1. I had to think a lot about Kamakura during the time I studied for my exams (^-^;)
    Actually I had to think a lot about all the places I visited in Japan :D

    Maybe the reason for this lays in my motivation for my studies :D
    Basically I think that it is easier to find a job in Japan if you have a degree (^-^;)

    I think the best way to explore Kamakura is to walk through the city as it offered many beautiful sights and small shops selling handicrafts or antiques :3
    I particularly like a small shop that specialised in selling handmade paper :3

    Along the way you can see many old houses and newer ones that look nice :)
    Compared to Tokyo this town feel like being in a very calm and relaxing place :D
    So if you ever feel overwhelmed or crushed by Tokyo you can jump on a train and treat yourself with a short trip to Kamakura to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery (^-^)

    The first photos shows a small shrine that I found while strolling around Kamakura and ending up on a graveyard :D
    It was a really nice place.

    The photos below show Hase Dera and the view from there :3

    Hase Dera offers many great views of Kamakura and has a very nice garden :)

    I felt like Kamakura might be one of the places that would be awesome to live at :D

    I really hope I can go there again as I miss the sea, the scent of Kamakura and the scenery :3
    I miss the friendly the friendly and positive attitude of the Japanese as well (^-^)

    It feels nice to write again (^-^)

  2. I’m back (^-^)/

    The handle of my jointer broke :D
    I guess this is okay since it is at least 100 years old….

    The bad news about this is that the thread that holds the handle is damaged so I had to disassemble the whole thing and drill out the old thread and to cut a new one :)
    I like cutting cast iron as you don’t need to add a coolant because of the carbon that it contains :3
    It is pretty brittle thou and can easily be damaged :D

    The next step is to make an insert to reduce the size of the thread from M8 to M5 :)
    Basically I could just add a screw with an M8 thread but I don’t feel too comfortable putting this much tension on the wood of the handle (^-^;)

    The new handle will be made from beech (just as the old one :) and I won’t give it the traditional top because I really dislike it (>_<;)
    I have big hands for my height and I just feel like my hands are getting tired and sore from the traditional handle…
    Especially on this plane as you don’t have too much room left to add a bigger handle :)

    Yes that is a leg from an old pair of jeans that I’m using to protect the sole of the plane :D

    A friend told me that he has a sandblasting cabin so I’m considering to strip the paint off of it as it is starting to come off and I had some issues with the paint leaving scratches and black marks on the wood (>_<;)

    I didn’t manage to get too much work done so far but I was able to cut out the rough shape of the new handle :)
    I had to make a new wedge to remove the drill chuck from my lathe as well :)
    It is made from cheap UST33 steel which I hardened and tempered (^-^)
    It is funny to hold the torch to the steel and see the colour of it change while tempering:D

    I hope to get a “new” (it is about 20 to 30 years old) 3 jaw chuck this week as I cannot get replacement jaws for my old one (; _ ;)
    It will make it a lot easier to make the insert for the thread :)

    I just started doing this on tuesday as I was busy writing exams :)
    I wrote 5 exams within 2 weeks but I don’t have the results of every exam yet so I feel a little nervous :D

    I hope that I can start shaping the handle tomorrow :)

    Every time I have to tamper with an old European or American/British plane I learn to appreciate Japanese planes a bit more (^-^;)
    I mean they don’t need a handle, no difficult fixtures and no screw that annoys me every time I need to get out the chip breaker or the blade :D
    Over all I really like my No. 29 thou but there is room for improvement :D
    Maybe I will make my own transitional plane at some point :D

    I wish all of you a great time and enough sleep (^-^)/

  3. I made some kind of moss thingy today ヽ(=^・ω・^=)丿

    I cleaned the roof of my parents home so I had to remove a lot of moss and decided to use some of it to try to make something nice and green for my place :)
    I feel sorry for all the moss I couldn’t save but it is the way it is :D
    Moss is a quite fascinating thing because it can get really old and because it cannot store water it will look like it is dying and as soon as you spray water on it, it will start looking green and fresh again :D
    It is very uplifting to see it getting green again after looking as if it was dead (^-^)

    On tuesday I went to a Japanese bookstore after writing my exam and bought these books :3
    I chose the little Prince and Momo because these are books I like a lot and which are not written in an overly complicated way :)
    If I’m lucky I can read one page per day (^-^;)
    The book from Miyazawa Kenji was highly recommended to me by the shopkeeper :)
    I feel like I would fare better with books that start at a lower level but I couldn’t find any and the customs office here is sooooo slow that it can take up to 3 month for your package to be processed (; _ ;)

    I really like the story of Momo (もも) but the name of this book makes me feel sad because it was the nickname of my first girlfriend and my first love.

