So Many Thanks to Likes from Cooking Blogs, Though I’m not Good at It.

The morning glory has started blooming at the entrance of my house. They are not Japanese species but western morning glory named “Heavenly Blue”.

I have to express my thanks to those cooking/cuisine blogs that like my tiny little blog. But I don’t think I am a good cooking person. I just boil everything in hot water. That’s it.

For example, I put those pieces of carrot and purple beans into Miso-Soup, with tofu.

Of course I don’t boil tomato, most of the time. These tomato, green beans, and okra came from my garden.

It is rare for me to heat with oil in a pan. But I tried it yesterday. I think I should have put more green leaves because they were shrunk by the heat.

Cooking a supper takes more than one hour. Usually it is one hour and 20 minutes for me to cook. But I eat what I cooked within 15 minutes. Long cooking time but short eating time.

Walked Around, Took Pictures, and Came Home: The Same Pictures Again and Again.

These pictures look like all the same as what I had already uploaded here. I can not go far from my house under the restriction due to corona virus pandemic. I go out only for shopping food or just walked around my house in rural town in northern part of Japan, Niigata.

A tree is standing on the slope of river bank. And it is also in front of a Japanese Shinto Shrine. It is not that big tree. But I guess this tree has seen many village people for 2 to 3 hundred years or so.

The hall of worship of the Shinto Shrine. Actually, this was not the shrine that I played with my friends when I was a kid. My “playing ground shrine” is even smaller than this.

Flowers of crape myrtle are blooming in the shrine area. Since I have spent all my hours to make Power Point slides for online teaching, I think I have missed the best time of crape myrtle flowers in this summer.

I kept walking on a path of river bank.

I found a convolvulus flower. This is also a summer flower. I saw that the season for this flower was also about to end. We Japanese call the flowers of “morning glory” as “morning face (Asa-gao)” and call the flowers of “convolvulus” as “daytime face (Hiru-gao)”.

This is a view of my hometown, where I live now.

Far behind the river, I saw the ridge of Gozu Mountain whose highest point is 972 meters (3200ft).

I wanted to take a picture of trains running on the bridge. I waited for the trains’ coming. But that didn’t come. I knew that I could not take a good picture because of reverse light of sunshine. So, I stopped waiting and gave up the idea to take a picture of trains. I just came back home.

Apples Steamed with Sugar

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)

I don’t know the name of what I cooked. I steamed small apples with sugar.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

There are several apple trees in my garden. One of apple trees “Ourin” has got some apples. My mom is happy with that and she had taken some fruits from the tree. She just wanted to take them, didn’t care about the apples were ripe or not. To eat, or not to eat, that was not a question to her. Although she said she might offer those apples in front of the photograph of Dad who died last year, she just left the apples on the table.

My dad had been a poor boy when he was a kid. His dad, my father’s side grandpa, died of tuberculosis when he was a kid. Also that was when all the Japanese suffered from lack of food after the WWII. So my dad had never wasted food. I feel like I inherited his DNA that does not waste any food. This evening, just before I started cooking supper, I found the apples were still left on the table. They were three. I tasted one, which was hard and sour, too early to harvest. I gave up eating it. There were still two left. I decided to heat those immature apples by steam in the pan.

At first, I tried digging a hole on the top of apple because I wanted to get rid of seeds. But it is small apple. In order to do that, my smallest spoon was still too large. So I did that with the end part of the spoon (haft?). The purpose of the hole on apple is not only for removing seeds. After getting rid of seeds, I filled the hole with sugar. I put two small apples with sugar in a bowl and covered the bowl with aluminum foil. And then l poured water a half inch depth into a deep pan, put the bowl in the pan, heated the pan 15 minutes.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

This is what I got. I put this in refrigerator tonight. I will eat the sweet and chilled apple as a desert for a breakfast tomorrow morning.

