Sunday, December 25, 2011


Wishing all my wonderful followers the magic and joy of Christmastide.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Christmas is upon us and it's time to think about what I'll wear for Christmas Dinner.... Maybe I'll don something oriental ....

AH.... the glamour of the orient.... Japanese love fine fabrics, ornamentation and dressing up. I found it especially thrilling to observe the various costumes and clothing designs.

Their fashion flare has been culturally preserved for centuries through the iconic Geishas and Warlords.... While visiting Kumomoto Castle, I couldn't help but notice the guard ,traditionally dressed while guarding the entrance to the Castle.

I just had to snap this picture of a young modern Japanese girl walking in the palace grounds. It's a new millenium of fashion in Japanese as East meets West and mingles.

Often I sit at the shopping mall sipping a a latte at Star Bucks marvelling at the artistic layering of design that defines that there is a multicultural adjustment happening in the Asian fashion industy. I love people watching here ( Ha Ha)
And I love window shopping at the Osaka Hotel where they display the most beautiful gowns for Weddings, Christmas parties and celebrations. They're all gorgeous and very frilly. Wouldn't you love to wear this dress... AH ... if only we were all a tiny size 5...

Still it's nice dream about.. especially during the festive season ... While I have been away for sometime...I am now back blogging with a renewed spirit .... Thank You to all my wonderful faithful Followers... I will look forward to sharing with you again soon.

Wishing you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


The daylily is native to Japan . It was cultivated as early as the twelfth century in China, and appeared in paintings, on fabrics and porcelain as decorative embellishments for the Asian culture. 

 It is often called the " plant of forgetfulness ", because it was believed to cure sorrow by inducing memory loss.  In Oriental Medicine , it was also used for relieving pain and cleaning the kidneys....and  the dried blossoms of the daylily are often used in cooking. Try  the  unopened buds in your next salads....Delicious !!!

" The soul is supposed to take the form of a flower, such as the lily " .. at least that's what folklore says. If I were to wish to be any flower, it would be the lily, whose beauty is thought to be sacred. There are  so many positive and beautiful omens that have guided this lovely flower through the centuries... No wonder it has become a protective and  cherished icon.

These old fashioned orange or tawny common daylilies, grow 5 feet high, with trumpet shaped flowers, 3 to 4 inches, rising above clumped foliage. The strap like leaves grow 2 feet long and tend to gracefully arch. They normally bloom in June and July, however this year they are a common midsummer delight .

I'm enjoying the Autumn  show of  lilies and cultivate various varieties  in both Japan and Canada. The pictures above are from my country home in Canada.  

I once read that the genus name ( Hemerocallis) comes from two greek words , hemera, meaning "day" and kallos  meaning " beautiful ". The name amptly describes these lovely blooms that last for only a single day. 

However when one is blessed with fields of daylilies , it's a delightful  month long  journey of tripping the light fantastic, amongst the daylilies with the fairies.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Who doesn't love, " BAUBLES, BANGLES and BEADS" ...  It's simply the creative  " THING " to do in the Asian world.  I started dabbling in jewelry arts in Kitakyushu, Japan in 2009, now I'm hooked on this elegant and innovative art.

The key to tying this type of creation together is to slow down and answer a few basic questions ... "Which bead will I choose to go with the next bead "? .... " How many twists and how high should they be to look symmetrical "? .... " Where, oh where, should they be artistically place"? .... (decisions, decisions).  What the heck...I decided to " LET GO "  and cast my  beads and ingenuity  to the wind.

Soon my brain was starting to ache ....  Luckily, the healing powers of the amethyst  seemed to be  a tonic for my pounding headache. Encouraged by my sensei(teacher) to draw a blueprint , I started to become focussed on the gems, shapes, colors, sizes and logic of  design principles. What a gift ....  One thing at a time grasshopper !!!

Certainly, creating jewelry is no fly by night craft. It takes patience and a lot of beaded sweat  to create these ornamental works of art.  After creating a few necklaces, brooches, rings and bracelets, my new found respect for wearable art had become  paramount.

(back of necklace)

This was my third lesson and quite frankly, I was  nervous about the task that my Japanese Sensei had laid before me in the form of  beads, wire and a homemade coiling board. Yes, the Japanese still make their own unique craft tools. There's no Michaels in Japan ( Ha Ha)  Their ingenuity is AMAZING,  isn't it !!!!

                                          ( Thing-A-Me-Bob)

 I was up for the challenge ...   but goodness how clumsy can one person be, while coiling wire around a "thing-a-me-bob" .... practise, practise , practise. It took  me about a week to warm up to the tool and acquire the precision needed to  create and keep all the  circles perfectly round for this project. The  only other option was to use a pencil to coil the wire around...that was fun( Ha Ha )

                                           ( Sensei /right)
(Television Host left )

WELL..The  lessons turned out to be successfully, enjoyable, THANKS to my Japanese  Sensei
 ( right) .   I was over the moon,when the local television station host ( above left) came to showcase my creations ... however it did help that I was the only foreigner taking the classes... Tah Dah ... My moment of Japanese Stardom.

No matter how daunting a task may be ... creating with baubles, bangles and beads will definately challenge the creative juices and  mind blast  you through the trials and tribulations of being  a shy crafter.

 May I suggest, that you  take on the ULTIMATE  challenge  and  wear your  artistry with pride.  There is  great satisfaction in knowing that you DID IT !!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Feast your eyes on my Japanese Blueberries !!!! Last year I planted  four   blueberry bushes  crossing my fingers that they might grow in this unpredictable climate. 

 On June  first, a year later,  I left for a 6 week visit to Canada . I noticed that there were three  surviving plants, but  NO  buds... Saddly, I had given up hope on the tasty little morsels.( Sigh)

It is now July 2011 and the yard is a jungle with so much undergrowth to explore. I have lilies, petunias, hydrangea and BLUEBERRIES ( hurrah) peeking out into the rainy season... So I better collect those little fat berries before they get wet and completely saturated. I wonder if I will have enough for a pie !!!! ( Yummy)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Restaurant dining in Japan is  gracious or fast .... on the floor or in booths  .... 

healthy or deep fried ...

Japanese or Japanese . 

 What a choice!!!!!  We  graciously picked Japanese( Ha ha)  What would you choose ?

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Wishing you all a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


May is  a time to celebrate the beauty of nature and friendship  in the Buddhist Temple and the Wisteria Gardens. My beautiful Russian friend Larissa and baby Diana  are caught by surprise under the  flowing cascades of the blooming wisteria. It's a time of rebirth and joy  in Japan, as new buds blossom and new life flourishes to greet the floral extravaganza to come... " All things are  bright and beautiful."

Friday, April 22, 2011


HAPPY EASTER  to you all from Japan . I thought you might like to see what's blooming in my garden and all around the countryside... Beautiful Cherry and Plum Blossoms .ENJOY !!!!

Blessings to you and your family for a most joyous Easter !!!

Monday, March 14, 2011


My prayers and thoughts are with the families and individuals who are suffering under the terrible devastation of  the  recent earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. Already it's terrifying effects have saturated our lives ...

It is a time to reflect on the fragile state of life and our existence in this world... It is a time to love and support one another  in the face of an awesome yet sometimes cruel mother nature and listen to the messages.

We are but a small planet  that is in need of tender loving care to survive. Please light a candle of love, healing  and HOPE for our childrens' future..... and pray for those less fortunate people, in Japan and  around the world. May God Bless us all !!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


The BLOSSOMS are a' coming and I'm soooooo excited.... The  Festival of Cherry Blossoms will soon line the streets of Japan in a glorious cascade of pink and white blossoms cascading  like fairies onto the streets... March and April mark the beginning and end  of the festivities. Couldn't help creating afew Cherry Blossom ATC's in celebration ... Naturally it's called 'Cherry Blossom' ( ha ha)

I will arrive in Kitakyushu, Japan  just in time to snap a few hundred picture with my camera and  join into the celebration in and around the bustling communities ... To people in North America it's just a bunch of trees blooming .

