2017 New Year’s Scenery and Flowers
Share Vegetable Fields
Share Vegetable Fields I found the Share vegetable field near my house. The place is 1.5 km far from my house and I can go there within 5 min by bicycle. The place has been run by a company called " Share Hatake". Mr Suzuki, who is the staff of the company, explained to me about the services and the system of the share field. The main services and system are ; 1. Each lot is 10 ㎡ per person. 2. Vegetables' seeds, tools, and natural fertilizers are provided. 3.Practical lessons on how to grow good vegetables, including making good soil, are periodically given.The book on how to make some vegetables and fruits is also given. 4. The staff and couches are always there and can ask them freely. The place is very near and the staff is very kind and well known about farming, so I decided to contract one year of the field on the spot. Next Saturday, I will learn how to prepare the field for seeding of spring vegetables.
The Edo-Tokyo Museum 2017.2.25
Enjoy spring flowers in Tateyama 2017.2.27-28
Odawara Castle 2017.3.23
The castle was built in the 15 century, and well known as the residence of Hojo family, which was founded by Hojo Soun and his family controlled around the Kanto region for five generations. In 1590, Toyotomi Hideyoshi attacked the castle by his 200 thousand soldiers and destroyed the Hojo family. To destroy the castle was difficult, because the fort including surrounding the town was large. The circumference is about 9 km, which is called ”総構”ーSogamae. In order to destroy the Hojo family, Hideyoshi had built the castle - called itiya-jo which literally means the castle was built in one night. Actually the castle was made for 80 days. One day, the trees surrounding the castle was cut down and showed the castle as if it had suddenly appeared. The Hojo family was surprised and at last surrendered their castle. Later the castle was controlled by the follower of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Today's Castle tower was reconstructed by concrete in 1960. the height is 36.7 m and total floor area is 2,822 ㎡.
Drive around Mt.Fuji 2017.3.24
My wife and I went driving around the Mt. Fuji. Last night we stayed at Hakone and left it at 9:00 am. I drove the Shin-Tomei express way to Fuji interchange and headed to Asagiri plateau through Fujino-miya city. The plateau is famous as the Fuji phrox festival. Unfortunately the festival was not open until April 15th. However, we could enjoy beautiful Mt.fuji view. Then we went to Yamanaka lake, which is also a beautiful Mt.Fuji view point. Finally I drove back to Yokohama from Gotenba interchange. The total net driving distance around the Mt. Fuji was about 100 km.
Flower viewing in Kamakura 2017.4.4
Kamakura City is located about 30 km south of my town, Yokohama City. Kamakura was once the seat of government place. The government was controlled by samurai warriors with Minatomo Yoritomo at its head. The Kamakura government continued from 1192 to 1333 controlled by his descendants and his supporters. During the period, many Zen Buddhist temples were built and those temples' grounds are famous flower viewing spots. My wife and I used to see Sakura flower viewing around the Imperial palace such as Chidori-Ga-Futi area and Yasukuni Shrine until last year. This year, we went to Kamakura on April 4. There are mainly three walking routes； 1. Kita-Kamakura course 2. Kamakura course 3. Hase temple and Daibutu area course. We chose Kita-Kamalura course this time and visited following temples and parks, Kitakamakura Sta. -> Enkakuji Temple ->Tokeiji Temple -> Jochiji temple ->Genji-yama park -> Kaizouji Temple -> Jokomyoji Temple and Turugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. I thought April 4 was one of the best days to see cherry blossoms, but most of the flowers were not yet full blossom, but only approximately 50% flowers were in bloom. In this year, the full bloom time in Kamakura is quite late.
Spring and Summer Vegetable Culture Plan 2017.4.11
Spring and Summer vegetable culture Plan
I have 4 ridges in my vegetable gardens I rented now.In the spring and summer, the plan of planting vegetables was announced by the garden managing company.
The plan is as follows:
No1 ridge is for corn and cucumbers,
No2 ridge is green peppers, eggplants and tomatoes,
No3 ridge is for Endo beans and carrots,
No4 ridge is for soybeans and several leaf vegetables.
I started to make vegetables in the garden from mid February.Before this sprig, I saw some seeds of lettuce, spinach. Those are harvested now.It took only 40 days from seeds to harvest. Those will be harvested completely until this weekend and prepare the next spring and summer culture.
Ukulele school 2017.4.19
Ukulele school 2017.4.19
I started to learn Ukulele last October at the Yamano music school in Shinjuku. The school is in the same building as that of my ex-office, so it is easy to go to. From April, I transferred from Shinjyuku school to Musashi-kosugi school because I already retired from my company. The Kosugi school is also managed by Yamano music school, so there was no need for me to do the registration process.Today is the second time to have my lessons. The teaching style is little bit different. The new teacher, Mr. Ootera has taught me the basic skills, mainly according the text book. Basic skill lessons seem to be boring for me, but it might be good in the long run.
Onomichi(尾道） and Hiroshima（広島） 2017.4.20-22
My wife and I visited Onomichi and Hiroshima from April 22 to 24. On the first day, we rented a rental car at Hiroshima airport and visited Onomichi City. For the next two days, we traveled many places in Hiroshima City.
Onomichi is a city located 100 kms west of Hiroshima City facing inland sea called Seto-naikai. The city is famous for its hillside slopes, literature, and movies. It is also interesting its bridges linked with many islands and connected to Shikoku . This road is called the Shimanami Kaido and is attractive for many bicycle riders.
Hiroshima is a city located in the west part of Japan and it is well known as the city where the Atomic bomb was donated in 1945. The population is 1.2 million and the biggest city in Chugoku district.The city was once a delta of Oota river. In the 16th century , the feudal load, Mouri Terumoto reclaimed the delta area and converted into agriculture fields. In the course of extending of the reclamation, an island of Seto sea was connected it to the delta area and now called it Ougon-zan which literally means golden mountain.
Some of the sightseeing spots are the atomic bomb dome, Miyajima island which is famous for Ituku-shima shrine which is designated world culture heritage site.
My wife and I went to Hiroshima for the first time after 30 years . We were looking forward to visiting there. Because we have plenty happy memories in Hiroshima. I was transferred to Hiroshima branch of my company when I was 31 years old. Soon after, I married and We started a newly married life in Hiroshima.
My retirement and My wife’s 60th Birthday Party
My two sons and my daughter-in-law held my retirement party at a Japanese restaurant at Jiyuugaoka city.
The meal was a Japanese course lunch and we had the course meal at a private tatami room.
After finishing the lunch, a special cake was served with the message decoration by chocolate
saying congratulations of my retirement and my wife's 60th birthday.
I also received presents from two sons - Baccarat's tumbler and Fitbit .
Fitbit is a wristband which can monitor my daily activities, such as walking steps,
riding bike hours and calories, sleeping times and so on. I started to use this fitbit on that day.
Until now, my activities record have been exceeded than my goals that I set.
Summer Vegetable Planting
summer vegetables planting
It was fine day and I had a lecture about some summer vegetables planting at my "Share Batake" or share garden fields.
Today, I learned how to plant tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, and green peppers. Especially cucumbers
planting was a hard work. Cucumber's seedling is very weak so a support bar against strong wind is needed.
Cucumber is a string plant so the net for its string is also needed to set up.
Keeping Beautiful Turf is Difficult 2017.5.1-3
Keeping Beautiful Turf is Difficult
Izu garden's turf was planted 4 years ago. The turf was very beautiful at that time, but gradually many weeds are growing and scatter their seeds, so pulling out those seeds completely are very tough work for me.
I went to Izu for the first time since last Oct. and was surprized that many types of weeds in the turf were growing than I expected, not only Water pennywort (血止め草) but also some new weeds which names are not known to me. Some weeds are a root linked type and are difficult to pull them out, so what I did is to use a herbicide called MCPP which is diluted 20 times with water when used.
I must think how to make turfs and those weeds coexist. Some compromise seems to be needed because I can't go there frequently in order to check those weeds carefully.