    Anyway I will just try to do my best and hopefully I can pass the JLPT N5 exam next year (^-^)

    By the way I’m not too happy about the way my exam went but I think I passed :)
    I suffer from a bad anxiety from exams and sometimes I sit there feeling like my mind has been wiped clear or as if I cannot trust what I know despite using this knowledge in the lab and getting good results and grades for it (>_<;)

    I wish you a great week and that you won’t have any anxiety issues about anything (^-^)/

  4. Finished my kitchen project today :)

    I made this shelf for my father because he asked me to build something to hold his noodle guitar :)
    Noodle guitar sounds like a word from a cheap and cheesy pickup line
    (^-^;) but it really is a tool for making noodles :3
    Basically you roll out the dough, lay it on the strings and push it through the strings using the rolling pin :) You can make 2 different types of noodles with this device by turning it over as the strings on each side have a different spacing :)
    My father makes delicious noodles x3
    He is a really good cook as is almost everyone in my family :D
    It is surprising that I’m very slim :D

    The rolling pin you see came with the noodle guitar so I decided to include something into the shelf to hold it so everything stays in one place and doesn’t get lost :)

    Both shelfs are titled upwards at the same angle to prevent the guitar and the rolling pin from falling down because this might happen if you take off the noodle board :D

    I choose the angle of the boards of the shelf to ensure that both stretchers of the noodle guitar sit on it :)
    If you want to make this in a accurate way you should skip doing math and make a drawing and use a bevel gage to copy the correct angle ;)
    It doesn’t matter if you use the computer or make the drawing by hand but it is easier to set the bevel gage this way than to calculate the exact angle and to transfer it onto your workpiece using a protractor (^-^)

    I used a smoothing plane and a rabbet plane for the first molding until I realized that I have a perfectly fine molding plane (^-^;)
    I did the rest of the moldings with that :D

    I really dislike these glued up beech panels but I have so many of those laying around. So I use them but because the people who make these don’t care about grain direction the grain goes in every direction and planing it is tricky :D Anyway if you try you can get good results :)

    By the way I realized that I never used a block plane in my life (°_°;)
    I feel kind of curious to try one :D Basically I just use my normal planes to work end grain or to do details :)

    I will write an exam next week and 3 more in the following week :)
    So I’m a little busy learning (^-^;)
    Basically I still need to write another exam but the professor did not give us the date or place tow rite the exam :| So I have no idea when to write it….
    Maybe he sits in one of the classrooms right now and is wondering why no one turned up to write the exam :D
    If you write me please be patient and be so kind to wait for my reply :)

    The hedgehogs are well and eating a lot :D
    They started exploring the garden :3 It is very cute to see them but they get scared so easily that I’m afraid of getting too close to them :D

    I know I did so before but I wish everyone a great weekend (^-^)/

    Some personal thoughts:

    Lately I have been feeling a lonely :|
    I mean I’m not alone but I miss having a girlfriend and sharing time with someone. I’m pretty used to living a solitary life because it is difficult to meet people with similar interests that live close by and my hobbies don’t offer too many opportunities to meet people either.
    I feel bad for this because I don’t want to have a girlfriend until I moved to Japan and can settle in a place for a longer period of time because I don’t want to hurt someone by leaving them behind :( even if it is only temporarily)
    I mean even if I find someone who want to move to Japan with me it will still mean a lot of trouble for this person and some time of living separated from one another. My last relationship became a long distance relationship at some point and I don’t want to have one again.
    Sorry for telling you all this but I needed to get it off of my chest.

  5. A delicious glue :3

    I tried to make rice glue or そくい from  cooked rice ごはん (^-^)
    I also found out that this is the best cooked rice I ever ate (๑´•.̫ • `๑)

    I washed and strained the rice in the evening and left it to sit over night in the cup covered by a saucer and a piece of paper towel.
    On the next day I put it into a pot and heated the pot up, cooked some water in the water cooker and poured the boiling water (1 to 1 ratio of water and rice ;) over the rice :)
    I let the water boil again in the pot and switched the stove to its lowest setting and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. I switched it off once the 20 minutes had passed and let it sit in the pot for another 10 minutes.

