Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Another finding in our backyard

As usual, I was walking around my backyard in the morning. And, I found another new "something" in the deepest corner of our backyard. At first glance, I thought they were branches of the tree, drooping from the top towards the ground. But, the leaves looked slightly different from the ones on the tree. Could it be another plant just wrapping around the tree? If so, what was it???

There was a beautiful whitish flower and a bunch of little buds (or whatever they are). If you know of such plant, leave a comment.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Curing Olives!

We have an Olive tree in our backyard. About two months ago, it put out beautiful flowers which reminded me of Japanese "sakura" (cherry blossom). Although I thought I knew it was an olive tree, I started to wonder if it might actually be a cherry tree.

I was wrong. In March, I started to notice little olives here and there. In April, I took off for Japan and came back and guess what I found!!! Hundreds of HUGE olives growing all over the tree.

Its branches were drooping with the weight of huge olives. I felt like the tree was begging me for help. So, I did. My hubby and I picked the olives from the tree. I believe we picked more than several hundred for sure. And, we still have more to go.

We found an article on how to cure olives ( and we decided to go with "Water Curing" and "Brine Curing".

Day 0: April 20, 2008Day 6: April 26, 2008

It has been 6 days, and I have started to see a reddish color in salt water. We are curing them! - I hope.

On the same day, we also found some more strawberries and oranges. You can tell how big these olives are in comparison to strawberries and oranges.Spring harvest!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sushi Experience in Shizuoka

There is a Sushi restaurant that I have to visit whenever I go back to Shizuoka. "Neta" (what's on top of rice) is pretty fresh and the price is very reasonable. They have great selections of "Kai" (shell fish), which I LOVE but am usually scared to eat here in the States and never got around to satisfy my cravings. So, this time as usual, I visited the same restaurant. I know the chefs there very well. They showed me a plate of "Kai" with gorgeously lined up shell fish. They are usually pricier than regular fish, but boy... you cannot say you know Sushi without knowing the taste of "Kai". Our chef also made us a cute cartoon character called "Anpan-Man" with fish and pickles. Two hearts besides the face are made out of pickled radish. The face is made out of scallops, orange cheeks are made out of salmon, nose is made out of tuna, mouth is made out of picked carrot, and the two yes are made out of some sort of pickles as well. It was just very tasty... sorry I did eat. So... here are the Sushi Chefs.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

My Mom's Memorial Day

Just came back from a trip to my home town Shizuoka, Japan. Sakura season was almost ending in Shizuoka, but I found a couple of trees with good amount of blossom. We call the stage "Ha-Zakura". "Ha" means leaves, and "Zakura" is Sakura. :) Sakura has been associated with many Japanese events. At the time of full blossom, friends and family gather and sit underneath the Sakura trees and enjoy the blossom with food and drinks. I was too late for that unfortunately, but I was happy to be able to see some blossom. It certainly soothes you. It was a short trip, but I also managed to visit my family's grave. March 15th is my mother's memorial day. This year it was a bit late, but it would be better than not visiting at all. So... what do we do at the grave? We clean around the grave, pour water from top of the tombstone, put flowers in the vase, burn incense, and pray by telling how well you are doing, how much you thank them for what they have done, and just be in a state of "mu" to enjoy the moment of being with the memories. Our grave was one of the first ones built in the cemetery. Now the cemetery is packed with rows of graves. These days it is fairly expensive and difficult to find the cemetary, and people started to use what's called "Noukotsu-Do"; literally meaning place to store bones. Some of them have a coin locker look alike system. Yes, the mentality is certainly changing.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Driving through Hobart

Last weekend, we had a chance to explore a good portion of Hobart Blvd., the street our fern house is on.
Hobart Blvd. goes quite a long way from south to north. The most southern part of Hobart seems to be around Torrance Blvd and Western. It disappears for a while until you go up north of 405 and keeps re-appearing and re-disappearing until you go above 105. After that, it appears most of the way till you hit W Florence Ave (around 72nd St) and disappear again. Then, around W Vermon Ave (44th St), it appears again. It gets cut with the Martin Luther King Jr. Park around 39th St. Skip one block and reappear at W Jefferson Blvd. and all the way up to Los Feliz and above to the very gorgeous hillside top.
We drove starting at Jefferson Blvd all the way up to the top of the hill. We also got to see the iconic Wilshire Boulevard Temple, which Samuel Tilden Norton who architected our fern house served as one of three architects. The temple was completed in 1929. See the pics of Hoboart Blvd:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Typical night of gG

He just loooves being on my lap all night long. Me? Hmmmm.