The answer is: a metal box

This is the kind of small, smart answers Japanese find to trivial problems such as “HOW THE HELL CAN I STOP LOOSING THESE HAIR PINS?”
I bet most of you have had this moment where, two days after buying three packs of bobby pins, being late for a very important meeting, you find yourself looking in the corners of your house, under the pillows and in every drawer, for one pin to tame that rebellious strand of hair; but -no surprise- you cannot find it!!

While looking around in a hundred yen shop, I saw one of these metal boxes. I didn’t think much of it at first, especially with the colorful plastic package it came in. But I thought I’d give a try because you never have too many bobby pins (especially with hair like mine in humidity like the one in Japan), and mostly because they were made in Japan, out of curiosity as how different are the Japanese products.
Unpacked, these little boxes look just beautiful. They fit nicely in the small pocket of my bag and they don’t open easily to spill their content everywhere.
But most of all, they looked cute. Not Japanese cute (no offence to Japanese friends), just cute as in if they had a small brand sign engraved on a corner, I’m sure they’d sell nicely in a bigger shop for a higher price.


Between the paddy field and the river

paddy field

One thing I love about Japan is being able to enjoy nature everyday. I live between a river and a paddy field, far from the crowded streets and skyscrapers of the city center. So on weekends I can take long stroll on the river banks, watch the kids practice baseball and trains pass through every couple of minutes in the distance.
I love this peacefulness, being able to drink my tea on the grassy hills by the river, side by side with my better half. This is exactly the Japan I came looking for.
River-sideSilver river

Parmi les choses que j’aime le plus au Japon, c’est d’être au contact de la nature tous les jours. Je vis entre une rizière et une rivière, bien loin des rues encombrées et les gratte-ciel du centre ville. Cela fait que je peux passer mes week-ends au bord de la rivière à faire de longues balades, regarder les gosses courir après leurs balles de base-ball et les trains passer toutes les dix minutes au loin.
J’aime cet atmosphère paisible, pouvoir juste boire mon thé en regqrdqnt le coucher du soleil avec mon chéri. C’est exactement celà le Japon de mes rêves.

Playing by the river


Keep Calm
As I mentioned last time, I don’t really do new year resolutions. The main reason is that my personal working schedule doesn’t always fit the calendar. This year for example, I spent most of the holidays working in front of my computer.So all the new year feeling just hit me today.
I finally submitted a work that took almost four months of my life, all with sleepless nights, full working week ends and liters of black tea.
I handed my twenty seven pages of painfully squeezed combination of theory and data analysis, edited and re-edited, and then re-edited again until there was only the essence neatly presented; and then I was empty.
You know that lightweight you suddenly feel after a long term stress, a mixture of relief, a good deal of tiredness, a feeling of loss and a bit of anxiety (I was running through my mails and agenda looking for some appointment I might have forgotten about).
I had this big hole in my heart, so I got a lot of junk food to fill it.
Six hours later, here I am in front of my computer again, still trying to digest all the oil (no more Mc Donald’s for two months) and my brain is burning its neurons off building castles and launching projects in all directions.
So two deep breath, slow down, pour a nice cup of tea and let’s take a look at the last three years.
The good:
– My student life is over…yeay??
– Went from zero to a business level (theoretically) in the language I always wanted to learn: Japanese.
– I nailed the lemon tart
-…and made turkish manti, from scratch (winner dance)
– Got back to learning piano…14 years later.
The bad:
– I have no perspectives for the future whatsoever, except a guaranteed position of super-qualified housewife.
– My Japanese is good enough to graduate, but still way far from what it takes to get a decent job in Japan.
– I am no longer 20!!
– My physical activity is down to a two kilometers walk a day…on good days.
What’s to come:
– I could start a franchise of the real housewives of Japan, it might be dull though seen how Japanese tend to avoid drama.
– The job hunt is still on.
– Study more Japanese.
– Blog??
But for now I will just take time to smile upon that milestone and tomorrow is a new day.

Happy new year

I’ve never been good when it comes to setting new year resolutions, because there are just so many important dates that call for reflection and retrospection. At the top of my mind I can think about birthday, the end of the scholar year, the lunar new year (I’m serious, it is the beginning of the Hijri calendar for muslims) and Ramdan (the month of fast).
But new year has still a special flavor to it, and it is a very nice occasion to celebrate and connect with loved ones.
To everyone, Happy New Year!!