Monday, December 28, 2009

And the child was born!!!

One year has gone...so fast.
The last two Christmases I haven't been so much into celebrating or decorating.
This year my baby boy turns one and this is a very special occurrence itself.

And...last year, as you might well imagine, I was very much concentrating on myself and on "how the delivery would be" and - most important - how fast it would be.
If you've ever heard stories of endless deliveries - which are very common with first borns - just forget about that.

Since I had spent about three hours in delivery room for Carlotta, it was for me quite obvious that it would be faster with the second child.
The fast and the furious.

I like to start the story with me having the first contraction while drinking tea and eating cookies but I will spare the details because I don't want to upset your stomach after the feasts.
Let's just say that Bastian was born 2 hours and 15 minutes after that first contraction and again I got tea and cookies as a treat...
The midwife meant I could also have a shower and start off as if it all had been a spa session.


So here are a few pictures of Bastian's first year



one day old



six months old at Grandma's




with "big sister"





first (American) love - you ain't getting any!!!




crawling on the carpet at the lab



sitting and smiling...?




sleepyheads on futon




winter outfit


Happy birthday Bastian, sweetheart!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas is in you...wait, in me....


MERRY CHRISTMAS!



My daughter asked a few days ago if Santa was allowed to go to stores and buy everything without going through the cashiers...Smart girl!

Monday, December 21, 2009

White - and wet- Christmas

On Saturday it was snowing on Long Island, too.
This is probably a snow landscape I hadn't seen before, even if there were snowy winters in Venice when I was a kid - and this year too, to tell the truth.
Have a look at this...isn't it amazing?

Very beautiful pics of the snow on Long Island were posted by Bill Drago on The Long Island Blog.

What am I doing while the snow is still on the ground?
Bake cookies: I took the chance to try a recipe I got from my friend Marge.
Usually I am very experimental with sweet stuff, which means everything turns out a bit different from expected...and actually I did add a secret ingredient.
Still, these cookies will be renamed "Marge's cookies", because I like the idea that there is a person behind every recipe.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mi spiego

Caro XXX

c' era un tempo in cui avevo due mani.
E due occhi, due orecchie, due gambe...solo per me.
Ora niente mi appartiene: qualsiasi cosa io faccia devo essere vigile affinché i bambini non si facciano male, possano essere sazi, riposati, ascoltati...

Ecco, anche ascoltare qualcos'altro che non siano i pianti, le richieste o i loro racconti non è semplice; ció che prima davo per scontato, come poter sentire i miei programmi preferiti alla radio, ora appartiene a un passato quasi dimenticato.
Dico quasi, perché io - pur affetta da una memoria traballante - non ho scordato in quale particolare circostanza le nostre vite si sono incrociate: ascoltando la radio.
Allora, una sera d'estate, ascoltavo musica per consolarmi o per passare il tempo e scrivevo come una dannata per trovare scampo alle mie frustrazioni e per sopportare la tortura che mi pareva allora infinita.
Non è ancora finita del tutto ovviamente, sennó non sarei qui a spiegarti.

Beh, ti diró che di quella particolare circostanza non ho un vero e proprio ricordo, ma una scatola di madelaine proustiane sempre a portata di mano - quella che rimane libera: mi scorrono difronte le immagini del film "Dopo mezzanotte", di una Torino e della sua Mole vista solo piú avanti e mi rimbombano nella testa le canzoni dei Subsonica, anche quelli vissuti solo successivamente.
Anni dopo, a Berlino, scrissi un articolo in tedesco dedicato a quella Torino che conoscevo anche grazie a Culicchia; il mio primo scritto in lingua tedesca convinse l' insegnante a leggere "Tutti giú per terra" - potere delle parole.

Ma l'incrociarsi delle nostre vite non é legato soltanto a questa cittá.
Dici di essere stato piú volte a Venezia, l'isola a forma di pesce, dove incontrare qualcuno che si conosce diventa questione di fondamenta e calli percorse in momenti distinti, parallelamente magari, eppure mai insieme.
Venezia non si conosce mai completamente fosse solo per il suo cambiare colore continuo, perció scelgo ogni volta una calle diversa, pensando di osservare chissá quali volti.
A volte mi sento seguita, non da qualcuno in particolare ma da immagini, ombre, maschere.


Sempre a Venezia ricordo di averti odiato.
Forse é una parola un po' forte...credo di essermi molto arrabbiata, dovendo fotocopiare un mare di fogli che non hanno forse piú ritrovato il lore ordine originale - generalmente leggere una lettera venti o trenta volte va bene, poi peró si mette via e non ci si pensa piú.
Venire a sapere che tutta quella fatica e quel disordine sono stati invano beh...mi fa ancora un po' arrabbiare.
Tanto, dirai tu, siamo sempre su un' isola diversa.

Ora come allora

Wishing well.










Friday, December 11, 2009

Warming up my heart!

In a freezing cold December day, after fighting with my daughter who is - if you ask me what's wrong with her - possessed by evil spirits from time to time...I find support in GUESS WHAT?

CHOCOLATE

I don't necessarily eat kilos of it at once, but I need some.
Thanks to the kind people who know me so well and instead of flowers just bring me a bar of dark chocolate (more than 70% cacao that is) as a present.
Sorry for those who bring flowers, I like them a lot but it obviously ain't enough to keep them alive. Sigh.

Said that, I will post my last Japan pics, those of Shikoku. I wish we had more time to visit this wonderful area of Japan - will there be a next time?I don't know.




In the distance you can se the Seto Ō-hashi bridge 瀬戸大橋 that connects Honshu with Shikoku, namely the beautiful old city of Kurashiki in Okayama-ken and that of Sakaide in Kagawa-ken, stretching for 13 km over five islands on the Seto Sea.






If you ever happen to stop here, there is a Kinokuniya bookstore and the second best gelato - maccha gelato!!! - we had during this trip.



Bicycle parking - why don't we have those in Europe?


We spent two nights in a cheap hotel - tatami room! - in Takamatsu, the capital of Kagawa-ken, which is interesting and odd at the same time. The harbor area isn't that bad, the station is also close, but still the city center is located further south.
Well, it isn't probably so strange. If you think that tsunami 津波 are nothing exceptional here, it is quite reasonable to have a downtown separated from the harbor. Also, the original meaning of tsunami is "harbor wave".

Downtown Takamatsu means a connection of shopping arcades - I love them, you can walk and be kind of outside but you are covered if the weather is bad - under which people ride their bicycles like mad.
Riding a bicycle is very common in Japan.
It's not the lawless riding of Chinese people but nevertheless - being the rules kind of exoteric - it requires a certain wariness.





I do love this ad, isn't it sweet?



View over Takamatsu from Yashima peninsula


This peninsula is nothing but a lava plateau - i.e. a large and rather flat surface formed by a fast outpouring of lava out of the crust.
Looking at the area around Yashima one can observe the layers that form the peninsula itself.




On the peninsula, the Yashimaji, number 84 of 88 pilgrimage temples in Shikoku.




Near the main temple hall you'll find a Tanuki temple.
Tanuki are Japanese raccoons, famous in folk tales for their mischievous attitude and ability to disguise themselves.
Some seem to be naughtier than other, but mostly those you find outside restaurants are benevolent ones - don't worry!


view of the islands in front of Takamatsu from the observation point


After two days in Takamatsu, where we also visited the city museum and the exhibition "It's a Rumic world", we took the ferry to Ikeda port in Shodoshima, also called Olive Island because of the olive cultivation, that was actually the first in Japan.
As you'd expect from a place where olives can grow, the climate was very pleasant, still warm during the day and just a bit fresher in the evening - I can never get enough of it!!!

The Ikeda ferry terminal area was pretty much a ghost town: no restaurants, no convenient stores...sure enough there were vending machines - is there a vending machine goddess yet?

Anyway, we took the east-bound bus and, after couple of adventurous stops, we landed in a dismissed bikers hotel where we got a room with a view on the harbor.

Not bad!


But this was also in a very sleepy area, namely Sakate, where the ferry to Osaka only run in summer and where all shops were closed.
Very odd, but very beautiful anyway.



You can judge the dimensions of the house looking at the stroller on the right side...



We had - at least - a bus station in walking distance...



After visiting Shōdoshima we returned on our steps in direction of Tōkyō with a short stop in Himeji - which I didn't really like - and a night in Kōbe.
Should you ever need an hotel in Kōbe, you can ask me anytime for advice..(I guess I know most of them NOW because we had to find a room and had no reservation on a week-end where they were all booked out - what a pain!!).

Our last night we were in a hotel in Tōkyō, Asakusa, where we had the top best maccha gelato!!!
But not before having dinner, of course.

The soup that makes us soo happy!!



And of course a stroll around Asakusa Temple and to the Kaminarimon.
-sigh- Japan, how beautiful!!!

Despite all her contradictions and the obvious diversity with any western country, this is for me still a land to fall in love with.

With that I won't bother you anymore and will go on telling about the life on the other Island.

Ruggito del Coniglio - La Bella e la Bestia - Atto III

una favola per mia figlia

Thursday, December 10, 2009

9 and 10

As much as I promised myself NOT to follow the Advent Calendar tradition, as much as I tried to avoid stuffing my daughter with presents she doesn't need, you can be sure that she is having this year too a nice treatment. Which she doesn't deserve, because she doesn't do anything to make ME happy. But is it the role of kids or the role of parents to make one happy?

Bet you know the answer.

And it's nice to see her smiling face every morning when she gets up - usually she would be in a very bad mood, no matter if she has slept 7 or 12 hours!!! - because she knows there is a small packet waiting to be open by her anxious hands.

She really gets small stuff, like Xmas stamps, a colorful soap, small books, stickers...

But this year I've got a present too. We. No, me. It's me the "at home" parent, so I am the one using that more often. It's an internet radio, so I can listen to my favorite programs.
I love some Italian radio programs.
Some.
Some I hate.
The noisy kind irritates me.
Besides there are radio speakers who talk like dockers. Seriously, why do I have to listen to that language even when they are talking about important issues?
And why on hell is this happening during the day when lot of kids are home and listen to such crap?

Aren't we earning already a bad reputation abroad?Aren't we trying to get rid of this bad reputation?
Well, yes, if there is radio SOMEONE out of their own little bunker is listening!

I get angry about that, because this offensive language is one reason Italians aren't taken seriously and guess what?Here there are a lot of second or third generation Italians who are proud or at least want to be proud of their background. So I am getting angry for them too.
Obviously I don't listen to this kind of programs, if not by accident, and I don't want to promote censorship, just...are good manners really so unimportant?Aren't non-said words often funnier than those that are repeated until we drop?

Maybe I am an old lady inside, anyway it suits to my habit of looking for coins out of my purse 'till the cashier cries.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

6, 7, 8 busy bee.

On Sunday we did make it to the City, managed to find a free parking spot not far from Moma and we enjoyed the Bauhaus exhibit...Carlotta was busy eating her candy necklace and she didn't complain much and Bastian was fine.
Visiting museums with kids isn't always a piece of cake - and if you add to it that in winter you need half an hour to get dress, then undress and maybe go to the restroom just when you would like to see the last rooms or the last work of art then it all becomes more a stress than a pleasure.

I am very glad though that Carlotta liked at least one of the works of Bauhaus: a stained glass composition of Albers, that is.
Well, it was colorful and very pretty and not so strict like many of the other works of art.

No, let's don't start a discussion about art, I am trying to think with the mind of a four year old girl.

To turn this a bit, I'll tell you about the game she wanted to play yesterday afternoon: she said we were supposed to play "mom with son and daughter". She was to be the mom.
It was very interesting, 'cause she asked me where I wanted to go and so I started acting like she would sometimes - maybe exaggerating a bit.
"I want to go to NYC, no...I want to go to the library...no, I want to go eat ice-cream". She was kind of surprised but accepted the "eat ice-cream" option"saying "OK, but one scoop chocolate ice-cream in a small cone" and on I went "No, two scoops in a large cone" and she "A small cone for you and a big one for me"..."No, I will be eating ice-cream, not you!!!".

And there she pull out the lesson: "If you are acting like this, then you won't eat any ice-cream".

Did I ever complain she is not listening to me?There you go, "mom".

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Three, four and five...

I am very bad at counting, very bad in sticking to plans and schedules, in a word...busy mom of two kids.
We had a quite intense week, even though we didn't do unusual things.
Bastian is very active, which means he tries to walk along any walls, or just crawls away to be found in the most inappropriate places of the house, so whatever I am doing there are interruptions and lot of running around involved.
It's fun, but it always seems there is no way to finish what one begins.

The weather was also kind of crazy lately, one day you needed to wear just a sweat-shirt, the next day you needed a winter coat, so we had to plan our activities accordingly.
Yesterday was a wonderful day, one of those that makes you want to walk along the beach and collect pebbles - how many did I collect in the last months I don't know - but the wind was so strong that in the end I decided to just have a walk in Port Jefferson, which is one of the nicest towns on the North Shore, with a harbor and some nice shops.

Without the wind it was very enjoyable.

Today we were forced to stay home being unpleasantly rainy, windy and very cold.

