Sunday, December 30, 2012

Solstice, winter, and warm bath

I was invited to a party to celebrate Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, and all festival of Light. At the party, the host held the ceremony of light.  She talked about festival of light from European country and Africa. The couple of participants read poems. All of us were told to turn off all lights in the house. In dark house, we listened to her quiet speech and appreciated our civilized life. After Yole log was lit in fire place then menorah candle was lit, we turned on all light in the house. Then party ended with eating roasted turkey and delicious food brought by participants.

By the way, Japanese people believe cold winter starts around Solstice. People eat Kabocha and take bath with Yuzu which is Japanese citrus fruit ( Kabocha add vitamins to their diet( Citrus bath keeps body warm. It's interesting to learn seasonal traditional customs is proven to be good and healthy.
Living In Seattle, I bake and eat kabocha pumpkin bread. I remember that when I was chiled in Japan, my family took bath with Mikan (Satsuma orange) peel. It smelled nice. I will try it soon.

In case that you like to try it. Here is how my mother prepared winter bath:
Keep orange peel after you eat fruit.
Dry it couple of days (I am not sure this is necessary, but it may be induce fragrance.)
In Cheese cloth, put the dried orange peel and tie knot.
Drop the orange bag and fill bath tab with warm water.
Enjoy it.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Dead Can Dance Concert

If you have never heard Dead Can Dance and are looking for some music which is original and different from American regular sounds like country or rock music, You may like Dead Can Dance ( which categorized as world music. My husband loves “Dead Can Dance”.    Last Spring, he found about Dead Can Dance tour in Europe. He bought a ticket for its concert at Berlin in October 2012.
Several days later, he saw Dead Can Dance planned to come to U.S. from their website.  As soon as the tickets were available for a concert near Seattle, he purchased 4 tickets for our sons, himself and me. We went to see Dead Can Dance Concert at Marymoor Park ( in Redmond a half hour drive from Seattle.  My husband got 4 T-shirts for us to wear at the concert when he purchased the tickets. Our grown up sons were not familiar with the musician and were bit shy wearing Dead Can Dance T-shirts. Especially several strangers asked us where to get the T-shirts. Our seats were close to the stage to see the performers and hear music very well. We had splendid time listening world class musician performed. My husband is looking forward seeing Dead Can Dance in Berlin soon. Because I didn't bring my camera, I included two Youtube videos by someone who saw a concert there and also another video from California.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Japanese bath

My American husband’s Japan visit ended with unfortunate burn to his feet. He drunk  too much and tried to be helpful to get bath tab ready. He put hot water in a bath tab. Without adding cold water he dipped his feet into the bathtub. He did not test the water and assmed hot water is just right warmth as our Seattle home’s hot water. He told me In U.S. most how water temperature is set under 125 °F(51.66 ) which is highest to prevents serious risk of burn to children. I heard the right temperature of Japanese bath is 122°F(50.66 ).
 I found (Japanese)
 which examined temperature settings of electric hot water. Three settings were found on this hot water, low, high and auto. The water was heated to  194 °F(90) for high setting and 158°F( 70 ) for low and automatic to save energy depending upon usage and current water temperature. I checked temperature setting of my father’s hot water heater. It was set above 194 °F(90).
There is reason why hot water is so hot in Japan. One of reasons is the way to take bath in Japan. Entire family members share bath water. It doesn’t mean all take bath at once.  Here how Japanese family members take bath. The bath tab is cleaned and filled with warm enough water every evening. The first person (usually head of the house, father) washes and rinses his/her body (at least dirty parts of the body) outside of the tab and take the bath. After the first person got out of bath, second person takes bath. And so on. The bath water gets cold by the time the third or fourth family takes bath. To make the water warm enough, hot water need to be added.
Here is Japanese bath history through my own experience. In old days, my family had a metal bath tab. My childhood job was to heat the bathwater by burning woods. Wooden disk was put on the bottom of the bath tab to prevent skin touching directly hot metal. Water was kept warm by remaining fire. When I was a student of university, my apartment had a ceramic tab with outdoor gas burner. I remember my neighbor downstairs sometimes fell asleep when he was heating his bath. After I had heard noise from water boiling in his bath tab, I shut off his gas heat to be safe. We did not have hot water heater in our apartment. In these days, many Japanese houses has convenient hot water heater as my father’s house.

This system is safer than old system for Japanese household but not for my American husband when he drank too much. 
Lastly the Japanese website above was to find out which temperature setting will be cost saving.
Some day I like to have a Japanese style bath room in my Seattle house. I like website of an Alaska company which sells Japanese bath tab: