Thursday, October 28, 2010

A surprise in the mail!


My son always responds to my email with a word or short sentence. I got a surprise email from him on my birthday. It said, "Happy birthday, Mom! I sent a present to you." He started work this April in Japan. I was waiting with expectation and thinking about what he bought for me with his precious salary.


This is the present from my son.
It is a very cute pair of coffee cups with a little teddy bear.


I was very happy, I thought that it must have been a heartwarming (and a little funny!) scene of my young son buying it for me.
I had a nice coffee time with it. The size of the cup is good and the taste was special. I am a happy mother.
Anyway, my husband and I hope that he works hard but also takes care of his health.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010



I had never carved a pumpkin into a Jack-o'-Lantern, so Amanda brought pumpkins to me and we carved them together. I followed along and did what she did.  We used ballpoint pens, knives and spoons.


When she brought the pumpkins, they were not clean enough to carve because they had dirt on them from the pumpkin farm.
They were not as heavy as they look.


We washed them, and then we were ready to start making Jack-o'-Lanterns.


First, we carved a hole in the top to make lids.
They were not as hard to cut as I had thought.


I was surprised that the inside was not full, although there were a lot of seeds and fibers. I learned that this is the reason why they were not as heavy as they look.


Next, we cleared the insides with spoons.

We drew faces on the pumpkins. Amanda is a good artist!


I followed her example and advice as she was drawing. She designed his mouth like a vampire, and I drew an original Jack-o'-lantern's mouth.

Finally, we started carving them. As I was finishing my Jack-o'-lantern, I cut off the bottom right tooth by mistake.
I was determined to take the left tooth off to make it balanced. It was good, because his expression became cute.

                        左:私の作品      右:アマンダの作品                              
Left is my work     Right is Amanda's work


I was nervous to carve it, and she was accustomed to making them.
We can see our feelings in our work.

I lit candles in them that night.

It was a very exciting and interesting experience for me, and I thanked Amanda for her kindness!

ところでハロウィーン(10/31) とはアイルランドなどのケルト人から伝わってきた風習だそうです。




By the way, Halloween is a custom from a Celtic festival in Great Britain and Ireland.  Long ago, they believed that people who passed away could visit them on that night.  All spirits of the dead could visit people.

Good spirits and bad spirits were out on that night. They put Jack-o'-Lanterns out  in front of their doorways to keep safe from evil spirits.  They also offered food on altars for their loved ones who had died. This is the origin of the Halloween story.

I remember a Japanese custom called "Obon." The elderly woman who was my next door neighbor lit a bonfire to guide her ancestors and a farewell bonfire to see them off. I thought it was similar custom.

Today, the holiday is a fun festival where children dress up in costumes and people enjoy scary things.
Children put on special costumes, and they visit their neighborhood to get sweets saying "Trick or Treat!"

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hershey's Kisses~キスチョコ


I saw a Hershey's shop in Canada on our way home from Niagara-on-the-Lake. I haven't ever been there. I took a picture of it, because the sign on the building was very attractive. Coincidentally, I received an email from my friend in Japan. She lived in the U.S.A. for 3 years, and she told me that she missed Hershey's kisses  in Halloween and Christmas colors. I decided that I would get them for her from a store.

I went shopping to Wegmans to get them for her. I got the autumn version of Hershey's kisses.


I learned that the headquarters of Hershey is in Pennsylvania and there is a big Hershey's Theme Park.


There is a big Hershey shop at Times Square in NYC, too. I saw this machine that takes our picture and then puts it on a package of chocolate. I enjoyed it with my daughter. It was an interesting experience last summer. I have already eaten the chocolate.

Thursday, October 21, 2010



My house is near the border between America and Canada; it takes about 40 minutes to get to Niagara Falls and takes about one hour to get to Niagara-on-the-Lake in Canada from here. Niagara-on-the-Lake is famous for its beautiful natural setting and wineries.

My husband enjoyed tasting wine at wine tastings like this.


