noodles and herbs

the sun is up.
it’s going to be sunny today, too.
the thing is, it could not be hot enough to grow my basils bigger.
the temperatures in april and may have been lower than usual.
my basils were supposed to be lush and plenty to use for cooking by now.
i potted or re-potted herbs in april with my new little spade.
but they are still small.
herbs like mint and sage look ok, though.

the other day, i craved for noodle.
no, not a ramen japanese people would go crazy for.
i am not really enthusiastic about ramen.
i love heaping herbs on top like the one i had in ho chi minh city.
so i cooked a bawl of rice-noodle soup with dumplings.
it was a sort of melting pot of east and south asian tastes.
with just a few tiny basil leaves, fair enough,
it did not completely satisfy my taste buds.

meanwhile, lemon thyme has been green and lush
since it joined in my kitchen garden.
when i fancied a pasta bowl recently, i tried a new original recipe.
adding lots of aromatic lemon thyme leaves, instead of basil,
my kabocha sedanini regati (with raw egg, tofu and bread crumbs) went great.

for my noodles and herbs, anything goes.

happy weekend, everyone!




bluebell report 2010 (belated)

as usual, when i was browsing online newspapers on saturday,
i came across one familiar picture among the guardian’s slideshows.
it turned out to be my picture!
i completely forgot that i’d casually submitted the picture to
your picture of bluebells” a little while a go.
didn’t i deserve a kind email telling me of the publication from the guardian?
i cannot complain about being chosen for that, anyway.

bluebell is such a magical flower.
i had a certain fondness for this flower when i lived in London.
and i look forward to finding online newspaper articles
about bluebells like this and that every year.

meanwhile, when i first saw them blooming in my local park,
i was overjoyed.
so, i happily posted my bluebell report last year.

but, they bloom in april over here, a month earlier than in england.
i’ve missed out on an opportunity to post this season’s pictures until now.

this is my belated bluebell report.
i hope you enjoy at least the residuum of the blue magic.

have a great week!


the pedant in the kitchen

after a period of grief, something should cheer me up.
in fact, i’ve got some happy news to tell.

the japanese version of the pedant in the kitchen, 文士厨房に入る,
came out last week.
i know that the book wouldn’t interest you, though.
unfortunately, it’s all in japanese.
no wonder i’m the translator.

its original book was written by very charming julian barnes.
it is a collection of his hilarious essays on cookbooks
from sort of a mr darcy type gentleman point of view.
i enjoyed being mr darcy-barnes when i was working on the book.
i really hope mr barnes likes my translation,
even though he can’t read japanese at all.

to my delight, my publisher managed to have mr joe berger,
who did the original book’s illustrations,
for my japanese version’s jacket.
its palette with olive green and teal reminded me of something…
something i have in my kitchen…
which turned out to be the same colours as my margaret howell’s tea towel.
what a match!

i judge a book by its cover, i always do.
and, i think this is quite charming, too.

happy weekend!



last saturday was the saddest day i’ve ever had in my life.

my big brother passed away.
i was supposed to tend him that day, too,
but he did not wait for me.
but, he did not mean to cross the styx, either.
he had spoken to a nurse mere ten minutes before his heart stopped beating.
that was a mistake, wasn’t it?

still, he’d had enough pain.
his long battle against cancer was too fierce to carry on.
there seemed no chance to win.
nothing could make a miracle happen, after all.

at least, i was close to him during his last hospitalization.
i could help him to change his pyjamas and drink for the first several days,
while quiet hours i spent sitting with a book at his bedside got longer and longer.
sometimes, i would check on him and feel relieved at his breathing.
sometimes, he would wake up and crack a joke.

as he had coached a boys’ baseball team at weekends for the last several years,
some 400 people, including small boys in baseball uniform,
came to his farewell service to say their last goodbyes.
tears rolled down my cheeks before each and every tearful farewell.
i, too, had to bid emotional farewell to him.

my big brother was a humble man.
but, he was the most compassionate one i’ve ever known.
much as i can say i am proud of him,
words can’t express how deep my sorrow is.

he was my rock.
without him, things will never be the same again.
i'm missing him...



a may daytrip

today is the last day of our long long weekend: so-called “golden week”
consisting of 4 national holidays over a weekend.
(no wonder, it is worth "gold" for hard-working japanese people!)

everyone is entitled to have fun!

and, today is kids’ day.
kids are treasure when japan sees the birthrate declining.
to celebrate the day, traditionally, carp streamers are put up outside.
usually, early may weather should be perfect for that.

the day before yesterday,
i went out to see lush mountainous areas in kyoto.

my brother wanted to show me the breathtaking scenery as you now see,
although he was too ill to take a walk there.
i truly rejoiced in sharing the day with my long-ailing brother.

only a few more days to go before this weekend,
hang in there, my global friends!