16.4.14

Sandy feet 「日曜日はビーチ時間」

malagueta beach

We just decided, there will be no summer vacation this year: Who needs to get-away when living right-here?

There are little places that make me so happy like the beach. This is the new Yoyogi Koen. I love to see people moving, laughing, dancing, jumping, bending, spending time outdoors (as opposed to spending money indoors). That's one of the reasons why a stroll along the beach makes me smile.

What I see is happy people, staying true to themselves (excluding those munching on fried fish, obviously), investing time instead of wasting it.

malagueta beach

malagueta beach

From kite surf, through slack line and volley. It's a kindergarden, where everyone finds a free spot where all their dreams fit it and get some attention by those passing by...

malagueta beach

malagueta beach

malagueta beach

malagueta beach

Wednesday, last day of work... Then, holiday time!!

malagueta beach

15.4.14

Palm Sunday Look: Embellished sweater and lace.

lulu frost stone bracelet

I cannot buy in Le Ciel Bleu anymore.
So, I am quite glad to find similar items in ZARA. Perfect to enjoy Spring weather and stay true to the tradition of wearing something new in Palm Sunday.

ZARA embellished sweater and lace

Do you take me out for a walk? I'll be good girl...

ZARA embellished sweater and lace

Loving baby blue this season (just like last year's mint obsession, anyone?)

ZARA embellished sweater and lace

Lately, I am into high-waisted skirts. Not at all into bare tummies, though.

ZARA embellished sweater and lace

I love this crossing,  passing by everyday. It's just so classic and charming at the same time.  I mean, you can even see Jesus portrayed in one of the balconies on the upper left.


Top, skirt and pumps from ZARA. 
Bracelet from Lulu Frost.

14.4.14

Rise and shine.

miniature white orchid
Cuando llegamos a Japón, Enrique me compró esta orquídea para alegrarme el shock inicial.

De alguna manera, ambos le cogimos cariño. Al seguir floreciendo, regularmente año tras año, demuestra que por mal que estés, siempre hay luz al final del túnel. Suele ser cuestión de tiempo (y de rayos de sol).

Está prohibido traer plantas de Japón a EU, así que nos la metimos de estrangis en la maleta, porque no la podíamos abandonar. Ha perdido unas cuantas flores y no consigo encontrarle un sitio tan bueno, como el que tenía en el alféizar de nuestra antigua ventana. Este piso es una casa de extremos, o demasiado sol, o completa oscuridad.

Es una plantita fuerte y se recuperará del golpe. Igual que  yo (^_^)

Los que trabajéis, ánimo que es una semana corta (y paciencia con la Semana Santa).
El resto, a disfrutar de las vacaciones.

13.4.14

Malaga 「マラガ」: Domingo de Ramos

domingo de ramos malaga
"Domingo de Ramos. El que no estrena, no tiene manos."

Enrique dice que este refrán nunca lo había oído antes de conocerme.

El caso es que a mí me lo repitió mi madre muchas veces, con lo que lo cumplo a rajatabla. Excusa para comprarme ropa, para comprarme chocolatillos y para salir de casa con la palma, más chula que un ocho. Con diferencia, mi día favorito de la Semana Santa (a excepción del día de Pascua, en el que me caía el huevón de chocolate negro, aunque ese vino de mi abuela - que vivía en casa, hasta que cumplí unos 9 años y se mudó al cielo).

Aún hoy en día, es un Domingo que me trae buenos recuerdos y me pone de buen humor. Irónicamente, hasta que llegan los tronos y empiezo a entender esas advertencias de mis compañeros de oficina acerca de que vivir en el centro está muy bien... Hasta que llegan la Semana Santa y la Feria.

En esta época de magia y solemnidad, nunca se sabe por donde te va a salir el Nazareno, que convierte tu camino de vuelta a casa, en un hazaña comparable al laberinto del Minotauro. Las procesiones recorren las callejuelas enrevesadas del centro de la ciudad, de manera que a veces dibujan un lazo alrededor de tu posición actual, que desgraciadamente no encierra tu casa.

