Dinner: rice, fish, tomatoes

Dinner of rice, fish and tomatoes
Dinner of rice, fish and tomatoes

Rooting around in the kitchen for left-overs to make a quick meal, this is what I came up. Carbohydrates, protein, vegetable/fruit: it doesn’t really get much simpler than this.

Is tomato a vegetable or fruit? It’s both. Which sort of makes it a superfood. Or something.

Birdwatching: masdan ang mga ibon

Little egret
Little egret by OrnaW

Hindi ko dati maintindihan ang gawaing ito. Hindi man lang bird photography. Okay, nakakita ka ng ibon. E ano ngayon?

May kaibigan ako dati na nagbenta sa akin ng isang Olympus 8x40 na binoculars nang 5,000 yen. Wala akong maisip paggamitan sa binoculars pero dahil kailangan niya ng pera ay binigay ko sa kanya, kaya ako nagkaroon ng binoculars.

Paminsan-minsan nilalabas ko yung binoculars, kapag maisipan, pero karamihan nasa loob lang ng cabinet, kasama ng aking Olympus SLR na bihirang gamitin.

Pero kahapon ay bigla kong naisipang obserbahan ang mga tagak, itik at uwak na tumatambay sa mga palayan na malapit sa aming bahay. Walang magawa sa umaga at hapon kaya lumabas ako bitbit ang binoculars at nag-birdwatching (walang ibon sa tanghali, siesta).

Nakakatuwang pagmasdan ang mga ibon sa palayan habang nanghuhuli sila ng pagkain. Minsan naisip ko kung meron sana akong 400/f2.8 o 300/f2.8 na lens para makuhanan ng picture ang mga ito.

(Hindi yata aabot ang 70-200/f2.8 dahil mailap ang mga ibon at biglang lilipad kapag napansin ka).

Common crow hunting
Common crow hunting by jggrz

Pero naisip ko rin na magiging kumplikado ang isang simpleng hobby na kagaya ng birdwatching–bukod pa sa mamahal (ang isang disenteng lens para sa birdwatching ay hindi siguro bababa sa 100,000 yen).

Isa pa ay kung minsan ay mas magandang ma-experience ang isang bagay nang sarili mo lang, 100% ang focus mo sa isang activity at hindi ka distracted sa pagkuha ng picture o video, siguro parang isang hobby na kagaya ng fishing, nagrerelaks ka lang.

Nung maliit ako natutuwa akong panoorin ang lolo kong ekspertong gumawa ng malalaking (as in kasing laki ng isang kwarto) basket na gawa sa buho.

Parang ganoon siguro ang tuwa kapag pinapanuod ang mga ibon habang palakad-lakad at nanghuhuli ng maliliit na isda (tagak) at mga ulang (uwak) o nagmumumog lang ng putik (itik).

Wala akong nakitang tagak na nakahuli ng palaka, puro maliliit na isda na parang hito. Yung mga uwak naman ay sa paghuli ng ulang eskperto, binabali nila yung sipit bago kainin ang malambot na parte ng katawan sa may tiyan.

Little egret catches fish
Little egret catches fish by andreiprodan_

Pero mapunta tayo sa original na tanong: e ano ngayon? Ano ang maganda sa birdwatching?

Una, kahit na anong outdoor activity ay maganda para sa ating mental at physical health, kaysa nasa bahay lang tayo naglalaro ng video games o nanunood ng Netflix o nakaharap sa computer.

Pangalawa, bihira na tayong makakita ng mga wild animals sa kanilang natural habitat at ang birdwatching ay isang activity na hindi kailangan ng maraming pera para obserbahan ang mga hayop na ito. Ang totoo ay natutuwa ako at lalakad lang ako ng ilang metro sa labas ng bahay ay magagawa ko na ito.

Pangatlo, sa ganitong activity ay nagkakaroon (ulit) tayo ng koneksyon sa kalikasan at nagiging mas aware tayo sa kahalagahan nito sa ating buhay–kaya siyempre kailangan natin itong pangalagaan.

Importante ito lalo na ngayong maraming uri ng hayop at halaman ang tuluyan nang namamatay dahil sa pagkawasak ng kanilang tirahan–bukod pa sa tuloy-tuloy na pag-init ng mundo dahil sa gawain ng mga tao.

The Way of the Tank: Girls und Panzer Original Soundtrack!

Girls und Panzer der Film Original Soundtrack front
Girls und Panzer der Film Original Soundtrack CD front.

I’m not a Girls und Panzer expert: my whole knowledge of this anime comes from being forcibly dragged to the Girls und Panzer der Film movie a few years back, a movie that I unexpectedly enjoyed even after being audibly assaulted nonstop by tank warfare for the last half-hour of the movie.

Seriously, kawaii high school girls practicing senshadō, the way of the tank. What’s not to like? (Not to worry, although they use live rounds in their matches, special emphasis–I learned–is made for the participants’ safety.)

