A Very Stylish Senior in NYC

When I was researching the seniors for my  Super Granny Series,  I came across an intriguing blog.   It was Ari Seth Cohen’s “Advanced Style” blog.   Mr.Cohen’s blog seems to be very popular, and you may have heard of him.   He lives in NYC and reports  on elderly street fashion trends.   His works are very impressive.   The seniors on his pictures are very fashionable.   In Japan, it’s hard to come across such fashionable seniors like them even in Tokyo, I think.  I hope to grow old elegantly like them.   To me it seems fashion and colors preferences differ a little between the US and Japan.   Elder Americans seem to prefer bright colors, while Japanese tend to prefer dark colors.  I prefer bright colors though.   Cohen has published a book called “ Advanced Style“(Power House Books, 2012)

advanced style

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Hot Spring Cure

I went on an overnight trip to “Yamaga onsen” with my family last week.   An onsen is a mineral hot spring spa.   Yamaga onsen is located within an hour’s drive,  but we stayed one night for a change.   The hotel we stayed in was “Yamaga New Grand Hotel”.

yamaga newgrand hotel

The room was a Japanese-style room.    In those kinds of rooms, the guests sleep on a futon instead of a bed.   The housekeepers move the table aside and lay out futons on the tatami covering the floor while guests have dinner.

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This is the onsen bathtub in the hotel.  (both pictures from hotel website)

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“How to Enjoy a Japanese Bath” is taken from “Japan Ryokan Association Kinki“.    I saw the poster displayed in another onsen.   Before seeing the poster, I had no doubt I should wash my body first and then soak in the tub, because everyone around me do so.   However, the poster said just rinsing is OK before sitting in a hot spring.   Isn’t it unsanitary?    But I’ve never heard of infection in hot spring.   Umm I think I can say the same for a swimming pool?    An onsen may be better than a pool because the abundant hot water is bubbling up all the time.

how to enjoy onsen

The hot water will warm you down to your core.   It might make you very sleepy.   After sleeping, you can refresh yourself.  An Onsen is also good for beauty.   While resting in a bath, your skin will feel smooth.    By the way, I ‘ve been going to an onsen with my daughter since she was a baby.    We are used to seeing each other’s naked bodies.  I think it would be an embarrassing thing for non-Japanese people.   I also would be embarrassed with friends.   It is a little embarrassing for me to take a bath at a fitness club.

Room prices at hotels and inns around onsen usually include breakfast and dinner.   The dinner is made with typical Japanese dishes.   You can’t choose.  But nobody complains about it because it’s delicious.

dinner

The Kikuchi River flows by the hotel.    It was fine in the winter morning, but bitterly cold.

kikuchi river

We took another onsen bath at Sakurayu.   Edo-period onsen facility was rebuilt last year.   Sakurayu was the onsen for the lord of this area during Edo era.

sakurayu

We went for a little walk.  This is the theater “Yachiyo-za”.  It is in use nowadays.

yachiyoza theater

Here is the temple “Kongou-Jouji” and a unique stone-gate.

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There is a public foot bath in the park.

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On the way back home,  I became very sleepy.    Maybe the onsen worked on me.   I almost dozed off at the wheel.   I fell asleep as soon as I got home.   The onsen has soothed away my fatigue.   On the other hand, my children seemed to be discontent.   My son complained, “It was a very boring trip!!!”

Solo Trip to Tokyo

I wrote about the dormitory on the last posting.   Also I visited several places in Tokyo.   One of them was Shinjuku Suehirotei.  Entertainment  shows, mainly Rakugo,  are performed  in this theater everyday.   Rakugo started over 300 years ago.  It is funny stories recited by professional story tellers, mainly in the form of one-person.   Rakugo performers play the characters, so the audience can visualize the people in the scene dialogs.     A Rakugo master, the central performer, is called a shin’uchi and is the last to perform   This day’s shin’uchi was Sanyutei Enjo 三遊亭圓丈  The Japanese characters on the wall are the day’s performers’ names.

shinjuku_suehirotei

The next picture is Yasukuni Shrine.   It was my first visit.  Yasukuni is the special shrine.  2.1 million war dead from the Pacific War are enshrined there.   Asian countries oppose visits to the shrine by Japanese leaders because Class-A Japanese war criminals are also enshrined there.   I sometimes see it on the news.

yasukuni_jinjya

On the way home, I boarded the Boeing 787.   This aircraft is also called the Dreamliner.  It uses Toray Industries’carbon fiber composite materials in its body and wings to reduce weight.  It is said that it uses 20 percent less fuel per passenger than a conventional commercial airplane of the same size.   It was fantastic that the lighting inside cabin was rainbow colors by LED.

