Saturday, December 5, 2009

Which do you like better, mountains or the sea ?

Since I was born and raised in countryside in Nara, surrounded by mountains, I had a vague longing for the not-yet-seen sea. Whenever I see the sea, I am amazed at its beauty shimmering in the sunshine and its endless horizon, while I didn’t appreciate mountains so much when I was young. Actually mountain trekking is a kind of acquired taste for me.

Marine sports are definitely no-no for me, because I can’t swim. Most people associate the sea with summer. Simply compared, like bathing suits show, the sea allows you to be open and extrovert and relax your body and mind ( putting aside all season divers or surfers). On the other hand mountain climbing requires well-equipped outfits and in a way being ascetic,introverted work but it could reward your struggle with a sense of fulfillment and wonderful bird's-eye views and moreover it could please you with every clear change of scenery all through the year. It seems to me that marine activities are for younger people while mountains are for middle-aged or over. Of course skiing or snowboarding seem to attract all age groups but most people I meet in the mountain trekking are in my generation or over.

Thanks to the road up to 2700m high, it became possible for us to access even “Japan Alps” easily. Several years ago, I had a chance to see the rising sun from the top of Mt. Norikura. We started walking with flash light around 4:00am and in one hour and a half or so, the sun began to dye the horizon orange and next thing I knew the orange sun appeared among white field of clouds behind black mountain ranges. Soon it revealed its whole figure, emitting sparkling sunshine. The thought that I was standing on such a high place(3000m) and overlooking the sea of thick clouds below and towering mountain ranges really overwhelmed me.

On the other hand, the rising sun in Bali or Cebe, seen from the resort hotel near the seaside where I was staying was also very impressive.

The sea and mountains both give you a great deal of comfort and energy and healing power. Strangely enough, one winter when I was walking on the trail in the mountain,shown here is at Mt.Takami , with earth and whole trees covered with snow all around, quiet and clear and serene, no sound heard, I felt like I was at the deep end of the sea.

Monday, November 30, 2009

How about New Year's Dishes ?

It's December now. Time really flies. I'm afraid it's a bit too early to talk about "Osechi" now, but what do you usually make for New Year's dishes? Today I learned some of them from a friend of mine, a cooking teacher. She kindly offers a special lesson once a month for friendship's sake at her house.

The ingredients she uses are neither something special nor expensive but familiar, common ones. She spares no efforts, time and energy to create affectionate and tasty savory dishes. Such dishes really make a difference. At least once a month, that is a reminder for me that "you are what you eat". To satisfy your stomach with good food and share the joy with family or friends brings health in body and mind.

dried Japanese radish (切干大根の紅酢あえ)right side on the leaf in the picture and burdock with nut's flavor (ナッツ風味のたたきごぼう)bottom left are freshly tasty. Are you interested ?
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