    I prepared a のりぼ or glue mashing sticks and mashed the rice on a piece of scrap plywood until it became a even gooey mass :)
    Try to pick out the solid lumps ;)
    The glue is really sticky and you might want to dilute it to make it easier to apply :)

    Also yes I made the stick asymmetrical because I planed to the wrong line (>_<;)
    It doesn’t matter thou it works just fine :) 
    I would recommend you to take of the sharp point on the triangular part to prevent it from breaking ;)

    I used it to glue in the new mouth for my smoothing plane ひらかんあ and it worked really fine and it is a dream to clean it up when it is dry but for as long as it is not dry it will make an awful mess (°_°;)
    I really like how tight the joint line of the mouth part turned out :3
    On the bottom of the plane I damaged a part of the sharp corner and now it looks like there is a gap but once the sole is prepared it won’t be visible anymore :D
    I liked how the glue lets the pieces slide :3
    Also you can loosen the repair piece again by giving it a good rap with a hammer :) That is also how I damaged the corner (^-^;)

    The blade looks awesome but I didn’t have the chance to finish preparing it yet
    I made the tap out part but had no chance to flatten the back yet :D
    Also the chip breaker isn’t ready either :)

    I hope everyone had a nice week (^-^)
    I everyone a great weekend (^-^)/

  6. Recipe for Nikuman :)

    I was asked to share my recipe for Nikuman so here it is :)

    What you need for the dough :)

    -180 g of flour
    -50 ml of lukewarm water
    -1 tablespoon of sugar
    -1 packet of dry yeast
    -2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
    -60 ml of milk

    Making the dough ((((((((((っ・ω・)っ

    Mix the dry yeast with the water and the sugar and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

    Mix the ingredients for the dough and and cover it for about 30 minutes.
    The bowl that contains the dough should be covered with a wet towel :)
    If the dough is too gooey you should ass some flour and if it turns out to be too dry you can add some milk (you can add water too :)

    The ingredients for the stuffing :)

    -1 scallion
    -2 leaves from a white cabbage
    -2 Shiitake mushrooms 
    -1 cm of ginger
    -100 g of minced pork meat
    -1 garlic clove
    -4 tablespoons of soy sauce
    - half a tablespoon of sugar
    -2 tablespoons of 
    sesame oil

    Chop the garlic and the ginger infer fine pieces (the finer the better ;)
    Cut the cabbage leaves into small pieces and mix with the other ingredients for the stuffing :)

    If you dislike ginger, garlic and soy sauce you can leave them out and make Nikuman with just minced meat, scallions and cabbage :)

    Next step is taking the dough (after you waited 30 minutes after mixing it ;) and cut it into 8 pieces ฅ( ̳• ·̫ • ̳ฅ)

    Flatten the 8 pieces into circles. Try to make the center of the circles thicker than the edge. This will help to keep the thickness of the closed nikumans even ;)

    Now you can put the stuffing on the circles and  close them :)
    You should try not to get too much soy sauce into the Nikuman (the purpose of the sauce is to marinate the meat and the vegetables ;)
    Sometimes the dough will not close properly so you might want to put a little water on your fingers to help close it :)

    Usually I turn my Nikuman upside down before I steam them and I use a rice cooker with a steaming function :)

    They should be steamed for about 20 minutes.

    If you don’t have a fancy rice cooker like I do here are some other methods you can use to steam all kinds of things :)

    The last method should not be used on gas powered stoves :|

    You need to wet down the kitchen towel and to fix it to the ring of the pot you use (I used a cotton string :)
    Also you shouldn’t use any synthetic kitchen towel for this as they might melt or catch fire ;)

    I used these methods before I got a steaming tray and my rice cooker :)

    Now you can enjoy tasty Nikuman ॱ॰⋆(˶ॢ‾᷄﹃‾᷅˵ॢ)ӵᵘᵐᵐᵞ♡♡♡

  7. Today I got around to working on yet another tool restoration projects :D

    This one is supposed to become my new smoothing plane :3
    I bought it as a used plane that had a really worn だい/body but the blades look awesome :3
    They were not rusted but needed a tap out maintenance and some sharpening as they had big nicks :)

    The mouth of the だい/body was far too wide so I decided to use the method that Toshio Odate mentioned in his book about Japanese tools :)

    Making these parts and the dovetail that is supposed to receive the insert is quite fiddly as you need to consider many different angles :|
    The insert is tapered on all faces and they need to fit really well….
    My small smoother made it a lot easier to creep up to a tight fit inside of theだい/body :)
    Honestly if you have to do some plane maintenance or furniture repairs small planes like this one really shine (^-^)

