Wednesday, 23 February 2011

After the Festival...

In Japanese, there is an expression 'after a festival'. It's to describe a kind of emptiness and solitary after a big event. Would it be the same in English, maybe?

The other day, I saw hundreds of Chinese lanterns thrown on the ground in China Town.

I felt very much like after a festival...

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Because They Have No Bones

I bought a banana hanger recently.

Apparently, a banana hanger keeps bananas fresh for longer. When bananas are hung rather than placed on the surface, they get ripen naturally and evenly then last days longer.

I know I may be a shallow victim of marketing but we will see.

Monday, 21 February 2011

The Suspects

On the Sunday morning, somebody did ring our door.

I answered but no reply so I went down and had a look.

There was nobody around the door...apart from...

Did You??

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Coupe les poils du nez

I don't think I never saw any 'Hana-ge Cutter' when I was a child so I guess it should be relatively a recent invention. 'Hana' is nose and 'ge' is hair in Japanese so you can guess what it is?

I have happened to get 3 Hana-ge cutters in my life but none of them remained at me.

In Japan, it is a kind of joke prize for an office Christmas raffle and I have won a Hana-ge Cutter twice at those occasions.

First one was when I was still working in Tokyo so it immediately went to my male boss at the time, and he was so pleased to have it, good good.

Second one was when I was working for a Japanese publisher in London and it went to my husband immediately and he was quite happy to have it, good good.

After a couple of years, I accidentally dropped my husband's Hana-ge cutter on the bathroom floor. That was it. It's gone quiet forever.

Yes, it was my fault, I admit that. So when I was back in Tokyo, I went to an electric gadget shop to buy a new Hana-ge Cutter for my husband.

There were about 20 different kinds of very similar Hana-ge cutters lined up, but something strange was going on there.

Only 4 out of those 20 were actually named 'Hana-ge Cutter' properly and rest of them was labeled 'Nose Hair Trimmer' in English!! Produced by Japanese manufactures for Japanese customers, but why English? What's wrong about Hana-ge Cutter?

I felt angry about this pretentiousness. It's like selling them labeled 'Coupe les poils du nez' in Harrods London...well, thanks for Google Translation.

Anyway, to protest this pretentiousness, of course, I refused to buy anything labeled 'Nose Hair Trimmer' and did choose one from this limited range of 'Hana-ge Cutters'.

So that was the 3rd one.

Now, my fear is that Hana-ge cutter may not survive for long. They are definitely facing extinction.

Friday, 18 February 2011

New little friends

Niboshi is dried anchovy in Japanese. It is one of the authentic ingredient to make fish stock in Japan.

And in fact it is not bad to eat as it is, too. Because of its rich calcium, it is recommended especially for children and pregnant women to eat them regularly.

I started eating them since I got into serious calorie watch after my trip to Japan for this New Year. You never dream how shocking it was for me to find out I was nearly 20kg heavier than I was when I came to London in 1995.

So now I have given up all chocies and biscuies, instead, these new friends came into my life, oh welcome!

BTW can you tell there is a little rebellion going on in my little friends in the top pic?

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Yes, I want a pocket tissue.

When I was in Japan, I never bought pocket tissues.

Pocket tissues were not something you buy but something you were given in a street. They are used as advertising boards just like match boxes 30 years ago.

When I was an university student, I even once did the job, handing out pocket tissues on the street.

We were gathered at Kayaba-cho, Tokyo's biggest financial town, at 6.30 in the morning (!) and instructed who we should give those tissues to and who we should not. On the each package, there was an advert of a major trust bank.

Quite obviously we had to give those away to 'MEN WHO LOOK LIKE WORKING IN THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY' not middle aged women carrying Chinese radishes or leeks sticking out from their shopping bag. So we did, we did give those tissues to men in business suits and did not give them to women unless we were asked for.

OK, tissues have to be passed their target, their potential customers/clients rather than somebody who need them for hay fever. I know, I understand that.

But I feel a little bit left out nowadays since I am not given any tissues any more when I am back in Tokyo. I have to admit that tissues are not around as much as they used be before the recession in late 90s. However, there are still a few about telephone clubs, travel agencies, pachinco shops etc.

Somehow, people can tell I am not their target any more, even though, I do not carry around Chinese radishes or leeks sticking out from my shopping bag. Maybe, I don't look young enough, not pretty enough, not gullible enough, or maybe I don't look Japanese enough!?

Anyway, I still enjoy the privilege of receiving a pocket tissue at a post office counter or till in a shop where it can not be any clearer that I am their customer. Good.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011


Do you know how to find out how many segments you will have in your orange before peeling the skin...

Just count this bits here...

I was fascinated to find it when I was a little child.

Just a little tip to get your kids eat more fruits...

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

L for...

The tulips I bought MYSELF for Valentine's Day are now slightly open.

Apparently, I like flowers witch contains letter 'L' in the names.

Tulips, lilies, daffodils, bluebells, dahlias, lavenders, marigold, alliums, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. etc...

Monday, 14 February 2011

Precious Circle

I never had any desire to buy expensive stationary till I got this beautiful Smythson notebook. It was given by Selfridges Press team when I worked with them.

On the yellow front cover it says 'NOTE TO SELF' and on the back cover there is also silver lines 'MADE EXCLUSIVELY FOR SELFRIDFEES'. Isn't it witty?

As I started carrying around this notebook, I came to feel my cheap and cheerful old pen looks so shabby next to this shinny notebook.

So I went to a department store, first time ever in my life to have a look at pens delicately lined up in a glass display! Then it was so easy to fall in love with this Cross pen. It seemed to be a perfect marriage with the notebook, too.

I was so happy to carry them in my bag wherever I went.

But then, I couldn't help remembering I once had a beautiful Tiffany pen long time ago. It was a delicate slim silver plated pen given by one of our clients. I loved the pen and had it always in my bag. However, silver is not known as a strongest material.

The pen got so many scratches, got dented, got rusted and finally lost....


So this is it. I bought this pink leather Cross case matching my pen.

I am perfectly happy now about the new stationary set in my old shabby shopping bag, honestly.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Valentine's Eve

Just popped around Columbia Road and bought Dutch tulips.

40 of them for a tenner, how good!

I also got a beautiful Rob Ryan book.

Aren't they perfect Valentine gift for myself? Happy!