Sunday, March 25, 2012

Nashville Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival)

Today was the 2012 Nashville Sakura Matsuri. Here is the official website; The curse continued; rain chased us from the park as the festival came to a close. Always with the soaking!
There are several Sakura matsuri, or cherry blossom festivals, in America this time of year. Washington DC in particular is a big one, but Hanami (flower viewing) parties are scattered all over the US. This year was special because Nashville received three baby cherry trees grown from cuttings from the original cherry trees given to our countries' capitol by the mayor of Tokyo in 1912. This year marks the 100th aniversary of the first Japanese cherry grove in the US. I know that according to Japanese folklore objects sometimes gain spirits after reaching a hundred years. I wonder if cherry trees do as well?

The last of the cherry blossoms. It rained petals as the wind blew.

These guys were adorable little troublemakers. Their mother would dry them off and they'd be right back in the fountain. It was too cold, but they didn't seem to mind.

This was a demonstration of a tea ceramony. The way of the tea is so complicated!

A sakura kusadama.

Yoyo balloons. You had to hook the string with a wire hook attached to a twisted rice paper rope. Tricky like you wouldn't believe.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Day of Spring

Spring Equinox is here, and with it the Spring. There are bugs, birds, and baby animals everywhere. Is it any wonder almost every culture and religion has a celibration of new life this time of year? Easter, of course, is what I celebrate; a story of rebirth out of what appears dead. Like a pheonix, let's make this new life better than the old one.

With all the warmth all my flowers are seriously confused. The lilac is blooming almost a month before usual.

I took this picture of cherry blossoms last weekend. Good thing too; they're already falling. Looking forward to the cherry blossom festival this weekend, even if the trees are bare.

Not sure what kind of flower this tsumami kanzashi hairstick is, but I made it anyway.

Also, this strawberry kanzashi. It was a fun hair accessory to make. It seems a little early, but the plants are already blooming. The berries will be here before we know it.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saint Patrick's day/twin's birthday.

Today was not only the twin's birthday party, but Saint Patrick's day as well. Mmm corned beef and cabbage!

This was the quietest birthday party this year. No screaming, no crying, just playing video games. It was almost scary.^^

Minecraft cupcakes by me. Creepers, gravel, dirt, and minecraft style cakes. The new square cupcake pan made them easy.

Four leaf clover Tsumami Kanzashi. The big one is a lapel pin. Gold at the end of the rainbow anyone?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Nashville zoo / spring break

This week was spring break, and it's not over yet. Tomorrow is the twin's birthday party; their birthday is actually the 13th, but their friends are coming over tomorrow. Yesterday we went to the Nashville zoo. Here are some pics^^

 It was over 80F!
The elephants were enjoying it a lot.

This iguana was part of the America exhibit.
There were many different animals from all over North and South America.
Some of them I see all the time, but black widows and brown recluses
aren't nearly as friendly as this guy was^^ 

The play ground at the entrance is huge.
This is only one of six or seven parts.
Some parts were four stories tall!

Monday, March 12, 2012

3.11 media

Over the last couple days I have read many stories about the Tohoku Earthquake. Some of these stories are about the brave survivors, the amazing clean up work, and the mass prayers and ceremonies for both the living and the deceased. However, many of the ones most pushed, reported, or published were highly offensive. They made me ashamed of some of my country members, who apparently only care that they are/might be affected by this tragedy.
This goes especially for those who only see this as a platform for their personal agendas. Whether they are against the fishing boats, feel the Japan's way of life is wrong, claim Japan is over populated, or anything else does not give them the right to slander our neighbors. The fear mongering and hateful way that this natural disaster has been portrayed, especially by English speaking media, disgusts me.
The main tragedy was the loss of over 20,000 lives; not a nuclear accident. The brave men of Dai-ichi plant are to be commended; and while certain groups could have moved faster or done more, hindsight is always 20/20. Saying things like Japan should be cleaning up the mess in the ocean so we don't have to, destroy all nuclear plants because while we still need electrical power we don't want to deal with the consequences, or that anyone deserved the Tsunami for any reason is selfish. Let us stop accusing each other of things and help one another.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Today marks the one year anniversary of the Tohoku Earthquake and subsequent Tsunami. Let our prayers be with them. May the souls of the departed rest in peace, and the spirits of the living be healed.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mori-chan's garden

