Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Coree Du Nord

Kedongdong Pickles in the making

My writings here must have some kind of attraction. But it's like looking at yourself in the mirror and you just see yourself. It needs someone to tell where the attraction is as everybody has got different angle of looking at beauty. Beauty is subjective and in the eyes of the beholder.
Yesterday the godless north shelled his brother in the south. War is all about land, about territory. Land means survival. The grab for some small piece of island for normal minds is uncomprehending. But international law rules the haul and catch that surrounds island. This eerie thought always creeps for people making islands their permanent home.

I am preparing this house for my sister's family visit next week. They are tagging all the three children along. Children grow very fast nowadays, both body and mind. Young parents don't spend as much time with their small children anymore. But once they've grown, those small minds are unreachable. Those small magic moments will not come, some parents will argue, or insist their children never changed. The love is still there. Of course the love is always there but children need to grow. They need the space and once they found their nooks, their innocent paradisaical minds moves out there. In the world.

I am preparing this house for my sister's arrival. To get more space, I need to throw some things away. That is the hardest part of cleaning.

Oh well, life is so full of indecision.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Eid ul Adha 1431

Whenever I can't find a place on the ground level, I moved up and sat myself down in between the 3 humps@google

This morning I woke up to the smell of Japanese curry. My dear husband do this when his cooking mood comes in. I sat down with a bowl of kare-rais (curry rice) and a cup of milk tea.

Then the movie channel start "In the Land of Women". I said to myself why not let the mood gets in this time. I just sat with the bowl of kare-rais and finished the movie 2 hours later. Not doing anything but writing this after.
I do get irritated thinking that 2 hours I could have lots of things going but again, I comfort myself. I do need some injection of fresh ideas to write.
Before beginning a new manuscript, I mess around with ideas. Get pieces here, pick pieces there, join up cultures, mix up people, create plots, that sort of blurry things. All these float over a period like cumulus clouds hovering in the back of my head.

I kind of like "In the Land of Women". Homely boy trying to let go the pain of being dumped. Changing life, meeting neighbors, getting involved in their lives and at the end of it all, getting out of that same complicated love life again just to avoid another head-on pain that rotates around a young adult life.

Today Makkah is celebrating Eid-ul adha. Such a mixed up on this part of the world. Tokyo Masjid is doing the eid's solat this morning and most other masjids and praying halls are doing it tomorrow.
So what are people on far-flung islands like us to do?
I choose to just remain quite. Let the world do what they like. I just do my own thing.
Maybe I just let all this low-pent up emotion drip like melting collagen from my body into the hot water that bubbles in the ofurou pool(public bath).

Just to remind myself. Mine was in Dec/Jan 2006, that it has been 6 rounds of eid- ul adha, I was among the 2.5 million people at Mt. Arafat and Mina (latest count today 3 million).

Some of us may have a quiet celebration but wherever we are, I should think our hearts will always remain there on this day (for those who have the privileged of being there) and for those others with the intention to go, might feel the click in the hearts even for one second of that wonderful place on earth.

Labbaik Allahumma labbaik
Labbai kala sharee kala kalabbaik
Innal hamda wan ne'mata
Lakawal Mulk
La sharee kalak

"Here I am at Thy service O Lord, here I am. Here I am at Thy service and Thou hast no partners. Thine alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and Thine alone is The Sovereignty. Thou hast no partners."

Wukuf berbusa
riak iman merebak
banjir Al-Ha-ram


Saturday, November 13, 2010


The cold weather has set in. Not full blast yet but surely reaching there. We've brought out the room-stove and the kotatsu (low table with a warmer under to make the body warm).
Oden goes very well in such cold weather. This morning I had oden for breakfast.
Clockwise its boiled egg, taufu, boiled radish, fish cake with gobou(see pic below) root, fish sausage, kombu (lalang laut) or long algae (see pic below) and the center is konnyaku cake from the konnyaku root (ubi konnyaku).





Friday, November 12, 2010

Pickled Kedongdong


A couple of days ago, I went to a friend's (Uehara at Ozato) orchard and picked all these kedongdong. These are just from one tree and she has 3 others. I managed only one tree. That is enough.
Uehara said they grow these kedongdong for fun. Watching the fruits are such joy for them! Actual fact is she has no idea how to eat it! Like all Japanese.
I'll pickle those big fruits and the rest I'll make some traditional dishes out of it like sambal belacan kedongdong, yummy and maybe fish curry kedongdong (same like my mom used to add green mangoes) or masak lemak pedas with ikan saba kedongdong.
Cooking is invention and I always invent new dishes combining the best of Japanese and Malay dishes.

Kedongdong haiku:

Sambal kedongdong
the smell of the belacan
is lost when alone.


Sunday, November 07, 2010

My Sheaffer

My Sheaffer

I don't know whether school children do it these days but during my younger school days, we were made to write the proper way. Not only do we have to follow every curves and bends of the alphabets but we were made to write with a fountain pen. Everyone of us keep at least one fountain pen in the pencil box. Do children these days keep fountain pens?
We love to write with fountain pens. Those days (read: year 1963-1967), we still don't see ball-point pens. We only have fountain pens and pencils. With fountain pens, the ink came along. Black and wet ink. When children have black and wet ink, obvious things happened. My skirt was always blotched with black ink, my hands always stained black. This happened to my friends as well. We used to fight with ink. We point the pen nib forcefully towards the intended culprit. Ho,ho you get a polka-dot face that will last till the end of the school hours.
The pen above was a gift I received 2 years ago from a loving friend. For 2 years, I went all over the island finding for the ink. Yes, I can't get black ink for a simple reason, because there is no shop selling fountain pen on this island (I don't know about other places in Japan).
In the end, after more than 2 years, I settled for calligraphy ink, those that are used in Japan kanji calligraphy. From the tube, I poured the ink into a blueberry-jam bottle.
I love writing with fountain pen. Writing with normal pencil would hurt my fingers. Pencils are too slim for my fingers to hold. Writing with ball-point paint is mere boredom, somehow I can't get my inspiration ticking. Of course, I write long manuscript in my Windows Words but there are times when my romantic self urge me to write with a fountain pen.
You should hear the sound of the nib scratching the papers, you should feel the ink trickling down the papers and best of all smell the ink on your fingers.
Normally, after writing with a fountain pen and after satisfying my romantic needs, I have stained writing hand and need to go to the washroom.