Sunday, April 29, 2018

祝日「昭和の日」なので昭和天皇のお顔を思い出しながら国旗を立てました。因みに絵馬通りで国旗を立てているのはウチだけかもしれません。昔は「旗日(はたび)」と言って祝日には多くの家で国旗を立てたものですがいつの間に皆さん日の丸の国旗を立てなくなってしまったのでしょう。さて、端午の節句も近づいたので一昨日武者人形と兜を床の間に飾りました。出で立ちは勇ましいのですが、お人形の顔は優しく美しいです。Today is a national holiday, Day of Showa, so I put up the national flag in front of my entrance area in memory of Emperor Showa (Hirorito:1901-1989). It might be only my house along the Ema street which has put up the national flag. I wonder why people nowadays do not put up the national flag anymore on this special day, although they did in the past saying "it's Flag Day". By the way, I displayed Warrior dolls and helmet in the alcove since Boy's Festival (Children's Day) is approaching. They dress bravely, but their faces are so gentle and beautiful.

                                               生け花 by H.N.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

駅前にお住まいのKさんが「うちに蕗(ふき)がたくさん生えているから欲しかったらどうぞ」と言ってくださいました。好奇心満々の私としては「たくさん生えている蕗」が見たくて早速お邪魔させていただきました。お宅の裏に腰ほどもある蕗が青々と群生していました。大きな太い蕗を10本ほど採らせていただき、半分はいつもお世話になっている友人のH.Nさんへお裾分けすることにし、残りを切って塩をたっぷり振って板擦りし、熱湯で5分ほど茹でた後に氷水に浸けて、皮を剥いたら、きれいな薄緑色の蕗になり下ごしらえが完了。薄めの味で煮付け、葉は刻んでオリーブ油で炒めて濃い目の味付けにし、最後にごま油を振りかけて出来上がり。お料理上手なご近所のIおば様にちりめん山椒をいただいたので、夕食はやさしい春の味覚を堪能しました。Mrs. K. who lives near the station kindly offered me "If you like butterbur, come to pick some in my back yard because we have tons of them." I was excited and curious to look at tons of butterbur, so I went to her house. In her back yard, about one yard tall butterburs were growing together. It was amazing! All were so green and lively. I took about ten of them. After bringing them back to my home, I (1) Cut and boiled them with salt, (2) Put them into iced water, (3)Peeled the skin off.  They turned a light green color and were ready to cook. I cooked the stalk part and lightly seasoned it. I also stir-fried the leaves with olive oil and put soy sauce, sake, mirin and sesame oil after boiling and cutting them. Boiled, dried baby sardines with Chinese pepper are from Mrs. I., my neighbour. I enjoyed these dishes which were a taste of spring.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

庭のさつきが去年より1週間ほど早く鮮やかに咲きました。紅葉もそれに競うかのように柔らかな深い朱色の葉をつけて枝を伸ばしています。木塀を背景に光を受けた新緑と庭石とさつきや紅葉の絵もようのあまりの美しさにドキッとします。初夏の勢いに心が震えます。写真はお天気の昨日撮ったものです。Asalea in the garden has been beautifully blooming and it started about one week earlier than last year. The maple tree, which has soft and deep red leaves, is also spreading its branches as if it is competing with the asalea. My heart skips a beat upon seeing this beautiful garden which looks like a painting of fresh greens, rocks, asalea and maple leaves against the background of an old wooden wall in the full sunlight. The sight of such freshness is energizing. This picture is from yesterday, which was quite a fine day.

Monday, April 23, 2018

気温27度C、降水確率0%の昨日は多賀大社春の古例大祭でした。お天気の日曜日とあって人出も多く、カフェにもたくさんのお客様がお出で くださいました。陽射しが強く、おわたりの馬上方々その後を歩く皆様も朝からの行事にお疲れの様子でした。また40頭ものお馬さんもバテ気味に見えたのは私だけだったでしょうか。いつもながらの立派な春のおまつりでしたが、行列の馬を引く人の中に今年は白人の女性が二人もいたことが珍しく時代の移り変わりを感じました。欧米では馬術が盛んなので馬のことをよく知っている留学生の若い人がアルバイトにやって来たのでしょう。暑い日でしたからカフェではアイスコーヒーや甘酒スムージーの注文が多かったです。床の間に今より三代前の多賀大社宮司であった櫻井勝之進氏の書を掛けました。父が馬頭人をさせていただいた時にいただいたようです。Yesterday was the day of Taga-matsuri. Since it was a sunny Sunday, many people came to see the matsuri. Even though it is April, the sunshine was strong, so the people who were on the horses and the people who were following with them looked a bit tired. It was a traditional rich festival similar to previous years, but there was one thing which was new this year. It was that two Caucasian young women were attending their horses and from this sight I thought that the time has changed. In Western countries horse riding is more popular than in Japan therefore the two women were probably study abroad students and they were familiar with the horse and came to Taga as a part time job. Because of the warm weather, many customers of my cafe ordered iced coffee or Amazake smoothies. The calligraphy in the alcove is written by Katsunoshin Sakurai (1909-2005) who was the chief priest of Taga shrine. It was given to my father when he served Batohnin (Head man of the festival) in the past. 

