Haddock and Dill from FOB Anne Kennedy

Many from the GMG community may be familiar with FOB Anne Kennedy through the lovely photos she submits and by her always kind and thoughtful comments she contributes. Recently I subscribed to her blog Haddock and Dill, a simply fascinating personal memoir gleaned from diary accounts and a cache of letters and notes between Anne’s mother, Bonnie Belshe, and Bonnie’s parents (Anne’s grandparents).

Rice Drying

Currently Anne is posting about her family’s life in post-war Japan; I believe the time period is roughly 1953-1954. Upon their return from Japan, Bonnie wrote a book about their journey to Japan titled Dragon-fly Land: Japan.

“…Each one has its own special feature which attracts both Japanese and foreign visitors.  Some of these old buildings contain famous paintings or wood carvings enriched with gold. Others are noted for their cherry trees or gardens which are unusual in that they have no flowers in them.  The gardens are made of sand, rocks and moss.”  ~ Excerpt from Dragon-fly Land: Japan, by Bonie Belshe, 1955.

Harvested Root Vegetable– Ed note: looks like daikon?

I am thoroughly enjoying the wealth of beautiful snapshots of Japanese landscapes and post war culture, and especially the collection of photographs of everyday life; with photos of  rice fields and vegetables, wildflowers and children gathering fruits beneath a gingko trees, woodblock prints, fascinating recipes, and lovely brush and ink illustrations painted by Bonnie.

“We have been taking walks up into the mountains.  We all love the walks and you can see for miles in all directions.  There are several old air raid shelters left in the mountains–dark, damp tunnels.  They make me shudder to look at them.  From the top of the mountains we can see Kobe in one direction, Osaka the other direction & the ocean all in front of us with big ships anchored in the docks.  The goldenrod is beautiful here–taller than B–and each time we walk we find some different flower.” Bonnie Belshe

Ed note: I am struck by how similar this species of Japanese goldenrod looks to our native Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens), with thick waxy leaves, large flowers, and in its height.

Gathering Gingko Fruits

“I wish you could have one of these maple trees for your yard.  Some of them are turning red now and they are simply scarlet.  Japan has so much beauty.  No matter how shabby a house or how small the garden there is always a clump of blooming flowers.  Cosmos and dahlias are everywhere.  Even the vegetable gardens are beautiful–rows so straight and never a weed.” Bonnie Belshe

Adorable Photo of Anne and her Brother Bobby

“Bathing is a special event to the Japanese whether it is done at home or at a resort.  The body is washed clean before one gets into the bathtub.  Then the bather gets into the water and soaks for a long time.  It is a way of relaxing the body as well as a way of getting warm since Japanese homes have very little heat even in the winter.”
~ Excerpt from Dragon-fly Land: Japan, by Bonie Belshe, 1955.

Follow this link to read more from Haddock and Dill.

5 comments

  • Good morning Kim. I am just delighted to learn that you are enjoying my blog! Thanks so much for your generous comments! Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season. Ann

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    • You are welcome Anne–it is a fascinating memoir and wonderful tribute to your family. I look forward to reading future posts! Best wishes to you for a joy-filled holiday season.

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  • Beautiful photos. That must have been an amazing experience.

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  • Hi E.J.! I was very young so my memories are more from family conversations during my childhood about the experiences. My dad took all the pictures–Kodachrome slides and I think they’re pretty amazing after nearly 60 years! Bob and I wish we could be at Alchemy tonight for your opening–sending our very best wishes for your success always.

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    • Thanks Ann. I wish you and Bob could be here too. Well I can see who you got your photographer’s eye from. I love the one of you and your brother (interesting that you married a Bob) in the bath box – so adorable and beautiful photograph.

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