A Blustery Day

Last Tuesday we saw strong gusts of wind and heavy rain (of short duration) in Nagoya.  The storm  made the weather agencies release warnings of high waves along the sea coast of Aichi.  I heard that it even caused some flights and bullet train cancellations in other areas of Japan. 
 I came home and was greeted by this mess that the storm brought to our front porch.  
They are pine needles from our Nihon matsu (Japanese pine tree) which is really very tedious to clean when it falls on the rocks in our garden.  Sweeping them with a broom stick would also mean sweeping the rocks underneath them so I have to pick them up by hand one by one!
We didn’t plant the tree there, the previous owner of our house did.  We’ve been planning to chop it down ever since we bought the house 7 years ago but hesitated because of some paranoid thinking we ourselves spun in our heads that it could bring bad luck if we chop it.  I wonder if there is an actual basis for this.  Plus we don’t know where to throw it!  Garbage disposal is a big thing here in Japan.  Improper disposal could get you fined.  
But the tree really looks terrible now after 7 years of snipping some branches here and there because we have no idea how to trim it properly.  These trees are treated here in Japan like an art form, branches and pine needles carefully trimmed by hand by an expert.  It is usually manipulated using sticks and ropes to give it a form, usually with one long branch forming an arch over the gates of traditional Japanese houses or establishments.  See how the branches have grown so long and randomly  in every direction and have now  reached the roof of our small garage.  I think I’ve had it with this tree…we might say goodbye to it this Golden Week.
Tuesday also greeted me with some nice news though…my blog has just been listed in the japan blog list.
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Kokedama

Ever since I laid my eyes on kokedamas or Japanese moss balls (“Koke” means moss and “dama” means ball) in the flower shop I frequent, I fell in love with them. it’s definitely a cheap alternative to bonsais. Though I’ve never tried to, they are quite easy to make if you have the right materials. There are instructions in this blog on how to make and care for them. Since I can easily buy them here, I keep on deferring plans making my own kokedama. They are really cute and perfect indoor plants (moss cannot tolerate direct sunlight). Once the soil becomes dry, they are soaked in water upto just before the main stem of the plant. You know you’re done when the tiny air bubbles have stopped coming out. Give them a little squeeze to drain the excess water from the soil, then place them on a ceramic plate or any flat vessel of your choice and place in your favorite part of the room to enjoy the simple beauty of your kokedama plant.

My husband has crazy thoughts that I sometimes talk to my plants…silly!

soaking my kokedama in water
me holding my kokedama

Indoor Hyacinths

I bought two hyacinth bulbs a few weeks ago and placed them in clear containers which I filled with water and pebbles, and waited for them to bloom.  One of them just did today.  Look how pretty it is.




I just love all things pretty and be surrounded by them–which explains my love for flowers.  I come from a country where Spring does not exist, so when I came to live in Japan I was so fascinated with the variety of flowers I used to see only in pictures that I can now grow in my own garden.  The other bulb should open up by tomorrow.