Thursday, 5 June 2014

A Season of Strawberries

The strawberye is the wonder of all the fruites growing naturally in these partes. (Sir W. Raleigh)

And the wild boys innocent as strawberries. (Dylan Thomas)

Like strawberry wives, that laid two or three great strawberries at the mouth of their pot, and all the rest were little  ones. (Francis Bacon).

And here I am about to capture you little red berries, all alone with a basket in my hand only. (Pinay von Alemanya)

Is the price right?

A friend commented soon as she saw my photos. Oh why they're so pale, are they the last harvest of the season? No dearie, I harvested them myself and the picking season has not yet fully started.

One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.  (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)
500 gms of strawberries and 1000g of jam sugar cooked to a boiling point while stirring and give it another 3 minutes of bubbly boiling and ready is your strawberry, jammy and yummy. 

The finished product from harvesting to preserving. It only started from (power)walking. The rest of the berries I made salad with balsamic vinegar and went well with dinner of Punjabi samosas and tamarind sauce, ah!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Japan-Tag Düsseldorf, NRW 2014

A Japanese woman preparing for the Ikebana presentation in this booth 
Japan Day in North-Rhine Westphalia

Every year sometime in May, the State of North-Rhine Westphalia with the city of Düsseldorf together with the different companies, schools and initiatives of the local Japanese community in the city celebrates Japan Day along the river Rhine. It is a whole day program of Japanese culture ranging from its traditional music, games, martial arts, food, literature, paintings to the latest technical invention in the market. It is estimated that around 8.200 Japanese resides in Düsseldorf making it the third largest Japanese community following London and Paris.
Manga and anime fans

From Japan am Rhein broschure of the

"Bereits zum 13. Mai veranstalten das Land NRW, die Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf und die japanische Gemeinde Düsseldorf den "Japan-Tag Düsseldorf/NRW". Die Partner möchten mit diesem Ereignis, das zu einer echten Tradition geworden ist, ihre enge Verbundenheit zum Ausdruck bringen. Anfangs bildeten wirtschaftlichen Kontakte die Basis für ständig wachsende Beziehungen zwischen Japan und Nordhein-Westfalen. Inzwischen entands in der Landeshauptstadt währen der vergangenen Jahrzente eine gut ausgebaute japanische Infrastruktur. Zahlreiche Bestandteile japanischer Kultur wie Music, Kunst, japanische Kampfkünste und japanische Gastronomie gehören in Düsseldorf mittlerweile zum täglichen Leben. Diese vielfältigen Möglichkeiten werden nicht nur von Japanern gern in Anspruch genommen."

Women trying on the Kimono

Red Manga Sisters

Learn how to make Origami

Ikebana booth. Donation goes to the Frauenhaus of Düsseldorf

Learning Go game

 Domo Arigato gozaimasu! Thank you very much for the photos and info. Mata aimasho!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Time for Asparagus

"Asparagus inspires gentle thoughts."
Charles Lamb

Late in March this year, while doing our power walking, we passed by these covered rows in our village and instantly thought, Asparagus. They're cultivating asparagus in this area.We were quite surprised as we have not seen any asparagus cultivation in our place.

After a month of absence, we continued our early morning walks passing now a colorful fields of rapeseeds and other green grains, young strawberry plants side by side with harvested fields now brown and waiting for new planting.

 Then we came nearer to the fields now full of workers, bending, lifting the covering sheets, and we know they're harvesting asparagus. In German it is called spargelstechen or to cut asparagus.

 The white and dark covering made of vinyl materials have two functions like that of the green house effect. If the weather is still very cold, the dark side is facing outside to keep the right temperature for the growth of the asparagus and white covering facing outside to avoid extreme hot temperature. When it gets hot, one says that asparagus get cooked.
 While taking shots of them from afar, this worker has been very friendly, waving to me as he notices that I've been taking photos of them or could he be saying No?
 The sequence of the hard work of harvesting asparagus: checking every row, lifting the cover and looking for the ones ready to be cut. Asparagus can grow up to 15 cms. per day from a humus, sand rich soil.
 The friendly, handsome worker is from Romania. The guest workers in this photo come from Romania. Most of the guest workers in Germany come from Poland and Romania, and they stay for at least three months working in the fields earning 6 to 7 Euro per hour. (I really hope they get that much payment for this back-breaking work.) Asparagus season lasts until about June 24 every year.
Freshly harvested asparagus-bio ones

My first basketload of asparagus...just posing out of delight.

One worker gave me his working knife to complete the ops for the  photo.

 Talking with them, I noticed that they understand more English than German as I started my questions in German but they readily answered when I started conversing in English. Didn't protest when I asked for permission for taking photos. Thank you very much for your kind approval.
I asked if we could buy the freshly harvested ones but one worker answered that we get them from the bio-shop in the village. Here they are preparing to leave the fields to go back the next day for another spargelstechen. Somehow they reminded me of OFWs working somewhere in this world, staying away from the their families to earn a living.

The white gold as served in local restaurants with pork chops, cutlets, scrambled eggs, ham and potatoes with cleared butter or Hollandaise sauce for prices ranging from 12 to 16 Euro for a plate with a half-kilo asparagus.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Semana Santa in Rotterdam: Visita Iglesia to the Laurenskerk

Laurenskerk Rotterdam

The principal organ is the largest completely mechanical organ in Europe with over 7,600 organ pipes and 85 stops. (Taken from the info leaflet inside the church)

Current Photo Exhibition of Other World Religions

History: The church was built between 1449 and 1525, right behind the dam that cut off the River Rotte from the River Meuse. This dam, to which Rotterdam owes its name, can be found in the present Hoogstraat. The church itself has always been austere that fitted a population that earned is living with fishery and shipping. The effects of the reformation also made for the austerity.In 1572 the church was stripped of the sculptures customary in Catholic churches. (Source: Stichting Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk)