Monday, January 30, 2006

non smoking law in macedonia

Finally! the law for non-smoking is enacted in Macedonia from January 1, 2006. It practically prohibits people from smoking in public places except in the smoking area. In my office, in my office cafe, meeting room, almost everywhere within the office building, I can have clean air, which is a kind of improvement I have seen the first time since I came here in August, in terms of air pollution (from smoking ;-). You know how much I had been complaining about Macedonian's smoking habits. I would like to praise Macedonian Government for this challenge. I am sure there are unhappy people all over about this, because majority of Macedonian(even intellectual class) are smokers. They even produce tobacco leaves in some area of Macedonia as a main agricultual produce. Now, in a cafe, people are making a line for getting smoking seats, while non-smoking area has lots of seats available. It is amazing how Macedonian are insensitive to the health damage from smoking as well as to the non-smokers' feeling. I have seen people who do not care the law are still smoking in their office too. I wonder how much support this law has from Macedonian, particulary in this election year. I am sure it must be a quite challenge for Macedonian Government to enact this law at this timing. Well, I strongly support it, but who cares Japanese girl's support. Anyway, I will also support the new law that demands complete nonsmoking in clubs and cafes (like NY) if there is such a thing..... I wish.


Friday, January 27, 2006

macedonian cloth

Actually, I like cloth and stuff in general, so everytime I go to tropics, I usually check out the country's cloth products. Philippines has good one in design and color with cheap price, and I like Sri Lankan's too, which is a bit more expensive, but worth to pay extra because they are really beautiful (especially the "barefoot" brand.) India, yes, Indonesia, yes, Malaysia, yes, Thailand, exotic, Maldives, yes too. Turkey, not particularly my type but good. Usually, Asian clothes are all good in a different way. And in Macedonia, I find that there are cutes ones. It apparently has influence of Turks, but it is more unsophisticated in a good way with rough threads and natural colors. I have seen similar tastes in other Balkans, but so far I bought only Macedonian's. Cute. These are for winter use. It is good, because I only have had summer cloth.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

a wood stove

There is this kind of wood stove in Macedonia, which amuses me. I found this in a storage of a hospital in a local area. Maybe this is an extreme case, but not all Macedonian has the fire place kind of wood stove like the photo below, which is for sure one of nice ones. And I must say that Macedonian are definitely good at keeping things last long- I have seen things (like trucks) lasting more than 30 years.


Monday, January 23, 2006

wood stoves in macedonia

It seems the cold weather is coming back this week, of which air mass came originally from Japan (really?) through Siberia, according to my coworker.
One thing I have noticed in this winter is that there are plenty of wood stoves used in Macedonia. They are all over. It seems that they are popular because firewoods are cheaper than oil or gas. In Skopje, there are the central heating system in the buildings like NY, so it is warm everywhere in a house unlike a house in Tokyo, but whenever I am out from Skopje, I have seen pile of firewoods and wood stoves (and a chimney in a house.) It is actually the first time for me (as a city-bred Japanese girl) to see wood stoves. Well, because most of my previous assignments were in the tropics and there is no such a thing called wood stove in Tokyo either. Anyway, woodstoves are exotic enough for me to mention in the blog. And also at the same time, they make me think of the possibility of some CDM projects, since it seems they consume lots of trees.


Thursday, January 19, 2006


This is the raw material of tavce gravce, which is "grav", meaning beans in Macedonian. "ce" is like a cute way of saying things, for example; things like "sokce" (juice) or "kebapce" (kevab) or "yogurce" (yogurt) or "kremce" (pudding). Sometimes I am called "naumce." There are no matching words to "ce" in English (because they do not care about cute things(!?), so it is hard to explain in English, but in Japanese "ce" sounds cute enough to get the idea (and of course, Japanese are full of cute things, you know.)


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

more about food

.... and this is a bigger shot of the tavce gravce!


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

new year meal?

For people in Skopje, the Orthodox New Year seems not particulary special (for country side, maybe it is special and I heard they do something special), because they have done the regular New Year already with fancy fireworks in the Macedonian Square. So, there was nothing special or worth to mention happened on that day except we ate some foods (as usual ;-)
This is "sarma", which is like Japanese "roll cabbage", but oven-baked. I was invited for orthodox New Year's eve dinner and told that Macedonian eat sarma for new year. I do not know if it is true or not because my other friends did not agree with it, but the sarma tasted good anyway.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

mountain side of macedonia

This photo was taken on the same day we went to Ohrid, in the western part of Macedonia, where mountains are. Everything is completely frozen. Even in the same country that you can drive most of all in 2 days, climates vary in regions. I guess that it adds the diversity to Macedonian tourism resources. You can ski in the mountain side of the country, whereas you enjoy sunny day in Ohrid.


