Yoshizen's Blog

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.   😀

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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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Puzzling Cherry

Seeing this picture, very few of you will noticed that this is in fact a quite familiar place.  In deed, I’ve shown the photos of here in my blog a lots of times if not over hundred.   This is a very corner of the green patch I described as a flower meadow in my blog in the past three years. 

Why I’m fussing about was, the wild cherry trees growing here, now having a full bloom.   What’s wrong ? —– Nothing wrong.     But I just wondering how those cherry trees came here.  What I dubbed Instant flower meadow was created by the local residents on June 2014 simply by spreading the seeds of the meadow plants.   So, I guess that, those more than ten cherry trees, all about the same size, looks the same variety, must be started to germinate here then as the same lot. (= not accidentally brought by the bird as an individual seed.)   So, they all together are now three years old siblings and having the flowers first time. 

In the past, I was thinking that those small trees were the seedlings of the nearby Multilayered Cherry tree.   But now a fraud was exposed !    The bag of the “Meadow Flowers Seeds” were adulterated with cherry seeds = and its right or wrong have to be strongly questioned.  Ever growing those cherry trees wouldn’t go together with the idea of a flower meadow. —– May be closer to the real nature and its cycle of the plant though, those wild cherry were too obstructive to “The Meadow”.  They are not expected to grow in a garden patch of a council housing estate here.

The particular cherry itself was a rather primitive wild cherry.    So, I want to see this flowers have cherry fruits and eaten by the birds.  (then spread to other locations. —– would it really happen ?) 

You might be noticed a phenomenon, that the most of the cherry blossom doesn’t have the siblings under the tree.  First of all, not all of them makes cherry fruits, let alone good to eat fruits. Because of them were created only for the sake of beautiful flowers, and often those variety was infertile.  Especially the most popular cherry in the world, Somei-Yoshino was originated from just one tree discovered in the Somei village in the west of Edo (Tokyo) 150 years ago.    From that tree, all the Somei-Yoshino were artificially propagated by grafting one by one.  ( But now, with the limit of the genetic strength, the Somei-Yoshino is coming to their end, and the nursery had stopped to produce any more Somei-Yoshino, following a direction of  the Japanese Gardening Association.    It was replaced by the next generation “Jindai Akebono” ! —– You can Google this story.)

So, the under the Somei-Yoshino tree, there even a single seedling germinate.

PS : ————————

Puzzling Cherry-DSC06483Now its middle of June.  I found the cherry fruits on that Puzzling Cherry !  (Quite modest size and the taste wasn’t too bad.   🙂

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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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Wabi – Sabi

wabi-sabi1-a09a7150Time to time, you might have heard the Japanese words, Wabi and Sabi, especially in relation to the Haiku Poet Basho or about Tea making and its pottery work. (such as tea bowl)  The word Sabi is related to Sabi-shii or Sabi-reta etc all of those meaning may be clearer in the visual metaphor than a lexical explanation (since those notions has to be grasped by the naked perception not by the thinking brain = hence direct transmission) — imagine you came across the place looks like abandoned or inhabited houses. = you may use a word ghost town.  No single soul on the street neither any sign of daily activity. Though, it is the very matter I’ve talked about in the previous post = if you were a westerner, your psych imagine a ghost town in a western film which is a dry, dusty, sun stricken street of wooden hoses — but here, in Japanese case, it has to be darker, under the shade of the tree, and rather wet, moss-covered half rotten houses. = you may feel even spooky.  This is rather exaggerated case of Sabi-shii scene.  And if you were here alone, you must feel quite Sabi-shii / lonely or desolated.  Then stretch your imagination further to the inside or the back of the house, what sort of the things you may find — wooden utensil ?  or a kind of bowl for eating, drinking ?  — a kind of the people used to live here, might be a poor farmer or casual worker helping those farmers = anyway, having had hand to mouth kind of the life = everything was a bare minimum.  So, if the bowl was not wooden but a pottery, how it looks like.  A bowl made to exchange for few vegetables or a caught bird, the pottery wouldn’t have a nice glaze or any decoration = just enough function for daily use

