Monthly Archives: December 2007

On and After Christmas

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      I was expecting a wonderful Christmas dinner…But it didn’t come to me at last…

     That was evening of 23 when I was feeling out of sorts. And then the gripes started in the early morning of 24. I had to stay some private room for a long time. I’ve had a terrible stomach problem since then…So my special dinner on Christmas was…a drip in the hospital…What a Christmas!

     On 26 there was a karaoke party in Nagakute. I was the organizer.

     That’s why I had to go to the place even if I was under the situation that guerrilla bands attacked me inside my body without a break. “Ahhhhhh! Give me a break!” I wished that day. 

     Fortunately guerrilla bands stopped fighting temporarily and I was able to join in the party.

     There were 16 participants at the party. Thank you for coming, mis amigos! I hadn’t expected that we had so many people in the end of the year. It was my first time to meet two of them. 

     What I was surprised was that all the participants were great performers!    I’m sure the all of us enjoyed ourselves at the party!

     I’ve already received many suggestions for next karaoke party!

     Maybe there will be more than 20 people at the party…maybe nearly 30…I’m wondering if I can find such a big place…

     Anyway, I was relieved that the participants seemed to have a nice time and that I didn’t need to keep on powdering my face during the party.

      I can hardly eat still now, but I’m getting better. It seems that many people are suffering from the similar symptoms as I have in Japan. Don’t catch a virus! Have nice holidays!

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Before Christmas

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     An oxtail came to my home suddenly at night on 21. It was my first time to see one. “What shall I do?” My mother happened to be supposed to come for dinner next night. So I tried to cook it. This is a report on the cooking.

     Oxtail Stew Recipe

     *Ingredients

     An oxtail (about 1kg)
     1 onion chopped
     1 or 2 carrots chopped
     1 of celery chopped
     2 pieces of 1 garlic clove chopped
     1 can of tomatoes
     1 cup (200cc) of red wine
     2 cups of stock
     3 cups of water
     bouquet garni, salt, pepper

 

     1. Separate the oxtail at joints


 

  

     
     2. Boiled the oxtail lightly and rinsed them with water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

      
        3. Sear the oxtail in the fry pan.

 

    

 

        4. In a separate pan, heat water and add the oxtail and the vegetables. Bring to simmer skimming off the scum that rises to the surface of the cooking water.

 

  5. Add stock, red wine and bouquet garni, and cook without cover for 3 to 4 hours skimming off. Add salt and pepper, and remove bouquet garni. 

 

 

     What a cook I am! That was wonderful!

 

 

     

Christmas Gospel Jazz Concert

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     Last Sunday I joined in a Spanish confectionery class, which started 10:30 a.m. and finished around 4:30 p.m. (If you’re interested in the diary, please read this: ★Traditional Spanish Sweets Class http://moshimoshimo.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!1D0F2197A6F55843!2409.entry )

     After the class, I went back home once and then went to a church nearby. It’s Bethany Church. I used to go there every Sunday when I was a child. But it was my first time to enter its brand-new chapel, which was just completed last September. 

     There was a concert at 7:00 p.m. in the chapel that day. The players were Ron Brown, the saxophonist, and Alfie Silas Durio, the singer, and her husband, the percussionist. 

     Ron is now taking play an active part in his own genre Gospel Jazz all over the world. He used to play behind Diana Ross, Natalie Cole, Anita Baker, Whitney Huston, and Stevie Wonder and other famous musicians.

     Alfie is also active in church activities as a singer all over the world, but she joins as a session singer in great musicians as Michael Jackson and Whitney Huston, and in also many soundtracks as The Lion King and Pretty Woman.

     I got a great opportunity to see and listen to the music created by such great musicians! How wonderful! The chapel itself was also beautiful and wonderful, and their music was amazing! What a lucky person I am! I was able to enjoy the performance by the first-class players at such a nice place for free!!! Of course, I donated money though. 

     After the concert, the participants and the musicians had a small party. All of us enjoyed chatting over hot apple cider. I bought a Ron’s CD and an Alfie’s one and got their autographs. Yaaaay! I had a fulfilling day last Sunday!

Traditional Spanish Sweets Class

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      I was so busy yesterday. I joined in a class of confectionery with some of my friends together in the morning. It finished around 4:30 p.m. And then I went to a concert after coming back home.

      Anyway, I’m going to tell about the cooking class first. The teacher of the class of confectionery was my Spanish friend, Mariano.

     He has a studio for teaching Mediterranean cuisine and Spanish in Hoshigaoka. But we didn’t learn Mediterranean cuisine this time. We learned how to make two of traditional Spanish Christmas sweets called polvornones and tortas de alma in Spanish. 

     Polvoornes means powder. The sweets crumble quickly and go into powder. That’s why it’s called “polvornes”, or powder.

     Polvorones’ ingredients: wheat, lard, sugar, almond powder, coconut powder, baking powder, cinnamon.

     And another one tortas de alma means cake of soul. It’s a kind of pie and each one has a small lump made from sweet potatoes and the lump is the soul of the sweets. It’s characteristic of the sweet to smell anise.

     Tortas de alma’s ingredients: liqueur of anise, wheat, sugar, and olive oil, sweet potato, honey, lemon peel.

     We started with tortas de alma. We gathered at 10:30 and started the class soon, but we put the dough of the sweets into the oven at half past noon. We prepared for a potluck party because we had been going to have it after the class. We decided to have lunch while baking tortas de alma since we were hungry. 

     K brought spinach pie, M sweet and sour pork, Y sweet potato and apple dish, S rainbow jelly, and I potatoes with cumin, salad, and bread. And Mariano cooked for us lentil curry and served Spanish salami. Wow! What a rich lunch!

    After lunch, we baked polvorones. While baking them, we enjoyed chatting over coffee and some sweets. Time went past! It took more time than we had thought. We left Mariano’s studio around 5:00. I was a little bit tired, but I had a really good time with my friends! Muchas gracias por tu clase, Mariano!

Mariano’s webpage: http://flordelis.tripod.com/

Sing, Talk and be Merry!

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     A friend of mine belongs to an interesting class where students practice singing songs in English. The class had a Christmas concert on 9th, and I went see it with some of my friends.

     The concert was held at a live music club named Paradise Café 21 in Imaike. The place was not big, but was quite cozy.

     There were about 13 performers in the concert. Each one sang one or two songs, and my friend sang Can’t Take My Eyes off You, and My Grown-up Christmas.

     Others sang as follows: It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie, Charade, Autumn Leaves, Love is a Many Splendid Thing, Love Letter, Raindrops Falling on My Head, The Christmas Song, Moon River, I Wish You Love, I Need to Be in Love, Always, Lipstick on Your Collar, When You Taught Me How to Sing, My Heart Will Go on, I Left My Heart in San Francisco, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Bewitched, Everybody Loves Somebody, I’ll Stand by You, That Old Devil Called Love, and so on.

     The performers sang to a piano accompaniment, but the pianist was great. He controlled the tempo and the rhythm to let them sing pleasantly. The technique was amazing!

     I think all of them must have practiced very hard. They looked very proud and satisfactory for the achievement. My friends and I really enjoyed the concert, and decided to have a karaoke party soon since we were stimulated!

Natural Remedies 8: TCM

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     December 7 was the final class of Natural Remedies. Unfortunately the two of us were absent and there were only 4 students in the classroom that day. We made two pairs, one acted as a patient and another one advised with the knowledge we had leaned through the course in turn.

     And then we learned about five elements deeper in traditional Chinese Medicine than the time we had studied it before.

     The above chart shows that the different body and mind relationships are associated with each organ. In Western Medicine, body and mind are often separated. You wouldn’t even think that you may have anything problem in your kidneys if you thought you were getting hard of hearing, and wouldn’t even notice that recent your fear had to do with your ear problem. You are healthy when you balanced well both physically and mentally. Body can be inseparable from mind.

     And we learned about Meridian Clock. 

     According to traditional Chinese Medicine, each organ has the time when it is activated a day. For example, stomach is activated most from 7 to 9 a.m . So you should have breakfast during the time. People who are asthmas tend to suffer from coughs in the early morning because lung starts becoming active around 3 a.m.

     From 5 to 7 a.m., large intestine is activated most, but kidney which is in the opposite side is resting that time. That is, you should rest stomach during 7 to 9 p.m.. So you should finish your dinner by 7 p.m. for your health. I can’t do that though!

     I learned many things through the course of Natural Remedies. I’d like to make my daily lives healthier with the knowledge! I’m going to begin with changing food I have for the better.

Christmas Tea Concert

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     There was a Christmas concert on December 1st. It was held at Yama-no-Hall in Nisshin by M&P’s Tea. (I mentioned the tea company many times here, but if you’re interested in it, how about reading my blog http://moshimoshimo.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!1D0F2197A6F55843!2224.entry or visiting their website: http://mptea.com/ ? )

     It was a beautiful day. I went see the concert with my family and some of my friends. Many people had already gathered when we arrived. Usually there’re around 50 people in a concert held by M&P&s Tea’s. But probably there were about 80 audiences in the hall that day. Perhaps it was because of the musicians.

     It was a quartet named Hitohana Shijyuso-dan. All the members belong to Nagoya Philharmonie, one of the most famous symphony orchestras in Japan.

     The quartet is kind of unique. It’s composed by violin, flute, oboe, and piano. All of the musical instruments play high-pitched sounds. They have no bass. So the pianist played the bass register too. 

They played:

1. The Marriage (Wedding) of Figaro of the Day of Madness / Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
2. Salut d’amour / Edward William Elgar
3. Fantasia on Greensleeves / Ralph Vaughan Williams
4.
"Hunt Cantata": Sheep May Safely Graze / Johann Sebastian Bach
5.
The Four Seasons winter mvt 2 Largo / Antonio Lucio Vivaldi
6.
The Nutcracker : Waltz of the Flowers / Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
7.
Christmas Medley

     Their music was really wonderful! I joined in M&P’s Tea’s concerts many times, but I thought their music was the best I’d ever heard there. It seems as if tones of each musical instrument hat the players’ spirits and sank into the audience’s hearts! Even I who don’t know much about classical music understood their music was excellent! 

     After the concert, there was an afternoon tea party as usual. To tell the truth, I always go to their concert with a view to joining in the tea party!

     They serve many kinds of teas and delicious sweets and cucumber sandwiches! I love Rie’s home made sweets and Paul’s cucumber sandwiches! I think Rie should have her own cake shop!

     I had gallons of delicious tea and lots of cake chatting with my friends and meeting new people. Music, tea and cake…How wonderful time I had!