Yoshizen's Blog

Sound of the Earth

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In the past year or so, the BBC Radio-3 is sounding the birds song in the morning.  Birds song from the countryside and from all over the world.  

Being ex-climber myself, those kinds of sounds are rather familiar.  Not mention in the mountain, when I was traveling on the Eurail-Pass, I often used long distance overnight train.  Train will reach the destination early morning (5:00 ~6:00 kind), before the town get up.  I waited the shops to open, sitting in a park where the air was filled with the birds song. (in fact, mostly the Black Bird) 

So, that was my start of the day.  (What’s my day then was = first, buy a bread and the fruits drink etc, then go to the tourist’s information to get the map of the town — and start the tour of the town visiting / listen the church pipe organ, and so on.  Often go up the back hill of the town to have an over all view of the place. ( = We can have a great view from the hills of the Rhine River.)

—– Anyway, and what so ever the life you have.  Just enjoy those sounds.  (Listen the Radio is straight forward but if you are in the office etc, the other choice is on the Net — “sound of the earth, BBC, radio-3” though, you may asked to register / DL the Flash player etc a bit cumbersome.) 

Have a good morning listen. 

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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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Bach — Bernstein — Gould — Zen

Oh my Goodness.    I bumped this old film clip, on Youtube = Leonard Bernstein and Glenn Gould talked about J.S.Bach.
Film was shot on 57 years ago, 1960 then Glenn Gould was 28.   Naturally the film showed the two’s younger looks but what surprised me most was, on that time Bernstein was already “the Educator Bernstein” and Gould was “the Only one, Gould”.

(Other nearby Youtube posts, Gould or Bernstein posts are very educative and highly recommended to watch !)
In fact, me to encounter Bach first time was in the Fellini’s film, “La Dolce Vita” —– in the film, a gossip journalist, Marcello met a church organist and the organist played Bach’s music, Toccata and Fugue in D-miner (the most famous and popular organ music — famous still it was the first encounter to my 15-years-old ear)   (incidentally, that the same actor who played the organist later appeared in the other film “Emanuel” as a sex-gulu ! )

I think, it was the early 90s, I listened a BBC annual radio 3 event, the Christmas Lecture, Bernstein talked about the structure and the music language.  It opened my eyes. —– in fact, it taught me more about our emotion than of the music. —– If the music could expect the same effect, it is the proof of that our emotional pattern is much simpler = such as how we feel from major or minor key, even B-miner is associated with the feeling of death ! — how accurate his view was the other matter, but such a view-point to analyze the relation of us to the music was a shock to me. 

So that, that was the same stance, how and why I adapted my view toward the Zen = instead to see it as a holly spiritual mumbo-jumbo but the scientific / medical phenomenon of the neuro-physical function.

Amazingly looks ordinary young man, Gould was already a master of the finger of a Harpsichordist and already know what is the Bach = mean what he is going to do with him = the man aware of his own karma.  (People became aware of their own karma on their later life —– I wonder how he found it in such early life ?)

***** PS:   Related post (following links)  J.S.Bach,  Aaaaaa~~~~~!  are highly recommended post to go. (They clearly explain what I said here.)

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Baby Corn

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While taking the husk out of the corn (on the cob = maize = indian corn) I found something the addition on the bottom of it. —– They were the baby corn.    I’m not sure whether this is the way how baby corn was grow (and harvested)   Then I realized that they are just a miniature version of the normal corn = nothing else.  They are not wearing a wig for the weekend.  They carry the exactly the same task = fertilize the each grain of the corn.  Same as the human foetus having all the organs = heart to the brain, baby corn expect and prepare to become full-sized corn.  Baby corn is not a joke.  (Don’t you know, if you give enough water and the sunlight, the each sprouts will grow to full size cabbage ! —– I’m just kidding.   😀 )