wabi-sabi2In the case of pottery, those images are the completely opposite of the Wabi, Sabi. Or I should say the typical decoration in the western standard, which the people think “gorgeous”. (but may be rather poor taste though) 

wabi-sabi3-001And in comparison, this is a Japanese dish in its decorative formal style. (This is Nabeshima. — If this one had no clack, it could fetch £10,000 even though this one was made by a trainee (= the lines were rather messy), hence second grade) —– Still, you may noticed that the stark contrast in the visual design = The western approach try to fill all the space with decorative images but Japanese leave the blank space.  Why ? It’s because of the Zen philosophy.   Western philosophy says, Nature avoid the vacuum but Zen is the matter to live with the Void.   So, to the westerner, gorgeous mean filled with nice decoration but Zen sees the peace in the blanc space.  If the nature was not in the free space, it is not natural but a fraud.  And Zen reject any intentional act as an unnatural fraud.  Especially in terms of Tea making, it got to be absolutely humble and everything has to be a bare minimum. —– This principle was in strict force, almost to an austere level.  So, when this principle was applied, a tea bowl has to be as a bare minimum = away from any intentional, artificial decoration or even an attempt to make it looks good.  In this philosophy, Tea-master Rikyu found the cheapest and the most humble pottery made for and used by the poorest people was the most suited for Tea making, which showed the Wabi and Sabi.    (Photo above right)   And this is the typical sample of the Wabi.  (In fact, this was the back or bottom of the dish the photo before.) = There was no intention to make it looks any better — it was naturally shaped and finished.  Its unassuming naturalness was not created by any intention but rather say, it just happened because it did nothing particularly. This absence of human intention = nothing is the core of Wabi. = poor humbleness, be natural in its material is the matter.  —– So, to a potter, this is the most difficult paradox in the pottery and the ZEN. = Tea bowl have to be made but made without having any intention to make it.   The answer is,  Make it with the mind of NO-Mind = Mushin in Zen. 

Wabi Chawan(In practice, just to be a potter, not a business man but just potting and let the pot to have its own fate = a pot made out of soil should have the face of soil and show the face burnt by the fire.)  (Photo above are the most tipical Wabi bowls, left was made by Koetsu)

wabi-sabi4-003wabi-sabi5-a09a7149(To an untrained eyes, “rustic” or lack of skill may looked like or confused with Wabi, though, the important point is, Wabi’s roughness or unevenness  was created by the unexpected accident, such as a fallen ash or unevenness of the fire not by the hand.)  = Think, Karma created Wabi not the hand let alone the brain deliberately thinking.  And the participant for tea ceremony has to appreciate such imperfect feature as an encounter on the moment.  (Which called Keshiki.) — The photo above, the vase showed a kind of Wabi on its glaze though, its pretty shape was too commercial.  Yet still, the right one seemed to have certain character to join Wabi = it’s a poor mans non-assuming daily mug, rather cheap product still it IS nothing else of Just a mag ! — but the photo left is a typical sample of a sham pretense.  On the surface of the mass-produced cup, a fake pattern of the dripped glaze was painted.

—– Now you might start to understand why Japanese garden or even an arranged flowers never had pattern or even a symmetry.

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Fill the sink-hole in one week

A sink-hole ( 30m x 25 m x 15 m deep) appeared in the center of Hakata city in Japan has been filled just in a week. Here is a video footage of whole process condensed to the even shorter 140 second. (Compiled from the NHK 24 hours live camera image)   They are a record of the ordinary ground work = nothing fancy, no drop of the soil from a helicopter kind but just a filling work, connecting life line etc. in a gapless efficient works.  Hence it was done in the shortest possible time (save a little delay due to the bad weather) of which the foreign media described that if it was in their country, it could have taken a month, even a year or more.    Though it involved ten or more specialist company, each work wouldn’t take long hours to do = in other words, well organised continuous work (= without waiting, arguing kind of time waster) work could be done and has been done. —– On this episode, the most crucial point in the Japanese psyche is, that they can make themselves Ego-less at once.  This is the core of the Japanese Ethos, originated from the Zen Buddhism, Mushin (Mind of No-mind). With this deeply sublimated Ethos = Collective Unconsciousness, all the construction company, expert in each trade come together work together, disregard the competing company’s interest etc. The company’s interest, individual interest were copletely over ridden by the sense of “Duty”to serve the community. 

