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Butterburs bud

In Japan, today through January 24 is the microseason called "butterburs bud"

One fond memory I have of living in Japan as a family was the 60-plus-year-old director of the daycare where my kids went teaching me how to prepare fuki. In spring you could buy it in markets, but it's also a wild herb that you can forage. I remember where we foraged ours: there was this cut-through with a little bridge, and then you came up behind/beside the Watanabes' shop, which was a sort of convenience store in their house. We bought our kerosine there. I think I still have the director's hard-to-read instructions somewhere--maybe stuck inside a Japanese cookbook. I hope so, anyway.

I've seen butterbur here and thought of picking it, but I've never done it because I'm afraid it might not be exactly the same plant. It also gets translated into English as "coltsfoot."

Here it is--not a bud, but vigorous leaves:


And here it is, prepared:


Wow, I guess when you cultivate it, it can get quite large! The stuff we picked is much, much smaller.


Wikipedia tells me that the plant known as butterbur in Massachusetts, Petasites hybridus, is also called "bog rhubarb, Devil's hat, and pestilence wort." Gotta love folk names.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/904637.html. Comments are welcome at either location.




One word of Portuguese, buzzing in my head

In the cold Northeast soon the snow-bees will be buzzing

while somewhere in Amazonas,

little abelha-cachorro, dog-bee

is pollinating brilliant blooms

epiphytes, bromiliads,


and passion flowers

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/904342.html. Comments are welcome at either location.



I was looking at some of my earliest journal entries, trying to see what had me hopping with inspiration back almost thirteen years ago, and I discovered this:
Little Springtime, the Peaceful One, had to list things that happen with regularity in nature--just a few examples. She said, "I've already got things like 'Bears eat skunk cabbage in the spring...'--as if THAT'S the first regular seasonal thing you'd think of! I only just learned that about bears last week. It made me think, it would be fun to have a list of things that happen very regularly that people rarely think of (like the bears and skunk cabbages, frankly).

I thought, that idea dovetails nicely with Japanese microseasons, which Wakanomori introduced me to a few years ago. There are 72 of them. Right now, for instance, we're in 雉始雊 Kiji hajimete naku--pheasants start to call. (More broadly, we're in the period called 小寒 Shōkan, "small cold," which will be followed, from January 20 through February 3, by "greater cold." Just warning you.)

But it might be fun to get as particularistic about place as for time. If you can divide the year into 72 microseasons, how about microclimates? Of course years can vary so wildly in terms of what happens... it would take lots of observations to have microseasons that would really apply fairly regularly year after year.

These last few days, here, we've been in the microseason of thin wind--the kind that slips between all your layers and curls up right against your skin, trying to warm itself, a hungry ghost of a wind. I haven't heard any pheasants calling.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/904025.html. Comments are welcome at either location.
I think everyone who reads me here probably already reads [personal profile] sovay, but just in case not...

I was blown away by her review of An Inconvenient God.

[personal profile] sovay's reviews are as good as stories: when she reviews films, she captures the drama of them, and without spoiling them in the least, makes you feel, by the power of her writing, what makes them funny, poignant, terrifying, tragic--whatever. It's a huge honor to have that attention paid to my own work.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/903686.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse

I went to this last night with zero expectations and really had fun. I enjoyed Miles and his family, I liked the other spiderfolk, the humor worked for me, and the animation/art was gorgeous. Oh and I loved the soundtrack!**

Just in case you were sitting wherever you're sitting and you found yourself wondering what Asakiyume thought of Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse.


more colors

more more colors



PS--I liked the role graffiti and stickers played.

**And I have some money on an Amazon gift card so I think I'll be treating myself to it...

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/903554.html. Comments are welcome at either location.


Forget those resolutions

I can *not* write every day on the novel. It just won't work with my life. The language goals are easier because they're more mechanical, but I'm definitely letting Portuguese be a now-and-then.

I don't know why I was able to write nearly every day in November but can't now in January. Maybe I should chalk this up to a rocky start (holiday, family, illness) but the year is strewn with similar obstacles, so I think I'll rethink this. I probably won't announce what the revised goal is--I'm only even posting this because a couple of people asked specifically about the writing goal, and it seems like proper accountability to say, Yeah no, this isn't going to work for me after all.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/903193.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

"With Hands Held Out"

I ... have written my first-ever** fanfic, about one of my favorite moments in Voyage of the Dawn Treader (actually, one of my favorite moments in the whole Chronicles of Narnia)--the moment when Lucy sees the Sea Girl in the Last Ocean. The story is from the Sea Girl's perspective. It's very short. Thanks to [personal profile] osprey_archer for a read-through and advice on posting!