Imaginemos que te da por comer en uno de los tranquilos bares en la Plaza Uncibay. Es tarde, no hay casi gente, se está milagrosamente tranquilo... Never trust the calm before the storm.

domingo de ramos malaga

Allí seguíamos, california roll en la mano estupefactos por lo que se avecinaba así como si tal cosa.

domingo de ramos malaga

Primer paso de la tarde.

domingo de ramos malaga

Con su banda de trompetas y tambores, evidentemente.

domingo de ramos malaga

domingo de ramos malaga

Nazarenos que aterrorizan a algunos de los niños que presencian el desfile, premio Nobel a esa madre que trataba de convencer a su quasi-bebé (que lloraba aterrorizado) diciendo "pero si es un nene, como tú y como yo". 

domingo de ramos malaga

La Virgen, con un manto en tonos turquesa y tocado en tonos dorados, muy en tendencia.

domingo de ramos malaga

domingo de ramos malaga

Unos echan incienso, mientras que los "espectadores" aplauden y gritan "GUAPAAAA" a la Virgen.

domingo de ramos malaga

Elegante combinación de las tendencias que pegan fuerte esta temporada: Brocados, encaje, turquesa y el blanco, siempre favorecedor bajo el sol. Ojos dramáticos, que acompañan la temática del día.

domingo de ramos malaga

Parece que la Virgen también debería empezar la dieta de la salud y dejar el pan ácimo para bajar esos 1000kg de más, que son un dolor acarrear, como demuestra este pobre hombre.

domingo de ramos malaga

La Plaza Constitución, que es el corazón de Málaga está cubierta por una tribuna VIP donde celebrities y locales pagan auténticos dinerales, para ver las procesiones principales (las que hemos visto hasta ahora son una broma, comparado con lo que está por venir).

domingo de ramos malaga

Así como los balcones de la Calle Larios y otras vías principales, que están cubiertos con telas a tono con la celebración. Les ha costado casi una semana y unas cuantas grúas completar esta decoración (doy fé de que empezaban sobre las 8AM).

domingo de ramos malaga

Tres filas de sillas a lo largo de la Calle Larios, también de pago. Más de lo mismo en el resto de la ciudad.

domingo de ramos malaga

Irónicamente, ni se inmutan, pese al caos que gira a su alrededor. Aparte de la pena que me da ver a estos majestuosos animales en esas condiciones (sobre asfalto, esperando todo el día a que a algún guiri le de por pagar) también me dan que pensar. En que muchas veces, caminamos por la vida cual caballo.

Con los ojos medio tapados, casi sin ser conscientes de ello, haciendo lo que una fuerza externa espera de nosotros. A veces, sólo es cuestión de tomar el ángulo adecuado, para llegar a los ojos del animal. Que no han perdido el encanto ni la curiosidad. Simplemente andan un poco asustados, por lo poco que se encuentran otros ojos enfrente, en su realidad.

Al volver a España, hay un riesgo muy grande de retornar al lado más tóxico de ser local: Las presiones sociales, las expectativas, perder quién eres y encajar en lo que los demás esperan que seas (basado en lo que eras). Desgraciadamente, ese es un aro por el que no voy a pasar. 

Son muchos años dando vueltas, como para dar vuelta atrás y perder esa riqueza que los contrastes culturales te ofrecen. En cualquier caso, tanto el entorno como yo hemos cambiado, así que no hay manera de que volvamos a encajar como solíamos - en el mejor de los casos, encontraremos un nuevo equilibrio y en el peor, viviré como una auténtica guiri de esas que hace cosas raras, pero domina el idioma local :P

domingo de ramos malaga

12.4.14

Malaga: Holy Week

semana santa malaga

Holy Week in Christianity is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter.

Associated with it is the religious holiday of Friday of Sorrows, but the week itself includes Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday or, as it is called in the Catholic Church, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Note that Easter Sunday, is not included, even though related with it.

Holy Week is a vacation period but also a big celebration all over Spain, in particular in the southern region of Andalucia (where we happen to be).

In Málaga the lifelike wooden or plaster sculptures are called "tronos" [thrones]. These are carried through the streets by penitents dressed in long robes, often with pointed hats, followed by women in black, called "manolas" carrying candles for up to 11 hours. Kids also take part on this, leading the walk.

These thrones are physically carried on the necks of costaleros, and can weigh up to 5000 kg. These statues are set up and maintained by hermandades and cofradías, religious brotherhoods that are common to a specific area of the city, whose precede the paso dressed in Roman military costumes or penitential robes.

Those members who wish to do so wear these penitential robes with conical hats aka capirotes, used to conceal the face of the wearer. These "Nazarenos" carry processional candles, may walk the city streets barefoot, and may carry shackles and chains in their feet as penance. A military band in Malaga (only drums in my hometown) accompany the group, playing funeral marches, hymns or songs written for the occasion.

