Finished!

I finished reading my first novel in Japanese yesterday! I am quite excited about it. Last November I wrote about receiving a Japanese translation of Little House in the Big Woods. Yesterday morning, I had two pages to go before the last chapter. I read the those pages and went on to finish the last chapter! The last chapter was rather short, but I think it was the most I have read so far in one sitting in Japanese!

SAMSUNGWhile reading, I made the decision not to stop and look up new words, but to highlight them to look up later. I know that there are some that cringe at the idea of marking up a book, but I think that this book felt big and important to be studied so diligently. After I finish looking up the words, I intend to go back and use this book for reading aloud.

This series is my spouse’s favorite childhood series, and she knows it almost by heart. This has been quite helpful in that I have been able to check my comprehension by telling her what I thought happened. The only trouble has been that at times, she has gotten so excited that she has told me what will be coming up before I have stopped her.

In celebration of my completion, my spouse and I played with the paper dolls she bought me a while ago, when she visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder home and museum in Missouri on the way to visit her mother and brother. Then we went out for lunch.

SAMSUNGToday, I started the next book in the series, 大草原の小さな家, Little House on the Prairie, which my spouse gave me for my birthday this year. This one is a different translation using the older Helen Sewell illustrations. Hopefully, my Japanese has improved enough that I will be able to get through this one a little faster, although it does look a little harder than the first book. It is exciting, though.

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Slowing Down

Last week, a new book came in the mail.  My spouse had purchased it for me as a gift.  The book was 大きな森の小さな家, or the Japanese translation of Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  This happens to be one of her favorite childhood books, and she has been reading the series again.  It was quite exciting really.  The Japanese company that sold it also sent along a little card, saying ありがとう (Thank you), stickers, and a little origami star.  I thought that was so very sweet and wonderful.

???????????????????It seemed like a good place to start my Japanese novel reading.  The thought of rediscovering reading again is quite exciting.  Although, it may seem strange reading a translation of an American novel as a starting point, but it feels “right” somehow.  Strangely enough, I do not know if I actually have read this book before, and if I have, I do not remember it.  It seems like something that I *should* read, and I am really focusing Japanese, with little time leftover to read fiction in English.  This book is a bit beyond my Japanese level; however, it is possible if I work hard, I think.

On the practical side, my spouse has already been helpful in checking whether I am comprehending what I am reading.  She has read this books so many times, she almost has it memorized.  It seems safer to ask her (and let her quiz me) then to check the English version myself.

It is exciting, but it is very slow, and I think it will likely take a long time (I have only gotten through a few pages, highlighting the many, many words I do not know).  This is interesting because my spouse has talked about being able to read these books in an afternoon (in English, of course).    My spouse and I have lots and lots of books, and I am used to being able to consume books very quickly.  Yet, if I am to have any hope of anything beyond a vague comprehension of this book, I will have to savor this book and spend a lot of time with it.

All of this has made me realize how much learning a new language has made me slow down.  As a part of my studies, I have been watching a great deal of Anime.  Yet, I am watching it is a much different way than I have watched anything in the past.  I have several series of Anime going right now, yet I am taking each one rather slowly, watching each episode between two and four times, in different ways.  There was a time I could watch an entire series in a few weeks, but now for each series, I am not even really managing an episode a week.

I think I am grateful for this slowing down.  I am finding I am appreciating everything so much more that I am unable to rush through it.  I find myself thinking about the other books in this series, and realizing, well, it will be quite some time before I get to them.  The one I have will keep me busy for the foreseeable future.  Then I find myself treasuring my new book and carrying it around with me, even when I am not reading it.  I am excited to be making friends with book all over again!

Field Trip

Last week, I went on a field trip with my spouse to a Japanese supermarket, Mitsuwa Marketplace, which is about an hour and a half from where I live.  It was a lot of fun!  It had a grocery store, a food court, a bookstore, a bakery, and a video store.  It was all very exciting.

2014-07-18 14.46.37I tried chicken katsu (“chicken cutlet”) for the first time, and I really liked it a lot!  I also tried the Miso soup that went along with it.  One of my faults is being a bit of a finicky eater, so I was not sure how I would manage, but I really liked it a lot.  It was also a bit exciting, in that tonkatsu (“pork cutlet”) was a vocabulary word, and it has now changed from being a word on a list to memorize to a real food in my mind!  I also had matcha (green tea) soft serve ice cream for the first time.  It was definitely something quite new, but I think I liked it!

I have to admit to being a bit overwhelmed.  The marketplace was HUGE, with so many wonderful things.  We were a bit short on money, and I have to admit that this was probably a good thing, as it would have been quite easy to spend a fortune there.  I had to keep reminding myself that we can always go back later.  We ended up settling on a few food items, including an okonomiyaki mix and Anpaman cookies.  We also went to the bakery and brought home Melonpan and Kuremupan, which were both quite tasty.

SAMSUNGThe bookstore was truly amazing, with many, many books in Japanese.  I had thoughts of getting a grammar book for Japanese children, a kanji practice workbook, a book of knitting or crocheting patterns in Japanese.  There were just so MANY books, I just could not decide, so I ended up not buying any of these things and settling on the Sailor Moon manga in Japanese.

