Yoshizen's Blog

Judas Tree

If you are familiar with a flower of Sweet Pea kind, you might noticed that this is the same group.  Yes, this plant belongs to the group, used to be called Leguminosae.  Yes, Legume = Beans.   And among the Leguminosae, she must be having the funniest story. 

This tree said to be originated from middle east, Judea country, hence its name.  But the other story was that, this is the tree of which Juda of Iscariot hanged himself, hence it was named so.  Yet, others say, because the tree’s seed pod dangling from the tree trunk, which resembling a hanging body, hence the name.  —– In that case, when the body of Juda was dangled from the tree, people found the similarity ?   Waite a moment, the seed pod of the tree has been dangling from the tree even before the human being inhabited the area, let alone Juda himself. —– M m m ! ?   Which came first ?     

Even more funnier story was that this tree was registered by the Israel Government as a protected species.   It seems, their Government was anxious to keep enough number of tree for their population, when they need.  

What a poor tree.   Isn’t there anything better to hang ? 

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All mighty Good

 It said to be 500 years since Martin Ruther cause a revolution in the history of Christianity.  In the time of authoritarian Catholic, Martin Ruther started to preach, to communicate with the God in the common language, not in Latin.  (Obviously, even all mighty God didn’t have a multi lingual capability then !)

In the 13th century when western Christian mission arrived to Japan, they found that the Japan was the most awkward place to preach. — Japanese asked to those missionaries “If your God was such all mighty, why he couldn’t come here by himself while speaking in Japanese ?”  Of course, those western monks couldn’t answer the question. = So, they failed to convert Japan into Christianity and failed to make it into a colony, so even now, the Christian population in Japan is only about 1%. (Though, I’m not sure this figure include Muni as a part of Christian population.)

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Japanese Pickles 漬物

pickles1-a09a7167Again here, there is a fundamental difference of the idea between east and west.  Western people think the pickles is in the vinegar though Japanese think pickles is the name only for western food pickled in the vinegar.  Because Japanese makes the vegetable preserve in totally different way and the taste completely different.  Japanese calls them Tsukemono /漬物  (Funny thing is there are certain food pickled in the vinegar exists in Japan though they were called Suzuke / 醋漬, not in the western name pickles.   😀 )  As in the winter, we can see the vegetable called “Hakusai”/ 白菜(Chinese calls Bak-choi / 白菜) Chinese Cabbage.  And it is the time for me to make a Hakusai-zuke (pickled (?) Chinese Cabbage) —– This must be the second simplest cooking after a grilled fish. (simply give a bite to a fruits may not be a cooking = just a way to eat.  = it is not in a count.   🙂 )  So, how to make Hakusai-zuke ? 

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(Put the leaves into a bucket in layers and cover them with a suitable size of a dish.)

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(And put a soup bawl kind to have a space = because the leaves will sink under the pressure, while the water is coming out and rise.  I cover whole bucket with a plastic bag and put a heavy weight from outside.  I used an electric transformer as a weight.)

Put it in a bucket with the sprinkle of salt and keep it under a pressure of a heavy weight 5~7 days.  (With a pressure, the air was pushed out, so the anaerobic fermentation takes place.)   That’s all. 

pickles4-a09a7180With the vegetable’s own enzyme and the common bacteria, it would be naturally fermented and change the taste.  How much the amount of salt is not very critical.  In Japan the salt content of the vegetable Tsuke-mono said to be dropped from 15% to less than 5% in the past 50 years or so = So, it can be one shake of salt for every few layers of leaves. (If you want a stronger taste, you can put a drop or two soy-source or chili kind when you eat.) And how heavy the weight should be = somewhat 2~3 Kg = fill the water to an empty milk bottle or a kind and use it. (I’ve been using an electric transformer.  🙂  ) 

(I’ve put the pickling bucket into the other room where no central heating and leave the bucket for 5~6 days.)  (Photo left) — It seems, the Tsukemono made in the Winter is the best.  (Low temperature might keep the bad bacteria out.)  When I was a keeper of a mountain shelter, we made 5 binful Blacken  (Warabi) Tsukemono in the early summer and the same amount of local vegetable (Nozawa-na / 野沢菜) in November to accompany the meal for the guests.  It was a mountain of tsukemono !