This is a very impressive season to visit Spain and feel the drums beating indie your chest.

Here in Malaga, things go particularly crazy. The city center is covered on chairs. People are paying thousands of euros to rent a balcony in the main street, to be able to come out and sing, as the throne passes by. 

We will not be here to see it in full bloom (as we hare heading to Zaragoza, to visit our family during the break) but today, we could get an idea of how it feels here in the South and some close shots, which we hope you guys enjoy.

holy week malaga

Kids are a central part of this very religious celebration.

holy week malaga

Some candles got bent by the hand point, due to the intense heat.

holy week malaga manolas

These are the so-called Manolas or women in black, as a sign of sorrow for Jesus.

holy week malaga manilas hair pin

I really like the lace and traditional hair-piece, which is called peineta. Reminds me of geisha's stuff.

holy week malaga

The bell rings, so time to keep walking.

holy week malaga

Leaders carry these silver sticks, with the sign of their religious association aka Cofradía.

holy week malaga

And they come in front, leading the throne.

holy week malaga

It's not too serious as it seems, more of a neighborhood (entire city) festival, in my view. Bus is stopped, cars cannot go through, stores closed. So people drops and watches thrones go by.

holy week malaga

It's kind of fun.

holy week malaga

Except for the holy smoke, that makes it extra complicated to shoot a nice one.

holy week malaga

Finally, the heroes of the day!! Costaleros carrying the Throne, during many hours. They have a bell in the front, which is used to indicate "stop" or "go". But you feel sorry for them...

holy week malaga

Thrones represent different Bible episodes. The bible is long, hence the many thrones.

holy week malaga

Brass & drums, to the bottom of your heart.

holy week malaga

Military band. I really liked the uniforms. They made a nice contrast.

holy week malaga

Kids, smoke and here it comes... The second throne.

holy week malaga

La Virgen, which was shaking like an Omikoshi.

holy week malaga

...along with more drums and brass.

holy week malaga
Playing under this burning (30C) sun.

11.4.14

Malaga's beach staple「スペインの料理」: Espetos「エスペトス」

スペインの料理 エスペトス

Yummy sardines huh? 2€ skewer (or less)

grilled sardines in Malaga

Today is Friday.
The rule is to leave the office at 15:30 (given longer hours every other day). 

Instead of a late lunch at the so-so company canteen maybe... We drop by the beach for some of these yummy fish skewers which are called espetos and represent a central part of the local gastronomy, since s.XIX. Very Jonathan Yve right? Complete simplicity for the perfect product.

If you ever come by, you will probably be surprised by the amount of stalls like this one, that populate the coast line. They use an old boat (or something looking like it) as BBQ. The guys really invest time and effort to get the flame right but man, when it's on... There it goes.

Non-stop yumminess. Serious big bang for the buck.

Beyond Malagueta, in the areas of Pedregalejo and El Palo, the stall density increases, up to roughly  one every 5 meters (!!). They have funny names (provided you are Spanish) like "Los cuñaos", as engagement practice.

At the end of the day, this is not so unique. I keep saying, Spain is just like Japan (and many SE Asia countries, for analogy ). There yakitori「焼き鳥」here espetos. In an abstract way... The same:
- Simple (and cheap) local ingredients
- Apparently simple yet requiring skilled hands to get that "just right" touch
- Tasty and healthy

These days, we see health as strong "trending topic": Clean food, juicers, vegans, protein bars, powder, baking, eating the rainbows, detoxing. Ironically, the Mediterranean diet is so damn healthy, taste and cheap* (*provided you are based in the Mediterranean). 

Not talking pasta and bread here. More about little meat, tons of veg and fish. Simple cooking procedures. Little oil (it used to be expensive) and dressing/sauces. It's quite shocking, as you move to Northern Europe there it comes the gravy, béarnaise sauce, fondue... Why? Because it's cold!!! Here... It is obviously NOT.

It hurts me, when I see so many people gorging on that damn fried stuff that - I swear - I won't touch. 1st sentence I learned in Japanese 「揚げ物は苦手です」lit. "I am not good at fried things".  Indeed, I find every single oily battered thing as considerably worse than its grilled counterpart:
- Grilled squid vs Fried Calamari
- Grilled veggies vs Tempura veggies
- Grilled cod vs Croquettes
- Gyoza vs Empanadilla
- Toast vs Torrija
- Waffles (Crêpes) vs Churros

...I could go on and on for years, but I won't. Time to start the sunny weekend - enjoy (^_^)