Yoshizen's Blog

Deeper into the Zen

Some of you, the keen followers might be wondering what this man is  talking about ?   And what would it to do with Zen ?

—– The fundamental question is, “If the Zen is to deal with the life in the absolutely empty mind =  in Mushin, (completely dispassionate, almost like a machine) —– Hey stop joking, which part of the brain is actuary handling it ? ”  (If somewhere the brain IS handling = with the intention to handle it, IS not Mushin but just not aware what he is doing, it’s a fraud ! )

How I came to here, you may find how our condition of the Guts (and the chemicals of its bacteria, parasites) influencing our “Feeling = Heart = Mind = ultimately the way of thinking”   We are not really in control. (Since this blog IS the live description of the DIY Zen research, I need to see the mechanism what makes the Zen as Zen —– in fact what IS so-called Zen ? = if any at all ?)

Now you must be convinced, that the so-called Zen teaching in the town IS fraud. Zen couldn’t be learned or taught, while saying Zen.  As long as the notion of Zen in mind, even if it was hidden in the deepest unconsciousness.  It IS not Zen.  I’ll show you “The legend = the Archer who try to reach Zen while learning Archery in Japan” in the next post. (If you like to start ahead, find a book and read it before hand = Zen in the Art of Archery : by Eugen Herrigel —– It’s a small book = 100 pages or so in a Penguin books)

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PS : I’ll explain you, my utterly strange Lens Making Game.  Do you think is there any complicated theory or creative notion ? —– Non at all.  It was the same process of the cutting a lemon.   In other word, a kind of work of Just Do It with a material I found then —– Imagine, do you think would it be any sophisticated philosophy or scientific theory behind ? = far from it, cutting minute depth of metal barrel to match the focus = IS the ZEN.  (I don’t have a skin thick enough to have a pretense to show-off “Copy the mantra” kind)   😀

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Cherry Cherry – 2018

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Since I put the photo of the first cherry, it’s already 3 weeks past.  They are still in full bloom though, the flowers started falling. The end of Somei-yoshino season.   (Then Multi petals cherry is coming.)

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So, this year’s Cherry pictures were made by “Helicoid-B” lens.  (One of the worst reputed lens ! = therefore in these days I’ve been using the most.   😀 )

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Without me shake even a single finger, the picture became almost trembled. ( = The technique to produce the paintary effect in the most economical way !     😀 )

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(Only the problem was that the image in the finder was too fuzzy to see the focus.)

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So, those two (three) photos were taken by a kind of normal lens = Tamron SP 500 mm Mirror lens. —— Somebody teased me saying “Can’t you take normal picture ?” “I leave that kind of business to the Phone camera user, otherwise no point for me to use bulky interchangeable lens camera”   😀

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Though, the Tamron gave me too pale color.  (May be I need to use Photoshop kind though, that’s what I hate most.)

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Origami

I found a blog post showing the photos from the Origami exhibition of ICOA (International Collegiate Origami Association) = Those Origami exhibits were created by the Uni’ students, the members of each Origami club.   I show you one of a jaw dropping work, may be a typical Japanese Art of dedication which said to have 4~5 years of preparation and 3 weeks to make.  You believe or not, this figure of Hi-school girl was made by just a single square blue paper which got white back, without a use of scissors. 

Origami-5-001If you can’t believe, try make the same, following the draft / pattern here by yourself. (The same one would be made but, be prepared to spend few weeks of intense work) —– may be better start with simpler practice —> you may find a lots of Youtube instruction by Googling “Origami”. = I saw some of them but soon gave up.   😀

 

The original blog ( you need to read Japanese though the photos of those Origami works are worth visiting) :nlab.itmedia.co.jp/nl/articles/1708/16/news095.html#l hoico 170816jkori02.jpg

In there you may find the ICOA info’ as well. (or, you can Google in English)

They ARE in deed the work of incredible concentration and the dedication —– might be something common with other Japanese craft though, I couldn’t figure out how the creator could foresee / plan the process = (to see the “would be shape” beforehand —

Or lots of try and error ? — then the pattern of outcome would be accumulated (so-called experience) then, further advanced variation could be tried out — and so on, —– Or, is it the same to see the effect 10, 100 moves ahead on the Go, Chess, Shorgi game ?  And the same to forecast the effects of economical / financial move ?  (They ARE all follow the rational logic = to forecast the result may be the matter of the accumulated patterns = memory power / intelligence —– is it ? 