Boeing787 Dreamliner

Solo trip is really enjoyable 🙂

Fall Foliage And Felix Baumgartner

I don’t take an English conversation lesson regularly, but I attend the English class once in a while which picks a topic in advance.   I can decide whether to go or not.  I attended the class of “Beautiful Fall  of North America” last week.

First of all, the teacher talked about New England, where the Puritans immigrated to.  It has 6 states.  Do you know where they are?  I didn’t know the exact location.

RI means Rhode Island.   Ontario,Quebec and New Brunswick in Canada have the border with New England.  We can get the information about fall foliage from yankeefoliage.com    Fall colors are fading already!  How about Middle America?    Central Il   It looks like peak now. How about West?   Southern CA         Looking around my house, trees remain green.  I live in the southern part of Japan.  Fall foliage of this area isn’t impressive.

After that, we had a small talk about Felix Baumgartner.  I didn’t know his big news.  Do you know RedBullStratos?   Redbullstratos.com
According to wiki,
“He set the world record for skydiving an estimated 39 kilometres (24 mi), reaching an estimated speed of 1,342 kilometres per hour (834 mph), or Mach 1.24, on 14 October 2012, and became the first person to break the sound barrier on his descent without vehicular power.”
Wow!  It’s hard to believe.  What a crazy man!  He is an Australian.  It was also new to me that Red Bull is an Australian energy drink.

High School Sports Day

In Japan, there is a school event called “Wundoukai” Sports Day once a year.   On that day, students’ family members go and see the results of their children’s effort and enjoy a picnic lunch together.  My daughter’s high school held it this month.  There were standard plays such as relay and running races, a tug-of-war, dance…

Relay race

Tug of war

There was a costume parade too.

“Ohendan” cheering squads attract people’s attention.  No mini-skirts and pompons, the all-male groups (there are exceptions, though) are disciplined.  Squad members wear team-color costume and compete on their performance to the beat of a Japanese drum.

If you want to watch the whole performance, click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TS4SdH-lXk

All students sing their shool song at the end of a sports day.

I created YouTube account to upload these videos.  It was very easy.  I hope overseas readers will find them interesting.

Mirror Mirror

I don’t often go to a movie, but having a free ticket, I visited a movie theater.   Though I was interested in” The Hunger Games”,   survival story sounded like stress to me.  Then, I saw “Mirror Mirror.”   The other day, TV show introduced this movie as Eiko Ishioka’s last costume design work.

I recommend to watch it in a movie theater rather than DVD.  It was visually beautiful.  Costumes were very gorgeous.  But “The Hunger Games” may be better for men.  I suggest this for women. (stereotype?)  You can enjoy it lightly and it can be a feast for the eyes.

In the beginning of the movie, I was surprised at Snow White’s thick brows(@o@)   As seeing the movie , I came to feel her very charming.  I hear Lily Collins as Snow White is a daughter of Phil Collins.  I went to his concert when “Against All  Odds” was popular.  According to Wiki, he seems to have retired.  He is British, isn’t he?  I listen to the music without consciousness whether American or British.

Back to the movie.  Black Magic Puppets were eerie.  Nathan Lane as Brian was a familiar face.  He looks like Jim Rogers, a famous investor.  Julia Roberts was made up as a queen.  The evil queen reminded me of my pinterest photo I pinned recently.

But I think women want to have both good heart and good looks.

The Unique Movie “Departures”

My family went to Nagano, my husband’s hometown,  last week.    As I mentioned at    https://happyuan.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/i-attended-a-funeral/   his mother passed away in July.    Most funerals in Japan are done with Buddhist rites unless people have a strong faith in other religions.    After that, relatives regularly hold Buddhist services for the dead.   They are held on the 7th and 49th days after death, one year after, two years after and at ever increasing intervals after.

On the 49th day after the death of my mother-in-law, a memorial service was held among my relatives.  A Buddhist monk and relatives chanted sutras and burned incense  for her.   It is concidered that a deceased person arrives in heaven after 49 days of long journey.   I think she lives happily in heaven now.

The  Japanese film “Departures” came to my mind while listening  to the Buddhist sutra.   This is  very unique and touching movie.  It is not a love story, action nor suspense.  It describes about a  encoffiner, a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life.   It won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 81st Oscars in 2009.     I was moved to tears.