Anyway, the weather forecast is good for tomorrow: it should be cold but sunny and we plan to go to NYC, hopefully it will work.
We'd like to visit the Museum of Natural History or the Moma: if Nikolaus is bringing enough diversions for Carlotta then even modern art is fine.
Don't know what she will think about Bauhaus, but maybe the Tim Burton exhibition could amuse her for a while.

Ralph has bought a second car - how bad is it that we got to this?
But truth is that he needs a car to go to work and I need a car to go around with the kids.
With that I like driving less than before, but there is no escape....

Happy Nikolaus!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

TWO

Two, like two shots against the flu...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

ONE

December OMG!!!
That's my blog-advent calendar.

Traditionally, I would have a Xmas Tree...
But when I moved to Berlin I had a brilliant idea, look at that!!!For Ralph's happiness.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy first Advent Sunday!

No, if this is what you are asking yourself...I am not, but in a season of movies like "The Santa Clause" with Tim Allen - whom I love in Home Improvement, btw - and various versions of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" I also want to spread a word of joy.
Did you know that Tim Allen was arrested for cocaine possession?And for drunk-driving?

Word of joy, excuse me.

Because we are somehow waiting and hoping for the Saviour, even if we are not personally oppressed.
This gets me back on my trail: oppression, that is.
And something I want to share with you, as lately I have seen a parody of Maya Angelou on SNL - very amusing indeed - and she happens to be one of my favorite poets.


You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.


Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.



"Still I Rise"
from AND STILL I RISE by Maya Angelou,
copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Black Friday!!!

It's great to be in the States for Thanksgiving...although we're not really celebrating with traditional American food - well, we had a chance to do that on Tuesday, as the Lab where Ralph works had organized a feast for all "homeless" employees, i.e. people from abroad or far from their families.

Today is Black Friday, the first shopping day after Thanksgiving and unofficial beginning of the Christmas season.

Why, did the shopping ever had a break?Or were Christmas ornaments not in the stores before Thanksgiving?

Mhhh...mysteries I would never really understand.

Note that in Europe it wouldn't be much different: you might find Christmas items in September and then at the end of November you can start the celebration with the Advent Countdown.

It all makes me feel like the Grinch. And not because I don't like Christmas!
On the contrary: I like neon lights and the tree and those wonderful polish glass balls not to mention the presents and wrappings around presents or my favorite food on a neat table with the best cutlery BUT it would be easier if I could enjoy one thing at a time, if you know what I mean.
I am still eating my pumpkin pie and someone is already feeding me the Xmas lunch, I just can't take it, that's way too much.

Last year I was pregnant and had few energies for my daughter, but I had some time and decided to prepare an Advent Calendar with a small present every day starting December 1st until December 25th. It was nice to wrap small things she might need for the winter, some small toys or just craft bonuses like baking cookies together or making small photo-albums with pictures of her (we usually upload pics and seldom print them).
It was kind of "for her before she realizes mom won't have so much time after Xmas" - baby Bastian was due on January 4th, but I knew he would arrive not much later than Santa.

Anyway, this year I am so tired of Xmas already and she kind of has anything, I can hardly think about 24 presents. Of course I have some, but I never have the time and the privacy to wrap them all. I should have begun with the wrapping in August...
So, let me feel like the Grinch!


The Grinch hated Christmas! The Whole Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

From How The Grinch Stole Christmas © 1957 by Dr. Seuss



You know the story?You want to know how it ends?
This could be, by the way, a nice gift for both children and grown-ups..
Books are always a good option.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Momotarō 桃太郎



Momotarō is the peach-boy of Japanese legends.
These days I am making my own Momotarō story: whenever my daughter asks me "Are you my mom?", I answer "No, I just found you".

Anyway, we found this pretty statue while walking in Okayama, the Vegas of western Japan, a city rising in the middle of nowhere but with one of the most beautiful gardens I've ever visited - the Korakuen.



Yatsuhashi Bridge (八橋)
から衣 きつゝなれにし つましあれば はるばるきぬる たびをしぞ思
Karagoromo / kitsutsu narenishi / tsuma shi areba / harubaru kinuru / tabi o shi zo omou
I have a beloved wife / familiar as the skirt / of a well-worn robe / and so this distant journeying / fills my heart with grief
from Ise Monogatari 伊勢物語

Thursday, November 12, 2009

On the other hand....