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Lens Comparison (2)

Z-18mmThis photo — by the Zeiss 18mm F3.5 on Nikon D850 / ISO 800, 250th Sec —– (All the photos in this post were cropped only in its hight, and the width were kept as its original to show the relative angle of view of each lens —– for example, after the widest 18mm, next wide image was shown here by the Fun lens, which was originally an one-time use panorama camera and the viewing angle was the 35mm equivalent of 27mm lens.)

Seeing the same old sky, I took the picture of the same, with many different lenses —– and made more or less the same images.  😀

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Still, they are only a half of my homemade lens stocks.  (It’s annoyed myself a bit) 😀

Helic-BThe first of this operation was, the Helicoid (B) with a setting of ISO100, 650th Sec —– since this lens has the brightness about fully open F2.2,and 2.2 only = no iris = needed to use lower ISO.

FunBy the so-called Fun Lens / ISO 100, 15th

Helic-ABy the Helicoid (A) / ISO 100, 320th

G9By the G9 lens / ISO 100, 1250th

DD-PinBy the Double Density Pinhole / ISO 6400, 250th

G10By the G10 lens / ISO 50, 640th

MagBy the Mag lens / ISO 50, 650th

Son-30mmBy the Sony 30mm F3.5 / ISO 50, 500th —– I can not stop thinking, what this “sharper” image can give us, more than the other fuzzy images ?

SZ-55mmBy the Sony/Zeiss 55mm F1.8 / ISO 50, 2000th (It seems something wrong with this lens’ focus = even with manual setting, the lens moves away when the shutter was pressed = may be that’s why it was offered so cheap. (and lots of them in the Ebay)   😀 

Koda-Red100 years old Kodak lens (equivalent of 175mm F10 / ISO 400, 500th —– as a 175mm telephoto lens, the image was quite good, especially considering that the lens consists only symmetric 2 glasses, that’s all ! )

Koda-FunBy the Koda-Fun lens / ISO 50, 4000th

SZoomBy the SZ lens / ISO 50, 1250th

OmuniBy the so-called Omuni (focus)lens / ISO 50, 1250th

More or less the same fuzzy images though, still got each character.  It’s not too bad to play with those lenses.  (Anyhow, they didn’t cost me much — still gave me a lots of fun)

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Dance Dance Dance !

May be because I’ve clicked the Spanish Flamenco or Japanese Awa-odori dance kind before, time to time, Youtube send me the dance viz —– so, I’ve encountered those amazing dance viz.

In this viz above, the first group was Doushisha-Kouri Hi’ and the second group was Osaka Tomioka-Hi’ —— Yes, they are all Hi-school girls.  First group was performing the dance,  titled “Black Rose” in black costume.  Then the second group was dancing in the 80s Disco style.  Those two were the top of the many hundreds of the entries of Japanese Hi-school Dance Club Annual Competition.  Lots of the club members may never dance before = It’s mean, to train the members in Three years to this level must be nothing but a phenomenon. — (A story behind told, that they practiced up to Nine hours a day ! —– Some comments to the viz described “like a Ninja” = Yes, Ninja was created in the same way = They were all under the same Japanese Zen Culture !)

Despite Tomioka got only second in last (2017)  year’s National Competition, once their viz, “Babbly Dance” was uploaded on to Youtube, it spread through SNS, they received 30 million hit and created a hype in Japan. ( So, they were invited to dance at “New year’s Eve National Song Fest/ 紅白歌合戦 on NHK” = for the hi-school girls to appear such National fest was the exceptional honour)

I admire the intensity and the speed of their body movement, though I wouldn’t dance in that way.   They dance very physical though, their movement was a staged, visually choreographed style for show = not follow a natural body dynamics.   It’s mean, if they were pushed while dancing, they will be easily toppled.  I took the basic body movement from the ski = if we lose the balance on ski, we will fly in the air and land 10 Ms away.    So, I’ll keep the center of the movement always in the symmetry to the center of gravity (so that I can hit or give a kick in any moment without losing the body balance as the body itself having the counter balance.)

