Category Archives: General

賀正 – Happy New Year

Daruma doll is a wishing doll. When you wish, paint one eye in black, and work hard on the goal. Once you achieve the goal, paint the other eye.

At any rate, I am grateful that we could have a new year.

Morning and night come and go.

At any rate, let’s start the new year now!

冬がくる前に – Right Before Winter

It’s below freezing temperature at night already but we could still feel the warmth of the sun during the day.

Birds are fluffed up like fuzz balls right before cold cold winter.

I wonder where the Verdin I met last Spring is now.

This is a verdin just before Winter.

I went up a hill near sunset. A young man with short pants and shirts was enjoying mountain bike ride.

Wow, we have snow already on the mountains in the background. It’s nice to see young energy.

金太郎飴みたい – Like a Kintaro Candy

雪だるまのクッキーを作ってみました。I baked Snowman cookies .

袋に入れてみたら、金太郎飴を連想させてくれました。I put them in a bag, and it reminded me of Kintaro candies ( It’s a stick of hard candy that has a picture of the face of Kintaro, ‘Golden Boy,’ a legendary figure in Japanese folklore, in the middle of it. The candy is made in such a way that the face will appear at any point where it is cut.)

物理学によると、自分とは金太郎飴という時間の流れを途中で切断した時に見える顔みたいなものらしい。According to Physics, oneself is not static, but flows through time. Oneself at any point in time is like a Kintaro candy’s face when cut.

ハリー バルトイア - Harry Bertoia

彼のサインがエンボスされた絵葉書二枚。和紙にインクで描かれた絵とブロンズの箱。 – Two postcards with embosed signature. One is a picture with Ink on rice paper. The other is bronze cube.

ハリー ベルトイアは彫刻、版画、宝石デザイン、また、家具のデザインなどで有名な方です。先日、その財団法人のオフィス兼画廊を訪れました。
Harry Bertoia was an artist with many roles such as sculptor, print maker, jewelry designer, furniture designer, etc. I visited his gallery/foundation office the other day.

訪れた理由は、ハリーの作品の写真が載っている絵葉書を「Thank you」カードと共に封筒に入れるという仕事をする為です。上の写真はいただいて来た2枚のカードです。法人の設立者であり、ハリーのお嬢様であるセリアさんの説明によると、寄付していただいた方々に毎月1枚づつ、12ヶ月かけて感謝の気持ちを込めて贈るんだそうです。
The reason for the visit was to do volunteer work there. The task was simple; inserting a card with a reproduction of one of Harry’s art pieces together with a thank you card into an envelope. The picture above is of two cards that I brought back home. Celia, who is the founder of the foundation, told me that she will send a different card every month for twelve months to donors and contributors.

Celia, her musician friend, and I exchanged our life experiences and thoughts while we did the task. It was one of the most memorable day that I want to treasure for a long time. Their world was so different from mine, and I was mesmerized with their words and ideas as if they were shining jewels.

As a curator, one of Celia’s important projects is to appraise an art work as being a true creation by Harry, because he didn’t imprint his signature on any pieces. Many years have passed since his death, and as the value of pieces go up, it’s even more important to identify the true works and compile the Catalogue raisonné.

I was so lucky to meet her as a volunteer. I offered a few hours of my time for her foundation, and I received something many times more valuable than what I put in.

直産チーズ – Local Cheese

正に敷地内で生産されているヨーグルトやチーズ。Hildale のフェニーファーム のお店に立ち寄りました。
We stopped by at the Finney Farm shop in Hildale, Utah. They produce yogurt and cheese right on their property.

A tiny building was right along the road. It’s so tiny that only five people max can go inside the shop.

You find photos of their cows with name tags on the wall. It made me so thankful to them for the fresh products and personal service.

We bought a container of cherry yogurt, and several packages of cheese. Kricker cheese is their own type of cheese which tastes like Asiago cheese. Umm, so good.

Thank you… Truly, Sally, and Amy (cow’s names)!!!