This is my ideal of Fall.
Can you order that for me?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

November

Guess I need to make a pause in my Japan's telling.
Because since we're back many things happened: Carlotta had her fourth birthday, she got back to pre-school and the routine prevented my spleen from narrating more fun stories.
Also, when we got back, our roommate told us he was going back to Italy. I will leave the details, because it's all very personal, but the main motivation was that his family needed him more than ever and to me this a good enough reason to take such decision.
November is a quite depressing month.
If you split from your partner in November you're more likely to be sad than if you'd do that in June...for example. They call it winter blues, in some exclusive circle.
November is the month of the dead: I used to go to the cemetery with my parents and relatives to remember dead family-members.
My father used to be very bored and hung his jacket on one of the wall-tombs - guess this is what you do when you're bored.
After all the praying and saying we would go back home and eat pastries from our local bakery. This is also what you do if you are bored: eat. Or if you are sad.
I don't like November. In spite of chestnuts.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Kiyomizudera 清水寺


Kiyomizudera is one of my favorite temples, because it combines an amazing architecture - I've told you I am a fan of such constructions, maybe I have been an architect in one of my previous lives...- and a spectacular view over Kyoto.

Since it was rainy just before we got to the terrace of the temple, we got the next illumination with sun piercing the clouds - isn't it inspiring?


ooohhhh....ehhhhh.....aaahhhhh
(Japanese for awesome)



no single nail was used to build this temple

Kyoto and the Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market stand


From Teramachidori


If you are a temple freak - like I was and still partly am - Kyoto is the place to be.
The first time in Kyoto, nine years ago, I was desperately craving for illumination, so this time I decided to take it easy - it is part of that illumination to know that you don't enjoy temples while your kids are complaining and crying because they are tired or hungry - or just because to them torii - the gate in front of shinto shrines - all look alike and Buddha is only a fat man (I try to see through the eyes of a child, of course to me THERE ARE substantial differences!!!).

Kobe is a convenient location for a day trip to Japan's ancient capital, so I took this opportunity and got on the local trains to reach Kyoto and stroll around, visit the Nishiki Market and, as part of the deal, walk through Teramachi Street (寺町通 teramachidōri) a shopping arcade surrounded by temples - or the other way round.

Not long ago I had read about anko (red-bean paste) kit-kat and I was struggling to find it in supermarkets or combini (convenient stores), instead I found this....


For a new kind of tea-ceremony.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Rope-way and Herb Garden



Here comes one of the toughest part of our Kobe tour...
After running around so much, Carlotta finally decided that she was ready to be transported.
In Kobe Kitano, literally the northern area of Kobe, there are mountains from which you can enjoy a wonderful sight of the city and take a stroll through the herb garden, where you can find some hidden beauties.
The price to pay to get there - and we aren't talking about the entrance fee - is a ten minute ride on the rope-way.
As you probably know, I don't quite like the heights...for a number of reasons.

Can you picture me on such a trap?

These are some pics I could take; if you mean they are not good it's because everything was shacking!!


If going up wasn't enough....



but the view is great


ain't it?

Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art

There is a strange tricky monster in my mind, which makes me seek things western if I am in Far East and makes me seek things eastern if I am on the western side of the world - but it is a matter of definition where east and west are, right?

Me, Carlotta and little Bastian made it to the Hyogo Museum and stared at a lot of art-works. When I say "stared" I really mean it, since the title of the exhibition was "Visual deception" it took some time before you could figure out what was real and what just illusion.

I was incredibly captured by a work of Patrick Hughes, displaying one of my favorite cities...

Arima Onsen and Akashi Bridge







Forget riding the jet-ski for a second!!!
We had - sorry, I meant we joyfully took part to the social program bus-tour organized for scientists' accompanying persons.
Do you like bus tours?
Do you like Japanese bus tours?

Anyway, we went to the Arima Onsen - nothing for me with both kids (too bad because I love to soak in hot water).
After riding the bus to Arima, we hit the road again to reach the Akashi Bridge observation point on Awaji Island.

The longest suspension bridge of the world just there in front of us.
I started being interested in such amazing constructions as bridges, dams, towers...escalators oops...maybe the last aren't so amazing but hey, useful!!!


Meriken Harbor Land





I like cities on the water, be it a river, a bay, the ocean or a lake. Especially harbors are a source of energy and of new ideas.
Japanese harbors though are a bit depressing, being strictly dedicated to the import of goods and to the industry.
Not far away from downtown Kobe though you can find an area that "celebrates" the harbor with a panoramic wheel, a sightseeing tower and a nautical museum hosting a large ship exhibition which Carlotta found very exciting, mostly because of other means of transportation she could pretend to ride....

