Monthly Archives: June 2006

Encounter

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     I join a SNS called mixi, which is the biggest among SNS in Japan. The other day, I wrote about Peruvian cuisines in Japanese there as well. Then one man contacted me and asked me to introduce the Peruvian friend to him.

     According to him, a friend of his is an artist and crates objects by iron. The iron artist copies works of art of a Bolivian artist and he would like to collaborate with the Bolivian artist in an exhibition which is supposed to be held in Tokyo this fall. But the Bolivian artist speaks only Spanish, and the Japanese iron artist speaks only Japanese. They cannot contact by themselves. That’s why the man who contacted me thinks that he and his iron artist can be touch with the Bolivian artist through my Peruvian friend.

     That’s interesting! The man who contacted me and I had never met before. But we’d kept in touch with each other without knowing each name since we happened to meet in mixi, the SNS on the cyber world.

     Actually, I know the Bolivian artist. He is a friend of mine! I can contact him. But I asked my Peruvian friend to help me with their collaboration because I cannot speak Spanish well.

     The man who had met me in mixi invited me when he visited the iron artist’s studio. So I met him in person last Saturday at last. I met him at a restaurant in Nagakute. Then he introduced me his wife and friends there. I enjoyed myself talking with an Italian lady, an American lady, two Japanese ladies and two Japanese men, having delicious cheese cake and coffee there. I didn’t feel that was my first time to meet them. In the restaurant kitchen, two Japanese ladies and the American lady baked two big apple pies to bring them to the iron artist.

     Then all of us except for the Italian lady and one of Japanese men headed for the iron artist’s studio. The studio was ancient Japanese house built about 450 years ago. There were many objects made from iron here and there. The artist makes ceramics, too. So there were many ceramics in the studio as well. (I found some funny things invented by the iron artist there, too.)

     His iron works of art look warm. It’s because of his skill and his character, I think. I had a really good time there seeing wonderful art, having delicious apple pie with special water made by the iron artist, chatting with wonderful people, who I met first that day. Human network is really interesting.

The iron artist’s website is here. 
http://www.geocities.jp/enjoy02jp/index.html

The Bolivian artist’s website is here.
http://hem.bredband.net/mamani_mamani/index.html

Peruvian cuisine

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     In Wednesday night, I visited a friend of mine to learn some Peruvian cuisines. This time what we cooked were chicken rice called arroz con pollo in Spanish and a kind of potato salad called papas a la Huancaína.

     Yes, the friend comes from Peru. She lives with her husband and two sons near my apartment. I just had greeted her when I had met her in the neighborhood until I took her class last fall. She had an interesting course entitled Peru in 3 Days at a university last September and she introduced Peruvian culture there for 3 days, I was in the classroom at that time. Since then she and I have kept in touch.

     Her husband speaks only Spanish. I’ve learned Spanish since last September, but I haven’t been able to speak it well yet. So I just introduced myself in Spanish to him. On the other hand, her two sons speak Japanese fluently, and maybe they can speak Japanese better than Spanish because they were born here in Japan.

     Because I have no kids, I don’t know what snacks or sweets are popular among children now. So I asked a friend of mine, who has a niece and a nephew who are as same age as the Peruvian children what to buy for them. Before I visited the Peruvian friend’s home, I dropped by a grocery store with her and got some sweets.

     Those sweets caught on with the children very much! One is a candy which looks like a set of color pens. And another one is jelly, but it’s not usual jelly. In the package, there’re one cup with the lid, two bags of powder and a spoon. Pour water in the cup and add blue color powder. Stir it well by the spoon. And add the other white color powder written magic powder into it and cap the cup. Then shake it 20times! Oh! You’ll see the liquid color changes from blue to pink! After shaking, leave it still. One minute later you’ll find the liquid has become jelly!

     Anyway, I learned two Peruvian cuisines. I’ll write here those recipes.

 

Arroz con pollo

 

Ingredients (Serves:4)

350g chiken drumsticks

500g rice

500cc water and spinach juice (make juice from100g spinach leaves with a blender)

1/4 cup peas

1/4 cup corns

1 small carrot, diced

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

1 cube chicken soup stock

1/2 tablespoon grated garlic

5 tablespoons oil

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Cumin, pepper, and salt to taste

Red bell pepper strips, if desired

 

Method

1.      Wash rice, then drain.

2.      Heat oil in a pot and add chicken. Fry until browned all over.

3.      Remove chicken, add onion, garlic, pepper, cumin, turmeric into the pot and stir.

4.      Add carrot, peas and corn there.

5.      Return chicken to the pan, and add spinach juice, water and a soup stock cube there. Cook until chicken is tender. Remove chicken again.

6.      Boil rice with the soup.

7.      Serve hot, garnished with chicken and red bell pepper.

 

 

Papas a la Huancaína

 

Ingredients (Serves:4)

600g potatoes

1 egg

4 black olives

4 leaves of lettuce

 

Ingredients for sauce

80g melt cheese

1 tablespoon ahi amallio (yellow hot pepper)

6 pieces crackers

150ml milk

3 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon grated garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

1.  Boil potatoes and eggs. After cool, peel and slice them.

2.  Mix all of the ingredients for sauce by a blender.

3.  Add milk if the sauce is thick, and add crackers if the sauce is thin.

4.  Put potatoes on lettuce. Pour sauce over potatoes. Garnish with egg and olive.

 

  

     When I left, her sons called me, “When will you come next?” Of course, their aim is not to see me, is to get sweets and snacks from me!

