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Friday, 31 August 2012

What I saw on the trips to post office and my find at a dump

Hello everyone. How are you today? Today was an unusually active day for me. I walked to post office twice and went to collect an old table at a dump. I usually take my loyal companion, Topaz, to the post office, but alas she injured her foot on the beach last weekend, and made it worse yesterday during a mad chase of a cat. Don't worry the cat was unscathed and climbed up to a low wall. But our dogs cut their legs and feet. Pearl has more cuts because she has no undercoat to protect her. This is one of few things of bad points of having Whippets; they are prone to cuts.

So back to the post office, a lovely lurcher lover purchased one of my whippet knife rests. I was really thrilled to read her note with order confirmation that she lives with three lurchers. I adore all sighthounds. It was love at first sight. I had never seen such beautiful domestic animals before.

I packed the whippet carefully and took it to the post office. Since I have no dog with me (that's very unusual!), I took a camera instead. I usually walk through the Beverly green.

The view of the Cathedral from the Beverly Green
The Cathedral is in view from most of Canterbury. Today it looked nicer than usual against blue sky and puffy cloud.
A new little meadow near the foot path
The city council made a small  narrow meadow this year. What a good idea! I sometimes bring Pearl here for a run. She loves running and sniffing around. There are usually a few dogs, but not many. Today, I was greeted by two French bull terriers. They are small but very chubby just like human babies. They ran toward me as if they found an old friend and looked at my face. When I said 'hello' to them, the owner called them back. Ah, shame! They looked so funny and delightful! I wouldn't mind watching them a bit longer.

There was a disused railway under the trees. The oldest railway in the world. 
Our post office is close to this old hospital built in 1570. It is amazing so many old buildings still exist in Canterbury.

Built in 1570. It has a plaque saying hospital
After I sent the packet at post office, I decided to go home slowly to enjoy sunshine and rare free time alone. Then suddenly I noticed a pretty window box. It's so chic and well-maintained. I couldn't help wondering who lives in this Victorian house.

A chic window box. 
Back home, while I was sending a posting confirmation, I realized another item was sold just now. My ceramics don't sell like pancakes. Far from it! But once in a while, two or three pieces sell almost within a day. It's a mystery. So I started preparing for packing the little lamb. You see, each item I sell is different shape and size, so it is tricky to find the most suitable box. Soon Mike came home for lunch, and told me that we were going to collect the table I found in his work place last weekend. Yeah! It has a wood top with steel legs. It is very steady. According to the caretaker, it has been in a dump place for longer than four weeks. we were given a permission to take it. It would be suitable for our clay work. We can knead the clay on it too.
My find  
Our small Yaris is mighty. We carried this table (120cm long) in it. 

After returning home, I went back to packing the lamb; this is going to travel over the big pond. I packed him in segments. It might be frustrating for the new owner to remove my packaging. (sorry in advance, if you are reading this) Off to the post office again. It seemed much quicker this time. Once I posted it, I felt so good. 

And there was even a better news on the way back. There is an old gentleman whose wife passed away a couple of months ago, in our neighborhood. He had behaved a bit odd since then. I was a bit worried about him, but I was not close enough to say anything. I even don't know his name. We used to greet each other when I walked past in front of his house, with my dogs. Today, he was at his front door, as he used to do before the death of his wife. So I waved the hand to him. He waved me back with a smile, and asked  'How are you?' in a warm deep voice. What a relief! I hope he is recovering from the loss. He is a big healthy looking man. I hope he will find the joy of the life again.          


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

A bunny and an egg in one!

Hello everyone. I have tried to make business cards from my own photographs this evening. Sadly I am struggling. Etsy has an offer, and I like to use it, but I'm not sure what I am really doing!

So, I am going to do something what I am doing, blogging! Today I will show you my Humpty Dumpty Rabbit pot. This is something I experimented this summer. It was difficult to make, so I will not make it again unless there is a specific order from a customer. He had looked a bit spooky before I enameled his face, but once I decorated his nose, he suddenly became cute.
Humpty Dumpty Rabbit Box
He has three red feet
White glaze is food safe, so you can put candies, cookies or nuts in it. I like the idea. Although it wasn't intended, but actually he is perfect for Easter. A bunny and an egg in one!