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Mizu-yokan

After I cooked Sakura-moch, still some Anko (Sweet red-bean paste) left in my hand.  I could finish them just eat on a piece of bread though, eat them with bread is not much different from eating “An-pan” which we can easily buy from a shop, I decided to make a Mizu-yokan which I haven’t done despite of my long-standing promise.  🙂
Basically Mizu-yokan is a kind of Jerry cake = Anko was (semi) hardened by a Jerry from a sea-weed (called Kanten / same as an Aga-aga from an eastern food shop —– we don’t use animal Jerry, it got to be made from a seaweed) (Photo left)   Dried Kanten or Aga-aga has to be boiled untill they were completely dissolved. (Photo middle)  Then, Anko was mixed into Kanten liquid and they were boiled together —– then, put them into a container and made them cool down and hardened.  (Photo right)
So, this is a Mizu-yokan.  Eat them chilled.  Made them with different densities Anko-Jerry mixture and make two-storied Yokan — if you like.  (I wouldn’t say this sample is anything successful or looks typical —– still, they filled my stomach.  😀 )
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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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Oleander

This is a tree flower which I have deep attachment, hence I want to see more here = though, strangely she was not planted often.  Probably because people afraid of the poison of this plant.   In deed, if you feed the handful leaves to the animal (cow or goat kind) the animal would die easily = strange contradiction is, its poison (Oleandrin) has very similar effect to the poison of Foxglove (Digitalis / Digitoxin = Very strong stimulant and or poison to the heart) —– yet you can see the Foxglove everywhere even though Foxglove can kill you too.
Oleander(2)-001The reason why I feel such attachment to this flower was, she was associated with some poets who I respect, — and its poisonous nature.    When I was small, my hero was the Ninja or humanoid Robot, not a Superman kind of American comic fantasy.  So, we kids practiced how to make a rope to climb a wall or the formula to make a poison.  (still, I never heard of any accident with those poisons = Japanese got necessary knowledges —– idiot can’t be a Ninja = we kids wanted to master the real skill, not dreaming in a silly fantasy to fly a sky.)

Very remarkable fact of this plant, Nerium Oleander (夾竹桃、キョウチクトウ)is, that this plant has the will and the ability to survive while eliminating other plant with its poison.  Oleander was the plant first revived and flowered on the literally scorched ground of the Hiroshima, after that atomic bomb.   Hence, she was named and honoured as the Flower of the Hiroshima. —– (Hidden message here might not be a flowering peace but a kept poison / we never forget.)

(Those photos were taken by a homemade lens nicknamed “koda-fun lens” with or without extension ring.)
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Zeiss — Who ?

Zeiss-000You may noticed that I have some Carl Zeiss lenses.   Some for the late Contax SLR, others for Sony A7, there is even a Nikon mount type as well.  (Old collection of the Hasselblad lenses are all German Zeiss, of course.)  While thinking to get new toys, I’ve checked E’bay listing.   Then, I become aware of the almost chaotic situation.   On the E’bay, many of the quite similar Zeiss lenses were listed-up.  (You can see it by yourself) = Since the Carl Zeiss is a lens manufacturer, no longer a camera maker themselves, they’ve been supplying the lenses for each cameras, such as for the  Contax or Hasselblad.  When there was the production of Contax SLR, the camera was made by the Japanese Yashica and the lenses were originally made in Germany.  (then lens production was moved to Japan — said to be to the Tomioka Optics. —– I’m proud to have my Contax lenses were all made in Germany !) 