しし座流星群 – Leonid Meteor Shower

I couldn’t see the Leonid Meteor Shower. For some reason, I was looking towards the South East sky full of clouds. I only could see the hazy moon.

夜空を見ながらジッとしていたら、自分が動いているんだと気づいてしまいました。いえ、私が発見したわけではなく、もちろん、アインシュタインが「相対性理論」ですでにお話しされてます。ただ、地球上でジッとしていても、秒速 1280 km もの超スピードで宇宙を動いているっていう事実、すごくないですか?
While I was looking at the night sky, I realized that I was moving even though my body was completely still. Of course, I didn’t come up with such a great notion myself. Einstein already wrote about it in his papers on “Relativity.” It’s an awe inspiring feeling that we move 800 miles per second while doing nothing.

やりたい事をすればいい – Do What You Want To Do!

レッドクリフの崖っぷちのポケットに建てられた Tuacahn 野外コンサートホールに、ビーチボーイズがやって来た。
The Beach Boys came to Tuacahn outdoor amphitheater located in at a pocket of red cliffs.

Of course, the performance level wasn’t as good as it used to be. But still the live music is best because the players and audience make the very special “high” moment together. The entire theater was dancing together.

ボーカルのマイク ラブはすでに79歳。将来、車椅子に乗ってでもコンサートを続けるかもしれないと思わせるほど、意欲とパワーがあった。
Mike Love, the vocal, is already 79 years old. But his will power was so great that it made me think that he might be singing on the stage even with a wheelchair in the future.

“If you like it, do it.” “Do what you want to do!” I will remember that when I don’t feel energetic.

焼け跡で - Fire Ravaged Area

We had many wild fires this year, including some in Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. This post is specific to one of them. Although we protect Desert Tortoises there, many of them couldn’t survive through the fire. Even for the survivors, the plants they feed on were burned as well.

Last Spring was my first experience seeing wild Desert Tortoises. Therefore, my heart is still attached to them, and the unfortunate news gave me pain. So I participated in a volunteer project last Wednesday.

The work was simple. It involved planting small native plants and protecting them until they grow larger by adding wire cages around them. The cages are to protect them from being eaten by wild animals.

Plant plants to feed animals, but don’t let them eat? That sounds like a contradiction! It turns out we need to be patient until the plants grow larger after about six months to two years. The plants die if the Desert Tortoises eat them when they are young, but when large enough the plants can easily survive being nibbled on. We will carefully monitor them and remove the cages gradually.

Red Cliffs NCA is right next to the Pine Valley mountains, and a fire started at Pine Valley the day before Wednesday. As we worked, we could see the smoke coming up from there.

By the way, this is a heart-warming story. I was wearing a pair of sunglasses at the beginning of the work, but took them off and put them in my pants. When I was ready to go home, I realized that I don’t have them in the pocket or my backpack. So I asked the students, volunteers, and the professor who organized the activity if they have seen them. They started searching for them without any hesitation. It’s quite a vast area. I was actually ready to give up. But they said, “Don’t worry, we can find them.” and sure enough, they found them 20 minutes later. Wow! I said good-bye saying “You all are my heroes!!!”

That unexpected kindness made me even happier that day.

自己最高 -Personal Best

先週の月曜日に膝の調子が思わしくなく、足専門の医者に診てもらいました。検査の結果、異常なし。「ガンガン歩きなさい」と言われました。友人たちには、ストレッチとリンパ腺マッサージを勧められました。そこで、翌日から両方とも挑戦してみました。 – I went to see a podiatrist on Monday of last week because my right knee had pain from time to time. The doctor didn’t find anything wrong with my knee, and said, “Don’t worry, walk more!” My friends also suggested a good stretch for me and suggested to do Lymph gland massages. So I tried both the next day.

結果、1日平均2万8千歩以上歩いてました。多分、この記録はしばらく破れないでしょう。何しろ一日中歩いていたようなものですから。普段は1日平均1万3千から1万5千歩ぐらい、ハイキングでたくさん歩いても、その日だけ2-3万歩程度です。この経験で一つ、大きな収穫がありました。- The result was fantastic. I walked more than 28,000 steps per day, everyday. I don’t think I can break this personal best record for a long time. To achieve this, I walked pretty much all day. I normally walk about 13,000 – 15,000 steps. It goes up 20 -30,000 steps when I go for a hike once or twice a week. I am glad that I did this because I found something important.