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I felt slightly guilty that I did not buy something more directly educational or supportive of my studies, but I am very much enjoying reading the manga.  The new Sailor Moon series, Sailor Moon Crystal seems to be following the manga quite closely, so it is fun to be reading the manga while following the series.

A Productive Day

Yesterday was the second day of our new year, and I am rather pleased that it turned out to be quite a productive day.

My spouse and I started the day by packing up the car with boxed up and indexed files from my former business to take to storage.  We had just enough room in the car for all of the boxes, so we were able to manage to take them in one trip!  The drive to the storage locker was a rather long one, as it is near my former office location, so we went out to breakfast before the drive.

SAMSUNGAside from bringing the old files to storage, I wanted to take an rough inventory of what was in storage.  I have to admit it was a bit overwhelming, and the inventory ended up being an acknowledgment that it was a mess.  Still, almost as a reward for taking the step of bring files to storage, I found some exciting things.  One of which was a book that I knew I had, but had been missing for a long time.  I had been looking for it for over a year, and lo and behold, it was in one of the boxes in storage.  The book was an astrology text by Ibn Ezra, The Beginning of Wisdom.  I am not sure how it found its way to storage, but, I between moving my home and my office in the past few years, and it must have accidentally gotten in one of the boxes that went to storage.  I also found a lovely lamp in storage that I am now using as a bedside table lamp.

SAMSUNGAfter the storage locker, we did some shopping.  I started to get the urge to find a physical calendar/date book.  Now that I am no longer in my former business, which required me to keep close track of the American calendar, I am sensing that it is time to start becoming more attuned with the calendar of my religion.  I had looked online for blank, adaptable electronic calendars, but I was not able to find any.  I did set my Google calendar to Japanese, but that is still not the same.  The only options for the starting day of the week were Saturday (Rhavedi), Sunday (Rayadi), and Monday (Candredi).  None of these options work for this year, as the starting day of the week for us is now Friday (Sucridi), for the Year of Sai Sushuri.

SAMSUNGI was able to find a beautiful personal organizer at the office store that was adaptable enough for my purpose.  The calendar pages are blank with respect to the months and the days.  They do have the days of the week set, but they are not too obtrusive so I can cross them out without looking too messy, and overwrite them with the Janyatic glyphs for the appropriate day of the week.  I had considered using the Japanese kanji for the weekdays.  I decided against that for a couple of reasons.  One of the reasons is that I am not as comfortable handwriting the kanji.  I felt slightly guilty about that, until it occurred to me as an astrologer, it is good for me to frequently look at the Janyatic (and planetary) glyphs.

The personal organizer has a section for a monthly view, which only had room for twelve months, and the Filianic calendar is thirteen months.  On the other hand, it occurred to me that Moura is not truly a thirteenth month in the calendar, but is a month out of time.  Hiatus, of course, is truly out of time, but there is a quality of separation to the month (and season) of Moura as well.  So, our calendar is not truly 13 months, but 12 months + 1 month.

SAMSUNGOf course, on a practical level, the month of Moura is still in time, so I will need to keep track of dates during that time, but the organizer does have weekly pages as well, which I will likely be using much more for day to day planning.  I am going to include the planetary locations on the calendar as well, as I will need to be more aware of the location of the planets on a daily basis now than I had been.

???????????????????On a less serious note, my spouse found a lovely flower tape dispenser to help decorate my home office for my new business.  It might be a little silly, but I do like it!

SAMSUNGOverall, I think that this was a wonderful start to a new year!

Show and Tell

I think it is time to take a break from serious, philosophical posts for a little bit of show and tell.  Along my personal journey, I have been picking up (and making) some wonderful things.  I have already posted some of these things on Temple of the Home on Facebook and Temple of the Home on Tumblr, but I thought I might show you all them too, along with some new things as well.

I did finally finish the autumn gloves I told you about in this article.  Here is the completed pair:

SAMSUNGI also put some new buttons on my summer gloves.  The flowers may be a little silly, but I rather liked them:

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In the new header, there is a picture of a new teacup I just found at an Antique Store.  A little while back, my wonderful spouse found three other really lovely teacups as well.  Here they are:

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Of course, with all of these teacups, one needs a teapot.  Luckily, I just found one:

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I have really been loving Antique/Resale Stores.  One can find such lovely things.  Some of the things that I found were new dishes and a canister set.  Here they are:

SAMSUNGSAMSUNGIt was quite exciting to find dishes with matching cups, saucers, and glasses!

I told you a little about some new things I am trying with my hair in this article.  I found some items that I am seeing as omens that I am on the right path.  First a very lovely vanity set:

SAMSUNGSAMSUNGOh, and the exciting thing is that I found this whole set for $18.  At another store I found a cup to put my hairpins in:

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I was so excited that it complimented the little cup that my spouse had, which she gave me to hold my bobby pins.

Oh yes, at the same store, I found a lovely wooden purse that was just the right size to hold my hair rollers:

SAMSUNGThank you for indulging me in this session of Show and Tell.  It is fun to share the things one finds!