Busy Summer

With the kids at home and a job from 8 to 5 Monday through Saturday, I am deprived of weekend sewing and blog time! Hence, I have no blog post for July. It’s a really crazy schedule that would go on until the 11th of August after which I would have the luxury of a four-day vacation which in Japan is called “bon yasumi”. I am certainly looking forward to that. In the meantime, to break the silence in my blog for the past month, I am posting some pictures of what I have been doing in my freetime, if you may call it.

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Kurokabe Square (Toyoyama PTA Field Trip)

Kurokabe Glass museum — famous for its black lacquered walls which are fireproof

My friends from the Philippines and United States often tell me how much they want to travel here in Japan, particularly to see famous cultural spots and experience the rich culture and heritage in each area. I have been here for 13 years and I, myself, have rarely traveled outside our prefecture (Aichi) except for the occasional visits to Osaka, where we have the Philippine consulate and Universal Studios, a sightseeing trip to Kyoto with my aunts, and to Gero. Our plans of a family trip to Disneyland has never pushed through because my husbnad’s work schedule is always in conflict with it. So when this PTA field trip at my son’s school was scheduled, I signed up! It was a trip to Kurokabe Square in Shiga prefecture where there are hands-on lessons in glass-blowing and burner work. The place is just an hour from Nagoya via express way and just cost 2500 yen (for the lessons, lunch and transportation).

There were about 20 people in our group who went and we were divided into 3 small groups for the specific hands-on lessons we chose which were either stained glass, glass etching, blown glass, and burner work. I chose the glass burner work where we made small glass ornaments which can be used for jewelry as pendants, earrings or key chains.

Our teacher has been doing the craft for 25 years now. I struggled to understand every word he said (which was in Japanese!) when he explained the procedures and some safety points. I forgot most of what he taught, but, basically it was heating techniques to avoid breaking the glass rods which could accidentally hit other members. The lesson lasted for about an hour and afterwards we were all exhausted from the heat of the burner! I was fortunately able to come up with a nice pendant (with the occasional help from the teacher :D)

Here are the finished products of our burner work group

My glass pendant

The coins are payments for the jewelry parts which the teacher will attach to the glass ornaments so it can be used as pendants or key chains.

Here are other pictures I took during the trip…

Kurokabe glass taiken kyoushitsu – Place where lessons are held

Samples of the finished products in each glass art lesson

glass blowing

gel candles

stained glass

burner work

ornaments for gel candles

Where we ate lunch (sorry, forgot to take pictures of my omelette rice)

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lovely glass pendant necklaces

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some glass items sold at the museum

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Kurokabe soft cream made with black rice, black soy beans, black sesame seeds and bamboo charcoal

Annular Eclipse in Nagoya

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This photo was taken at around 7:24 a.m.with an ND8 filter attached to the lens, a few minutes early/before the actual “ring of fire” .  I wasn’t able to see the ring of fire live because I had to prepare Vito for school since he leaves before 8 a.m.  I just watched on TV!  😀  The next eclipse of this kind will be seen only in Hokkaido in 2030 and, in a large portion of Japan, after 300 years!

2012/05/21 金環日食(Solar Eclipse) from Nihonbashi, Tokyo, Japan
EOS 5D Mark II + EF700-200 F2.8L IS USM + ND400

'Ring of fire' solar eclipse lights up the sky  (Source: Reuters)

I am able to post this now because I’m on leave from work today because of a sore throat…and it’s not because of the eclipse.

A New Toy for the Big Boys

My husband got his trike a few days ago and so here they are, the 2 big boys, trying it out around our block, with the engine whirring away a sound resembling that of a helicopter’s.  I told my husband that I think he needs a helipad!  I sure do hope that we receive no complaints from neighbors about the noise. Continue reading