こんなに歩いても、膝が痛くならなかった!- I didn’t feel the pain in my knee despite the fact that I walked this much!

おかげで自信がつきました。ストレッチとリンパ腺マッサージの効果でしょうか。- I gained confidence from this. I should also thank the stretching, as well as the lymph massage.

モンスーンの後 – After Monsoon

先日の日曜日、この地に引っ越してきてから初めてのモンスーン。激しい風と雨、そして雷が2時間以上ひっきりなしにピカピカゴロゴロと続きました。雷光が何本も横に走る光景に、恐怖。- It was my first experience of the St George monsoon last Sunday. I was quite scared of the super strong wind, rain, and thunder which continuously flashed and rumbled for more than two hours so close to us. When I saw the lightning running horizontally not only one line, but several lines, I wanted to hide at somewhere.

そして翌日は快晴。- And the next day, it was a nice fine day.

医者の予約があったので車を走らせると、病院の横の道の片側車線にポッコリ穴。車が1-2台すっぽり入る大きさです。ローカルニュースによると、ここ以外でも2箇所でシンクホールがあったそうです。一人の学生は、夜、洪水で川のようになった道路を見に外に出て、シンクホールに巻き込まれ、車の下敷きになったということです。幸い、大学のフットボール選手に助けられ、命はつなぎとめ、病院に運ばれたそうです。- I had an appointment at the doctor’s office, so I drove out to the hospital. Then I saw a huge hole on one side of the road. One or possibly two cars could fit in it easily. According to the local news, the rain made three sinkholes. One curious student went outside to see the flood on the street at night, and was swallowed into a sinkhole which she couldn’t get out from. Luckily she was rescued by a college football player who happened to be there. Wow!

そして我が家。- And this is our house.

ベッドルームの窓際に沿って約30cmほど水漏れとなりました。早速専門家にきてもらい、浸水経路を探しましたが、未だに不明です。窓も、屋根も、全く問題なく、残るは床のみ。カーペットの下はコンクリートなので、そこに横殴りの雨が侵入したのか・・・など、色々候補はあがったものの、やはり不明。彼らによると、同じような問題が他の家でも起こっていて、やはり水の浸入経路を特定できないとのこと。- For about a foot outward from the bedroom windows across the room was soaked, although the windows, walls, and ceiling didn’t have any water damage or leaks. A professional company came over and looked for the source of the water, but couldn’t find where it came in from. The remaining suspicious place is the floor itself. Under the carpet is a concrete slab. Can water come in through somewhere from there? It’s still unknown. According to them, many houses around here had similar problems that they couldn’t find the water entry.

ま、あれほどの強い風雨は5年に1度ぐらいだから、何もしなくても大丈夫でしょということになりました。そんなもんなの?ま、いいっか。- We concluded to leave as is and monitor it without doing anything as we may have such strong rain only about once in five years. Umm, I guess that’s all right?

ついでに、家の周りもチェックしましたが、大した損壊は見つかりませんでした。でも、前庭は水害ではなく、ウサギ害に苦しんでいました。- We walked around the house as well looking for any more damage but didn’t find any. Thank god! However, I found rabbit damage in the front garden.

今年の4月、アドレス用の石が配達され、同時にリモデルした時の写真です。- The picture below is in April this year right after the address rock was delivered and remodeled the front.

その後、ウサギに食べられ、消えてしまったホルトソウ(ゴーファープラント)。モグラでさえ敬遠するという植物ですが、うさぎは平気なのね。水やりのチューブまでかじられています。- And this is our Gopher plants now. All three Gopher plants were eaten by rabbits. They have even eaten the irrigation tube.

被害前のゴーファープラント。- This is the gopher-plant before it was eaten to the ground.

こちらも(名前を忘れました)、食べられてしまいました。- This was also eaten by them. (I forgot the name of the plant.)