Cute rabbit tail

I have been eating our aubergines alone. There are lots of them . Smaller ones are sweet. Some of bigger ones became bitter. I have eaten about 18 in two days.  I deep fried them and dipped them in Tempura sauce. yummy!
Aubergines from the garden

Sunday, 26 August 2012

New monster, walk on a beach and harvest

Hello, everyone! How are you? We had a nice day today. Not hot, not cold. Just comfortable. First, I will share the photo of my new monster. He was finally completed yesterday.

My new trickster monster
He hasn't got a name yet. Oh, he has a little cute tail at the back. I call him a monster, but he is not a fierce one, as you can see. He is a funny one. He is likely to do tricks on you when you are walking alone in the woods. He is good at camouflaging despite the red nose! Even the red nose is turned into a red berry when he wants to.

Mike wanted to adopt him, but I think he will hit on Etsy soon. Lately I have kept listing my ceramics on Etsy. I hope I would be able to raise some of the fee for the postgraduate course I will start in autumn. So my little guys have to find their new homes, where they would be loved and looked after, and in turn they will brighten their new family's days!      

Late morning, we took our dogs to Seasalter, a beach next to Whitstable. There our girls could be let free even at the height of the summer. We keep them on leads when we see people enjoying picnic, as Topaz has a criminal record of stealing food!  But nobody was eating yet when we went.

Left - not many people

Right -none!
I like to pick pretty stones on beaches. Sometimes I find fossils here. But today, I found this. Aghh, a bit creepy! There are tens of little holes in it. What were in it?

Tide was very low. So sand had nice patters of waves. This beach is very shallow. We often see people collecting shellfish. We had a good walk there in ozone.
Waves left patterns on sand
After lunch with yesterday's delicious bread that Mike froze to keep fresh, we did some harvesting. We have a hazel nut tree and local squirrels were having bonanza with it. So before all nuts are taken and buried in neighbors gardens, we decided to collect them, too. They are a bit too early, but we have no choice.

Our hazel nuts
Mike climbed up on the ladder, and I was telling him 'It's there!' or 'Lots are on over your head!'. Harvesting is always fun!

Our raspberries are having the second flush of fruits. They aren't as many as in the main season. But it's nice to have some later in season.  
A few raspberries from the garden. 
 Late afternoon, Mike made scones. We had English tea. I became full with scones, whipped cream and black currant jam Mike made ( He forgot about it being on a hob yesterday and went to shopping! It became dry, but didn't get burnt, just!)  So, I skipped dinner this evening. It is still before ten, but I am getting sleepy already, as we have done so much. Good night, everyone. Have a nice dream.  

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Ideal chilled Saturday for grown-ups.

Hello, everyone! We have had a nice day today. We went to town for shopping late morning. Light rains came and went all day. So, we intended to dash out, and come home quickly, but we found artists' stalls on the High street. I love them. It's like Etsy on our High street. Look at what we found!

Organic sourdough French bread
A lady was serving customers. She is based in Faversham, next town to Canterbury. Her husband makes bread and she sells them. He was asleep at that time (about noon) because he started very early. It is Artisan organic sourdough bread. We love them! Mike used to bake sourdough bread, but he couldn't keep yeast alive during cold months. She says it takes 17 hours to make. Ahh, it is so delicious. We had it with Mojito olives, Serrano ham,  Epoisses de Bourgogne cheese and a glass of cabernet sauvignon. Ahhhh, heavenly. What else would we need? We will go back to get more of the bread next time. I think they come every other Saturday. I will take a camera with me so that I could share the beautiful pictures of the different bread with you. It's shame you can't taste it!

After buying bread, we went to Waitrose to get my favourite cheese, Epoisses de BourgogneI knew it would go well with the bread. This cheese is always runny, but this particular one decided to melt. A young gentleman at cheese counter struggled to contain it, literally. So he put it in this olive container!

Actually the main reason we went for shopping today was to buy more Olympics mugs. When we bought them earlier in the week (previous post), I was eyeing a set of two bone china mugs by Royal Doulton. It was £4.50! 70% off! They are cheaper than ordinary mugs sold in supermarkets!

