Thursday, January 04, 2018


Towards the last three months of 2017, I've glued myself to the telly every afternoon between 12.30 pm to 12.45 pm. After Kuroyanagi Tetsuko afternoon talk show, it's the daily drama Totto-chan.
Kuroyanagi Tetsuko is the writer of Madogiwa no Totto-Chan or the English translated version The girl by the window.

The daily drama is about Totto-Chan which is not written in the book. Actually, it is a biography of Kuroyanagi Tetsuko (the writer). It started with the romantic love story of Totto-chan parents. The meeting of her father (a violinist) and her mother (a chorus singer). Totto-chan's mother was disowned by her family for marrying a violinist. How the couple go through a poor living condition as the violinist husband is not paid for playing in concert. Totto-Chan is born as a talkative and inquisitive girl. In fact, she was suspected of having a light autism syndrome but at that age, the medical condition in Japan has still not been able to recognise such malady.
The book started when Totto-Chan had to change to Tomoe School (the classroom in a train coach). The book did not get into how Totto-Chan's life changed during the WW2. Her father was called up by the military. Left hungry and undefended with her mother in war-tormented Tokyo, the mother decided to move to the countryside to get away from the bombings.
When the war was declared over, they moved back to Tokyo. Coming back from the war, the father continued as a violinist.
Totto-Chan took up an interview with NHK (Japan's television company) and successfully passed through. Within a couple of years, she becomes a celebrated tv personality. When she changed to another tv company, she is given a slot every lunchtime to interview other celebrities.
She had a romantic link with a pianist from French. She rejected his marriage proposal as she wants to concentrate on her tv career. They meet secretly at every chance when both are out of work obligations.
You may be wondering if they get married at last, but I'm a cruel person. AM NOT TELLING ~la~la~la~
Anyway, what you read in that small book is only a small part of her life. By the way, Kuroyanagi Tetsuko is still doing the talk show daily with TV Asahi now.
(4 Jan. 2018).
Originally Kuroyanagi was not a writer. She started her career as an actress. Upon insistent from her pianist lover to write about her life at the school in the train coach, she agreed to write. The book Madogiwa no Totto-Chan became instant bestsellers at that time. Even now the bookshops all over Japan still stock it.

Good thing I followed the drama daily for 3 months.

This is the link to the drama and the singer who wrote and sing for the theme song of the drama. Kuroyanagi Tetsuko keeps her onion hairstyle since she started the talk show 60 years ago.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Japanese Book Scene.

1.  Saw this movie on Christmas Eve 2017. Left a lasting impact on my mind after watching it. A novella by Matsumoto Seicho called Kichiku. (The Demon).

Having no more financial support from her lover, the man's mistress dumped their 3 kids at his home. Out of her hatred for the mistress, the man's wife ordered him to kill off the kids one by one. The anguish of a man planning to kill his own children is mentally sickening. The book and movie are only in Japanese.

This book was written 80 years ago. To attract young readers, they made it into a manga. Recently it has become a best seller.

君たちのどう生きるか Kamu hidup bagaimana?


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Perasmian kigo

Dua kali setahun, kami terima senarai kata musim baharu daripada Ketua Persatuan Haiku Jepun. Kami telitikan istilah-istilah baharu yang telah diluluskan dan menjadi rasmi untuk pembentukan haiku. Lelaki yang duduk di kanan itu guru pesara yang baru terima anugerah penulis Haiku di Okinawa dan telah terbitkan 8 buku himpunan haiku. Lelaki duduk tengah juga telah menerima beberapa anugerah haiku selama 35 thn berkecimpung menulis haiku. Perempuan itu mengajar haiku di balai raya. Dan saya mengajar haiku online kepada peminat berbahasa Melayu. Kami sama-sama telah terbitkan beberapa antologi haiku bahasa Jepun. Gambar Kumpulan Haiku Sagaribana di Balai Raya Nishihara (22 Ogos 2017).

Thursday, November 23, 2017


(Picture) Pandan leaves in our garden

This morning, hubby and I went to the Garden Center to get some baby spring onions. We bought some spring onions and celery sprouts to grow at home.
Then we saw two pots of pandan leaves. This is the first time I saw pandan leaves sold in Okinawa.
The local name for it is "niou adan" (say : ni-oh-oo + a-dang) or fragrant pandanus. 

Picture from Google

There are lots of pandanus fascicularis grown on the beach on the northern side of Okinawa main island.
Pandan is the name of the plant in the Malay language, taken from its original Pandanus source.
The local name for this plant is Adan (say : a-dang). This is why they call the kitchen pandan as niou adan because of the plant physical similarities and niou or fragrant is stronger in the kitchen variety.