Now a days, Zeiss is supplying the lenses to Sony and the Leiz Wetzlar is making the lenses for Panasonic Lumix camera (Leiz is making their own Leica camera while making only hand full number of them by literally hand-carving the aluminium shell and put the Panasonic inside.) (and both Zeiss and Leiz are doing well though they themselves are not making the lens at all = just giving the license. (I’m not sure even the design may not to be by Zeiss, just an agreed common computer program —– So, I wonder how the Zeiss has been survived when there wasn’t much of the Japanese business — such as after Contax business closed, but Sony business yet to be started. ) 

Considering the harsh reality that the virtually all the camera  in the world were made by the Japanese, it’s mean, if there wasn’t a Japanese business, there wasn’t any sale of even just a license. —– So, this was the back ground of Zeiss lenses’ chaos.  The Zeiss was making the lenses for the Nikon, Canon etc mount and selling them as an independent lens manufacturer (like Sigma).  As a results, there are so many almost the same but different types of Zeiss lenses in the market. (If you Google = “Zeiss lens, Ebay” you can see mountain of them.  (Though, even the same Sony E-mount, some may work, others may not and only for manual use.   And many of them were for cropped (APS-c) image size — and is not necessary high quality (made in China or Thailand) — have look the top photo left, even an iris is not symmetric round — still, this lens was sold over £600.)  —– What a hell.  Is Zeiss myth still live and exists ? —– or just a ghost ?    😦

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Onion Business


Some time, I had to buy the onions from a street open stole, which has been wet by the passing shower.   Of course I have a choice to go to super market but I’m not such fussy.  (The same onion could be half of the price on the street — still, it would be only a matter of 10P 20P kind of money.) —– Then what will happen to that wet onion IS a bit different story. = I peel off all the wet skin and made them dry.   With wet skin, onion would get rotten easily = so, why not to make them naked. —– You might say why DO I choose to have so much trouble,  just because I didn’t buy dry onions from a roofed shop while paying 10P more. —– Is that true ?    AM I doing  more with wet onions ?    Whether it is a dry one or wet onion, we need to peel off exactly the same number of the skin = only the difference IS to do it now in advance or later.     Without seeing this, most of the people who saw my naked onion just got shocked.  Very Very funny.   😀    This IS the typical sample of,  how our mind was stacked with a preconception and couldn’t see even a plain truth. —– Open your eyes.   😀

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Remove the reflection

Reflection(10)-DSC06933After I published the post “Instamatic Macro” I received a mail asking me how I could manage to eliminate the reflection inside of the shiny Macro Tube.   The man was a reader who read my old post “ Tiny Life ” long time ago and in fact, he made the same Macro adapter using similar aluminium can, but having the trouble from the internal reflection. 

(He said that he splayed the inside with a Mat Black Splay Paint though, even with such paint, the surface was pretty smooth and making rather high reflection which is ruining the image.)  On top of the smooth surface, the inside of the round pipe acting like a converging mirror, making a hot bright-spot in the center of the image.  (Hence, its reflection created the images in the previous Post —– though, those photos were the exaggerated reflection from a shiny metal pipe, not from the real macro tube.   😀 )

Reflection(11)-DSC06943There are the several method to eliminate the internal reflection = Applying a good Black Velvet is the one, though to glue-up a soft cloth inside of a small can is a very awkward task.   ( I can guaranty you struggle — I know, as I did it before.   😀  )     Proper design will put the proper light barrier discs, though, to insert the full-size disc need to have a full opening of the pipe-end.   Bend and insert a semi-flexible disc (ring) and make it stand in the position is the other way.   (Still, not easy though.)

Reflection(12)-000—– What I did was, to insert a paper spiral inside.   I made a spiral using a semi-soft (stiffer than drawing paper) = (First, made the 3 paper rings which got 2 mm larger  diameter of the can’s internal diameter— then cut and connect them to make a spiral) Then this spiral was slipped inside of the can.  (It needs a good rotating manoeuvre ! ) (I made a paper tool to catch and move the spiral = Photo left.  And how to use it = Photo right.)  —– when the spiral settled in the good position where all the reflection and the glare was shielded, fix the position using a glue.  = Job done !   (for the clarity sake, in the photos, the edge of the spiral has not been painted black. —– I hope, you can see how to work-out this game.)

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PS : For an educational purpose,  I’ll show you the scene behind. Reflection(13)-000Photo left was the same mosquito but without having a reflection eliminated.      And the photo right was how the spiral inside of the macro tube looks like.

 

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