Royal Doulton Olympics mugs- bone china
London landmarks
After the lunch, I became very sleepy. It is unusual for me take a nap. Mike said '40 winks wouldn't do any harm.' I said 'I still wear contact lenses, so I can't sleep for long.' When I woke up, 2 hours had passed! Rain had stopped and it was sunny, too. I wanted to enamel fire my ceramics. So I quickly set it up, and fired them.  Here is the picture how they came out of firing. I am very happy with them. I will upload more of pictures later.
Humpty Dumpty rabbit box, a monster and a large chameleon
I did a bit of garden tidy up and watched baking program that Mike found on TV live. I seldom watch TV live unless it is sport matches. So I obviously had a relaxed time today. I would say we had ideal chilled Saturday for grown-ups.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Mike's birthday adventure

Hello, everyone. It's Mike's birthday, today. I gave him a birthday card that I made yesterday. He likes it. It was fun! It was made by scissors, glue and coloured pencils. I remembered myself doing similar things at kindergarten. lol

Birthday card for Mike
On his birthdays we go to somewhere he would like to go. It's usually a coast. This year he decided to go to Botany Bay after seeing the photographs, which look exotic and gorgeous. One concern was that whether pearl, the whippet could be alright, because she usually has motion sickness. But we have trained her, and she got used to travel to the nearest coast, about 10 minutes. drive from our house. Botany Bay is about 30 minutes drive, so we weren't sure if she could make it. We made plan B and plan C, just in case. This is how she traveled.

To start with, she was sitting on my lap, but decided to stand up later on. 
There was a very short tunnel, about 30 meters, where she started to panic, but she held on, and she finally made a whole journey. Hooray!

Mike stopped the car at Palm Bay. I looked around to see where the palms were, but couldn't find any. It was overcasting and a bit windy. You can see how this cliff was formed. It is mostly chalk. About 60cm deep from surface, there is loam. It must be very well-drained soil.
A good place to learn about strata
Lots of yellow flowers
We walked on the top of this chalk cliff. There are no traffic, and peaceful. We walked about 15 minutes on this path. We peeked from the top of the cliff. There was quiet and peaceful beach underneath. Botany Bay is ahead.

Mike wondered it was a nudist beach. I assure you it wasn't.
We finally reached Botany Bay. But unfortunately dogs were not allowed in summer. Sun appeared from the cloud, and it became warmer. Can you see the sailing boat? It looked like a Narnian boat!  

Botany Bay

Botany Bay from the other side
 Tide was out, and there were lots of seaweed. It is very shallow beach. We rested a bit, and decided to return to the car along the beach. We saw a steep path down just before we got to Botany Bay, so we climbed down there. I went down first. Second Topaz, Next Pearl. Mike came down last. We were all alright.

Midori is a scout. ' OK, guys, it's all safe here!'

We walked back on the sandy beach. Topaz rolled on stinky seaweed twice. I almost wept.

Lots of small chalk rocks had fallen from the cliff surface to the ground. Apparently one of the children decided to introduce her family to the world. It says 'Me, size 2, Mum size 6, DaD size 9'.
Sweet graffiti
After we came home, we had lunch. Mike wanted to have his birthday cake. If he had married a mumsy lady, a beautiful cake would appear on the table, but I could only produce a wacky birthday card. So we bought chocolate mousse. Voila, here is his birthday sweet.
Mike's birthday chocolate mousse
Dogs were exhausted. They went to sleep. After a rest, we went to town to find  tongs for glazing. We thought we could improvise with kitchen or BBQ tongs. We wanted a cheap one. So we fist visited Poundland and then Wilkinson. There was no suitable ones in either shops. So we almost gave up, but I thought we should try Fenwick because they always have a good selection of kitchen tools although they are not usually cheap. They only had good stainless steel ones with good price tags. But I found these, instead.

Wenlock mug
Olympics mug
They were also clearance. They were about 70% off. Mike picked the Wenlock mug for £ 1.20. He said he would use it at the office. I chose the London 2012 for £1.50. They are bargains! We were pleased.

We went to Waitrose to get something for dinner. While Mike was queuing at the till, I checked the BBQ corner. There was a cheap BBQ set at a half price. We were most pleased!

After a dinner, Mike altered the tongs so that they could be used for glazing. He glazed pots. We will fire them tomorrow.


Monday, 20 August 2012

New guys from kiln and the Great Chicken, Pumpkin

Hello, everyone.Big news. We had two days of summer heat! Friday was 29C and Saturday was 30C. Mike and I dug out our shorts in hurry to prepare for it. They said Sunday would be hot, too. But it was like 27C at max. and a half of the day was a bit cloudy. Ta-da! We finally had summer. English summer can be very short. If you miss it, you might not have it for some years.

I have been busy with my ceramics recently. Whether hot or cold, it doesn't matter to me too much. I spent several hours glazing in the garage on Friday. It was cool and nice. We had glaze firing from Saturday morning to early afternoon. We opened the kiln on Sunday morning. I am happy with the result. Here is a snap shot of the some of my DoGoo, the rest of moon rabbits and whippets.