In our house, we have no less than four 2-CD albums of the original soundtrack of Girls und Panzer and although I haven’t heard all 8 CDs, I very much enjoy the Girls und Panzer der Film soundtrack, playing it almost nonstop lately (it’s Golden Week and I’m holed up inside the house with Covid), marching music interspersed with quiet melodies, much like in the film.

Girls und Panzer der Film Original Soundtrack back
Girls und Panzer der Film Original Soundtrack CD back.

What I like is the unbridled energy and enthusiasm of these battle-hardened girls, as these song titles show, all punctuated by exclamation marks:

  1. 劇場版・戦車道行進曲!パンツァーフォー! Way of the Tank Marching Song! Panzer vor!
  2. Enter Enter MISSIONです!
  3. 劇場版・大洗女子学園チーム前進します! Ōarai Girls Academy Team forward!
  4. 大洗・知波単連合チームで勝利を目指します! Ōarai/Chibatan Combined Team aims for victory!
  5. 知波単学園、戦車前進! Chibatan Academy, tanks forward!
  6. 孤高の戦車乗りです! That’s some unusual tank-riding shit!
  7. 島田流です! Shimada Style!
  8. 夕暮れです! What a day!
  9. 少しだけ疲れちゃいました! We’re a little bit tired!
  10. みんなの想いはひとつです! Our hearts are one!
  11. なんとなくの日常です! Somewhat routine!
  12. 準備は怠りません! We don’t neglect our preparations!
  13. 西住流です! Nishizumi Style!
  14. Ⅱ号戦車が好きです! We like the Panzerkampfwagen II!
  15. 会長もたまには働きます! Even the director has to work too sometimes!
  16. 希望の光は絶対に消えません! The light of hope will never be extinguished!
  17. 学園十色です! Gakuen Toiro!
  18. アンコウ干しいもハマグリ作戦です! Anglerfish-Dried Sweet Potato-Clam strategy!
  19. まるで西部戦線みたいだと優花里さんが言ってます! Yukari-san says it looks just like the northern front!
  20. ジェロニモです! Geronimo desu!
  21. 待ち伏せします! We lie in ambush!
  22. 知波単、新たなる戦いです! Chibatan, this is a new fight!
  23. 好敵手です! A worthy opponent!
  24. 長距離砲です! Long-range gun!
  25. 挟まりそうです! We’re gonna get crushed!
  26. 無双です! Peerless!
  27. 決断します! Decision time!
  28. 劇場版・緊迫する戦況です! It’s a tense battle situation!
  29. 冷静に落ち着いて! Calm down!
  30. ヴォイテク! Wojtek!
  31. 劇場版・乙女のたしなみ戦車道マーチ! Maiden’s Taste Way of the Tank March!

Four Girls und Panzer original soundtrack CDs
Four Girls und Panzer original soundtrack CDs: Girls und Panzer der Film, Girls un Panzer Herbst Musikfest 2015, Girls und Panzer das Finale, Girls und Panzer.

Photos of other CDs here: Girls und Panzer OST, Girls und Panzer das Finale OST, and Girls und Panzer Herbst Musikfest 2015.

Girls und Panzer songs you can march to!

Fortunately, you needn’t buy the Girls und Panzer CDs: here’s a nice Youtube collection of marches from the Girls und Panzer soundtrack that will fill you with energy for marching–or driving a tank.

Ohayō gozaimasu! Girls und Panzer style!

Finally, here’s a short clip that shows how disarmingly cute and ridiculously insane this whole series is.

Early morning visit to the Jinja

Pathway of a jinja (Shinto shrine) in Tsukuba, Japan
Pathway of a jinja (Shinto shrine) in Tsukuba, Japan, in the early morning sunshine.

This morning I threw out the garbage, took pictures of poppies and moss along the road, found myself in front of the neighborhood jinja, took a moment to remember my departed Mother, watched the birds and ducks on the rice paddies on the way back to the house, and then went out again to buy bread from the nearby bakery.

It was a good way to start the day.

Macro photography with iPhone

“Hidden Gem” by Jirasak Panpiansin (@joez19). Shot on iPhone 13 Pro Max.
“Hidden Gem” (water bead in leaf) by Jirasak Panpiansin (@joez19). Shot on iPhone 13 Pro Max.

I have had a number of SLR macro lenses from Contax, Tamron and Olympus throughout the years but doing macrophotography with something like my current iPhone SE is a little tricky, if not impossible.

iPhone SE’s portrait mode lets me have at least some bokeh in my photos to minimize distracting backgrounds, but Apple’s recent iPhone Macro Challenge shows what kind of amazing photos can be created if one is willing to spend tens of thousands of yen for their flagship iPhone 13 Pro series.

“Sea Glass” by Guido Cassanelli (@laion.ph)
“Sea Glass” by Guido Cassanelli (@laion.ph). Shot on iPhone 13 Pro Max.

“Honeycomb” by Tom Reeves (@tomreevesphoto)
“Honeycomb” (snowflakes on dog hair) by Tom Reeves (@tomreevesphoto). Shot on iPhone 13 Pro.