One girl was saying, “Don’t think. Just keep doing until the body start to move automatically” = this words were the same as what I’ve been writing here, “Don’t think = Mushin” is the key in the Zen practice.  When their body start to move automatically, the ill-balanced artificially choreographed movement would be smoothed out.  I think, while doing such intense training, those girls would gain much more important “Natural dynamism of the body” which will be the key for their happy, healthy life for whole life.  Well done girls.

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Tsukudani 佃煮 or Tsukemono 漬物? (Japanese Taste)

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(Photo left, the sliced gherkins mixed with seasning has been heated for 5 min’ in a Microwave —– when it’s cooled down, keep in a jar in a fridge = ready to eat.)

Instead to have a Cooky or Chocolate kind, I often make and keep some boiled vegetable for a small snack.   But when its run-out, —– Isn’t there something a bit more convenient to pick ?   For western people, it might be a Marmite on cracker or piece of bread = and, you may say  “Japanese can do it with Miso (Soybean paste) on Cracker” —- M m m ?   Sound dreadful = I don’t think so. = So, what Japanese would pick ?  — Rice Cracker (O-senbei) ?    

Then gave a thought “What is THE easiest pick to eat with boiled rice ? ” —– may be for a Japanese, it would be a Tsukudani or Tsukemono kind which we can regularly keep in a fridge.  (There are hundred kind of Tsukudani in Japan = cooked small sea food, sea weed, vegetable, even a long boiled larvae of Hornet wasp or Grasshopper etc etc)  (I found some of those in a Japanese food shop but sold in an extortionate price in small plastic package or in a jar.)   So, I got an idea, why not make it myself ? —– Make it but as usual, with a cheated quickest way. 

One of the easiest approach is, to use the readily available pickled gherkin. (There is or was a packed pickles / Tsukudani called Kyuri no Kyu-chan = cooked cucumber and one of the easiest accompaniment for the boiled rice.)

Tsukudani(1)-A09A7527In order to make Kyu-chan like cooking, pickled gherkin was thinly sliced and excess juice were squeezed out.  Then, Dashi-no-moto (mostly powdered fish), soy-source, a squeeze of wasabi paste, a bit of Mirin (Japanese cooking spirits — in stead, sherry or rum can be used) and a bit of sugar then all of them should well be mixed —– in this stage, if you like crunchy bite, this is the all, — but if you like well infused taste, with a bit soft cucumber, you can micro-wave them (Mid~High 5 min’) then put them into a jar (kept in a fridge, I found no problem for 2 weeks) = ready to eat any time — also good on a bread.   いただきます。 Bon appetite !   🙂

PS :  What I found in this extremely minimalist cooking was that because there wasn’t any complication of taste, we can taste the taste of the rice itself. —– strangely, we can’t just taste the rice, because the mouth just fed-up.   😀

Tea Ceremony — 茶の湯、侘び助

In relation to the Sazanka post, I was looking around the Camellia flower items in the Wiki.    There are many funny stories about a mystical rare variety of the Camellia called Wabi-suke.  

You may vaguely know about Japanese Tea Ceremony — how it was refined and sophisticated etc and saw many photos of the Tea bowl, Tea room and its garden, though you may not having any idea, who actually taking part of those gatherings in the time of Samurai era.

—– In reality, if you imagine a kind of political, financial salon or a gentleman’s club = it must be the closest.  The Tea master, who host the ceremony, was THE power dealer who pull the string.    The higher the reputation of the Tea master, the guest or friend is high in the power.  The Load of the country could meet the other lord in a completely isolated, safe environment such as a Tea hut in a temple.  (Anybody go into the room has to take off their sword and kneeling into the small room.)  Tea master arranged the meeting in the certain intention.  So, an alliance deal could be made or needy War Lord could meet rich merchant and able to borrow lots of gold for a war operation etc etc.

Wabi ChawanNaturally, there was an ugly battle between the Tea masters “Who is the most prominent”.   So, to have more valuable Tea bowl in “Wabi” became a stiff competition. = Who could offer the highest price for a bowl, kind of the battle of vanity.  (Photo above must be the most typical Wabi bowl = Left made by Koetsu)

—– then, a new variety of Camellia, which doesn’t fully open its small flower was introduced into the cercle.  The flower got instant hype “This flower shows really reserved humble face.  This is THE flower to be seen in the supreme tea place”.  The particular flower was named “Wabi-suke”.  Imagine, if the Lord was greeted by a bunch of flower worth hundred of gold — guess, its impact. 

So, the shady battle to get hold the flower was fought among the Tea masters which involved even fraudulent flower growers who try to trick with sham branch while asking huge money.  (Think, the Black Tulip hype in the 18C Europe = when the big money involved, it creates crazy hype.) —— The trouble was that the “Wabi-suke” was not an established variety, (even worse, the definition was rather vague, such as “Smaller” and “Flower wouldn’t be fully opened” kind = such flower could be just a result of a malnutrition or lack of water, and similar flower could be produced by a temporary hybrid — but no flower next year or so on !) —– So, even today, some says “I believe this is “Wabi-suke” but others sees not or “My one is Wabi-suke” but others doesn’t agree —– People could see every DNA of the “reputedly” or “claimed to be” Wabi-suke though, no-one is shure which one is true Wabi-suke.   It’s so dubious and funny.)   😀

(Now you must become aware, Tea Ceremony, Tea Masters are not necessary peaceful decent kind. — could have been a center of conspiracy.   In real histories, the association of War load (even Shogun) and the Tea master, Zen monk as an Adviser or Strategist were well-known.)    😀  

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Sazanka / 山茶花 (Sazanqua ?)

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As a garden plant, Camilia Sazanka is a rather popular one.   She open the flower earlier than the real Camilia (Camilia japonica / Tsubaki / 椿).   But, as its name Sazanka (山茶花) suggests, it got rather funny story behind.   Camilia family is not a big family and the members share the character closely.   As one of the prominent member, Camilia sinencis (or Camilia Cha = Tea) can make tea, so does the other Camilia. (as, I heard though I haven’t tasted such tea ever.   😀 ) And the real Camilia = Camilia japonica is famous of its seed oil (Tsubaki oil / 椿油) the other member can produce the good oil too —– my guess is, that when the selling point is “Genuine Tsbaki” other oil might be used only to dilute and bulk-up the genuine one.    The name Sazanka (山茶花) seems exposing such kind of story.

The writing of its name Sazanka mean Mountain Tea Flower = regarded to be a tea but, branded to be the second class.  The funniest part of the story was in its reading of the name. = Mountain/山 Tea/茶 Flower/花 should be read San Cha Ka or San Sa Ka.  Though, even in its earliest stage after she was named, she has been called Sazanka.  The reason must be its better sound. (Sazanka sound nicer than Sanchaka !) —– Yet still, nobody thought to change its writing to/茶 山花.   Japanese is very fussy about those writing but in the same time they likes the relaxed joke as well.  (Reading Kanji correctly, you got to know it beforehand.)

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Japanese reading (of Kanji 漢字)

It’s no doubt, the hardest part to learn Japanese is in the reading of Kanji 漢字(so-called Chinese character, Japanese got other types of characters, Hiragana ひらがな and Katakana カタカナ as well). Reading of particular Kanji in its particular case may differ from the other.   It may be originated from the ancient Japanese word, or the word related to the Chinese word, hence taking its pronunciation from Chinese — though, there are many different Chinese Pronunciation, from north to south, the different historical kingdom etc.    In short, to read Japanese correctly, you need to know it beforehand. ( = You needed to encounter it before and refer to the dictionary then —– and remember it !)  Make the situation worse, that there are many peculiar words originated from the Buddhism, Confucius, Medical term, Scientific term etc etc. —– (Somebody said that to learn such system from the childhood, it must be a strong stimulation to the brain = so, it’s no wonder why Japanese is receiving so many Novel Prise, while Korean (Who use only simple Hangle ) got non.)

Rather recently, there was a political farce involving even Japanese PM around a word Sontaku (忖度 = mean consideration — I didn’t know such word existed, let alone its reading ) whether the PM gave a special favour when a government land was sold to a private organisation with a huge discount.  (It could be a scandalistic corruption !)  (Think, does the word “Attention” mean favourable special treat ? — or just a handling equal to the other ? = Whether a recipient can sue the officer as the attention the person received was not what expected ?)