Of course, there could be many variation which you can have a fun such as to put a hot chili sauce or the other vegetables etc.  Chinese people makes it with a lots of salt and they can be kept many years as really a preserved vegetable, called Tou-chai / 冬菜 and it must be the origin which came to Japan with Zen Buddhist.  (Yet, on the historical record,  Japanese has been making pickled vegetables 1000 years ago and there are hundreds of different style of Tskemono there.  Still, the basic idea is the same = use the effect of the natural bacteria’s fermentation to create distinctive flavor to the vegetable. (Though, may not necessary to make a good preserve because, it got only few days for the best eat and after it, it became to “Over pickled” taste became too sour, the color too brownish etc. — Yet, my guess is, when people found that the old natural fermentation become sour = why not use the vinegar from the beginning for the sake of consistency and the longer shelf life of the product. — this might be the start of the Pickles in vineger. )

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(After 5~7 days, when the Hakusai-zuke was ready to eat, I shredded it and put into a jar while mixing with additional Chinese hot chilli sauce.  Since the pickled Hakusai is conveniently in a jar, it is easy to serve onto the rice.)  M m m,  Yummy !

For Japanese, the Tsuke-mono is a way of cooking —– to make it for long preserve, there are many different way such as pickled in a salty miso or use Sake etc.  The amazing difference in the western pickles is, that their taste was designed = what type of vinegar, what is the additional ingredient such as Junipers, dill seeds etc. and it almost symbolizes the fundamental difference between Judea Christianity and the Buddhism.  The one try to make the taste by their own idea, and the other see what the nature can make and follows it.  (It must be a very interesting point there, why the west didn’t start anaerobic fermentation of the vegetable, while having such as the wine making alongside.)    I haven’t tasted it though, there said to be the Zen Tsuke-mono made in the temple which is in the original Chinese style (much salty) — but to make it more acceptable mild taste, a Zen master, Takuan / 沢庵 said to have invented the use of rice bran with salt = it became the “Takuan Zuke” = which made his name as big as Ikkyu / 一休 on the history !  Since then, in most of the case, the tsukemono mean pickled in the salty rice bran — but it is so awkward to keep and smelly = it is the house wives’ nightmare.

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(Yet the matter of fermentation is a combination of the bacteria = So, with a help of modern chemistry, the convenient short-cut was invented !

—–> Now people can make Tsuke-mono conveniently in a glass jar.  —  magic bullet was given to me from the friends though I haven’t tested it yet = if you like to try, it called “Nuka-yorokobi” from a Japanese food shop.)   Good luck and enjoy a taste.   😀

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Lost in Translation

There are quite few Japanese words notoriously difficult to translate into western language. 

Such as  Itadaki-masu (いただきます), Okage-sama (おかげさま), Mottai-nai(もったいない)、and abave all  Wabi, Sabi. (わび) (さび)

Why those words were difficult to translate, was because of that the one’s fundamental conscious to exists were completely different in the west.   Some said that because of the difference between the Christianity and the Buddhism.  But, to my eyes, the cause was much deeper = because of the fundamental difference, the westerner invented God, but the people in the east IS living under the Heaven since the beginning of the time. (so that, even Buddhism adapted the Dharma / Rule of the Universe)  And in the Shinto, (of which Japanese unconsciously follows) naturally follow the Rule of Nature which is almost the same to Dharma though sublimated much deeper down to the almost chemical level.  (That’s why Japanese doesn’t touch other’s possession and wash or clean the hand almost obsessively = so that, they were reluctant to shake hand, let alone kissing others, because they were prohibited to touch filth by the Shinto. —– hence, wearing surgical mask to avoid to breath other’s germ. = some of them even don’t eat a rice ball made by others hand.) 

In the same time, since the Japanese has the deep awareness that they “were Made to exists” by the Heaven, Rules, Dharma what so ever called, when they start to eat, they have to say Itadaki-masu = I gratefully receive this given food and thanks to the food (material itself) who gave their lives to me as well = Japanese are well aware that they are killing the Potato, Beans etc boiled alive.  Likewise, the word Okage-sama meant the thanks not only to the person who gave a kindness to him but also grateful to the Heaven who arrange the meeting. = This is the word to express absolute humbleness. = conscious toward the “Given Life” and thanks to its fate.  And the word Mottai-nai meant “Feel shame to waste the precious resources which has been given to us“.

=== It’s easy to see the point, that the fate of the rice glowing society was governed by the sun and rain = nature, not by a strong hunting, fighting individual. (The western God was conceived as an ancient Hero ascended to the heaven (A legend became myth, then to a religion) = therefore speak same language, and negotiable with a bribe = how humanistic !    😀 )

In contrast to the east, the western’s Ego justify his existence “As a rightful owner of my life”  and have a right to kill and eat, because they were made to be eaten. = thus feel no sorry to a butchered chicken.  Such fundamental difference between arrogant Ego and passive Humbleness couldn’t have the same kind of sentiment, the psych which is the base of each word. = therefore no compatible word could exist.   No wonder a trouble in translation.

I’ll explain the words Wabi and Sabi on the next post with sample photos. 

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Fortnum and Mason (+ other)

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It seems this is the only a post looks like a festive season.  If you are celebrating, enjoy it.  

Merry Merry something !

(The lens used were Homemade Mag lens on Sony A7R)

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Takumi (2)

A guy asked me “So, you say the supreme quality component

could be made by the empty-headed robot ?”

“No, that is not true — I needed to explain more”.

The matter of the use of tool in Mushin is the last stage of

the production. Other issue there (if any) has to be resolved

before hand.

—– There is the fundamental difference of the worker’s

mind-set in Japan.    Western or westernised society, the

people has individualistic mind even on a factory floor,

and in the same time the ways to work in the production

was fixed by the manager down to the small details.

So that the worker’s mind was “Just do what was told and

anything beyond the instruction is not MY business = I only

need to mind my own interest”.

But Japanese worker takes his/her work as a part of his life.

He feels the responsibility and the pride in it.

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—– Even on a fully computerised automated CNC machine,

such as the change of the cutting bits and its maintenance

affect the final quality.    And the person working with it

everyday could see the difference but how to deal with this

matter wouldn’t be the same in Japan and the west.

In the west, the worker there may ignore as it is not his

responsibility or just report it to a technical staff.

But in Japan, the person working with it and changing

the cutting bits can give a very deep observation and try

a minute adjustment.   Or, the person working with the

machine many years may have discovered the tendency of the

production, such as the weather condition affect the quality 

= and may have found even a measure to compensate it.

As I said, the Japanese worker has the attachment to the work

= even if it may not as heavy as a “Sense of Duty” still keeps

an eye to the work and able to see what is going on.

And the crucial point IS their mind can see the difference

and conceive “What could be done” because they could see

what would make the work/result better. (Same as Kaizen)

(By the way, I got a Degree in Industrial Sociology and a work

experience in Honda while working with 1000 ton press.)

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In Zen Buddhism, this mind-set was called Mindfulness.

(though, this word is the most misunderstood word in the west.

— western people think “Mindfulness is the concentration of

the mind” but in Zen, it is the completely open mind without any

other notion but see the work on front of the eyes. = It’s mean 

when you ARE working with the machine, see that work.  

When you ARE walking, let your body WALK = DON’T think about

the work while you ARE  WALKING. 

— And see you ARE Walking but DON’T think how to walk.  😀  

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In Judaeo-Christianity, the followers await the salvation = go to

the Heaven “after the death”.

But the Buddhists hope to reach Enlightenment = get Enlightened

while we live.

Lord Buddha’s teachings was “when you die, it’s the end”

—– so, while we ARE still alive we have to come close to the

Enlightenment as close as possible.  

Therefore, Zen is the way to DO the best, to achieve the best. 

This IS the mind-set of the Zen and this mind-set has been deeply

sublimated to the Japanese  = If you work with CNC machine,

achieve its best.    If you make sword, make strongest sword.

If you are a sword-master be the strongest killer. — and to be

the strongest sword-master, don’t think but JUST  KILL.

—– So, this mind-set IS the mind-set of the TAKUMI and

no wonder why the Japanese Takumi could achieve to produce

the component no one else could.

(Now you might be realised that was why no routing after the

disaster in Japan and having the least crime rate in the world.)

Have look the lotus flower, it IS flowering out of muddy

water NOW = it’s no use, to dream a promise in the heaven.

We have to live best, NOW in this moment.

___/\___

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Selfridge’s Xmas decoration for 2014 (it was)

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I know, it was a bit (very) slow to upload.  Still, they are the 2014 annual Xmas  

decoration of the Selfridge.  As expected, Oxford Street was very noisy and vibrant.  

—– those Steel band musician were the first people I saw wearing Santa’s

costume on this year.  (As people fed-up, it must be out of fashion.)

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Selfridge put an explanation of the concept / story though, — ? ? ? who read it ?