Three rabbits in bunny suits and four whippets. 
 I also have to tell you this! On Saturday when it was really hot, we let Pumpkin, our bossy chicken, out from her pen. She loves coming out. She spent digging here and there. She is a great chicken, so she is forgiven for damaging our flowers (they will come back next year) or vegetables (oh well, just give the rest to her).  She is almost too great for like of us.

On this particular afternoon, she had spent lots of time under bushes. Mike got curious and peeked after she moved away. Look at this!

Pumpkin didn't forget her jungle fowl roots
 She flattened plants and made a nest. Then she laid a beautiful egg! We were so impressed. She had never done this before. Now she became an even greater chicken. She rules the roost.

Pumpkin, the great chicken 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Commissioned work and a birthday present for Mimi

Hello, everyone! Today I made a prototype for commissioned works, a pair of small delicate detailed pieces. I love to work for commissioned works because it gives me challenges. I always learn something I didn't know by making something new. It is also thrilling to create something I have never made, or even better, something which doesn't exist in the world yet.

The process is quite long. I gather technical data such as the shrinkage of clay, the suitability of glaze to particular clay, glaze tests. Then I will sketch. Once I am happy with basic design, I will make a prototype. This prototype goes through every process to the end., that is, bisque-firing, decorating, glaze-firing, enamelling, enamel-firing, and assembling if required. I will watch the prototype very carefully at each stage to search for any possible flaws. Then if it goes well, it means technical side is fine. I will show the finished prototype to a client. If she is happy with it, I will make final pieces. If not, I will go back to a design process to adjust design. When a client is happy with it, I will make final pieces, and will go through whole process again. It would take about five to eight weeks to finish. I hope this one goes well. Once the pieces are delivered in late September, I will show you the photo of them.

Yesterday was Mimi's, my friend in Japan, birthday. I asked another friend and her if they want a mascot from the Olympics before we went to see wrestling.  Mimi wanted Wenlock. So, I bought him and posted him next day so that she could receive the packet before her birthday.

Wenlock with two gold medals that I made from royal mail 1st class stamp sheet! : )
Did you notice something on Wenlock? Yes, he has got two gold medals!! I made them. Mike and I went to see female wrestling, in which two Japanese won golds. All Japanese were elated on that day. Mimi twittered that she spotted us on TV from Japan. So That's why Wenlock won two gold medals. It's our memory of the day. I also included an Olympic ticket for wrestling and a special Olympic London travel card to share our excitement with her.

She went to Hakone, a famous hot spring, on her birthday. She said she was too excited in a swimming pool, and cracked her toe! Poor Mimi. I hope Wenlock comforts her a bit. By the way, my other friend decliend my offer to send her a mascot. She said 'They look spooky!'. Umm, I understand. But if she saw the cute bottom of Wenlock, she might have changed her mind. He has a pointed pyramid shaped bottom. Uh? I could almost hear someone saying,' It's spooky!'.    

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Power cut, fox and new rabbit for sale on Etsy

Hello everyone. We had power cuts twice today. It was so inconvenient. When the first one hit, I was watching corporate webcast of a half year result. The screen went to black suddenly, and all sorts of house alarms started near by. Only thing working was my little old mobile. Nexus was working, but not WiFi. aghhh. I decided to walk dogs, and hoped power will be back by the time I came home. It didn't. I decorated more ceramic models with enamel, and prepared for listing my ceramics for Etsy, as I have lots to list. I also peeled sticky labels off cardboard boxes. There was still no power. It only came at 12:15. We had no power for about 90 minutes. Mike came back for lunch as usual, and we quickly grilled toasts and made coffee, then everything went to black again. AGHHHH. This time, we had no power 2.5 hours. I gave up and decided to read a comics that my friend sent me from Japan last week. It was very thick volume. I finished it, but there was still no power. It was half past three when it finally came back. Most of my working hours were gone.

Nonetheless I listed one of my rabbits this evening. Him! He is one of four in new tribe. I was making a traditional crouching rabbit, but my fingers moved as if they had their own will. Ta-da, the first of this tribe was born. Isn't it strange? But similar thing happened to me when I was making 'a rabbit in the bunny suit' in 'Born in the year of the rabbit' series.
He is a bit alert and curious. 

Hello, folks! 
I wanted to tell you this. Last night we were woken up by odd sounds. I knew what they were. It's a fox. I got up from the bed, lifted blind and peeked outside. The sound came from a green behind neighbors' houses. The fox was very loud. Our dogs became excited. It sounded like 'GEOW'. They were short sharp loud calls.  While I was watching the direction of the green, a large hairy fox appeared, looking back to the green, and made the call intermittently. It trotted, stopped, looked back and called. I wonder if it was looking for another fox, perhaps its cub or mate. Foxes are beautiful animals. They look alert and purposeful. After I saw it disappeared into a street, I went downstairs to calm down the dogs.

Both Topaz and Pearl were alerted. They barked and searched for 'it'. I told Topaz that the fox was quite big, and she would be scared if it approached her, so forget about it, and go to sleep. She was not very convinced, but went back to her bed. Pearl didn't know what to do. She went to both windows at the back and front of the house. She refused to go to sleep again, but I pushed her into her bed. I covered her with a blanket, but she didn't settle or even sit down. After some coaxing, she finally settled down. I thought about the fox when I went back to the bed. Mike moaned he had become fully awake. But somehow I quickly went to a dream land where these wild animals roam. Next time I noticed it was already morning.      

I wanted to chase it. I could have caught it, I could have eaten it......  

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The full moon rabbits fresh from the kiln!

Hello everyone. We had a hottish afternoon. Mike and I didn't want to do too much after work. This sluggish feeling is the evidence of real summer! We are finally having it.

Today, I will share the photos of my full moon rabbits fresh from the kiln. As I mentioned yesterday, I make rabbits on the full moon nights. The latest full moon was the third of August. So for three to four nights around that time, I was a bit possessed, and made rabbits as quickly as my hands could move. It was exhausting, but I feel it's worth concentrating. Some of them I made at that time were glaze fired.

My full moon rabbits.
This time, I have used different types of clay to see how the same white glaze looks. One of the clays fired to a cream colour, so the rabbits also have a hint of cream. The four on the right side are my new creation. I made one as a sample (the smallest one), and love it so much that I made more! The one behind them is another new creation of mine. It is a rabbit box and really wacky! lol Mike calls it 'Midori's Humpty Dumpty rabbit'! What an apt name, that is! I have decorated him with enamel this evening, I will fire it later in the week. I will show you how wacky it looks after enamel firing.

Ah, did you noitce that lone figure next to Humpty Dumpty rabbit? That's a little monster. Now and then, I get itchy fingers to make little monsters. Mike usually wants them, so they seldom appear in public. They lead very secretive lives on Mike's night table. Mike already wants him and his birthday is approaching ( next Wednesday!). But I might check the market with him. You never know people might like monsters, too!

I have listed the two largest rabbits today on my Etsy shop. I said 'largest' but they are all smaller than those rabbits I usually make. I created these small guys for overseas bunny lovers. My rabbits sell well in UK on eBay. But because of high postage for overseas, I seldom list them on Etsy.

They are desktop size. Like everything else I have made, all rabbits are different, so you will find your special one.      

Monday, 13 August 2012

The full moon rabbits

Hello, everyone. The Olympics is over. We felt a bit sad, but I had lots to catch up with. Mike also went back to his office after one week off. During the Game, I have made lots of rabbits and more.

Mike took the beautiful moon on the third of August, 
On the full moon nights, I make rabbits. I started doing this a couple of years ago. We say, in Japan, sacred rabbits live on the moon and make rice cakes. On the surface of the moon, you can see a rabbit is lifting a large wooden pestle, In front of him, there is a large wooden mortar. The full moon gives me extra power to create rabbits. It is like a little ritual, or even custom. When I see the full moon, I always think of the rabbits. The image of the rabbit was so embedded in me. ( So, imagine my surprise when Mike said that the moon was made of cheese, not just cheese, Swiss cheese! ) I treasure these little rituals. The little bit of special feeling, that makes difference.

Some of my new rabbits using new crank clay
I also made a bigger whippet. She is too big for a knife rest, but I just wanted to make. The model is Topaz. I had to order her to remain in the position. Topaz is more skinny than the one I made. The head model is Pearl, but she is so lazy that she wouldn't remain in 'Down' position for even some seconds.
Topaz obeys to commands. She is a clever girl.
  When Pearl rests, she usually rests like this!

Pearl likes informal positions.