See a sample.  Climb a mountain = Yama ni noboru = 山に登る = To-Zan = 登山 —– The word Yama is an original Japanese, we’ve been using it thousand of years. —– Then, the Chinese Kanji was imported = 山 was assigned to Yama which Chinese pronounce Shan or San and here a character 登 was used to express climb = noboru (though, Chinese use it in a bit different meaning)  The same Kanji 山 was read as Yama or San (Zan).  (If you mixed up, you would be only a laughing-stock = Similar to a situation when you ask the direction “Where the Gare Nord” in Paris.   😀 )  ——  In the next post, I’ll show you when Japanese made complete mistake. (or made a joke knowingly )

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Sakura-mochi (Japanese Cherry cake)

Sakura-mochi(1)-DSC07142Sakura-mochi (桜餅) is a common Japanese sweets.  You can buy it from any Japanese sweets shop.  It is not a kind of very complicated cooking still not many people ever attempt to make it by themselves.  (May be to make Ohagi / Botamoch could be the farthest people does.)    Many years I’ve been thinking “Why shouldn’t I make it” and “I want to eat — I haven’t eaten it more than 30 years”

So, this is my attempt to make it though, I never seen how it was made neither my mother told me how.  Therefore, all I’m showing here were done by the sheer guess-work and I wouldn’t claim any authenticity in a Japanese sweet making tradition or any suggestion pretending any kind of wise man.

Sakura-mochi(2)-000From the improvised idea of Rice-cake making,  I used White Rice powder and Glutinous Rice powder half and half, because if it was pure glutinous rice it may become too sticky. (Photo left)  So, I mixed one large spoonful of each powder and one small spoonful of sugar with 3 and half large spoonful water. (Photo middle) then put a half runny mix to a dish and Micro-waved (Mid-High, 1.5 to 2 minutes)
So, the Photo left was the cooked skin of the cake. —– carefully peel it off and use it to wrap up the Anko (Sweet Red bean paste) (Photo middle) —– Then wrap the whole cake with salt pickled Cherry leaf. (Photo Right)
Sakura-mochi(4)-DSC07152Voila, here it is.  Japanese Sakura-moch.  —– Looks genuine ! (isn’t it ?) —– The taste was genuine (what else could it be !) —– (If I could steam the finished whole cake, the flavor of the Cherry leaf would have gone into the cake more.)    Considering this is the first ever attempt in my  life (in fact, I did one test run before Photo shooting) = the result wasn’t too bad.  “Well done Yoshizen” (eat two Sakura-moch made a man Fully satisfied !   😀  )  

Incidentally, the Cherry leaf was meant to give nice flavour and a looks good wrapping, and not meant to be eaten. (I hope, you didn’t try eat it with struggle. 😀 ) There is other variation of this = Kashiwa-moch (柏餅), which use an Acorn like Kashiwa’s leaf for wrapping though I couldn’t find that tree in this country.    Kashiwa-mochi was meant to be eaten on the day of the Boy’s festival (端午の節句) = 5th of May.   And the Sakura-moch was originally for the Girl’s festival (桃の節句)    (I guess) though, it became so popular, you can find them all year-long. (Nothing wrong with it.  🙂  )

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PS : While giving a thought, I realized that the Kashiwa-moch must be invented first.    When you play in a Shinto shrine, you clap the hand = it called Kashiwade  (柏手).   The leaf of the tree Kashiwa has a shape of a hand, hence the hand spread the fingers was called Kashiwade, and the Kashiwade is a symbol of the honest, single-minded clean person (think it in comparison to a gripped hand which could hold a weapon and next moment it could hit you).  So, a boy’s parents wish their boy grow to a strong honest man and think the things associated with Kashiwa is auspicious.

—– So, a clever owner of the sweet shop (和菓子屋) invented a sweet wrapped in a Kashiwa leaf = Kashiwa-mochi and sold for the boy’s day’s celebration.   It must be a big hit, then they thought, if there is a sweet for boys, why not for girls as well = then Sakura-moch was made.   🙂
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