Today was a busy day. I am fixing the walls in Rosie and Maggie's bedroom. After I pulled the old wallpaper down it revealed a kakki and cream colored paneling. Yikes. Now I will plaster the snot out of the walls and paint them. After lunch I took this picture of violets growing in my back yard;

Then I finished this new tsumami kanzashi;

I guess they are ume (plum) blossoms, but I just wanted a red kanzashi to go with my yukata. The bell on flower fall is about the size of a green pea. The flowers on the main part of the kanzashi are about the size of a quarter. Just in case you were wondering...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

BBC Japanese Tsunami anniversary documentery

This morning I was reading my internet friend Coco's blog, and someone had left this video as a response. Not really sure I would have put it next to a page dedicated to girl's day, but it is very good. This is an hour long documentary about the Tsunami and Fukushima Dai-ichi plant as told by elementary school students on the east coast. Many of these children watched their friends be washed away by the tsunami, or were evacuated from the area near the plant. Warning; definitely cry worthy.

Since my mother works in a power plant almost just like Dai-ichi she was very interested in what was going on. Brownsferry is a bit different, but all modern plants are built roughly the same way; they have very strict rules on how they are built after Chernobyl.  Nuclear power is very clean and safe if the rules are followed, but no one was planning for such a huge tsunami to hit a power plant. How can you plan for something that has never happened before? After the Tsunami even more rules and procedures were written, some of them by my mother!
She had never really been interested in Japanese culture before the Tsunami, but afterwards she calls the men who stayed to shut down the plant 'my nuclear brothers.' After all, she went through a taste of how scary it must have been for them. A large group of tornadoes ripped through the area about this time last year, and she was stuck in the plant. She had to shut the reactor unit she was watching down, and she couldn't get a hold of any of us siblings. She didn't know we were safe in the basement; she thought I was at college, and that my younger siblings had been sent home with no one there to help them. She had thought we could have been dead, and that our home could've been destroyed. Luckily the tornado missed our house, and I got home safely before the tornadoes came. There were trees down, the power went out, and several houses up the road were damaged, but everyone near us was ok.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hina Matsuri (Girl's Day)

Today was hina matsuri, or girl's day, in Japan. It is also known as momo-no-sekku, which means peach festival, because this is when Japanese peaches begin to bloom. Girls all over Japan set out their hina ningyo (dolls) several days or weeks before the actual day. The most important dolls are the Emperor and Empress. Every little girl is supposed to have a set of them. There are ministers and servants, soldiers and attendants, and even house wares that are also part of the display. These are not always there; I only have an emperor and empress mayself. They are often passed down from mother to daughter; some of these dolls are two hundred years old! Many snacks are served, and prayers are said for the girl's growth and happiness. Usually one eats oyster soup, sweet sake, and scattered sushi for girl's day: we had udon noodles with veggies, chicken, and seafood instead. Yum!

Hina matsuri dolls. I made them myself. The hardest part was the the outer kimono; my bunnies were a bit chubby around the middle, so they aren't quite right. It's very hard to get the right silks here in the US, so I used brocades instead.

A pink flower tsumami kanzashi I made for my mother. I can't decide if it is a peach (momo) blossom or a cherry (sakura). Maybe it's neither!

This is a doll yukata I sewed for Maggie's doll. It's made out of scraps from her yukata, so they match. I had to put in a few weird seams though... it's almost like patchwork!

Dango. Traditionally sakura cakes and tricolored mochi are eaten, but I had no pickled sakura leaves and Maggie doesn't like mochi without beanpaste. So I just made tricolored dango instead. Maggie helped make them. She's getting to be a pretty good cook for an eight year old!

Friday, March 2, 2012


Today is looking rather unpleasant. There are thunderstorms, and there are supposed to be tornadoes this afternoon. Some of my friends have had hail. The fact that it is sunny and warm just makes it worse. Just because I live in tornado alley doesn't make me like them very much. Last year the area where my mother works was almost completely flattened in places. Several people died, and the nuclear power plant she works at had to be shut down. Power was out for over a week in some places. There are still roofs missing and buildings flattened. You can even see telephone poles wrapped up like a pretzel! Anybody in or around Tennessee needs to watch out and find shelter soon.