[ETA: In my rush to post I, um, neglected to include a link to the story. Here it is! Sorry about that--it's kind of hilarious to post an announcement like that and then not remember the link -_-]

And here are some beautiful examples of seagrass for you to look at, to accompany the story.



sickle leaf seagrass
Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii)
(click through for source)



**Actually I did once write a piece of fanfic earlier. I was in seventh grade, and it was for Space 1999.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/903019.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

Andrea Johnson's kickstarter is live!

Andrea Johnson, The Little Red Reviewer, is having a Kickstarter to fund a book of the best of her reviews. And it's now live! You can read more about it at the Kickstarter page here, and if you want to know more, check out my interview with her here. The vagaries of postdating kept that entry out of my friends feed, I suspect, so I don't feel too bad pushing you toward it now. (It's long--but dip in--you don't have to read the whole thing. Andrea's reviews are just excellent, and I'm not just saying that because she's liked my books.)

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/902776.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

Resolutions 2019

This'll be the fourth year running that I post resolutions.

I didn't do a good job with last year's. I didn't find a way to incorporate conversational Spanish practice into my learning, and I didn't work on the novel twice a week. However, this year I have two possible leads for conversational practice, so even though I failed last year, I think I'll try again with that this year:

(1) Continue to practice Spanish every day, and find a way to work in conversational Spanish every week. Grace period of a month to get that up and running.

As for the novel, what I found helpful was what I did in November, slip-streaming along with the NaNo crew--namely, keeping a tally of words written each day. When I did that, I put much more effort into at least opening the document and turning attention to it. So this year the goal will be ...

(2) to open the document each day and to record words written. If I don't write anything, but I stare at it, musing at possibilities, that's still something (I'll record zero words but note that I opened the document). If I undo a bunch of words and tinker, that's still something too.

A third, less-important-to-me resolution is to continue with Duolingo Portuguese. Still, it's a resolution.

(3) Do Duolingo Portuguese each day

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/902432.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

Leave No Trace

Initially I hadn't been thrilled by the notion of this film; I think because I feared (completely unjustifiably) that it would be purveying trite truths of one sort or another. But several of my friends reviewed it favorably, and finally last night I got to see it--and really loved it.

It's a totally different kind of film from Winter's Bone (by the same director), a very **gentle** story, and quiet, even though elements of the story aren't gentle at all. In fact, all through the movie there were moments when, primed by what Hollywood often does, I was on the edge of my seat expecting something horrible to happen--and it didn't.

The situation is that Tom (a girl) has been living with her PTSD-suffering war-veteran father in a national park, foraging, growing their own food, collecting rainwater--and occasionally going into town to buy things (which they finance by dad selling the medication he gets from the VA to other vets). They get found out and forced to reassimilate into society. Tom is adjusting, but her dad is not, and he announces they're taking off again. Reluctantly, she leaves with him, but things are much harder and grimmer this time around.

What I loved about it most were the moments with animals and the sense of how healing and enriching sharing time and space with animals can be. There's a scene where the dad is stroking a horse, and the horse rests its head against the dad, and the dad rests his head against the horse, and they're just still together for a moment, and oh my heart! Same with Tom stroking a rabbit she finds hopping along the road and returns to its owner; same later on when an older woman shows her the miracle of a hive of bees.

The beauty of the natural world resonates through the whole film, too, but the film understands that it's beauty that will kill you if you're underprepared--and Tom and her father understand that; in fact, everyone in the movie understands the situation and everyone else pretty well: the problem is what people can live with.

Thinking about everyone understanding brings up another thing I liked about the film: there wasn't really a villain. Even the state isn't villainous: it tries its best to accommodate Tom and her dad's unique needs within a framework of what's societally acceptable. It's just that it won't work for the dad.

I think that's the saddest thing in the film--that the dad just can't feel at ease in, apparently, any situation near other people, except his daughter, whom he loves very much, whereas she's growing into a person who wants to be near other people, though she loves her dad very much. But I'd call the ending happy: it's a good one for Tom, and it's set up in the film as one that's not doom-and-death for the dad either.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/902220.html. Comments are welcome at either location.



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