My life

My life with Medakas

IMG_1070 At the end of last summer, I fell in love with a pop-eyed half daruma medaka which I saw on the internet and bought them on impulse. Next day, a formed box was delivered. Two pop-eyed half daruma medakas were swimming in a plastic bag in it, which was blown up tight with air. I was surprised that even creatures like them were purchasable through the mail order. They were so cute that I decided not to put them together with the other medakas on the velanda. I bought a handy fish tank and put them in it with two small shrimps and a marimo (round green alga).

 Luckily the pair of medakas was male and female and they were always together. I felt jealous sometimes. The female laid eggs everyday during the summer. However, if you left the eggs, they would be eaten. So I once took the eggs out of aquarium into a small container and tried hatching them. A few days later I could see two eyes on each egg. A few more days later I found freshly-hatched tiny medakas swimming in the container. Four newly born medaka babies were so small that I often lost sight of them.

 I read somewhere that baby medakas also could be eaten by big ones, so I kept them in a bin that I bought at a one-hundred-yen store. Even though the babies were born at the same time, their sizes were different: big, middle, small, tiny. When I fed them, the big one was the quickest to get bait, almost driving the others out. It seemed that others were trying to be nice to it. Wow. It is surprising that the power structure exist in such a small world. At the same time I cannot help feeling sorry for the smaller ones and thinking that it is tough to live. The boss is everywhere.

 One day, I almost accidentally killed the smallest among the four when I put them into a jar. First, I moved them into a plastic bag from a small container where they were hatched and let it on a watered jar for temperature control. Then I poured the water in a bag with medakas into the jar. I counted the number of medakas. There were only three. Thinking strangely to myself, I took a look at the flat plastic bag and found two tiny eyes watching me, which almost made me scream. I rushed to take the medaka out and put it into a jar. The transparent baby medaka, which wasn’t even as big as a top nail of my baby finger, tried to swim, but it sank into the bottom and stopped moving. A little bit later it tried to go up but ended up sinking. It happened a few times. I had to leave. It might not survive, I thought. Imagining a dead baby medaka floating on the water made me sad. It was amazing that a baby medaka could make me feel that way while I eat seafood like a whitebait bowl.  

 I don’t think it was nothing to do with the medaka accident, but that night, I perpetrated a disaster for the first time in ages. It was not like I was feeling ill or I had drunk recklessly but somehow I got terribly drunk. I still had a bit of rationality to grab a plastic bag, a bottle of water my friend bought was in it, from my friend and use it. But I believe I would have woken up on a road next morning if she hadn’t had taken me almost lying down home by taxi.

 I staggered home drunk and feeling sick, looked into a jar. The tiny medaka, which had been dying was swimming smoothly with others like nothing had happened. I was relieved, feeling dizzy. I was the one who should be worried. With regret that I almost killed a medaka through my carelessness and because I had drunk too much, I slept deeply that night.

 It’s been a while since then. Now that the smallest medaka has grown enough to be seen as a medaka. But the biggest one is still holding sway. My medakas’ hardiness amazes me. They are swimming vigorously without much care.

025891 I have no idea what they are thinking. But their frenzied looks when I feed them show me their will to live. I could see their will to live. Sometimes, shrimps swim across the tank. It makes me realize they are alive too. The marimo at the bottom never moves, no matter what happens. Yeah, that’s what marimo is.  


Yeti and Black Sheep

イエティI’m not a sheep, though I look like it.

Calling me a sheep is the same as calling a boa constrictor digesting an elephant a hat. They shouldn’t be deceived by looks.

I’m often asked what I am if I’m not a sheep. But when I answer that I’m a yeti, they laugh saying, “You are obviously a sheep.” How rude! I am a yeti. The old lady who made me says so.

reunionToday, I met my kind for the first time. I felt happy. But…he is called Black sheep and he thinks himself as one too. Does it mean he is a sheep? Or he just might not know that he is a yeti, I wondered. I am confused… What makes a yeti and a sheep different?

I heard 2015 is the year of the sheep. It is a time sheep can be a center of attention once in 12 years. It means that Black sheep has the spotlight. Shouldn’t I be content to be thought as a sheep? Yetis cannot get so much attention anyway. No, it’s not right. I’m a yeti. I suppose I am… but….now I don’t know…

                                       — From Yeti’s diary.

There is a shop called Lolocitoa in Izukogen, which deals with fair-trade products. The shop has a café too. Whenever I visit that fabulous shop, I enjoy loosing track of time. This Yeti was sitting in front of the cashier with a price card with the message: “ This is not a sheep.” I thought it was funny and every time I passed the cashier, I pointed to it and said to my friend whom I went with: “Hey, this is not a sheep. Can you believe it?” She laughed at me and said, “You should buy it if you care about that thing so much.” I wasn’t going to buy it because it didn’t seem useful at all, but I actually did after all, like having a sudden impulse to add some sweets by cashier in your cart.