Another work for Izu gardening is to trim some trees such as fragrant olive （金木犀) , beechnut (ブナ), and camellia using a ladder. To trim the branches of some three-meters high trees is a little bit dangerous,so I did the work paying close attention.
Garden Necklace YOKOHAMA 2017
Garden Necklace YOKOHAMA 2017 from March 25 to June 4
The one million flowers that color Yokohama and the beautiful cityscape welcome you. For 72 days until June 4, Flowers and greenery will express a beautiful Yokohama, like a "necklace" connecting the town, people, and time.
There are two main venues - Minato(harbor) garden venue and Satoyama garden venue of mountain area in Yokohama. I visited both venues, on May 6 and May 8 respectively. I walked 15 kms in total, enjoying the beautiful flowers and greenery. The number of steps reached about 22,000 according to my Fitbit pedometer.
The 5th Kohoku Open Garden
The 5th Kohoku Open Garden
This open garden is an event to open private house's garden to the public.
84 venues not only private houses but public parks, temples,and corporations
in Kouhoku word in Yokohama city participated in this event this year.
Open days are follows:
1st 2017.4.21 (FRI) - 23(SUN)
2nd 2017.5.12 (FRI) - 14(SUN)
This event is informed by mail to me from Mr. Suzuki, one of the seniors of my ex-company.
According to the mail, Mr Soiri who was also my co-worker at the former company has
opened his house garden connected with this open garden event.
So I visited his house on April 23 and saw the garden. On the day, many people visited his house.
I met him and he explained the garden and the history of the house for me.
Once the house was owned by Mr.Kawada who was a professor of Keio Univ.
When Mr.kawada was teaching, his student often visited and stayed in his house.
The house was built 60 years ago and Mr. Soiri bought the house about 20 years ago.
At that time the house was very old and some parts were decayed.
He is a construction engineer and is interested in the renovation.
He renovated the house and garden by himself referring on the old design documents.
He also showed me the inside of house specially including his hand made fireplace.
I admire his energy and construction techniques.
My wife and I also visited some open private houses and enjoyed their beautiful gardens.
Keio foreign language school
Keio foreign language school
Yukichi Fukuzawa,the founder of Keio university, once started to teach Dutch.
However he was disappointed that Dutch was not used in Yokohama where the harbor town was bustling with foreigners.
So he decided to teach English instead in his school.
He himself studied abroad in the United States(Brown Univercity) and desperately studied English.
Now as a prestigious university in Japan, Keio is producing a number of excellent managers,
engineers and politicians.
The school has 150 courses of 13 foreign languages. I entered an advanced level English course from this spring.
I have 14 classmates and every time we exchange our opinions in English after watching documentaries about the US.
I can learn not only English skills, but also the issues of American society.
St. Andrew’ｓ Cathedral
The Saint Andrew's Cathedral of Tokyo is a traditional Christian church belonging to the Anglican Church of Japan.
This Church is a episcopal church of the diocese of the Tokyo, located near the Tokyo Tour. St. Albans's Anglican Church is also built next to the cathedral. English language services are conducted in this church.
The confirmation rite of this year was performed on June 3 and I attended the service as an audience.
My First Grandson was Born
My First Grandson was Born
On June 27, my first grandson was born. The expected day was June 21, so it was delayed by about one week. The baby's weight was 3,320 g and stature was 51.2 cm. According to my son, he attended the childbirth. I was relieved to hear that both my-daughter- in-law and the baby were healthy. Next day, my wife and I went to see the baby at the Yokohama city university hospital and were able to hold him. He is so cute.
A Farm Event in Summer
The event of digging potatoes and eating fresh vegetable-rich curry rice was held on July 8.
It was hot day and temperature became over 32 degrees centigrade. Before this event, I maintained
my garden's turf replaceing the damaged parts and adding fine particle soil called metuti(目土）.
After finishing it, I went to the event. Unfortumnately my wife didn't go to the event due to the scorching hot weather.
I was surprized that so many people were already gathered , including many young children and old persons who looked over 70-year-old.
Many participants started digging potatoes and they were collected in one place. Those were presents for the participants and handed out evenly. After that, "vegetable bingo game" that is used vegetable name instead of numbers was held and some bingo winners got some prizes- mainly vegetables.