    Someone asked me if I sell the tools that I repair :)
    My answer is: “No not right now” 
    I bought these tools because I needed them and couldn’t afford to buy new ones that were okay so I might use my tools to make new tools for sale in the future but right now I will use the ones that I repaired to make some projects and to repair things :D

    I want to make some smaller products for sale in the near future but right now my exams have priority again and I will be busy preparing for them and cursing my brain for not being able to remember yesterdays lessons :D

    Anyway it is late now and I will go to sleep (^-^)/

  8. Nikuman :3

    I made these yesterday but was zoo hungry that I skipped making photos of these :D
    They are filled with minced meat, cabbage, shiitake, ginger and a little soy sauce :3

    They turned out quite well and to be honest this is the first time they ever looked that good :D
    Usually they are all kinds of shapes and sizes (^-^;)

    This is one of my favourite lemonades. Fritz Limo melon :3
    My absolute favourite is Orangina thou.

    Usually I drink apple juice or water :D

    The hedgehog family is doing well and today was the first day we saw the young hedgehogs eat the food we offered them :)
    Before mother hedgehog would nurse her young.

    I hope everyone had a great weekend and I wish all of you a great new week (^-^)/

  9. Hedgehog update ヽ(=^・ω・^=)丿

    Today I was able to get a few shots of some of the family members of the hedgehog family :3
    They seem to appreciate the food we give them (^-^)

    They dislike the sound of the shutter of my camera (>_<;)
    At least they always seemed to crouch and try to sly away when they heard it as opposed to the shutter from my mothers camera :D

    Some strawberries from my parents garden :3
    They have a very nice flavour and sweetness 
    (๑´•.̫ • `๑)

    I helped my father to prune the cherry plum in their garden and I found this  moth resting on its bark ₍˄·͈༝·͈˄₎◞ ̑̑
    It is amazing how well it can blend in with the bark of the tree.
    It was probably waiting for the sun to go down :)

    I wish all f you a great weekend (^-^)/

  10. My latest Project ( ^ω^)

    I made a new door for the electric compartment of my lathe :)
    There was no real reason to make a new door as the old one was not bad either but I wanted to paint it and having an even surface makes this a lot easier :D
    You can see the old door at the bottom ;)
    Because plywood doesn’t move too much I made the panel a structural part of the door :)
    It is quite strong despite being light weight (^-^)
    I guess most people would prefer this door to the new plywood door but it never felt like a suitable door for a lathe to me (^-^;) I will keep it and use it for something  else at some point :)

    I made the old door from scrap material which is why it is divided by a piece of pine :) I had to stitch 2 plywood panels together to form one of a suitable size (^-^)
    I really like it but it is a delicate door and I wanted something that could take a beating which is why the new one is made from 12 mm thick birch plywood and has a good coat of paint and clear finish on it :)

    I think the wave and Fuji-san turned out well ヽ(=^・ω・^=)丿
    The panels on the back are intended to prevent oil stains on the white wall behind it  and have a thick coat of clear finish on top of the painted Fuji-san on them :)
    I’m not sure if this splash guard will stand the test of time but I hope it will as I like the way it looks :D

    I used the photo of a のれん (a kind of an advertisement cloth :) from a book about the use of images of Fuji-san on Japanese items and advertisements :)
    I got this book as a gift from the owner of an Udon restaurant in Fujiyoshida (^-^)

    I want to add a lamp to the lathe as the room is illuminated by a neon tube which has the interesting effect that  at 1500 rpm (50 Hz mains frequency ;) the spindle will look like it is standing still :D
    You can hear that the motor is running but you cannot see it… this is a little dangerous… I got a halogen light along wight he machine and I will mount it to the machine :) I rarely go over 1300 rpm thou :D

    A short update on the hedgehog that I mentioned in one of my earlier posts :)
    We found out that the hedgehog is a she and that she has at least 4 baby hedgehogs with her (so cute x3
    Also she built her nest close to the patio on my parents house ヽ(=^・ω・^=)丿
    My father ordered some hedgehog food to help them gain weight for the winter
    Usually they like minced meat and other meaty things like cat food :)
    Basically you can feed them like cats :D

    Please forgive me for not taking photos of the hedgehog family but I don’t want to stress them out :) I will add photos from a distance when I know that I’m not making them feel uncomfortable ;)

    I wish everyone a great time and hedgehogs or echidna which are cute as well