Casual friday: being a polyglot


Maybe you don’t know it but I understand 4 languages: English, German, Italian, French and I am learning Japanese. The best point about being a polyglott, I can capture the topics I am interested in different languages, as for instance by bloggers that write only in one of these four languages and understand their point of view. Pretty cool, eh!

Recently I am quite into Japanese culture and all about travelling and living in Japan and, lucky me, I find some bloggers that post in Italian and French and love them.

I know that most of my viewers are English speakers but maybe some of you do understand and appreciate what written in these posts.

Satori Nihon Japan A jung german student that lived in Japan
Hanami blog lovely manga and Japan blog, the italian girl has her own learning e-book!
A gaij IN Japan French bloger about travaling in Japan.
sale quato basta Italian blog for food lovers and other.

…love, Melanie!

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Casual friday: viaggio in Giappone

This post is about Japan but also about an Italian blog I am following to learn Japanese. The owner of the blog, Federica Ercole, is Japan fan but not only. I love her blog and already learned a lot with her method. She is now in Japan and she write about her journey.

The text is in Italian but I hope that you can still enjoy her Fotos.

…love, Melanie!

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Casual Friday: The Art of Sumi-e painting

Ink and wash painting originally developed in China.
The Sumi-e brush painting of Japan has it’s origins in traditional Chinese painting.
In China and Japan, calligraphy and painting were traditionally considered one and the same. The same brush strokes that were used in writing were also used in traditional Chinese and Japanese painting (source: The Helpful Art Teacher)

Here a couple of examples.

bild1 bild3 bild4 bild5 bild6bild8

…love, Melanie!

Shin gyo so

The first time I heard this term I was fascinated by the sound of it: “shin gyo so”…it sounds so poetic, so mysterious. And then someone tried to explain its meaning to me, and I didn’t understand a thing! Having a western mindset we are prone to learn from textbooks, from theoretical rules which make it difficult to find the “right” meaning for this term. I will try to explain it in my own way. Let me tell you that it comes from old China and has been adapted in Japan for the traditional Arts as tea ceremony, ikebana, shodo, but also in architecture for the structure of houses as well as in gardening layouts. This term can be found also in Karate, Kyudo, Bushido and much more. I think “shin gyo so” is omnipresent in almost every Japanese form of art.

But what is “shin gyo so” really? Well, I am unable to explain it in a philosophical or intellectual sort of way, but from my observations and search, I have come to this interpretation:
Shin = formal, knowledge, elaborate, regular.
Gyo = informal, technique, partly simplified, semi-cursive.
So = free, sensitivity, greatly simplified, cursive.

I found lots of examplesthat can help understand this not so easy concept and although I would like to have more sensitivity in order to learn more, I have to start from the regular basic. My idea of “shin gyo so” is pretty much what Sensei Fukita explained at his Demo/Workshop: “Knowledge, technique and sensibility are the three ingredients for an excellent bonsai artist.” Therefore I see knowledge as shin, technique as gyo and sensibility as so!

On the other hand my Sensei Nicola Crivelli explained it to me in relation to the bonsai pot: Shin –formal – for all conifer mostly pine, styles like Chokkan and Moyogi and unglazed pots with rigid lines as rectangular and squared ones can be. Gyo – informal – for deciduous but also some slender, feminine shimpaku junipers; for Kengai and han-kengai style and sometimes also Moyogi; for glazed, oval, soft and sinous pots. So – free – refers for shitakusas and kusamonos but also to bunjin pine, for round and irregular pots.

shin gyo so

As you can see this chart is not complete (some styles are missing, the pots feet are missing, and some other pot forms are also missing), but as a beginner it seems promising and helps me to choose the right pot for my plants.

Shin gyo so can also refer to Shodo (calligraphy) as Shin for regular, gyo for semi-cursive and so for cursive


In Kyudo (the art of archery) Shin Gyo So can be defined as follows:
Shin means following the truth. It means that the fundamentals of shooting should be diligently and scrupulously followed.
Gyo means carrying out the truth. It means that the shooting should obey true principles.
So means form as nature. It means that the shooting should be natural and in harmony with all things.
(Source: Kyudo Genève)

This is a very rudimental way to explain the principal of shin gyo so (doesn’t is sound great?).

…love, Melanie!

Japanese!? Can you learn it?


It’s official! Next May I will go to Japan!! I am so thrilled about it, I am counting the days, well not really but you get the point. It has been always my inexplicably dream to go to Japan, always love bonsai, always loved the simplicity of japan, always loved the melancholy beauty in everything about this Land. Maybe it’s because is so different than any other country! Really I don’t know, I just love it!

Ok, ok!! Everything good and right but what about the language!! OMG!! Yes you name it!!

To be honest, is really not easy but possible and in the end it’s not as different as any other language, the secret is practice, practice, practice.


In this learning process I bump in an article that Owen Reich wrote in 2012 about a “Bonsai Japanese Crash course” which includes almost all the words you need to know in Japanese when dealing with bonsai.

Although by now I know more than only “Sumimasen” – Sorry, excuse me, or “Domo Arrigato Gozaimas” Thank you very much or “Do itashi mashite” –your welcome, this little list gives all a new perspective about what will I expect.


…and the learning process goes on!!



…love, Melanie!!

Casual Friday: Japan is a wonderfull country

This week the press brought some Japan themed news.

For example the most old living man on planet. Jiroemon Kimura is 116 years old and lives in Kyotango (Kyoto prefection)
Jiroemon Kimura is 116 years old

Or one of the biggest Wisteria of Japan. The beautyfull tree is located in Ashikaga
wisteria in Ashikaga, Japan

Japan is really a wonderfull country. Can’t wait an see it.



Japan is definitely not just sushi!!

I find this wonderfull video on vimeo. Is just a dream. Hope you like it like I did.

From Japan with Love (and Dashi)

About this video
“The first video in Season 3 of The Perennial Plate. This short film combines two weeks of eating and traveling in Japan into three minutes. Enjoy! Shot on Canon 5d Mark iii w/ EF 24-70 f/2.8L and 70-200 f/2.8L Created by: In partnership with Intrepid Travel: Filmed and edited by: Daniel Klein ( ) Mirra Fine ( Music by: Lullatone and OMODAKA;

…love, Melanie!