植えたばかりの頃。風が吹くとさざ波のように揺れて綺麗でした。- It used to be like this. It was so pretty like tiny waves when wind brows.

合計6つの植物がウサギたちに食べられていました。新しい植物の植え替えをしてもいいんですが、まだその気になれません。- Rabbits have eaten six plants total from our garden! I don’t have enough energy to plant the replacements yet.

こちらは、モンスーンの被害ではないと思いますが、枯れてしまった植物。- This is a plant possibly already dead. I don’t think it was caused by the monsoon.

中心部をよく見ると、卵が見えます。- If you look closely at the center part of the bush, you can see an egg.

これは誰の卵でしょうか。もちろん、もう孵化することもなく、すでにヒビが入ってます。これ、やはり処分したほうがいいんですよね。でも、ためらってしまいます。- Whose egg could it be? It has a crack and won’t hatch unfortunately. I assume we should do something about this, but I hesitate to remove it.

一つ嬉しい発見は、サグアロが大きくなっていたこと。上部、頭のようになっているところが成長した部分です。こんなふうに成長の跡が目に見えると励まされます。- One good discovery from our garden was that our Saguaro cactus grew a lot. The new growth is the section like a head on top. It gives me encouragement that we are doing all right.

今年は家にいることがあまりなかったので、家周りの変化に気がつきませんでした。去年来てくれたサソリのスコットは風雨の前に来てくれたのに、いなくなってしまいました。飛ばされちゃったのかなぁ。カリフォルニアキングスネークのジェイクにもまだ再会していません。- We didn’t stay home so much this summer, so we didn’t pay attention to the changes around the house. Our friend, Scott the Scorpion came over again this year on top of the water feature in front of the door before the storm. But I couldn’t find him after the storm. Could he be blown away? We haven’t said “Hi” to Jake the California Kingsnake yet.

モンスーンの季節が終わると気温が下がっていくということです。その前にもう少し夏の世界を楽しみたい。暑い夏、まだ行かないで!!! – People say the temperature will go down after the monsoon. I say I want to enjoy the summer more. I am not ready yet to let you go!!!

掃除博物館 – Museum Of Clean

アイダホフォールズの中心に位置するアイダホの滝。そこから15号線を南下すると、掃除博物館があります。- This is a manmade waterfall, Idaho Falls, on the Snake river at the center of the town of Idaho Falls in Idaho. Driving down south on HWY 15 from there, you can find the Museum of Clean.

掃除関連の物が世界中から集められ、展示されています。そうした物の変遷は意外に面白い。なぜなら、大げさですが、人類がが定住することになってからの歴史でもあるからです。定住すれば、疫病などを防ぐために、その場所を綺麗にしておかなければならない。そのために、簡単な箒が作られ、より使いやすい箒が改良されてきた。- The museum displays all kinds of historical cleaning goods from all over the world. It’s surprisingly interesting to see the transition of those tools because I can say it is a history of mankind. I know you may say that is an exaggeration, but “cleaning” is an important part of our lives in order to prevent diseases. So, the broom was invented. Over time it was improved to increase efficiency and convenience.

当然、人の向上思考は箒にとどまることなく、より高度な道具を作り上げてきました。私たちのあくなき探究心の歴史を見るようです。- Of course, we didn’t stop right there. Our urge to improve things made us invent more sophisticated tools a little at a time. I see it as a history of our insatiable need to invent.

その結果が顕著に現れるのが、掃除機です。最初は電気を使わずに手動ポンプ式だったんですね。- The Vacuum Cleaner is the easiest tool that allows us to see the changes over time. It was a hand pumping system at the beginning.

以下の写真をみてください。1905年に作られた足踏み式の掃除機です。箱の上に誰かが立って足踏みをすることにより、吸引力が作られるというもの。- See the picture below. This is a foot stepping vacuum cleaner invented in 1905. Someone stands on top of the box and does the stepping. That creates a sucking force.