I ate it this morning. It was hard. 15 minutes boiling could not make it soft. Taste was so-so. And there’s one thing I forgot to write yesterday. I don’t have a microwave. If I had a microwave, heating time could have been shortened.

Writing in an Air-Conditioned Room, Outside is Too HOT.

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)

When I was a kid, summer heat was not as severe as today. It used to be 30 Celsius, or just a little above of it. But because of global warming, it often becomes 35 Celsius or higher in the height of the summer season in recent years. Today, too, the weather forecast is saying the temperature in my place will reach 35 Celsius. Heat is severe and sunlight looks harmful.

I remember it was the end of May when I got a message from the university which was saying that I had to teach Japanese literature reading class in the coming fall semester. Since I had heard of it, I had read a lot of books about Japanese literature. Because I wanted to teach the best of the Japanese literature that has 1300 years of history. Perhaps a foreign people may say that 1300 years are short, saying that other world major civilizations have longer histories also for literature. Yes, in ancient times, Japanese didn’t have letters/characters to write down and record our own language. But once Japanese learned how to write Japanese sentences, a lot of literary works were made and handed down to the late generations.

I designed how to teach and schedules of my Japanese literature class so that I could teach the whole history with the best articles. One of those articles that I really wanted to introduce was “Sarashina Diary” by a daughter of Sugawara-no- Takasue. It is not a lengthy book but a short and concise one. The diary is a memoir of a lady’s life in 11th century. It lively describes fun things and sad things that happened to her from when she was a girl to when she lost her husband in her later life. The interesting thing is that although it was written in almost one thousand years ago, there are a lot of things that can be shared with us living in modern times. I expect that many of my female students would like it.

In order to get a whole picture (though it’s literature), I borrowed a lot of books from the city library. I searched books on the city library’s website, reserved some books, and went to the library to get them. I also bought a scanner to take copies of books to make a textbook by myself. But last week, I got a message from a student (not from the university), saying that the class would not be held in the coming semester because very few students wanted to take it. I think what she said is right, although the chief of the Japanese department said to me he was not 100% sure. By that time I had already spent a lot of time to prepare for the class, but that was not enough. I still had to prepare for the level of teaching in the real situation. If the class would not be held, it would make my work easier. So basically I have to be happy for cancellation of my Japanese literature reading class.

As of today’s morning, I was borrowing 9 books from the library. Some were interesting even if I wouldn’t use them for the class, but I decided returning them to the library. Today “Heat Stroke Alart” is being issued to my area by the Ministry of Environment of Japan. So going outside is not good. To avoid the hottest hours, I decided to go there before noon with a parasol. A lady often uses a parasol under the sun, but it is rare for a man to do so. Yes, this was the first time for me to go outside with parasol.

I have a garden (a vegetable field? I don’t know how to call it) and grow many kinds of vegetables. I have to work at least one hour on the ground every day. These days I do it after breakfast; it is from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Although it is just an hour in the morning, I have got sunburn on my left elbow because of strong sunlight. Skin got red. So I wouldn’t like to expose my left elbow to sunlight. A long sleeve shirt cannot be a solution because of the temperature. I decided using a parasol of my mom.

Getting out of my house to go to the library and opening the parasol, I realized that one connection between the cloth and the tip of a beam was broken. But the biggest problem was that it is too SMALL to me. Yes I borrowed my mom’s parasol. It would be big enough for her, but not for me. If I stretched my elbow down, my sunburned elbow would get sunlight. So I should be folding my left hand with my right hand holding the parasol. It should have looked weird; A guy in 50 was walking holding a small parasol with both hands. Anyway, I went to the library and returned nine books two days before a deadline. Now I am typing this in a cool, air-conditioned room.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

These are vegetables that I grew.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

But I cannot grow watermelon. It is too difficult for a beginner like me. This watermelon was bought in a supermarket. A little past the best timing.

