Friday, March 27, 2009

Tale of a Red Jacket

This story is about two girls, shopping, two-three countries, randomly chosen so that you can't identify the girls and a red jacket. If you're not interested in any of the above mentioned items then you can stop reading and just go to the previous post about sushi :-).

Background: for this story we have 2 girls: a happymaker and a happymakee. Both of them come from a country where clothing is pretty expensive so whenever they are abroad they try to shop for various stuff. Now both of them are abroad and as spring is knocking at their doors, our girls decide to buy some new spring jackets.Compared to their home country one of them is in a country with pretty affordable clothes (Guatemala) and the other one in a very expensive one (Malawi).

The Happymaking: now the G (the girl in Guatemala) finds some cool jackets, half price at the...Happy&Making store. Excited she buys them both. G tells her friend M (from Malawi) about it and M decides to visit the same store in her city. And there it was, the perfect RED JACKET. Now M is very small, so small that she couldn't find the jacket to fit her size (34). M goes home and tries to purchase it online but the Happy&Making store doesn't sell online in her country...although Malawi is such a big country (remember Malawi is not the true country).
The Solving of our Tale: M asks G to purchase it online from Guatemala and to have it shipped it was the p-e-r-f-e-c-t red jacket. They try using their lovely credit cards but no chance, while shopping in Guatemala the store only allows you to pay with a national credit card. So after even trying credit cards from relatives the bad online shop told the girls they should stop trying and take a walk (of course in a very PRish way). But the girls didn't stop. So in the next evening G was visiting all 3 Happy&Making stores in her city looking for a jacket in size 34 (now imagine running from shop to shop, girls in the store asking each other what is size 34 in Malawi, calling the other stores to check if they have the right size, etc etc). No Jacket. Result: "please come by tomorrow, we receive them daily but can't tell in which size".

It didn't seem that complicated (although it was....OMG :-((( ) so G took another trip to the stores the next day. Of course, no luck.Day #4 and no jacket yet. G&M decided to pay the ultimate price and have the jacket delivered at G's home and pay cash for it (10Euro more...yeah yeah no Euro in Guatemala but again it's just an e-x-a-m-p-l-e :-)).

G didn't get the jacket yet (operation in progress) but we hope for a nice closing in which G is delivering the jacket by post to Malawi in maximum 2 weeks so that M can wear the Red Jacket during her spring vacation in....Tanzania?! :-))))

Remember: happymaking is not easy. even small things can get complicated but if they mean something to your happymakee don't give up. we live in an absurd world after all, so have patience;-)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Happy Sushi

As you can see this weekend we made some nice Sushi (at least I think so :-)) and did my best with the Japanese omelet Tamagoyaki which didn't look as pretty as the sushi but was eatable and made me decide to buy a tamagoyaki pan ;-) for my future attempts (learned that cooking the perfect omelet is the real challenge a Japanese chef has).

This post however is not about cooking sushi as there are so many recipes and videos about it and really it's not that hard once you have the right ingredients and the freshest fish. It's about what sushi is and stands for. So maybe next time you'll eat it you'll have another feeling about it rather than seeing it as dead fish or fish&rice only. HAPPYMAKING Sushi!

The Beginnings
Sushi has been around for a surprisingly long period of time, although not in its present form. The history of sushi is an interesting tale of the evolution of a simple dish. What was to become sushi was first mentioned in China in the second century A.D. Originally, sushi arose out of a way of preserving food. Fish was placed in rice and allowed to ferment, which allowed an individual to keep the fish edible for some time. The rice was thrown away and the fish was eaten when needed or wanted.

The method spread throughout China and by the seventh century, had made its way to Japan, where seafood has historically been a staple. The Japanese, however, took the concept further and began to eat the rice with the fish. Originally, the dish was prepared in much the same manner. In the early 17th century, however, Matsumoto Yoshiichi of Edo (now Tokyo) starting seasoning the rice with rice wine vinegar while making his ‘sushi’ for sale. This allowed the dish to be eaten immediately, instead of waiting the months it might normally take to prepare the ‘sushi.’

The Evolution of Sushi: In the early 19th century, a man by the name of Hanaya Yohei conceived a major change in the production and presentation of his sushi. No longer wrapping the fish in rice, he placed a piece of fresh fish on top of an oblong shaped piece of seasoned rice. Today, we call this style ‘nigiri sushi’ (finger sushi) or “edomae sushi” (from Edo, the name of Tokyo at the time) and is now the common way of eating Japanese sushi. At that time, sushi was served from sushi stalls on the street and was meant to be a snack or quick bite to eat on the go. Served from his stall, this was not only the first of the real ‘fast food’ sushi, but quickly became wildly popular. From his home in Edo, this style of serving sushi rapidly spread throughout Japan, aided by the Great Kanto earthquake in 1923, as many people lost their homes and businesses and moved from Tokyo.

After World War Two, the sushi stalls were shut down and moved indoors, to more sanitary conditions. More formal seating was later provided (the first iterations were merely an indoor version of the sushi stalls) and sushi changed from ‘fast food’ to a true dining experience. Sushi spread around the globe, and with the advent of the promotion of seafood, this unusual style of serving fish was quickly adopted by western cultures, always eager for something new, especially something that had grown as sophisticated and unique as sushi.

Modern Sushi: Sushi, the artful dining experience once uniquely Japanese, has now evolved to another level beyond the traditional Japanese methods. Western influences have given rise to new styles of sushi, such as California rolls and the many elaborate ‘fusion’ creations at upscale sushi restaurants. The history of sushi is a long one, at least 1,800 years in fact, but the current iteration is popular around the world, and rightly so. It is not often that something so singly cultural can not only take the world by storm, but also influence the direction of food in other cultures. Demand for sushi is only increasing and seems to be continuing to evolve. Traditional sushi restaurants sit alongside ‘fusion’ restaurants and both are popular for their own reasons.

Hungry? ;-)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happymaking Channel LIVE!

So in order to prepare myself for a project I decided to learn more about webcammax and mogulus today (was using camstudio and only watched mogulus without doing any broadcasting until now). And they are pretty cool...there are so many videos on youtube showing how you can put up together a news channel just by using mogulus and stream live and for free from any cafe, hotel, room or whatever conference you may attend. Nice? Indeed. Of course you can also upload videos and ask mogulus to play them on your new channel.

Webcammax is not for free but you get a free trial which is ok :-) Has plenty effects to play with, easy to use and feeds mogulus perfectly (may I say like a mum to her child ^..^).

And as I had no idea what to play with I did some happymaking....the HAPPYMAKING Channel...coming live with happymaking news :-) Now must figure out which will the next news be and if I want you to see me rather than just writing to you :-).

Anyway, stay tuned!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Happymaking Challenge

Last week I was pretty challenged as two persons asked me for help and were not really fitting the profile I am usually have for happymaking. I must say I felt pretty reluctant to helping them out of their trouble as I had all the time a feeling that they may try cheating me or something worse, but I kept telling myself it was the right thing to do.

So now my question: do we really help only people we like and trust? I mean who wouldn't help some little angels like these here or some old ladies or our families and closest friends, or people we already know or are known by some of our contacts. But would we take home a person crying in the train station cause she/he has no more money to travel to their home country and no contacts in your country? Would you give her money to go back even if she doesn't look trustworthy or you keep blaming her for ending up in this situation and not planning this better? Or would you think this is a set up? Would you help a girlfriend who messed out with wrong man and got hurt? Or just say it was all her fault and forget about it?

All thoughts have their own right to exist in our mind, but which one will win? Will we do the right thing even if knowing there is a chance to be fooled and tricked? I would, I did, hardly but did it...I guess there are some good reasons for doing this:
  • We are good by nature and try to see the good part first
  • Our conscience tells us we need to do something about it
  • We know that if we didn't help someone asking for our kindness we would probably ask ourselves for a long time what happened to that person...and think we could have helped him but we didn't :-(
  • We would want to find people able to help us also, if we were in the same situation
  • We try to see beyond appearances and are aware that misjudging people can have very negative results..mainly cause we experienced it more than once
  • We know this doesn't happen on a daily basis, we don't meet these people all the time, so we can afford investing some time, money and feelings in a higher amount...
I know you may say that's a nonsense or that this can only have with religion to do, but it's not. It's out human kind, our way of being that got locked under our daily routine, under our desire to prove that we are better, we can plan things and avoid bad events and that everyone is getting what they deserve. Well it's not like that and in one moment you can be on the other think twice before not giving a hand and reaching out!

Challenge yourself to help people who are different, who are in different situations, who weren't worthy of having your attention until now! People you never tried to help!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Birthday to Andy Piper!

Do you know this Andy Piper who calls himself a social bridgebuilder? Or the guy who writes this blog? Who takes these photos and podcasts your tags with a... dog?

YES. I knew so ;-) cause he's just great and fortunately to be found everywhere!

And as mister Piper is such a great supporter of #happymaking and asks himself now and then when will he be the one and only happymakee of the day I decided to make him the HAPPYMAKEE of the WEEK (sounds nice, doesn't it? ^..^) ...especially as this week he has his 33rd birthday (hope I got it right this time :-)). So feel free to wish him nice things like cars, money, nice vacations (coupons accepted but please contact him for the delivery address), send him sweets and cool gadgets...and of course sing him Happy Birthday!!!...or Birth Week?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Happy Mud :-)

Ok it's not exactly mud :-) It's some material one can easily shape into nice figures and accessories. Then it gets hard as a rock and you can nicely decorate it with some ceramic paint that can be cooked or washed or ran through whatever endurance tests you want to.

And of course that's HAPPYMAKING as designing decorations it's so relaxing, unleashes your creativity, makes you forget about work and problems and leaves you free and simple as an artist :-) Pure happymaking I would say :-)

So in case you don't have any plans for the weekend go buy yourself some materials (paid about 15E for all and used about 10% of all quantities). You can make souvenirs, gifts for your friends, pots for your kitchen and whatever you may think of.

I did 3 dango dango :-), some amulets I'll wear this summer and one for my mum :-), a sushi plate (that should be sushi in Kanji it I didn't write it wrong), Botan the pig from Clannad a vase for my pins and some other stuff :-). And of course if you're not in the mood for this you can paint, play an instrument or just do something artistic and both you and the person who'll receive the masterpieces will feel better :-) #happymaking

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Happymaking on the 1st of March- Mărţişor

Did you get a Mărţişor today? ;-)

It's finally spring and wanted to share with you a nice Romanian tradition and story about what we do on the 1st of March, the day when we give each others Mărţişoare!

Mărţişor is the traditional celebration of the beginning of the spring in Romania, Moldova and Bulgaria (under the name Martenitsa - Мартеница). The day's name is the diminutive of March (in Romanian Martie), and thus means something like "little" or "dear March". Nowadays, men offer women a talisman object also called Mărţişor, consisting of a jewel or a small decoration like a flower, an animal or a heart, tied to a red and white string. However, giving a little nickel tied to a red and white string is an old custom and was originally designated for both men and women (though men don't like to admit it and one asked me for chocolate It was believed that the one who wears the red and white string will be powerful and healthy for the year to come. The decoration is a symbol of the coming spring. A woman wears it pinned to her blouse on this day and up to two weeks after (received one this morning ;-)). In some parts of Romania such as Moldova or Bukovina the symbol of spring was a gold or silver medal which was worn around the neck. After wearing the coin for twelve days, they bought sweet cheese with the medal, because it was believed that their faces would remain beautiful and white the entire year.

The beginnings of this custom are still a mystery, but it is usually said that it originated in ancient Rome, because New Year's Eve was celebrated on the 1st of March (Martius), the month of the war god Mars. He had a double role: both protector of agriculture and of war, so the celebration signified the rebirth of nature. The duality of symbols is kept in the colours of the Mărţişor: white and red, meaning peace and war (it might also symbolize winter and spring). For the Thracians, Marsyas-Silen, whose cult was related to the vegetation and the land, had the same attributes. The flower and nature celebrations were consecrated to him.

And as I recently got about 20 of these from Romania I decided to take them to the Romanian church today and give them to all the women there.And it was lovely, some of them were close to tears as they didn't get something like this in the last 8 years and miss Romania and being home...was pretty touching and fun feeling so much happiness. And some of them started wearing them and explaining to the German husbands what they meant. Lovely! The Greek lady seemed to like them also...thank God I had exactly 20...was pretty close!

So I had my happymaking on the Mărţişo's day, no go get some and share them to you mum,grandmother, girlfriend,colleague, teachers, friends and so on. Looking forward to wearing one tomorrow @work ;-) I'm a Happy Happymaker today!