Yoshizen's Blog

Baby Corn

Baby Corn-DSC07161

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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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.  😀 )

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.  🙂  )


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.   🙂

August Moon

August Moon   (In few days time it would be a new moon —– so, a solar eclipse is coming.)      In Japan 15th August is the Moon Festival though, in the Moon Calender, it is in the September.  But I’m not sure how many people still remember this.  —– They might be thinking more if north korean missile is coming, when they see the sky now. —— Lunatic isn’t it.


PS : The photo above which was taken by the Tamuron SP 500 mm F8 Mirror lens shows the Red and Blue fringe = it is a chromatic aberration.     This is a reputed to be one of the best 500 mm mirror lens in the history, —– I couldn’t accept such flaw in this lens = I may need to check if any loose element in the lens occurred ?   (By the way, why this photo is not as sharp as the other photo “Red Moon” is, this one was taken through the double grazed window —– Red Moon was taken while window was fully opened.  😀  )



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.)

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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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.)


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.





Those images were the products of which I didn’t intend or a by-product occurred in the other process.

You will see what I was doing on the next post.

Half of the Photography said to be made just by chance encounter — may be true.  😀


Instamatic Macro

Instamatic Macro(1)-DSC06872

Well, as I suggested in the previous post that  25 mm lens of 110 Instamatic camera is suited for macro use = So, I made a lens.

Instamatic Macro(2)-006

No doubt, this must be the most funny looking lens among my homemade lenses, since the material I used was a water bottle for bicycle.  (No problem, it only costed me £1)   The lens was fixed on the cap in the reversed direction, and with its about 17 cm extension, its makes about x6 magnification of the image.

Instamatic Macro(3)-000

Photo left was  a dead mosquito I found in the kitchen.    I’m not happy with its bit blurry image (available light with 1/3 sec exposure —– at moment I’m not using my Sony with flash light = no synchro-socket, nor adapter) —– anyhow, I need to go out to see something small insects or a kind.  (Photography is a kind of life live on the leg. = You can’t do it while sitting.)   😀


Instamatic Camera (and its 25mm lens)

I found a dear old 110 type Kodak Instamatic Camera (together with their 126 type brother as well) in a junk-box of a camera shop.  This camera shoot 12×18 mm size image with its 25 mm lens. = So, it is possible to put this lens onto Sony A7 camera and see small round image though, if it was a case, have a test on the original camera with a film would be more worthwhile. 

But what I was thinking was, try to expand the image by adding a diverging lens on front (make it to a retrofocus type lens).

But, while disassembling this camera, I was amazed how the designer made this camera complicated.  (Due to the camera has to do so many tasks = wind the film, charge the shutter, rotate the Flash-cube, change the shutter speed for bright or cloudy day, together with shutter click then return the mechanism to the first state) —– Once disassembled, never able to put it back again !   (In comparison to today’s “One time use camera” which is doing about the same with much simpler mechanism,  they looks almost like a hell.)

With an added diverging lens, its became about 32 mm lens though, the image circle didn’t come wide enough to cover the full frame.  (I need to find even stronger diverging lens.)  (Lens quality was just usable with such modification.) 


PS : As I said above, I further tested that 25 mm lens with much stronger diverging lens (which has been used for other “Fancy lens” before) = With stronger diverging power, the lens could have much longer back-focus = hence larger image circle which can cover the full frame.  The image quality of the center was usable though the corner became very bad. —– Then I gave a thought, —– for a technical challenge, I found a sort of the answer though, ? ? ?   DO I need to use this lens ?   = On the end it became rather big = While having Very tiny omnifocus “Fun camera lens” etc, why do I need to use such lens ?  —– The reason why I started to use Sony A7 was, that I can go for shooting with my camera and 3~4 lenses all in my pocket ! =  May be this Kodak 25 mm lens suite only for macro use !

So, I tested this Kodak 25 mm lens as a macro lens, while mounting it on the reverse direction —– with 18 cm extension  = The results wasn’t too bad.  😀

(Photo left was a close-up shot (about  x7) of a Butterfly Wing.  Photo right were the screen of the tablet.)

—– Not so much dramatic outcome though, it was still a fun for one afternoon.  😀


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