss and misfortune
  • I got angry a lot at how the crisis was sometimes handled
  • I cried some more
  • I prayed a lot, asked dear friends and family to send good thoughts for the people in Tohoku
  • I was amazed and comforted by people’s good heart
  • I prepared an emergency bag. The one we have been talking about for years, and never quite got around packing.
  • I listened to a lot of French pop.
  • I caught a nasty cold just after our friends left.

But most of all, I think March got me grateful. Grateful for friends and family, for a roof above my head, a warm bed at night, a job, and drinkable tap water. Grateful also for the amazing amount of love we’ve felt. And curiously maybe, March also got me hopeful. The immediate response from people all over the world, the burst of kindness and generosity, all these reminded me of the sheer amount of good there is in the world.

We’ve just started to settle back in a more “normal” daily life. April is here, marking the beginning of the fiscal and school year. Cherry trees are in bloom. My heart is quite full and I feel…a bit restless. I suspect a lot of reorganizing and making is going to take place in April. For now, I just want to take my camera out and keep on recording this beautiful season.

(Edit: just as I was writing this post, the apartment started to shake. It turns out another big earthquake just hit Fukushima. All is fine here in Kyoto, but  my thoughts go to all the evacuees and the people in the northern regions.)

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September beginnings

———————————- little jizo statue on Mount Koya

Even though the weather is still desperately summer-y here, heat and humidity at their peak, my mind wonders towards the fall, school supplies, frisky evenings and preparing for the last part of the year.

I love this feeling I get at the end of the summer that a new beginning is awaiting. I love the feeling of anticipation and preparation to something new, to a new season and a new time. Like a clean slate. I guess it is somehow linked to the habits inherited from school years, and even though September doesn’t mean back to school anymore (!), it still has a strong taste of renewal.
I can’t wait for the scorching heat to give way to fresh mornings and evenings. I can’t wait to take the thicker blankets out for the night. I can’t wait for hot teas in the afternoon and the colors changing to deep autumn shades.

I can’t wait !

In the process of moving and settling : Kyoto

After spending a good part of last year helping my parents move from a house in the countryside to an apartment in the suburbs, I swore to myself (and the people passing by) that I would not touch another box, tape roll or any packing related item for at least the next decade.

All that swearing (in both sense, I’m afraid !) must have been heard by someone with a weird sense of humor, because after just a few months back home, I had to move again !

But stop the complaining, it’s a nice destination indeed : after six years in the Tokyo area, I’m heading to Kyoto, ancient capital of Japan and major cultural center. This is all job-related, not mine though, but the Boyfriend’s one.

I guess a new chapter of my life in Japan is just beginning ! As always with the beginnings, it feels both exciting and a bit scary… I can’t wait to walk around the city and rediscovering it ! So many shrines and temples, so many beautiful sceneries ! I came three or four times, but there’s so much to see, so many places to roam, that I always left with the urge of coming back again. Well, a lot of walking around is awaiting !

To really start settling, I first have to get rid of the empty boxes that seem to have invaded every single inch of the floor ! I’m on my way !

Here’s my new neighborhood around 7:00am !

Cherry blossoms in the rain

Cherry blossoms and rainy days seem to go well together.

Something about the poetic atmosphere of it, I don’t know…!

rainycherry1

You can see more of them here.

rainycherry2

Beautiful japanese spring

sakura1

sakura3

sakura4

Spring has arrived !

Cherry trees are near full bloom, making any place they grow on such a magical one.

I thought I’d go for a picnic under these pink skies, but the rain came, soaking the frail petals and the ground. So, an indoor week end it was, very soft and pleasant too, with just the thought of the cherry trees magic !

The pictures are from a couple of years back (and are scans of non-digital photos, so the image is not the clearest one, but…hope you can still enjoy it :))

Soon under the cherry blossom

A very hectic month just came to an end, giving me actual time to sleep and to find my way back to this poor lonely blog, started and so soon neglected. I am back though, with the very clear realization that blogging needs some organization ! This is actually one of the reason I started it (to try and get more organized in my crafting life), so I guess I’m already learning !

A hectic month It was, but very satisfying too. I got to hold an intensive class with students from different countries, great experience !

This didn’t let a lot of room for full blown crafting, but while longing for the soon-to-come cherry blossom season on some rainy days, I did these :

cherry blossom stamping

cherry blossoms stamps 2

An eraser stamp, some color pads, just a hint of China ink !

The carving part was really fun, so was the color making.

Because I used a gray paper as a background, I used a layer of white ink beneath the lighter pink color, so that It didn’t completely disappear in the gray color behind. It also allowed the gradation to be a bit more visible.

I’ll be back soon with some book reviews I’ve been longing to write. I got two beading books lately, for my birthday, and the two are so packed full with inspiration that I have to talk about them !

See you !


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