That's all folks.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Peter And Jane

My second daughter lay-over at our house in Okinawa from 5 Oct. to 11 Nov. 2017. The family was transferred back to Japan. The three children (twins at 5 yr 5 mth and the younger boy at 3 yr 7 mth) gave me quite a shock with their good command of spoken English.  Before moving here, they were at a stage of learning phonics in kindergarten and have grasped the idea of relating sounds to letters.

They could make a string of conversation and made their intentions understood in proper, good command of English. I thought this should continue and I ordered this series of Peter and Jane book from Amazon.

I remember it was Peter and Jane that made me realized letters have meanings and sound in books when I was in Primary 2. Imagine my grandchildren able to read easily Book 1a, 1b, 1c and getting into 2a while I was writing this.
I was a slow child in reading but I caught up by Primary 5, by which time I read one Enid Blyton per day.

My granddaughter was so excited to read Peter and Jane without my supervision. She would sneak and read by herself but I told her I need to teach her the new words on each page. This is her writing practices (see image) while reading the book.

I would recommend Peter and Jane books to all children who are just about to start reading. It was effective for me, that's all I can say about it.


Monday, October 02, 2017

Si Ayu

Ayu is my second daughter. Immediately after graduating from Ryukyu Univ. (Mar. 2008), she opted to work overseas and not in Okinawa. Upon her elder sister's advice, she went to Singapore to start a career. 22 April 2008 (picture), she left Okinawa and started her life's journey.

She found her love in Singapore (Japanese) and got married at Kobe Mosque on 16 Feb. 2011. Both returned to Singapore to start a new life as a married couple.

Yesterday, 1 Oct. 2017, they returned to Japan to start a new life in Japan. They are parents to a set of twins, a boy and a girl aged 5 yr 4 mth with the third boy aged 3 yr 6 mth.
She started her first career in Singapore and with the children starting every new in Japan, they will have a different rhythm of daily activities in Japan compared to Singapore.
Just as they've enjoyed their lives in Singapore, praying (doa) they do not need to adjust much living in Japan from now on.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Penamatnya Mabrur

Semalam 13 Ogos 2017, cerpen ini disiarkan oleh Berita Harian Singapura.
Setahun saya tidak menulis cerpen. Akhir sekali (kalau tak salah) Ogos 2016.
Dalam rangka setahun ini kenapa saya tidak keluarkan cerpen?
Saya puji sangat penulis yang mampu menulis beberapa catatan dalam satu masa sekaligus. Maksud saya sedang menulis novel tapi dapat pula pusing sudut lain dan menulis cerpen. Saya tidak dapat buat begini. Satu projek untuk satu masa.
Dalam setahun saya tidak keluarkan cerpen sebab saya tumpukan pada penulisan terjemahan novel PAGI SEMERAH DAUN MOMIJI dari bahasa Melayu ke bahasa Inggeris. Usai dihantar ke penerbitnya, saya mula pula novel baharu. Kali ini saya cuba novel Inggeris pula. Saya belum boleh maklum penerbitnya.

Saya sengaja kaburkan imej di atas sebab saya sedang kumpulkan semua cerpen.

Oh, saya ingin kongsi satu perkembangan negatif sebagai penulis. Apabila cerpen pertama tersiar di akhbar Berita Harian Singapura, ramai yang menulis tahniah atau LIKE. Boleh dikatakan berderet-deret dan sampai keesokan hari pun masih ada yang memberi tahniah.
Kalau tak salah semalam cerpen saya yg ke 7 atau 8 (agak-agak saja) disiarkan, yang pelik tiada seorang pun penulis yang saya kenal, yang rapat dengan saya di Singapura maupun di Malaysia sudi memberi komen. Saya ambil ini sebagai kenaikkan saya ke taraf yang sudah glemer sebagai penulis.
Kalau artis atau penghibur, glemer mereka meriah serba serbi tapi lain rupanya sebagai penulis. Semakin prolifik seorang penulis, semakin dia disenyapkan. Tiada LIKE atau tahniah berderet-deret lagi.
Saya rasa masa mula2 karya tersiar, ramai yang mengucap tahniah sebab ingin memberi dorongan. Tapi kenapa dorongan itu terhenti apabila penulis itu sudah menjadi terkenal dengan tambahan karyanya?
Pelik bukan?

Saya perlu perhatikan perkembangan ini dan mengambil contoh dari penulis lain.
Semakin mereka terkenal, semakin bertambah karya mereka, tiada perlu memberi dorongan lagi atau mengucapkan tahniah lagi atau memberi LIKE berderet2.
Ada bagusnya kita belajar dari pengalaman.

Apa-apa pun penghargaan saya kepada para editor, penyunting sastera di meja Berita Harian Singapura kerana memberi saya peluang dan ruang untuk berkembang sendiri.

Terima kasih.