生け花 by H.N.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

今、カフェの外も中もお花でいっぱいです。昨日と今日、いつもお世話になっているS.K.さんが沢山の「春」を持ってきてくださいました。大きなピンクの花は「シャクナゲ」。滋賀県の県花でもあります。実はこの花、ボストンの家の庭にも大きな木があって毎年沢山の花をつけているので、ちょっとヘンですが私はシャクナゲを見てボストンを思い出しました。次は神社にもあった黄色い「ヤマブキ」。塩尻から尾道への往復の途中カフェに立ち寄って下さるお客様にお土産にいただいた備前焼の花瓶に生けました。そして今日、手に一杯抱えて持ってきてくださったのは「一輪草」。淡いピンクの可憐な花の群れをSKさんの胸に見た時は思わず歓声を上げました。2週間の留守の間にT.K.さんが持ってきてくださったシクラメンも美しく賑やかに咲いています。The inside and outside of cafe are now full of flowers. Ms. S.K. who always helps me and takes care of the cafe brought a bunch of spring flowers to the cafe these last two days. The big pinkish flower is "Shyakunage (Rhododendron)" and it is a symbol flower of Shiga. Actually I can see it in my backyard of the house in Boston and it reminded me "Boston". The next yellow one is Japanese rosea which I can also find in Taga shrine. I put them in the vase which was given from the couple who stopped by my cafe on their way back to their home, Shiojiri from Onomichi. Today, Ms. S.K. came to me with her hands full of Ichirinsoo (Anemone nikoensis). When I saw the bouquet of the pale pink cute flowers in her hands, I said "wow!" with delight. Cyclamen which was from Mr. T.K. is also beautifully blooming now.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

二週間あまりの留守の間にIご夫妻からいただいた鮒(ふな)寿司が冷凍室に真空パックのまま3尾も入っています。鮒寿司は滋賀県の名産です。製法を調べると、春に琵琶湖で捕れたフナの内蔵を口から取り出し、そこへ塩を詰めてさらに塩漬けにして(塩切り)夏まで置き、取り出して水洗いし、炊きたてのご飯を詰めフナの外もご飯で囲み樽に詰め落としぶたをして上に重しを置いて秋まで待つそうです。独特の発酵臭がするので、子供の時は家で大人が樽を開けていると大騒ぎで逃げ回っていましたが、やがてこれが食通の珍味として重宝がられていることを知り、自分でもその美味しさが分かるようになった時には、鮒寿司はかなりの高級品で私の口に入る事はめったにありませんでした。I さんから頂いた鮒寿司は特に高価な子持ちのメスで私が今まで見てきた中で一番立派なものでした。鮒寿司が大好物だった亡き母を思い出しながら、先ずは最初の一尾を何とも贅沢な気分で味わわせて頂きました。While I was away from Taga for about two weeks, Mr.and Mrs S.I. brought three vacuum packs of Funazushi (fermented crusian carp sushi) for me and they had been kept in freezer since then. Funazushi is a local specialty in Shiga. According to the internet, the process is the following. (1) Catch crucian carps from Biwa lake in the spring and take out their innards from their mouths. Then put salt inside of them and keep them until the summer. (2) Wash them with water and put freshly boiled rice in and outside of crucian carps. Immersed them in a barrel with a weight. (3) Wait until the fall.  Since it has a strong fermentation odor, when I was little, I was always running away from the sight of the Funazushi. After a while, I knew that they are a valuable delicacy and I came to like the taste but I didn't have a chance to eat it because it turned out to be very expensive. The Funazushi from Mr. and Mrs S.I. were big whirlpool crucian carps which I have never seen before. Remembering my mother who liked it very much, I tasted it, feeling luxurious. It was so good! 


Thursday, April 5, 2018

日本に帰って二日目。ボストンでは何と春を告げるイースターの翌日に雪が降りました。「エイプリルフールじゃないか」とタクシーの運ちゃんが言っていましたが、本当に冗談のようなお天気でした。それに比べて日本の和らいだお天気はどうでしょう。多賀大社の桜は盛りを過ぎた感じですが、うっすらピンクのしだれ桜の下から見上げると優しさに抱かれた気持ちになります。山吹の黄色が古い神社を美しく見せています。It has been two days since I came back to Japan. In Boston it was snow just one day after Easter. The taxi driver who took me to the airport said "It's April Fool's Day!'. Indeed I thought that it was a joke. On the contrary, here in Japan it is much nicer weather than Boston. It is just a bit past Cherry Blossom season, but when I stood beside the tree and looked up at the branches which were covered with light pinkish colors, I felt as if I was being held by something very gentle. The yellow of Japanese rosea makes the old shrine beautiful.