Motomachi





Kobe is a rather international city: it has a large harbor, a number of ethnic restaurants, an area where a bunch of European homes were built - a little Shanghai without ever being as crowded as Shanghai.
The big earthquake in 1995 destroyed most of it, so I can't be sure of how much of the original flavor remains.

One of my favorite areas was the Motomachi area, bustling with life and packed with small shops and restaurants, mostly located under arcades or under the railroad (saving room is a national sport).
On top of that, add the small but busy Chinatown, a place where you might forget for a while you are in Japan and where the intense and delicious smell of dumplings and Peking duck rolls fill the air. How did it go?
Give me a gate and I'll turn it into a Chinatown?



Sorakuen






Ikuta Jinja - Kobe






Sunday, October 11, 2009

Japan

I know, I know...you thought I was lost in translation and I didn't want to go back to the States but I am back, even after the 12 hour long flight and the usual stop at Washington - late because of weather delay, missed the connecting flight, short night at the Marriot and flight the next day (I could get used to that procedure).
After recovering from some jet-leg, I realized I am well behind schedule with my posting and now I have to report about our trip.
Let's start from

Odawara

After flying from NY La Guardia to Washington Dulles and from there to Narita, we were taking the train to Odawara, which is not far away from Chigasaki.
We decided to spend a night in Odawara before getting to Kobe, because we wanted to meet Chizuko - see previous post and picture - and also because we wanted to have some sleep between the long flight and the Shinkansen ride.

We arrived on the very day the tropical storm Melor hit the coast in the Tokyo area. The wind was quite strong, local trains were canceled and so I couldn' t meet Chizuko, but we made it to Odawara castle, one of Japan's largest.


have a look at the sky...


Although local trains didn't run, the fast Shinkansen was able to take us to our final destination: Kobe.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mattete!!!


We are packing again.

Tomorrow we will leave for Japan: Ralph has a meeting in Kobe and we are following him.
The weather doesn't seem to be too good, with some tropical storms and winds, but it will hopefully get better.

...of course I am happy, but the idea of SUCH a long flight is terrifying.

Guess I will have to relax and just post again when I am there, since it might really appear to you it's more a torture than a pleasure.
Japan is one of the countries I love most.
I love Japanese people, food, sights, colors, language, sounds - yeah, some might even be disgusting, but they are part of the fun.
Besides, I have tons of good memories related to Japan; lot of dear friends (I know, some might argue a friend is someone you see very often, but me...no, I don't have such friends).

The photo above was taken six years ago, in front of the Pacific Ocean, in Chigasaki.
eeeeee......

Last, but not least, I met Ralph in Japan.


Monday, September 21, 2009

V.I.P for a day


If you are not a resident or you don't pay an outrageous charge for parking, you won't see the beautiful beaches in Westhampton.
Unless...
you are here after Labor Day.

NYC







To avoid too much countryness, we decided to spend the weekend in the City...strolling, eating Chinese food, listening to music. Do I need more?Mhhh...no actually I don't.

Here are some pics.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I scream for ice-cream

Today I went downtown...Rocky Point downtown, that is.
It's a small nest between the hills and route 25A, couple of stores, some restaurants and a CVS pharmacy.

I walked in to the Italian food market - mostly meat, so I couldn't care less - and a dozen expired cookie boxes - colors fading away made me just curious, so I checked before stuffing my head with the thought of delicious cappuccino filled wafers...

Across the street there's a small pizzeria - unimportant details, since what attracted me most was the sign of Mc Nulty's ice-cream, which is one of the best so called "Italian-ice" around here.
So I asked the young woman behind the counter if we could have an ice-cream and she was pretty offended, meaning "it's not ice-cream...it's Italian ice".

I had wanted to, but I didn't dare asking her for the difference, because I am an ice-cream junkie, so call it the way you want, it just has to be good.

BUT it was probably as expired as the above mentioned wafers.
Bad ice-cream sucks.
Anyway it all could have ended in a racial issue, since she gave me the thing in a squeeze cup.

NO COMMENT.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Life in a house


We moved in about ten days ago and there is so much to do...sorting, cleaning, throwing, packing away...
Thanks g. I had two precious helper (see pic).

I had never expected to be back in a house. But it's just for one year and this house is really pretty, besides we can take strolls without fearing trucks or RVs AND it is quite a work-out, being on rolling hills.

As I mentioned some posts ago, we can walk to the Sound, which is an amazing view.