During the time, some stuff members and volunteer participants were making curry rice with two big pots adding tomatoes,potatoes,eggplants and so on. The terrace seats are already occupied for older people.
So the children and young parents ate it seated under the sun. The children were energetic and ate curry much. AS for me, I asked a staff to pour the curry in the packs I prepared and took them to my home and ate with my wife.
This event made the children exciting and fun .
Heda (戸田）in Izu
I went to Izu with my wife for 2 nights and 3 days .
On the first day, I mainly did gardening at my Izu cottage such as cutting grasses and trimming branches.
On the second day, we went driving to Heda "戸田" and had a sea food lunch.
Heda is a small bay city and famous for its beautiful sea.
The inland sea has a long sandy beach with calm waves.
Many families have visited there and have enjoyed sea bathing.
This area was formed by two volcanos which are on the Philippine plate and have moved to Japan which is on Eurasian plate and shortened the distance between these volcanos and made a small bay.
On the third day, we went back to Yokohama in the morning in order to join the beer and noodle party at my rented farm which was organaized by the Share agriculuture field Company.
My first Ukulele Concert
My first Ukulele concert
My first Ukulele concert was held at the Grand Tree entrance hall in Musasikosugi on Aug. 20.
The total member of ukulele playsers was 23 including a primary school girl with her mother.
The concert was started at 5:00 pm and performed about 20 minutes. Before the concert,I met other playing members for the fist time at the Yamano music hall in Musashikosugi and had a rehearsal for one hour.
The playing member's music scores were differrent like melody1, melody2, and chord. After finishing the first rehearsal, we felt happy and automatically smiled to each other because the harmony and rhythm were perfect.
Most of us have been practicing with utmost effort to achieve good performance.As we rehearced the songs again , we felt our hearts united as one.
The sound system at the entrance hall was not that good, still we gave our best and performed successfully.
After the concert, some members suggested to hold another concert performance in a music concert hall in Kawasaki with today's members. I parted promising to meet with them again .
That day's concert programs were
1. 小さな世界: It's a small world
2.海の見える街（魔女の宅急便より）: a town seeing sea
3.真夏の果実: Summer Blue
List of My Harvested Summer Vegetables
List of My Harvested Summer Vegetables
Gardening in the end of August
I went to my Izu villa from August 27 to 28. I have worried about the garden becoming messy with growing weeds and tree branches because I visited it this time after 3 weeks intervals. It had a lot of rain in the area during the late several weeks.
We arrived there at 5 pm on August 27 . It was cool and I started to check the garden's condition. Fortunately the garden was not so bad on the surface. The turfs looked revitalized and regained green. In this July, the turf were damaged due to few rain. I met Mr. Iwano, who is the 84-year old gardener, by chance. He was working near my house on the day and asked him to paint some supported timbers to protect the land slide. The timbers need to be painted every year so as not to be spoiled .
The next day, I trimmed many branches and cut the turf and weeds using several machines and the total amount of weeds and branches became 7 plastic bags of 70 litters.
Preparation for Autumn ＆ Winter Vegetables
Preparation for Autumn ＆ Winter Vegetable
I have started to prepare for autumn and spring vegetables since last week.
The procedures are as follows;
1. Harvesting all summer vegetables and removing from the roots completely
2. Digging the ground, putting air and adding fertilizers to the soil
3. Making four vegetable ridges
4. Covering mulch sheet(film) depending on the planting vegetables
5. Planting seeds and seedlings
These steps are still on the process since I started on September 1.
Kusatsu,Tumagoi and Karuizawa
Kusatsu,Tumagoi and Karuizawa
My wife and I drove around Kusatsu,Tumagoi & Karuizawa from September 12 to 14 to enjoy beautiful scenaries and hot springs.
On the way to Kusatsu, we stopped at Yanba dam site which will completed in 2020.The site is now becoming a sightseeing spot where many beautiful scenery spots,bridges and tunnels and roads are well maintained and shops for selling local vegetables and foods are opened.