I drove because I have a sensitive system for alcohol and don't participate in the wine tastings. I enjoyed going through the wineries even though I don't drink. I love nature and it is nice to see the goods being sold in the wineries.

This is one of wineries; it looks very cute outside.

Konzelmann Estate(コンツェルマン).


They have a good deck in front of the vineyard and we enjoyed the view of Lake Ontario with the vineyard!


We can get nice ice wine at Niagara-on-the-Lake.


Ice wine was made accidentally. The grapes were frozen many years ago in Germany. The grapes were thrown away, but poor farmers tried to make wine. The wine that they made from these grapes was very sweet and flavorful.


Now, grapes are usually picked in Autumn, but to make ice wine, the vineyard owner purposely lets the grapes freeze close to winter.  They pick the grapes when it is below 18F°.  When the juice is taken from the frozen grapes, it is a smaller amount of juice than when the grapes are not frozen. This is why ice wine is very valuable and expensive. It is very sweet dessert wine. Although I have a sensitive system for alcohol, I enjoy drinking ice wine. Niagara-on-the-Lake is the perfect place to make ice wine.


We visited the Whirlpool on our way home. It is the place where the Niagara River changes direction, so we watched the whirlpool. The contrast of the blue water and the red, yellow and green leaves was very nice.


We went to this church the last time we were here. It is the smallest church in the world. A minister made the church for his daughter's wedding. It was really small and cute. I took this picture in June.

The entrance is just big enough for one person to stand in . It has space for about 10 people inside.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fall part Ⅱ~ 秋


When I cooked breakfast in the kichen one morning, I saw this beautiful scene from the east window. It was the sunrise from behind the trees. It was the perfect moment to take this mysterious picture. I learned later that: this was the cloud from a jet stream colored pink by the sunrise.


I saw red and yellow leaves when I drove in the afternoon. It is a perfect American fall; it is a mixture of colors of many trees: red, yellow and green. On the other hand, we enjoy the red and yellow maple leaves in Japan in the fall.


I had to wait when I arrived at my house because gaggle of geese was crossing the road in front of me.


When I saw them in May, they were cute babies. I can't distinguish who are the parents and who are the children now.

They are not always there but they often fly back here from somewhere. Their voices are not as cute and beautiful as the geeses look!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Craft Show~ クラフトショー

I went to a craft show; it was the first time we went this year. There are many shows in the fall, and the crafters have many opportunities to display their crafts before winter.  This is a good time to sell their crafts because people are shopping for the holidays. There were many shops inside the building and outside.


Sandie shows her "American Doll Boutique" at this show every year.  Amanda was at this show in Peek `n Peak with a friend, and Sandie was at another show in Letchworth State Park.

I bought these clothes. The skirt on the left is very cute for Nontan for Halloween.

This is a very popular popcorn called "kettle corn" in the United States. I couldn't buy it because there was a long line to get it. The taste is not salty but sweet.

This is an apple with caramel, whipped cream and nuts. Americans like sweets very much.

Sea glassジュエリー を買ってみました。

I bought sea glass jewelry at one of the craft shows. The jewelry is made from sea glass.  Sea glass is broken glass thrown carelessly into the ocean, where it is tumbled by water and sand. Sea glass is in many colors, including blue, green, white and brown.

I have seen it on seashores when I picked up shells. The glass is are transparent and cute. It cost about $25 for the necklace and earrings.

                         Sea glass jewelry


We saw the car show next to the craft show. There were over 100 cars including classic cars and many other kinds. It was interesting to see them, too.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Fall has come in Buffalo. Green leaves have turned yellow or red; they are very beautiful.

I especially like the trees that turn colors gradually. The gradations are really beautiful.


Stores started to sell many color mums. I did not expect to see mums here, because I thought they were Japanese flowers and I couldn't see them here.

Mum (菊です)

It's getting near Halloween, and I see a lot of big pumpkins and yard decorations everywhere.


Many mothers carve pumpkins with their children. I found cute pumpkins like these in a greenhouse.