Wednesday, October 31, 2007

English names

There are many difficult linkages for me to learn abbreviations for English names.

Abbreviations -- Original names
Mary --- Elizabeth
Bob --- Robert
Dick --- Richard

I can find the Bob and Dick in my dictionary but can not find the Mary part. Actually I've learned it from an American guest the other day. I felt this earth almost went round the opposite when he told it to me! :o

I asked him"How can I notice Mary = Elizabeth!? "
He just laughed and said " No idea, some people just say that way".

If it's Eliza, it's easy and no problem. If it's Beth, still okay but..... why Mary! Grrr

There are some other interesting combinations around. Jay is for Jason, Jim is for James. When J for Jim is replaced into T ( Tim ), it's for Timothy.
Chris could be both for Christopher and Christine, Christina.
Steph could be Steve and Stephanie.

I know English is complicated because it's not my mother tongue. Wonder this kind of things are not tough for English speaking people or not ....

Hayaokidori website

Thursday, October 25, 2007

First snow and autumn foliage

A distant view of the symbolic Hakuba 3 mountains with the first snow. Please click the picture to see the thumbnail!

I took those autumn foliage pictures early in the morning today when I walked around. They look clearer early in the morning. Please click each picture to see the thumbnails, so beautiful.

Hayaokidori website.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Harvested sweet potatoes 2007

Have to take them out very gently or they break in two.

All potatoes we harvested this year. The green things are sweet potato runners. When people in the generation survived the WW2 find this sweet potato runners, they cook them telling younger generations that they ate them at that time because not enough things around to eat - especially in big cities where not enough farms were around.

A dish of fried sweet potato runners. Nothing special in taste, but I guess even this kind of things must have been very important thing to fill stomaches if there were not enough things to eat. Lately people seem to have better opinions for it becuase they have much dietary fiber.

Daikon - the Japanese raddish. What should I cook with it for tonight?

Hayaokidori website

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Repainting sidetables

Done all before it gets too cold to do the work.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

First snow 2007 in Hakuba

Snow has arrived at the top of mountains for the first time this autumn.

You can find autumn leaves at the upper part of the ski slopes in this picture, still greener leaves at the bottom. Then snow at the top of background mountains. That is what people call "Sandan Koyo" (3 color autumn leaves if dare translated ) here.

Smoked some rice shells. A seasonal stuff at this time of the year in my place.

Hayaokidori website

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Autumn leaves at Hakuba Happo one

Autumn leaves have been coming down the mountains, now it has come down around 1,400 meters above sea level here in Hakuba.

Grasses at the ski slopes are still greener than other leaves around.
I think autumn leaves are now coming down the mountains 1 or 2 weeks latter than usual. Probably the peak around our place will be around at the end of this month to the first half of next month. Join us to enjoy autumn leaves here in Hakuba.

Hayaokidori website

Swedish gratin

Saw this receipt on TV yesterday though they didn't mention what to prepare. I just tried to cook one by myself on my way. Prepared some potatoes, anchovies, onions, butter, flour, milk, macaroni, salt and white pepper. Anchovies are so salty, so I used less salt than usual for other stuff.

I put some macaronis at one side of the plate, didn't put any at the other side to check the difference. Some prefer this plate with macaroni, some do without macaroni. It seems it depends on who has it.

Hayaokidori website

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Malet golf

Not sure if this was widespreaded or not. What we call "Malet golf". With a hammer likewise stick, we hit a ball ( tennis ball big but hard ) to have it into a hole in a course. It's just like golf but we just make the ball run on the ground, not in the air. First time for me to try it today as a community recreation staff for this year.

Hayaokidori website

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Still active #2 - a cylindrical post vol.2

Found an antique post at Togakushi as well. Well, but something goes different from you know what?

Hayaokidori website

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Kiha 81 retiring day

The pioneer of DMU limited express train kiha81. Debut for "Hatsukari" which connected Ueno terminal in Tokyo to Aomori in 1960. After "Hatsukari" got EMU in 1968, this DMU was transfered as "Inaho" and "Hitachi" then finally "Kuroshio". Less than 20 years life.