White Lily Flowers Taller Than I am

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)

I don’t remember if I had bought a bulb of white lily. Neither do I remember to have planted such kind in my garden. I prefer red, pink, orange, and yellow flowers with color. I hardly plant white flowers in my garden. Last year I found one white lily leaning, or lying down to the ground. The place was a mount of weeds that were pulled and gathered. I always pile up weeds at one place to make them compost. That simply means that I have never plant a white lily in my garden and that one came from somewhere. This year I dug that lily and planted in flower bed so that the lily could grow up well.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

And then the lily has grown up high. It is taller than I am.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I don’t know why this lily is so high. Perhaps this is a kind of wild species that had not got improvement as an ornamental flowers. But I am not sure.

Now the Time for Harvesting and Eating OKURA

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)

Now the season is turning because the rainy season has ended. One type of vegetable is growing fast in my garden. Well, don’t talk about weeds around, please.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

And its flowers are actually beautiful.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

But the flowers are not the purpose of this plant. It’s OKRA.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I boiled OKRA just a few minutes, cooled down with ice, and put mayonnaise on them. The slices of Tomato also came from my garden. This was one plate of tonight’s supper.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

LQ Laoshi Plays Laute Suite on Piano for Easy Left Hand

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Gavotte I from Suite fur Laute Nr.3 BWV995, by J. S. Bach
I played this piece on piano as-is written on music sheet for a Lute. By playing so, the left hand part is actually very easy.

It’s Difficult to Take Bones off from Sardines

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)

This afternoon I bought one package of sardines in the nearby supermarket. There were three sardines in the package that was 265JPY (2.4USD).

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I try to cook many kinds of fishes these days. In order to be good at cooking fish, it is important to cook them many times and to figure out what is the best way to cut the fish. There is one fish that I think is very difficult to cook well. It is sardine. It is said that the back bone of a sardine can be removed by fingers. Some web sites show how to take the bone off from the sardine. But I would say it is impossible for a beginner to take the bone off by fingers. It is simply because the body, or I would call meat, is too soft to work with fingers. It is interesting that it is the same reason that many web sites are saying that the bone can be removed by fingers. Again, it is impossible. You will just waste many portion of the sardine’s meat if you try it by your fingers.
So I had tried my best to remove the bone today, but I have to admit my defeat. Three sardines had just turned to be a kind of “torn-out-pieces” by my poor cooking skill.

Anyway I fried those pieces for the dinner. Their taste was so-so.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Side Reaction of the M-Vaccine Made my Mom Stay in her Futon All Day Today

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)

Yesterday I uploaded a post that I wrote in Japanese. And today I realized that the post got very few viewers. Sometime I feel that words, phrases, and even thoughts that are not written in English are just the same as “non-existence”. This fact makes me sad, but at the same time, encourages me to write something in English.

Yesterday morning I took my mom to the place for the elderlies to get vaccine shots for COVID-19. I made the reservation for her through the internet about one month ago. Yesterday’s was the second shot for her. The last time I just went to the bus stop for her. But this time she wanted me to go together to the building of the place. Actually she shows the early sign of Alzheimer’s disease and she surely recognize it herself. She was worrying if she could not get to the place by herself although the bus would directly bring her there.

If I had a car, I could give her a ride to the place, but I don’t have one for some reasons; I don’t get enough income to maintain a car. I don’t like driving because my driving technique is very poor. I don’t want to be a criminal if I cause an accident. Not having a car is a rare thing in this rural Niigata, because everyone has his/her car and moves only by a car. It is common that there are cars in number of family members in my area.

So I had to go with her by public transportation. I started my house before 8 a.m., got on a JR train, got on a taxi using 500-yen coupon that was given by the prefecture, and then brought her into the big building in city center. There are several staffs in the entrance. I told them that my mom’s reservation was of the 9:15’s. It was still early for the time. A young lady, a staff but looking like a university students told us to wait for the time. So I just left her there and came back home alone. My mom said that she could return home herself after the shot.

