Tuesday, January 30, 2007

building prices...

As you can see from this picture Chamonix is now the second most expensive town in France just after Paris ( Neuilly-sur-Seine ) and before Saint-Tropez which is only third !!! When you know that Chamonix is only a little village in the mountain it seems crazy no ? ;)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Happy new year ! Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu !

Beginning year 2007... doing what ? I just went to Geneva to buy some japanese stuff of course ( not the ferrari car lol ! )
Well this year january in french alps is quite unusual, hot and sunny winter looking more like springtime... eating some delicious cakes in spring design plates with green tea, watching snow on top of mountains and balloons flying in the clear blue sky :

Aravis mountain with 2 balloons ( from our kitchen )

Kinako ( farine de soja ) mochi and Kuri ( chataîgne ) mochi

Sakura shoyo manju " Mebukiya "... looks like a delicate cherry flower fallen on snow ... so delicious taste !

Azuki in the middle...

Eating italian " panforte " from Sienna in the japanese way, I like the yuzu ( cédrat ) and the almonds taste in it !

Ok this car fits well my scarf.. I take 2 of them lol !

Monday, December 18, 2006

Japanese or Chinese that is the question ! :)

Winter morning... pale white sky... I am making some chinese tea " Tie guan yin " ( autumn one ) friends just brought me back from Paris... I cut a pink camellia flower from one of my trees and some bamboo leaves... Camellia and Bamboo ( Tsubaki to Take ) are known as winter plants in Japan... And what a surprise, this tea I made in a little refined purple clay chinese teapot has the delicate flavours of camellia and jasmine... The bright white little " zhong " with plum design fits well the yellow liqueur... I liked it so much I put hot water twice in the teapot :)
At this time I feel how Japanese and Chinese way of tea are related... I feel the " wabi sabi " and the peace of mind...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Mochi Mochi Mochi !

As you already may know... I like japanese sweets ! But is difficult to find them in France, especially outside from Paris.. Since i would like to offer some of them in our guest house " Takeyama Ryokan ", aside from the ones i cook on my own, i found a place to get some easily...
This time i took a little picture before eating them lol ! from right to left : pink one is " Sakura mochi " ( sticky rice with cherry aroma, stuffed with azuki beans and covered by a steamed cherry tree leaf ... my favourite one ! ), green one is " Yomogi daifuku " ( yomogi is the name for " artemisia vulgaris " plant good against tiredness, it is stuffed with azuki beans ), black one is " Kurogoma daifuku " ( black sesame powder over this mochi stuffed with azuki beans ).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Un petit week-end culture :o)

Last week-end ( it was the 8th of october 2006 ) Jean-Luc and I went to visit famous french writer Georges SAND ' s second home in a little village called " Gargilesse "...

Georges SAND ( 1804 - 1876 ) was in fact a woman who's real name was " Amantine Aurore Lucile Dupin ", known for her books and for her love affairs with french writer " Alfred de MUSSET " and famous polish musician " Frédéric CHOPIN "...
She lived most of her life in the castle of Nohant and traveling in Europe, but tired of seeing too much people she bought a little house in Gargilesse to spend more peaceful time...
Nowadays Gargilesse is a lovely village of artists... painting exhibition of contemporary art is often hold in the castle...

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Antique lacquer items !

Boy i must admit i like lacquer japanese items, they are quite expensive though and each time i can get one it is a real pleasure :o)

There are various lacquer techniques in Japan, depends on the region they come from... Personally my favourite ones are " Wajima Nuri " ( red, black or green lacquer with designs made of gold ), " Kamakura Bori " ( wood is cut and then painted ) and " Negoro " ( used red lacquer over black )

I wanted to show here these 2 kinds from meiji/taisho period ( around 1900 ), i like them because it looks like " art nouveau ", one with " koi " carp design has even seashell parts to make fish eyes ;)

My favourite design as always " tsuru " cranes :

A wonderful old " Juubako " lunch box with golden flowers and butterflies :

Little red lacquer " andon " with seashells marks on the foot, i changed 110V electric system for french 220V because i liked its old atmosphere :)

Other old kimono tansu !

Kannon biraki no kimono tansu or ISHO-DANSU, these are special furnitures to store clothes dating from Edo period ( 1603 to 1867 )... When a girl was born, family used to grow a tree in the garden ( generally pawlonia tree ) . And when the girl was leaving the family house for marrying someone, the tree was cut to make an isho-dansu. This furniture was the symbol of the parents love for their married daughter... So we can say these are very special furnitures !

One with " kiri " kamon ( leaf of pawlonia tree bold design ) iron middle part in front of the opening doors, wood is unknown ( may be " keyaki " zelkova tree and " sugi " cypress ) :
Red lacquer kodansu, small furniture with drawers :

Tansu !

About furnitures they are generally called " tansu ", each one has specific use like " mizuyadansu " for the kitchen ware, " kimonodansu " to store clothes, " kodansu " for little items... there are also " hibachi " to set the fireplace, haribako for sewing tools and so on...
For the moment i only bought furnitures to store clothes and useful stuff in the bedrooms...

Kimonodansu like this 3 set one from meiji/taisho period ( around 1900 ) made of " kiri " ( pawlonia wood ) which is light weight and scent protects clothes from bugs, each part will go on top of each other this way :

It has typical drawers for kimono storing :

Thing i like about these old furnitures are iron parts and handles designs :

Also sometimes there are still items from old days attached to them like this antique little "hinamatsuri" ( girls day festival where dolls of prince and princess are displayed ) charm :

Flower design iron door knobs :

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Shouji !

Well long time without posting new message here...
Afterall this blog was about japanese traditional items and now that guest house building is over it is time to think about decorating it !
So i will show some of the items i want to display inside to give an idea of atmosphere i wanna create in the ryokan :)

First in a japanese traditional house you have the " shouji ", these wooden sliding doors are usually made of sugi ( a japanese cypress ) and used in various purposes : like making a window, separating a room, making closets or just for esthetic display... with japanese washi paper they let ligth pass threw with delicate shades...

Most of " shouji " sliding doors patterns are geometric like these :
For the bedroom " Snow perfume " :
Or they can show nature design like this 4 panels pine " shouji " ( may be in the tea room or bedroom bamboo forest i don't know yet ;) )