Kusatsu town is located in Gunma Prefecture, about 180 km north from Tokyo, and famous for its hot springs. Since Kamakura period , which was started in 1192, many people have visited there to cure their diseases.
Placed at 1200 m above sea level, Kusatsu has an average annual temperature of 7℃. Even summer time, the temperature rarely rise above 25℃,
We stayed Nakazawa village hotel and enjoyed wonderful natures while walking around the hotel by following a walking tour guide. This walking trail is often used by the current Emperor, so the course is named as royal course.
On the second day, we went to Asama Onioshidasi（鬼押し出し） park which is famous for many strange shaped lava rocks. "Onioshidashi" literally means the lava rocks made by devils from Mt.Asama volcano. The area streches 5.5 km long and 2 km width. The rocks were formed by the eruption of Mt. Asama in 1783. Since the weather was nice, we could see the beautiful mountain range including Mt.Shirane from there.
We also visited Shiraito waterfalls to see the clean water and had lunch at karuizawa town and did some shopping afterwards. We stayed at Karuizawa Mariott Hotel and it was the first time in my life that we stayed the room which had its own outdoor hot spring bath. I could be soaked and relaxed privately in the outdoor bath.
On the third day, we left the hotel at 10 am and went back home, because I had a schedule in the evening. Although we didn't have enough time on the third day, we could still enjoy the trip and learn many interesting things.
“Omiya-mairi”(お宮参り） and Okuizome(お食い初め）
On September 23, my wife and I went to Sizuoka city where my son,Atushi and his family lives in order to join his son Aoi's first visit to the shrine which is located near their house. The shrine named Sengen Jinjya(浅間神社）which was built about 1700 years ago to enshrine the gurdean god of Shizuoka city area. My son's wife, Ayano and her father and mother also joined to the celemony. The priest introduced Aoi to the god and asked the god to protect Aoi and keep him healthy.
Then we went to a Japanese restaurant named Fugetu-rou(浮月楼) and celebrate the "Okuizome(お食い初め）" : Baby's first meal ceremony.
While having lunch, All of us took turns to pretend feeding foods to Aoi . Aoi is still 88 days old so he is breastfed by his mother.
After lunch, we wnet to a photo studio and got some pictures taken with Aoi.
All of us had a pleasant time with Aoi on that day.
I'll will share some inf0rmation about .....
Okuizome(お食い初め） is the Japanese traditional ritual that parents perform usually 100 days after the birth of their baby along with their relatives to wish the infant an abundant life.
The celebratory meal is in the traditional “one soup and three dishes” style and generally consists of rice cooked with red beans (or plain rice), whole grilled fish such as sea bream, miso soup, ‘nimono’ (simmered food), and pickles.
In this ritual, the grandparents and the parents in turn wish a long life by pretending to feed the baby in this order - f “rice, soup, rice, grilled fish, rice, nimono and rice and pickles".
After the ceremony, the baby is also pretend to bite the celebrate stone (usually given by the baby's first visit to the shrine). This ritual is called "hagatame(歯固め).
"Omiya-mairi" is baby's first visit to a shrine." Omiya-mairi" is a Shinto ritual similar to the Christian baptism ceremony. It occurs when the baby is about one month old(the months varies denpends on the region). They wear a special white clothes for the ceremony, and have a special kimono draped over them. As the baby's grandparents hold him/her, the priest presents the news of the birth to the guardian spirit of the shrine, and offers thanks. The priest then asks the god to protect the baby and keep him/her healthy.
"Fugetu-rou" is a Japanese restaurant which is 120 years old from opening. Before it became the restaurant, it used as the residence of Tokugawa Yosinobu, last Edo-period Shogun, who lived there for 20 years in the evening of his life.
He enjoyed the smell of ume(a Japanese plum) and sailed a boat in the pond.He spent well his time on that place.
Izu Garden in September
I went to my Izu cottage on September 28 in order to maintain the garden for the first time in a month. Fortunately the weather was nice and the road was also not crowded.