I heard that the two yetis had been made by an old, energetic Nepalese lady. She asserted that they were not sheep, but a yeti. The shop owner told me that she just took one because she thought the two yetis couldn’t be sold, even though she didn’t want to discourage the old lady. The owner was pleased that I decided to buy the yeti because she assumed that the yeti would stay in the shop forever. I felt good to hear that. Since then this yeti was sitting at the corner of my room. One day, I found that one of my friends put a black yeti’s picture on Facebook, and it got a lot of likes. However, he was called a black sheep, not a yeti without question. What!?

What makes a yeti a yeti and what makes a black sheep a black sheep? The other day, those two met for the first time. They are so identical.

I assume that he pretends to be a black sheep, but in truth, he must be a black yeti. On the other hand, facing his own kind and the coming year of sheep, my yeti is facing an identity crisis.


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Lone Gourmet to Celebrate End of the Day

Lone Gourmet——is a lone act to eat food without being bothered by anybody or caring for anybody. This act is the greatest comfort equally given to modern humans.

—from Kodoku No Gurume(Lone gourmet) by Masayuki Kuzumi

After I finished my job one day, I felt relieved to get through a busy week. Then suddenly I had the urge to have good food, though I didn’t have any company. Liver sashimi came up to my mind and made me want to eat it. Remembering that there was a Yakiton (grilled pork on skewers) izakaya called Hayashiya in Ikebukuro, which serves a variety of liver sashimi, I headed off to Hayshiya’s first store, but it was full. Though I thought that it might be better just to give up and go homeI had my appetite for the liver sashimi on my hands. So I couldn’t help myself but head off to the second store. Though they had a seat available, they made sure twice that I had no company. Right, I was all by myself.

I ordered a beer, liver sashimi and assorted yakitons. I had heard the store served big yakiton, almost double the size of ordinary ones. Its materials are so fresh that grilled livers are rare.

I told myself “Otsukare”(You’ve done a good job.) and had a beer, which soaked into my empty stomach. The liver sashimi was delicious and its size was true to its reputation. I like sashimi and always want to eat everything raw if it was possible. Because it was Sunday, tripe sashimi was on the menu, which you usually have to book on weekdays. So I ordered it with an apple highball. The tripe sashimi had nice texture. I liked the taste very much. Then I couldn’t help myself but order uterus sashimi, which was well seasoned and delicious as well. I was happy enough to have as much sashimis as I had wanted. Because I had regretted a little bit that I didn’t buy raw peanuts on the bus tour, I was pleased to find boiled peanuts on the menu and had it too. Though as usula I couldn’t deny I had too much, I enjoyed the lone party and appreciated the lone gourmet.

Some girls seem to be impressed that I often enjoy dining out alone. They say the café is the only place they can go all by themselves. But I don’t think myself as “Ohitorisama”. Ohitorisama means to do things all by oneself consciously, and to stretch the point, it sounds like it is in style with a type of solitary beauty. On the other hand, there is an expression “Bocchi”, a shorten word for “hitoribocchi” which means “alone”. Bocchi cannot be free from loneliness. When you find yourself alone without knowing, you are bocchi. When someone is doing something alone, she might describe herself as a bocchi, but not Ohitorisama. Bocchi sounds like it has a nuance of self-deprecating in a way. I heard Bocchi’s antonym is Riaju( people who have a real life.), but people who message that “I am Bocchi in a restaurant now,” on SNS seems to be trying to impress others. They might be, in a sense, Riaju, I guess. It is the same that the “lone gourmet” doesn’t come with real loneliness.

Ohitorisama or Bocchi, these expressions are used under the assumption of being with someone else. Ohitorisama is the act of doing something by oneself consciously, and Bocchi is the state of being all by oneself when she realizes it. I think my case is more like Bocchi. As far as I could remember, I have been doing things all by myself from childhood.

Despite this, I felt lonely when I couldn’t fit in school and didn’t have a close friend to have lunch with on a school trip. When you think that being with somebody is natural, sudden loneliness seems to attack you. That is especially true to the act of dining. I often hear that lone dining is not common in some countries. I wonder what people who don’t have many friends should do in such countries. Do they have to cook by themselves? That must develop lonely feelings. I want to enjoy a lone gourmet, not loneliness. Though I hear the expression “enjoying loneliness” sometimes, I think as long as you could enjoy it, it cannot be “loneliness”.

When you think dining alone is natural, the act wouldn’t be called Ohitorisama nor Bocchi. Old men who enjoy lone dining wouldn’t think themselves as Ohitorisama or Bocchi. They just enjoy good food. My mentality is close to them but I am a lady. Sometimes I feel a cold wind going through in me from feeling lonely. It often happens in this winter season.

It’s a shame that I can’t think of anyone around me who like guts or raw meats. It is a season for motsu(innards) hot pots! So I cannot help but feel lonely when I want to eat a motsu hot pot.

If you are fond of innards food, please contact me!

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