Probably this design was affected by EMU 151 series control car at that time which connected Tokyo and Osaka before Shinkansen (bullet train) started providing their service.

Hayaokidori website

Monday, October 8, 2007

English L and R

Tough for Japanese to make difference on pronouncing them.
Found some You Tube clips which are great!




Hayaokidori website

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Harvesting herbs

As herbs started grwoing again as autumn had come. Have to harvest them as well as thining out.

Lemonthyme which has grown a lot.

Cut many branches enough to decrease its burden to survive winter.

Sometimes branches of thymes touch the sand in a pot, then some roots show up from joints there. If you cut the branch at the original root side, you can grow the new born roots as another pot by transplanting it. This sometimes happen for thymes, mints if you don't care for them enough lol.... :p

Sage harvested in our tiny farm. We hang sages and thymes in the shade to dry them out for latter cooking. We can harvest thyme anytime through the year, but if it's winter, it's not like fresh young ones like from spring through autumn as they grow slower in winter.

Hayaokidori website

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Wanna play?

Not sure if this dragonfly said it or not lol..... At this time of the year, they get really careless. I think my digital camera was almost only 5cms apart from the dragonfly, but it didn't go away. When I do something outside, many dragonflies show up and get close to me. They are curious about what I do. I talk to them

"Do I look so yummy?"
Also not sure if they say "Huh?" or not , but they incline their heads:-)

Hayaokidori website

Friday, October 5, 2007


There are many craft shops which sell some bamboo and cane stuff in Togakushi as well as soba restaurant. There used to be shops like this here and there in any towns in Japan in good old days though......

There are 3 shrines - Nakasha, Okusha and Hokosha in Togakushi.

Naka-sha is located very close to the soba restaurant "Gokui" I always pit in, the stone stairs are a bit tough to keep going :(

At the bottom of the stairs, there is a washbasin what we call "chouzu"

Correct way to use some water at the washbasin.
#1. Wash your left hand first.
#2. Wash your right hand.
#3. Catch some water by your left hand to wash your mouth, then wash your left hand again.

A warehouse besides the washbasin. Soba restaurant "Gokui" is just behind it.

Shinden - Sanctuary

Shrine office.

Komainu ( watchdogs at gates for shrines ) They have a kind of scary faces, so when I was a kid, I felt they were scary creatures.

3 big Japan oedar trees. Looks very tall.

It says the tallest one of the three is approximately 42 meters tall, but it looks a lot taller than that.

Back home via Nagano city by passing through this Togakushi bird line. A lot of birds from southern countries fly over here in summer to breed, you can hear them singing. Lovely place.

Hayaokidori website

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Soba season

Soba is one of traditional Japanese noodle. Harvested mainly in some cold regions like in Nagano. This pic left is what I had at "Gokui" soba noodle restaurant when I visited Togakushi back in May this year when I visited Kinasa to see skunk cabbage flowers ( Mizu basho in Japanese ).
Autumn is the harvest time for soba as well, it's fun to have some again soon.

p.s. Some people have very tough allergic to soba, you'd better know if you had the allergic to soba or not before you try. ( But wonder how.... )

Hayaokidori website

Monday, October 1, 2007

A new onsen debut in Hakuba - Obuya

Obuya onsen is now available, within 10 minutes walk from our place.

Huge barrels welcome you at the front.

There is an old traditional passenger carriage what we call "Kago" (Basket if translated) in the air. 2 men (Hikyaku) carried one holding the bar on their shoulders in old era when samurais brandished their swords :-) Very long ago, not available any more.

Doorways for onsen bath tubs. It was crowded when I visited there, so I didn't take pictures of bath tubs there that time. Obuya onsen is available from 10 a.m. through 10 p.m. (Reception 'til 9:30 p.m.) daily except Tuesdays as of October 1st 2007.

Exterior picture when it was still under construction.

Obuya web site (Japanese)

Hayaokidori website