In Japan, it's  beauty and harmony  and  a time to bask in the glory of nature... This is a picture of my friend, Mikio under a double flowering Cherry Blossom tree. .. It takes your breath away , doesn't it !!!!

Experiencing  the  thousands  of  Cherry trees, dotting the countryside  in full bloom  is  literally a vision of pink heaven. I will send pictures !!!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Japan is famous for their use and creation of paper ....  Want to see something amazing... check out this site.... WOW !!!!
Tell me what you think ...about paper art from Japan. after you view the above  site.... AMAZING !!!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


In Japan, February the 14th is a special day for men not for women . So it's Hiroko's  supper treat  for her husband  Mikio . Needless to say ,  he loves the attention... We went to the " Red Door Restaurant "  in downtown Kokura, Japan... for  you'll never guess ...Chinese Food   ( Ha Ha)

Sunday, February 6, 2011


 Living in Japan, one grows naturally  accustomed to drinking  " Green" tea  along with the local  society... Afterall, green tea   is Japanese ...Right !!!

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting up with a very learned Japanese Lady, who practises the art of the Japanese Tea Ceremony.  She  enlightened me as to the historical facts of  the drinking of green tea, which dates back to China and the 4th century.

Tea was   officially a gift from the Chinese tang court presented to Emperor Shomu of Japan and in the year 794  a  tea  plant was planted in the imperial Gardens in Kyoto.

Later, the  Japanese buddist Monks went to China to study about tea and in 1192, Eisai, returned with tea seeds and started to  officially plant tea in Japan. This monk ,Eisai  also wrote the first Japanese tea book which later influenced the development of the Tea Ceremony.

There are many, many rules of etiquette for what is called ' chanoyu, or hot water tea"  and in Japan you may experience this rather lengthy ritualistic  ceremony in  the harmonic beauty of a Japanese Tea House.

There are four principle  to the ceremony: harmony, respect, purity and tranquility ( wa, kae, sae, jubuo)

The procedures are simple: clean the serving bowls, boil a pot of water, serve sweet treats to quests before the tea, mix powdered bitter green tea( Matcha) and water to make a frothy tea, serve the tea to quests. ( The flavors of the sweets and bitter compliment  each other.

The sign of harmony is :
1. Bow when you receive the cup of tea which is called " chawan'
2. Take the " chawan" with your right hand and place it in the palm of your left hand.
3. Turn the " chawan '  clockwise three times before you take a drink.
4. When the tea is gone, make a loud slurp to tell the host that the tea was truely enjoyed.
5. Wipe the part of the " chawan' your lips touched with your right hand.
6. Turn the "chawan" counterclockwise and return it to the host.

Many people ask how long it takes to learn this art of  the tea ceremony.  I might say how long does it take you to learn the piano ? While simple tunes can be learned in a few weeks  .... A true artist will study the piano for at least 10 years . In Japan one must study the art of the Tea Ceremony for 10 years  in order to practise this ancient custom.

If you want to bring alittle of the ceremonial charm home with you, a  " chawan' may be purchased in specialty tea stores along with tea ceremony utensils. The above tea cup or " chawans ' range from 100-200.00 dollars per bowl... depending on the ceramic artisan who created it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


DO you have a passion for Cats?  Oriental Cats are known for their intense interest in everyday human activities .  I see ten to twenty of them  lined up  every morning along the garden walls outside of the park.

It's no wonder that the Maiko Cat  is seen and admired in every store and house in Japan.
This feline has become an important  part of their mysterious and exotic culture. ... So it's very hard not to fall inlove with  such a sweet, animated  image.

I must admit, that I'm  under the Maiko Cat spell ...  admiring, collecting and even drawing this  feline character . Folktales say that this  little paw waving cat  is gook luck . That's a fabulous reason to have a few of them  sitting around your house ...Right !!!!

For those of you who read my last post .... Just incase you're interested ....  I bought the handmade Wallclock Cat ( below) with the moving tail .  My husband bought me the  handmade ceramic Black Cat ( below) for my Birthday and of course , my friend, shower me with Maiko " good luck " gifts....  Collecting  has become quite the Cat's Meow .( Ha Ha)

Friday, January 21, 2011


Shopping in Japan is quite an adventure .... I thought you might like to see some of the sugary  animated items.  " Meow, Meow"... all the kittens were calling me, to come look and see ... "Buy Me",  they  mewed.

Then, I looked at the prices... Yes, only, 10500 yen( $150.00) for the  handmade clock , who's little  tail moves with the tick and the tock.  He's so adorable !!!!

Well, I do love it  but " don't you  think that little black and white number looks friendly ... Oh yes... He's a darling, at only  10000 yen( $100.00) . So, my friends, let's move onto the next grouping of happy Japanese kittens.

 Bing, Bang , Boom .... Lookie lookie  some "Tin Pan Alley" musical cats. They're  kind of  socially cute  and the price is just right, only 2500 yen( $25.00)...Where would I put them ?

Goodness... I'm so confused , because I like them all.  I will listen to my own little inner cat voice ...Purr purr and select the purr-fect cat for  me .... It's a hard decision.

Which cat or cats would you choose? Which cat or cats did I choose? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

"It's Cold Outside "

January marks the beginning of great expectations ..
... but also brings flurries of snow and cold temperatures. This year has been an exceptionally strange time around the world .... Brrrr ... I'm alittle cold and my teeth are chattering, but I'm in awe of the wintry blasts of beauty... I though I would share a wintry walk through the park with you , so bundle up and keep yourself warm in this  Canadian Winter Wonderland.

Monday, January 10, 2011


AMORE... Ah ....sweet love is on the horizon.... As we quickly move past January into the month of hearts and valentines..I am reminded, how quickly time passes. I'm in awe of all the precious gifts that might be overlooked if, I  do not take the time to give thanks for the love of family  and friends.
I am also reminiscing about life, as the seasons come and go ...  and realizing that it's time to move onto new and exciting journeyswith light heartedness and joy !!! 

YES..It's time to lose weight when you no longer fit into that little  black, size 5 dress  ( Ha Ha)... Even my fingers and  feet seem to have gotten alittle fatter and I wear  wider shoes and flat boots,  that are less than fashionable... AH... Yes... It has  finally happened ... middle age has set in, for a long winters nap.

"Oh woe is me".... Should I become dramatic and submerge myself into the flowery, swollen waters of a reedy river like  Shakespeares', "Ophelia"? ... She is ever adored and heralded in classic paintings....Drama, drama, drama!!!

No... I'd  like to think of myself as a modern sort of  woman, who can battle the raging perils of age, in a dignified manner ...  so, I jogged out and bought myself  some vitamin E capsules for swollen eyes and wrinkles, a new water bottle, to puff out the sagging dehydrated bits and a recumbent bike, to ease my aching joints, when I  do take the time to exercise.( Huff'n'Puff)
Yes, my friends,  I'm encouraging  you, myself and I, to do alittle extra peddling, in the love of " self " arena ... Wishing you all, a safe and healthy journey this year... I'll race you around the calender block ....  Ladies.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Wishing you all a joyous , healthy and Happy New Year.... In Japan , New Year is a reverent time for personal journeys... usually climbing up  the  mountain side to a shrine, to give thanks for the year that is passing on. It's a time to  look for good omens on the trail of  tranquility and peace. It's a time of homage 
and prayer

If an eagle happens to fly cross your path, " Good Luck " will  surely follow you through the New Year... 


2011 ....... A Strange year  can become a gifted and even stranger year if you just have patience.. Santa sometimes cannot  fit and drop all the gifts on Christmas night ... and I happen to have it  on the best authority... that  "SANTA CLAUS " is tired ... Z_Z_Z_Z_Z_Z_Z_Z_Z_Z_Z_Z_Z_Z_Z_Z_Z__Z_Z_Z_Z_Z__Z_ZZZ

Such a " Jolly Old man " ... but has anyone taken the time to  " kiss" him ... 

Please let me know ... 'cause " Santa is sleeping and he won't say a word... ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