面白いですよね。宇宙人まで登場して掃除機のパイプで何か演奏してくれています。- Isn’t it interesting? Even aliens started playing music with vacuum cleaner pipes.

私のような OCD 体質にとっては、貴重な人類史です。- It is a precious history of mankind for an OCD person like me.

今後のさらなる発展を願います。それまでは、ダースベーダーライトセーバーモップ、私も欲しい!!!- I look forward to seeing further developments. Until then, I want to have Darth Vader‘s lightsaber mop!!!

セルフィー – Selfie

宇宙のことを考えていたら、頭の中がグニャグニャになってしまった。だから、久しぶりに友人に撮ってもらった写真でもご紹介します。- I’ve been thinking about Space to the point that my head is going to explode!  So, I am going to show pictures of me that my friend took, for a change.

一昨日、Yant Flat に行きました。(明日、その時の写真をご紹介します。) こんな所に身を置くと、アリになっような気がします。- We went to Yant Flat two days ago.  (I’ll write about it tomorrow.)  I was an ant in such a vast place.

一緒に行った友人と。わー、すっかり日焼けしてる。- With my friend.  Wow, I got tanned a lot.

そして、こちらはセルフィー。気持ちいい〜!- And this is a selfie.  I feel good!

トカゲの国の大相撲 – Sumo Wrestling in Lizard Country

日本語名はわかりません。こちらシマウマ縞のシッポの Zebra-tailed lizardです。- This is a Zebra-tailed lizard.

大抵は、こんな姿をしてますが、先日は様子が変でした。喉が大きく膨らんだり、しぼんだり、また、体の色も結構鮮やかです。- You see it like this normally, but it was very strange the other day.  The throat swelled so large and shrunk repeatedly.  Look at the color of the body.  It looks brighter.

その後まもなく2匹のトカゲの登場です。私とばんちゃんの朝ごはん中、奇妙な動きを始めました。2匹ともオスのようなので、求婚行動ではないです。- Soon after that, two of them appeared in front of us while we were eating breakfast.  It’s not mating since both of them were male.

お互い、見合ってます。- They were looking at each other.

近づいていきますが、物別れに終わったようです。どうやら片足を立てるのが先頭準備のしるしのようですが、両者ともに準備できていません。- They got closer, but nothing happened.  Apparently they both need to be ready for action to begin.  One of them had one hind leg raised. It’s a sign of being ready for a fight. The other did not, and it means he wasn’t ready.

また、見合ってます。- They were looking at each other.

でも、やはり物別れに終わりました。- Oh, again, nothing had happened.

どうやら、タイミングが合ってないようです。こんなことを何度も繰り返して、延々30分以上です。- It seems they weren’t sync’d yet.  They repeated the same actions over and over for more than a half hour.

さて今回は両者とも、結構いい感じ。何がいいのかわかりませんが気合が入っているようです。- Let’s see, it looks good this time.  I am not sure what is good for them, but both looked ready to go.

ハッケヨイ、のこった、のこった*!- (Note*: Sumo wrestling words used by the referee at the beginning of fight meaning roughly “Ready, fight well, go!”)

のこった!- Go!

のこった!- Go!

どちらが勝者かわかりませんが、終了しました。(ばんちゃんによると、長いシッポの方が勝ったとのこと。)- It ended although I didn’t understand which one won.  (according to Banchan, the long tail won.)

相撲は呼吸が合うまで仕切り直しをするので、時間がかかる競技です。でも、いざ始まると一瞬で勝負がつきます。クビワトカゲの戦闘シーンはまさに相撲です。そうか、これがトカゲの国の相撲なんですね。- Sumo wrestling requires a long time to start fighting because both wrestlers repeat the get ready position until they are in sync.  Once they are sync’d, the fighting is done really quickly. Some end in a second.  The Great Basin Collard lizards’ wrestling was just like Sumo wrestling.  I see, this is how Sumo wrestling goes in the lizard country.