Noh in Atsuta

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     Last Sunday I went to see Noh with some of my friends to Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya. There’s a Noh theater in the shirne.

     Noh is one of classical Japanese performance forms which combine elements of dance, drama, music and poetry into one highly aesthetic stage art. It’s mainly performed by men, and the men act women roles. It’s originally one of folksy performances, which is called Saru-gaku, derived from ancient China. During the 14th and 15th centuries it developed into its present form by playwrites Kannami and his son Zeami.

     There’re five categories in Noh plays. They’re gods, warriors, beautiful women, demons, and mad-women ( and others.)

     This time what I saw was one of demons’ stories named Mt. Ohe.

     A warrior Yorimitsu Minamoto in mountain priest costume goes to the residence of a demon called Shuten- doji, which lives in Mt, Ohe, with other strong warriors in obedience to Imperial command. The demon believes that they are real mountain priests and invites them to his house. The demon cannot eat them because it has promised not to eat priests to Kammu Emperor before. While the demon drinks itself blind, the worries kill it and return in triumph with its head. http://www.nohbutai.com/contents/05/01a/5oeyama.htm

     The performance was active and chorus called jiutai and the music were energetic, I enjoyed myself seeing the Noh performance. Yet I blanked out a little moment….

The Truman Show

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     Now in my class, I’m studying psychology with a movie entitled The Truman Show. The movie was released in 1998, 8 years ago from now. Jim Carry played the leading role, Truman.

     Truman has lived happily and peacefully for 30 years in an island named Sea Heaven. But his commonplace daily life is a fake…He was born from a mother who hadn’t wanted a baby, and was adopted by a TV company. Since the very time when he came into being this world was on air, his whole life has observed by many people all over the world.

     His parents are actors, his co-workers are actors, his wife is an actress and even his best friend is an actor. All of the people around him are actors. The real is only Truman himself. He has lived in a huge studio with hidden cameras everywhere, and his life has been on air for 24 hours by those cameras on the most popular TV program.

     Only Truman doesn’t know anything about the Show. He has never suspected of his own life. But he starts to be suspicious of his ordinary daily life one day…

     If this story was real, it would be very scary. All of the things that you had believed could disappear. Most people could become crazy.

     This movie is not only strong sarcasm for capitalism; mass media, mass production and mass consumption, but also making some issues psychologically or sociologically. What it the truth?

     In psychological view, I can read the relationship between parents and adolescent kids into the film. It’s normal that parents try to protect their kids from danger and wish them lead peaceful lives. But sometimes some parents love their kids too much to let them free. They try to control their kids’ lives. They give their kids anything they believe good for them. But if their kids want to do something they dislike, they will throw cold water on them and take them by force.

     In this movie, Cristof, the TV producer looks like a father and Truman looks like his son at puberty. I’ve heard that mothers can love their kids for nothing, but fathers cannot love their kids who disobey. I see that Cristof loves Truman from his behavior. Christof has watched Truman not only as a TV producer but also as his father. That’s why Cristof tries to even kill Truman when he sees his son’s provocative attitude, I think.

     When I think about that, I recall an episode of Genesis in the Bible. God made a complete peaceful area named the Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve. God controlled them. But one day God banished them because they had disobeyed his command…

     And I think about another thing. In the film, all of the people are actors except for Truman. At a first glance, only Truman looks pitiful, but I think that other main characters are also pitiful because they don’t have own lives. Meryl, the actress who is Truman’s wife has to live together with him without love. She cannot go home where her real family lives. So do other actors!

     But are they really pitiful? I think most people in the universe act someone everyday. For example, one woman has many personas; a wife, a mother, a daughter, a worker, a neighbor and so on. I think most people change masks in the situations. It’s normal. Meryl had acted, but she had lived her own life as well as Meryl. It’s the same as our real life!

     I myself think that I control my own life, but all things around me are already controlled, for example, information. Is all of the news I heard correct? I myself may be Truman, and also be Meryl.

Kabuto Beer

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     There’s a historical building made by red brick in Handa City. It is very popular as a red brick building among the citizen. The building was build as a brewery of Kabuto Beer in Meiji era, and during the World War II it was used as a depository of Nakajima Air Plane Factory. That’s why it has many holes by bombing on the brick wall.

     The building is usually closed, but Handa City opens it several times a year and has some events there. With the latest open days were last weekend, I went to have beer there last Saturday. Because the building was originally a brewery, they sell the remake of Kabuto Beer in events. Kabuto Beer is black beer. I enjoyed the taste and creamy foam in the morning!

     I strolled along the old street called Kon-ya Kaido for sobering myself up. It was a beautiful day and the wind was breezing gently. I slightly drunk and felt happy, taking a walk. There are some old houses and stores in the old street. I found a rice crisps shop at the corner. A lady with beautiful silver hair was baking rice crisps by hand. She was very nice and kind. I got some rice crisps there. I’m going to send some of them and Kabuto Beer to my father in-law on Father’s day. Anyway it was a nice holiday.