So, I have no idea what about those decoration meant.  😀

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And those decorations are quite mysterious and bizarre.   😀

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Last one of those circular image was not by fisheye lens.  

It was a reflection of me on a mirror ball.  🙂

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I guess, you opened all the presents received. (did you ?)

What ever, enjoy a holiday.

(The lens used were, Canon EF Fisheye Zoom 8-15mm F2.8 , EF Zoom 24-70mm F2.8

on Canon 5D Mk-III )

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Passionflower

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This flower was called  Tokei-sow, 時計草 (Clock Flower) in Japan though,

I never seen it in there but first did in  Canary Island when I was over 30.  

First time when I saw a picture of this flower, I was in my Junior school,

and it was in an article of magazine about the strange plants in the world 

such as Rafflesia, Farrus Titanium, Giant Lotus (Floating leaves) etc etc.   

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Not only it’s Japanese name was really  convincing,  but also it’s structure

fascinated me so much. —– why a flower needs to have such style like a Clock.

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The flower looks pretty complicated, and where to hide a honey

seems complicated too.  = a Bee needed to lick all-over ! 

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Naive minded young people might have mistaken the name Passion Flower

= Passion for Hot Love kind though, the truth was,  it was named after rather grisly

Crown of  Thorn of Jesus on the Cross. That “Passion” named by Spanish missionary.

(And they tricked the indigenous people, “Look, Evidence of God is here” 😀 )

In this aspect, Japanese name sound more harmless.  —– With a kind of curiosity,

I wondered,  how on earth,  who designed a flower like this, or evolved from where ?

— I looked around the related plant, though,  this plant occupying it’s own species

and has no sister or first cousin.  —– ? ? ?     Utterly Fascinating !

—–

PS :  The Photos by  “Two Elements Homemade Lens” on Canon 5D Mk-III

(I’m amazed by the capability of this lens —– Nice macro too.  😀 )

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Spiritual Deptford

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In the east London, whether it is north or south of the Thames, the

churches there is quite big and well built. It is the luminescence of how

the area used to be rich with its industry and the people working there.

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Of cause, the east London was the Dockland =  

center of the ship building and the sea trade.

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But I guess, the Anglican Church, such as in the top photo may not having

so many attendance now, still the “Cathedral” photo above may attracting

a lots of worshippers. (I didn’t ask which sect —– may be Evangelistic.)

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So, it seems this town is having a quite fanatic followers of

the Christian persuasion. 

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M m m m ?

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I’m not necessary convinced that the spirit was made buy glittering

plastic though, it is not my business or the matter I should go into. 

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—– I rather feel, this Deptford Creek must have seen and seeing

the change of the time and carried a scum of human life away,

for hundreds, thousands of the years

—– this is my spiritual response to this town.

___/\___

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Greenwich Park again — Red Deer

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Greenwich Park has a Red Deer enclosure in their south eastern

corner = closer to the back gate.

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Unlike its northern part, closer to the Thames , where Royal Naval College,

Royal Observatory are attracting the numerous visitors, its southern part

maintains more natural environment = small pond, dense rhododendron

bush etc etc and naturally we can see many birds, even red deer.

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South of the park is the Black Heath area.  Heath mean, the land covered by

the Heather plant. (Well, in the old days.)   Heather is a Elicaseae plant and a

cousin of Rhododendron ! (You believe or not  😀 ) ( Heath looks like this !)

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And where ever a natural reserve and a pond, the Birds gathers.  —– and

where ever the Birds gathers, Human forks / Kids coming to feed them.  🙂

(It’s a well established custom of the modern society)

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Not so many people thinks to make them a roast duck.  🙂

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——– (Photos were taken by Tamron 500 mm SP F8 Mirror lens)

 I was really fascinated by (1) the quality of this 40 years old lens and

(2) how the birds can keep their feather dry ! 

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So, the Red Deere here are not for Venison !

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Photo above, left was a view of 15 mm lens and in its center, a

white-dot was a Wood Pigeon = photo Right, shot by 800 mm lens. 

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The building with clock tower is a very historic old School. (So, I heard )

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Sound very dashing but looks pretty miserable building = Trident Hall.

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This one is really the Pride of England or its past glory !

Old Royal Naval College.

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(The photo Center is the Trinity Hospital. Photo Right, Cutty Sark Ship)

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Camera used was Canon 5D Mk3,  Pentax 15 mm F3.5,

Tamron SP 500 mm F8 Mirror lens,  800 mm Mirror Lens ??? make. 

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