It took about less than 2 hours drive to go and return. While maintaining the garden, I met Mr. and Mrs. Ibaragi, who live near my cottage, and talked with them for a while and heard a good news. According to Mr.Ibaraki, the Hinoki trees along the road will be cut down. The cutting of the trees have already started and the trees will then be sent to China. If it would be completed, Sagami bay and the beautiful ocean can be seen from my cottage. In addition, My hay fever of Hinoki allergy might be cured.
My Yokohama home Garden
I Bought a New Car
I Bought a New Car
I have drinen my Prius for almost 8 years. I bought it in 2011 and drove 41000 km until now.
These days, many car makers are enriching the safety equipment such as auto break. The new model of the Prius was the candidate of my next new car. It has many safety systems called "Toyota Safety Sense C' which has pre-crash system, lane departer alert, and Automatic high beam.
But I don't like the New Prius's style. So I looked for several cars which are almost same size and same price bracket.
Those are Toyota's new Prius, C-HR, Honda's Vezel, and Mazda's Axela and Cx-3.
After test driving and comparing the safety system, exterior and interior, I decided my next new car- Mazda's Axela and contracted the purchase on October 13.
The new car will be derivered my house in middle November.
Mazda Axela Safety System- http://www.mazda.co.jp/cars/axela/feature/safety/i-activsense/
*My new car has all safety systems shown in the URL above except 360 degree view.
Izu in October
Today, October 26, fine weather came at last after a long spell of rain. I got up early and went to my Izu garden. I was worried about the garden that would be messy by weeds. When I arrived there, i was relieved because the garden was relatively clean. While I stayed until noon, I met Mr.Iwano - a gardener, and Mr Tuyoshi - a real estate staff respectively. I went back home at past 3 pm because I had a schedule in the evening on the day.
Two Events on a Rainy Day
Two Events on a Rainy Day
The Sweet potato event organized by the staff of my lent agri field was held on October 28. It was started at 2 pm. Unfortunately the rain poured heavily. Many young families participated in this event. While young adults and their children dug the sweet potatoes, My wife and I helped set the party venue in the shed which was used to as a storage of farm tools. We ate the sweet potato' dish and vegetable miso soup and enjoyed the autumn harvest. After the event, some harvested sweet potatoes were given to each family as a souvenir.
The charity bazaar in Sankou church was held on October 29 after the morning service. Although it was a heavy rain, many people were waiting in front of the gate of the church. Many neighbors are looking forward to having this event yearly.When the bazaar started, many people rushed in the venue and bought many things.This town's association members and Koran high school students also attended to aid this event. Many donated items such as clothes, bags, dining utensils, stationeries were sold at a lower price. Varieties of food like grilled chicken and other meat, fried noodles with sauce, and several drink choices were served at the bazaar. A lottery event was held at the end of the bazaar. Both sellers and buyers enjoyed the bazaar in spite of unpleasant weather condition.
Departure time from my home in Yokohama: 9:30 am.
Driving about 220 km. Having lunch and shopping at Nasu Outlet shopping center.
Arrival time at Nasu Tokyu Harvest Hotel : 4:30 pm.
Trimming My Home Garden
Trimming My Home Garden
On December 1, I asked Mr.Watada to trim my garden trees. He is a gardener who lives near my house and has maintained my garden over the years.. This year, I also asked him to pull out a camellia and relocate some plants in order to make space for fruits and vegetables. After he finished the work, I planted a seedling of tangerine orange and blue berry. Those will take to harvest fruits for two or three years. I'm also planning to plant vegetables next spring.
Winter’s Regular Trip — 館山
Winter's Regular Trip -- Tateyama
I went to Tateyama in Chiba prefecture from December 19 to 20. The area is relatively warmer than Tokyo because of the influence of warm current called Kuroshio.
Unfortunately it was windy and cold on the day. In addition, the car traffic accident was occurred on the Highway. So we had to drive on the general road. but it was not always bad. We could find many new interesting scenes along the road. I found the Hishikawa moronobu 's museum in Kyonan-machi (鋸南町）. Hisikawa was a very famous painter of wood print in the 17 century. We enjoyed hot spring bath and delicious meal at the hotel which was build 2 years ago.