ホイットニー山とアラバマ ヒルズ – Mt. Whitney and Alabama Hills

395号線沿いのローンパインという町は、アラスカを除くとアメリカで一番高い山、ホイットニー山 (4,421m) の登山道入り口があることで有名です。- Lone Pine is a small town famous for the entrance to the Mount Whitney Portal. Mount Whitney (14,505 feet) is the tallest mountain in the US, not including Alaska.

ホイットニー山へ続くWhitney Portal Rd。
ホイットニー山へ続くWhitney Portal Rd。

もう一つ、この町はアラバマヒルズがあることでも有名です。私たちはカリフォルニア州から帰る途中で立ち寄りました。- This town is famous for one more thing, the Alabama Hills. We stopped by this town on the way back from California.

なぜ、アラバマヒルズは有名かというと、かつて、多くのハリウッド映画がここを使い、多くの映画スターたちが訪れていたんですね。- You may ask “Why are the Alabama Hills famous?” It was used for many Hollywood films because of the unique landscape, and brought many Hollywood movie stars here.

私たちの泊まった部屋はかつてジョンウェインが泊まっていた部屋だと言われました。窓からホイットニー山が見えます。- We were told that our hotel room used to used by John Wayne. I simply took the word for fun without questioning it. We could view gorgeous Mt. Whitney from the room window.

翌朝のアラバマヒルズは静かでした。コロナ騒ぎのおかげで、キャンプをしている人たちをちらほら見かけましたが、見渡す限りほんの数人しか歩いていませんでした。- It was quiet at Alabama Hills the next morning. Due to Corona chaos, only a handful of people were camping, and a few people were walking there.

前回来た時には、人だらけで撮れなかった有名なアーチ。- This is the famous arch rock. It was impossible to take pictures of it last time we visited because people were everywhere.

今回は私たちだけで、こんなに綺麗にホイットニー山を中に収めてパチリ!- For yesterday, there was only us, so without any effort, I could capture Mt. Whitney in the arch.

ところで、この石は閃長閃緑岩(せんちょうせんりょくがん)という石です。驚くことに、ホイットニー山も同じこの石でできているんですね。地質学者によると、尖った山と丸い石は、長い年月をかけて、4,000m 以上の高い場所と1,600m の低地での風化の過程がこんなに違った形にしたのだろうとのことです。拾ったサンプルの石は、石ガーデンの29番目に治りました。- By the way, this rock is called Monzogranite. Believe it or not, the round rocks in Alabama Hills and sharp pointy rocks at Mt. Whitney are made with the same rock, Monzogranite. According to Geologists, many years of weathering at higher than 14,000 feet compared to 5,000 feet caused the difference. The rock I picked up from there (Alabama Hills, not Mt. Whitney) is now at my sample garden #29.

高校生の頃からの憧れ、ホイットニー山。その山をこんなに平和な気持ちで眺めることができたのは、本当にラッキーでした。- I have admired Mount Whitney ever since I was in high school in Japan. We were really lucky to have a moment to view it in such a peaceful setting.

中庭のトカゲ – Lizard in Courtyard

ガレージと母屋との間の中庭は、最近好きな場所の一つです。 – The courtyard from main house to garage is one of my favorite spaces these days.

石探索で仕入れてきた石の調査をしたり、庭の手入れの準備をしたり、はたまたあらゆる物の一時的な物置場でもあります。 – It’s a miscellaneous task place like checking out the rocks I picked up from somewhere, prepping for gardening, or putting things temporarily.

そこへ、時々ピョコりと現れるメスのサバクハリトカゲ。どうやら、このコーナーの下に住んでいるようです。- And there, a female Desert Spiny Lizard pops up from under the table time to time. My guess is that it lives down there at the corner.

最初に見た時は悲鳴をあげましたが、もう慣れてしまったので「また来たのね。」と声をかけられる余裕ができました。爬虫類はまだ苦手です。でも、触らなければ大丈夫。ここに住み始めてから一年間、頑張った成果です。- I screamed and ran away when I saw it for the first time, but I’ve gotten used to it and built up enough tolerance now, so I could talk to it, “Oh, It’s you again.” I am still not fond of reptiles, but I am ok now as long as they don’t touch me.  

人は変われる! – “People can change!”