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Stitch Work (1)

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Coming to the time hard to thread the sawing needle, I became 

aware what I learned from my mother when I was young.

My mother used to make the Kimonos herself.   Often using very

rare expensive silk such as Oshima-tsumugi.  You may feel strange

though, I was sitting and watching her work and when she needed

I thread the needle for her.   Make Kimono is of course done by the

hand stitching. (Even now, all the Japanese Kimono was made by hand

= a kind of tourists souvenir, Happi Kimono may be made by a sawing

machine (in China) but Japanese doesn’t see them are Kimono at all.)

—– Sawing, hand stitching is nothing but an utterly laborious work.

And virtually all the sawing in the Kimono-making is straight line.

Only the exception sometime is the end of Tamoto in Furisode Kimono

(= long sagged down sleeves).   Its mean, no innovative variation or

inventive shortcut kind could ever exist = just keep stitching straight.

= If it was not straight, the fabric distort, so it looks funny and make a

person wearing feel ashamed. So,to a Kimono-maker or needle woman

to become able to do an adequate stitch, it may need to make at least

10 Kimonos for a practice.  (if it was an expensive silk, de-thread and

remake again — very fine needle will not damage the fablic.)

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In the all the traditional crafts or art kind, how the novice to learn is

by way of watching and mimic = to copy what the master does.

Not mention the stitching work, which is push the needle, front to the

back and to the front again ~ ~ ~, mimicking and copy is nothing but

the repeating the same action again and again.

= IS to program the pattern into the brain. = (When the pattern was

imprinted in the brain, the action, include the speech become

automatic = automatic mean “No self”)   When the level of learning =

copying deepen to such automatic level, it’s standard or the quality

reaches to the perfection.   Because the body moves like a precise

machine without the interference of useless thought or emotion.

In this level, there couldn’t be any Ego = no emotion or high-level

thought. — so, you might wonder, what IS the motivation to do it ?

“Motivation ?      What’s the Motivation ?”

— When the task is on front = there wouldn’t be any choice but to DO.

(This situation has been misunderstood as the “Concentration” or

so-called “Mindfulness”. 😀 )

And, is the task really there ? How DO I know when myself is not there =

nor any mind, observing it.   (The people who mistook that the Zen

is a matter of awareness = A way of different thinking, couldn’t

emancipates this trap of thinking therefore couldn’t be escaped from 

this dichotomy = “Observing vs Observed Self” — When the SELF is 

 not there, WHO is observing or aware of it ?) = It’s mean, as long as 

a notion of Zen is there (or you think, you are doing a Zen),

it is not Zen at all.  Zen is being in no-mind = Mushin.

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This is the situation WHAT the Buddhists call VOID.

— Which I’ve learned from the stitching work when my conscious

was absorbed into the moving needle.

= Effectively my mother taught me the most crucial essence of Zen

without saying even a single word of Zen or Buddhism.(Of course,there

was no word of Zen or even a name of Buddhism exists on the time of

Lord Buddha.  He only showed the way to DO and what he told was the

jokes, then took a rest while sitting quiet.  When the teachings were

“Selfless” it couldn’t be taught using the word “Self” as it’s not exists.

So, he only showed the way to DO without SELF.) 

The people who was not there and only heard about had mistaken that

the sitting (and assumed to be thinking) was the matter.

Then all the misconception and the nix-up were bore out from here.

( — Sitting was just having a rest).

stitch-work1-a09a6772

So, you were trapped here.   Are you watching the stitches, or

something encircled by the stitches ?

Oh, naughty you, what are you thinking. It’s just a cloth and the

stitches, still it’s better to be a naughty as we can have a laugh.    

Ha ha ha   😀

___/\___

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