Saturday, January 14, 2006

taverna momir

The cool thing about Ohrid is that there are restaurants and cafes close to the shore of the lake, so you can enjoy the lake view and cafe or meal at the same time. And this restaurant "Taverna Momir" serves good trout dishes, which Ohrid is famous for. But, what I like about the restaurant most is they do not serve too much foods; it was appropriate amount of food for a Japanese girl who wants to try several kinds of dishes at a meal; which is really rare in Macedonia (in NY too) because usually one dish have too much volume to make full stomach and prevent me to eat other dishes and deserts.


Friday, January 13, 2006


Za Mnogu Godini! (like "Happy New Year" in Macedonian) Even it was Orthodox New Year today, we were still working. Today's outing was to Prilep, Bitola, Ohrid, Gostivar and Tetovo. It was basically we traveled half of Macedonia in one day. Well, combined with yesterday's trip. We have finished one round of Macedonia in 2 days. Anyway, it was again beautiful day. Ohrid in winter is still beautiful.

Za Mnogu Godini! (マケドニア語で「新年おめでとう」に相当)。今日はマケドニア正教カレンダーの元旦でしたが仕事はありました。今日の地方周りは、プリレップ、ビトラ、オフリド、ゴスティバル、テトボで、昨日とあわせるとマケドニアをほぼ一周したことになります。今日もすっかり晴れていい天気で、オフリドでは気温3度くらいでした。冬のオフリドもきれいです。

Thursday, January 12, 2006


My first outing of the new year was to Stip, Veles, Kocani and Negotino. Negotino is famous for its wine and rakija production. Tikves is the largest winery in the area. It is the producer of T'ga za Jug, which is my favorite Macedonian wine. I am looking forward to visiting the winery to investigate it as a tourism resource in the spring. Right now, it is cold for doing anything fun, especially when it is beautiful sunny day like today.

今年最初の地方周りはシュティップ、ヴェレス、コチャニ、ネゴティーノでした。ネゴティーノはワインとラキアの産地として有名です。とくに写真の看板にあるティクヴェスはマケドニアワインの大手のメーカーで、私のお気に入りのマケドニアワインT'ga za Jugを作っている会社です。春になって、もっと暖かくなったら、ネゴティーノのワイナリーツアーにでもちょっと参加してみようかと思ってます。観光素材としてけっこうイケるのではないかと思って。いまはちょっとねぇ、なんかするにも寒いので。今日みたいにピーカンな時ほど特に。でも今日、マケドニア人の前でそう言ったら、日本の方が今は寒いに決まっている、大雪で何人も死んでるくらいだから、と言われました。大雪のニュースはマケドニアでも放映されています。

Monday, January 09, 2006

x'mas in macedonia

X'mas in Macedonia is based on the Orthodox calendar, so it is not on December 25 like Catholic, but on January 7, which was this weekend. Since I am not a part of the Orthodox anyway, I did not experience any of these, but I can tell you what I heard about what Orthodox Macedonian do for X'mas in general. On January 5, they make fire outside and do BBQ (and drunk) with close friends and family. On January 6, on the X'mas eve "Badnik" (well, it is actually the midnight or early morning of January 7), kids visit door to door to get some treats like candies, cookies and money from neighbors. It sounds like Halloween, isn't it? And this twig on the door (the photo) is something like a protector and a sign to show kids that this house is for a believer in the Macedonian Orthodox. Kids come to the house with twigs. And then, on January 7, the X'mas day, people visit each other, family and friends, and greet each other with saying "Hristos Selodei" "Vistina Selodei" (meaning, "Christ was born" "really born") and eat lots of foods. Very simple and heart warming, which is good I guess since X'mas in Catholic world has become "too commercial" according to the Vatican.
And the next weekend, it will be Orthodox New Year. I will report you how it is like again.


Saturday, January 07, 2006

massage needed in macedonia

One reason why I needed to go to Singapore for a so-called "health management" vacation was because there is no good massage place in Macedonia. I had tried once for body massage in a spa in Skopje, but it was not good at all. Too creamy and too pointless. For a girl who needs to have good massages constantly to keep her alive and awake, this (photo) is exactly what she wants most in Macedonia right now. Reflexology. I miss it so much. I do not need karaoke, but I need massage. I wonder if Chinese government would provide technical assistance for reflexology in Macedonia.

A Happy New Year to you all ;-)