The following day of the first shot, my mom got severe side reaction. She had been in futon all day. That was the thing happened one month ago. And it was said that the side reaction of M-vaccine was even more severe for the second shot. I worried, although my mom seemed to be not aware of harder reaction than the first.

Already in yesterday, she laid down her futon in the afternoon. She looked not so bad yesterday. But this morning, when I came down to the first floor to make a breakfast for her, she said in weak voice, “Don’t make me get up (for the breakfast). I felt I was almost dying last night”. That’s terrible. I made her measure her body temperature. It was 37.7c. Her usual temperature is 35-something. So she got 2 Celsius higher than usual. It must be hard for her. I gave her a cup of water and let her sleep in her futon.

I took my breakfast alone, and went up to the second floor to do my job. I evaluated 6 students’ homework assignments that were to be graded as the final examination. And then I tried scanning some books that I borrowed from city library. Let me be clear, the scanning is purely for educational purpose. So I believe there is no problem with copyright. I have to teach Japanese Literature in coming fall semester. So I need a lot of references.

In these two years, I have just used a digital camera instead of a scanner. But it was very inconvenient for me to make materials and articles for teaching. So I bought Canon’s scanner “LiDE400” recently. This afternoon was the first time for me to use that scanner. But soon I had got a problem with it, because the scanner’s application produces only jpeg and pdf for the output images. I really want to make it 600dpi black-and-white bmp and to make post-processing it to be png. Jpeg images deteriorate. In order to process without deterioration, I wanted to scan and output images in bmp. It was surprising to me that Canon eliminates or ignores that basic image format from their scanning application. The scanner was a little cheap one. There is a Japanese saying which is “Buying cheap goods ends up losing money” (there are many better translations on the web, but…). I felt I was disappointed by Canon. Fortunately, I found a solution for the issue by searching internet; I can make bmp through the function of “Windows Fax and Scan”. When I found out this solution, it was almost evening, that was the time for me to start preparing for dinner.

My mom was still in her futon. And she said that a small portion was okay for the dinner. I made rice porridge, miso soup, and just a little bit of pork. It is wondering to me, she is in her 80’s, she likes to eat oily food like potato chips and fried chicken. For me myself, my stomach is getting weaker year by year, I don’t want to eat oily food. But she is different. So I cooked for her just a little bit of pork with ginger and garlic by heating on a pan.

At the dinner table, she was eating with her pajama. While we were eating, the time became for TV anime “Sazae-san”. Sazae-san is the name of the main character of the comic created by Ms. Machiko Hasegawa after the World War II. And TV animation show is also a quite long-run. It is aired at 6:30p.m. on Sunday. So it is like the Sazae-san TV show exists to let Japanese people realize that a weekend is over. It makes me sad. Probably so many Japanese feel sad like me all over Japan. Anyway, my mom kept watching Sazae-san after the dinner. Sometimes she laughed, probably Katsuo did a stupid thing on the screen. So it seemed like she got a little recovery from the side reactio. Usually I let her wash the dishes after the dinner, but tonight I washed all the dishes. I left the kitchen. A little later she thought she would wash the dishes, she put dishes into the water in the big wash tub again. Those were that I had already cleaned.

I evaluated three students’ homework assignments after those things. I stopped working and started writing this post. I am going to bed right after I finish uploading this.

Summer break is coming soon, but I have to keep working during the break. The university makes me teach four subjects in the coming fall semester. It is too much. No other teacher will teach four subjects. I am not confident to get through the semester. I may get sick and get damage to my health on the course of semester probably. So I don’t think I will be able to be alive at my mom’s age.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

 Crows (Black Birds) have eaten my tomato.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Flowers of Montbretia started blooming in my garden. Actually they are too strong and increase very much. So you need to control so that they would not occupy the wide area in your garden.
Okay, now I am finishing writing a long post, hoping that this describes a tiny daily life of mine.