Saturday, 11 August 2012

Our first experience of wrestling - the Olympics 2012

Hello everyone. Today I have spent about seven hours decorating and glazing my ceramic sculpture in the garage. It's dark and a bit chilly (yes, English garage can be chilly even in mid-summer!) I bent down at awkward angle and got back aches. It was totally outside of 'health and safety' guidelines. I should improve working conditions, as I spend several hours in the garage every weekend. We will fire the kiln tomorrow morning, and will be able to open it on Monday. I hope they all will go well. There is one tricky one, a large chameleon with dodgy legs. My fingers are crossed for him!

Here I am going to report our second Olympic experience at eXcel.  Last Wednesday, we went to see women's free style wrestling. We chose this event because I knew Japanese women won gold medals in previous Olympics, and they have been very dominant.

We started our day with good news. One of the packets I sent Monday the week before was finally delivered. The Olympics seemed to have caused the delay, as the packet was for east London. We were so glad to hear the news!

We took our train and changed to Dockland light railway at Stratford International. We have never used DLR before. After about 11 minutes, we finally arrived at Custom house. There we found a half of Irish population! Green, green and green. Irish people at all ages in green clothes. Mike told me that there would be Irish boxer's match.  

eXcel entrance
Excel is huge. We were told to go to venue 10. We passed taekwondo, table tennis and boxing. We finally reached wrestling. Most Irish disappeared into boxing venue. Most Japanese went into wrestling.  
Japanese supporters and Irish supporters
We had good seats. The fourth row in front of ring A. There are three rings in the venue. In front of Mike, there was an American man who told us that the first two rows were occupied by the family of an American wrestler and that he bought a bundle of tickets.

Mike started having sandwiches as soon as he settled down. (We had already had sushi lunch in the train before we got here) I took photos and decided to do some warming up. I was a just spectator, but I was getting into the sport! As soon as the matches started, I gave the camera to Mike, and totally absorbed in them.
Happy Mike eating sandwiches.

I had never seen wrestling before even on TV. So imagine my surprise when I saw the rings were literally rings. They were round. They looked also so small. I remember my father watching pro-wrestling on TV when I was child. I remember very well that the ring was square and ropes around it.

There were three matches on three rings simultaneously. We watched one in front of us, at ring A, unless, of course, Japanese was fighting somewhere else. Here is Japanese wrestler, Obara. She was quick.
Japanese wrestler, Obara.
Obara's supporters. 
 There were two categories on that day. 48kg and 63 kg. Obara was in 48kg, and Icho was in 63 kg. Icho was super quick. Her fight was beautiful. There was no waste in her movement. I soon became her fan.

This fight was against Canadian. Both Japanese supporters and Canadian supporters were very loud. The whole place became so noisy. There was a young female Canadian supporter behind us. She had incredibly loud voice, not dissimilar to a foghorn! 
Kaori Icho, gold medalist in Athens and Beijing 
 Both Japanese went to quarter finals. Yeah!  From quarterfinals all fights were held in the ring B.
Obara pinning down Senegal woman. 

Icho against Swedish 
 Now both girls were in Semifinal. I was on the edge of the seat. The Russian guy near us kept begin given warnings from attendants because he didn't sit down, instead he had been on foot. That was a bit distracting.
Obara. if she wins, she would go to final....
  Obara won! I made as much as noise I could, but not much. lol

Icho at semi. She is steady and very quick. 
 Icho also won, too. My girls both went to finals! I was so happy. We would have to go back to see finals on TV.
Icho after her victory. 
There is nothing much around eXcel, so we went back to Stratford straight way. We had coffee and cakes with WiFi at Westfield. Then I found the message from my friend, Mimi, in Japan, in twitter. She said ' I spotted Mike and you on TV at Icho's match!'. I burst into laughing. I told Mike about her message. He also laughed, too.  Mimi was determined to find us on TV as soon as I told her we bought tickets. She really found us! I hope she enjoyed watching the match, too!

After a bit of shopping (I found very nice Middle Eastern confectionery), we headed back home. Here is the view from Stratford International. You can see the Olympic village where athletes stay.

Austrian flags on Olympic village. 

Stratford station
Once we were back home, we watched finals. Both Japanese girls won gold! What a day! I was ecstatic! Then, we checked our appearance on TV on streaming. Yes, we spotted Mike eating sandwiches and  me doing stretching before the matches at an introductory part. We were in the camera line, so we repeatedly appeared here and there. So funny! There was no one in front of my seat for the most of the time. So from the camera angle, Mike's face was clearly on TV.  He looked handsome and young.  So did I. We both looked 10 years younger!