Beautiful People Beautiful Places Beautiful Rituals Healthy Food

Happy Birthday!

It’s just the Cafe not THE restaurant- yes? And still ? Could not get a reservation at all – been trying since pre-reopening – Until a slot opens up unexpectedly:) Lucky!

Recalling back in the day we didn’t need a reservation and we just casually walked in – those days are over … Still the same Mesirow’s signature copper lighting enveloped us in its warm golden glow … The lighting in this special space is … magical. We felt as though we were welcomed back into an old friends hug – it’s lovely.

The place still continues to be down to earth and authentic… like the birthday guest we were celebrating. In this day and age of eliteism and egoism, fakeness, nothing is as comforting and healing to our souls as real fresh comfort foods with unpretentious sophistication.

Happy Birthday Riki !

May you be safe

May you be well

May you be at ease

May you be happy

May we be safe

May we be well

May we be at ease

May we be happy

Gratitude for this small gathering to happen at all on this special day when a special soul graced this earth to spend some time with us … each on our destined journey to that wonderous mysterious yonder.

May we all live in peace and health with joy and compassion in our hearts.

Beautiful People Beautiful Rituals

Noriko Ibaragi

April is a poetry month in the US, and perhaps in other parts of the world. For some, I am sure, every month is a poetry month, if not, everyday.

I thought to share few of my favorite poets throughout this month, for lack of anything creative on my part – actually, I have been trying my hand at poetry so if there’s any worth putting in print, I may even be brave enough… but I prefer to just translate what’s put out by Japanese poets already famous and … not – some well-known; some unknown.

When I was the prettiest (when I was most beautiful)

My head was empty and

My heart was jaded, so hardened

My hands and feet shone bright chestnut color

When I was the prettiest

My country lost the war

Defeat? How rediculous could it be

Rolling up my sleeves I took heavy strides through the obsequious town

(translated by K. Tsuyama)

From Ibaragi Noriko Poetry Collection










When I was the prettiest

It’s not easy to translate a poem. Thus, I suggest learning Japanese and reading it the original BUT here it is … a poem, so well known, in Japanse school textbooks, teaching todays students about war and peace. I was lucky to grow up in peacetime but now … with the Ukranian situation, none of us in this world could feel at peace.

This poem is probably what my mother had experienced when she too felt her youthful beauty was at her peak. (my mother used repeatedly mention when she was young and most beautiful, there were no handsome young men around her to date as they all died in the war and thus, she would joke, she ended up with my father, hahaha?! Yet sometimes this joke is flipped and she would say that she was the luckiest girl to even find a guy to marry as there were so few elibible young men those days – the ratio was so against the pretty young girls… men does not return from battlefields and so my father was a very lucky rare find indeed.)

We all have those feelings of reminiscing our younger days – when we were bolder fearless adventurous spontaneous effervescent maybe carefree and … yes, most beautiful. We radiated vibrancy … energy! Where did all that go?

The author/poet is conveying the sense of “missing out” on her best times of her life. When her beauty was at her peak (I realize we’d like to think a woman is beautiful at any age but … there’s something about age 16- 20’s where we do have youth and nature on our sides), she had a miserable time desperate in war-torn country in shambles. When one is at the best times of their lives, most beautiful, she experianced the ravages of war torn country and defeat. It surely was a very tough, gut wrenching time where young men did not come back from battlefields and beautiful young women were left in the rubbles … as she says, rolling up their sleeves, getting to work to frantically rebuilt the shambles.

I acutally like her other poems more BUT I thought to shine a light on this famous poem as it feels like we have not learned from our history. Violence, destruction from wars are intolerable. Why can’t men communicate, negotiate and settle matters with pens not swords. Diplomacy diplomacy diplomacy over violence to settle matters because what’s won with violence is never a true victory.

Beautiful Deeds Beautiful People Beautiful Things Healthy Food

Home made Sakura Mochi

Sakura-mochi is sweet red bean filling wrapped in pink glazed sweet mochi rice, then wrapped in naturally preserved, should I say pickled, cherry blossom leaf. These mochi cakes have a dreamy aroma of cherry blossom flowers and served to appreciate the auspicous season of Spring – Spring that symbolizes renewal and rebirth.