Sunday, December 30, 2018


今朝は表通りのしめ縄張りが町内総出で行なわれました。所々に立てられた笹がついた青竹の間に縄が張られ、その縄の間に御幣(ごへい)と呼ばれる白い紙と藁(わら)を交互に挟んでいくのですが、縄を上手にひねって隙間を作るのが結構難しく、苦戦している私を見かねた町内のおじさんが親切に助けて下さいました。亥(いのしし)の烙印を押した絵馬飾りも戌(いぬ)年のものと取り替えて、一気にお正月を迎える気分になりました。This morning, Shinto straw festoons were put along the side of the main street by all of the neighbors. First, green bamboo with bamboo grass were put up at both sides of the house and a rope was tied in between. Then Gohei (white paper) and straws were inserted alternately. This part was difficult for me maybe because of lack of experience, and I was helped by one of the members. After I changed Ema-kazari (votive horse tablet) above the entrance from the old one to the new one, that is to say from Dog year to Boar, I felt like I was ready to welcome a new year.

Saturday, December 29, 2018


雪が止んでいることを期待していましたが、今朝はやっぱり雪。 年末のこの時期の雪降りは残念ですが仕方がありません。 カフェは勝手ながらお休みにして、彦根の友人、Y.Eさんの厚意に甘えて 雪降る中、近くのホームセンターに石油ストーブをもう一台と灯油を買いに行きました。灯油は去年より値上がりしています。Although I expected that the snow had stopped, it accumulated about 7.8 in. It is too bad that we have snow days during these busy days at the end of the year. I decided to close my cafe because of this bad weather. Despite the snow, my friend, Ms. Y.E who lives in Hikone kindly took me to a home improvement supplies store nearby. I bought an oil heater which I needed one more of and two poly-tanks of kerosene there. The cost of the kerosene has risen from last year.

Friday, December 28, 2018


初雪です。今朝は粉砂糖を振りかけたような繊細な雪景色が 見られました。その後、雪は時に激しく時に止みながら夜まで続きました。 はてさて明日はどうなることでしょうか。It was the first snow of the season today. We could see beautiful snow scenery which reminded me of sprinkled powdered sugar this morning. Snow fell sometimes heavily and sometimes stopped and it continued into the night. Well, what will happen tomorrow?

Monday, December 24, 2018


スケッチ画家の松居清恵さんは以前デザイン関係の仕事をしていらっしゃったようでアート全般いろいろなことを教えて下さいます。数ヶ月前、色彩のアーティストと言われるドイツ人のオットー・ネーベル (1892-1944) の存在を私は松居さんから知りました。今回はレイモン・サヴィニャック (1907-2002) です。フランスを代表するポスター作家だそうで、兵庫県で開かれている展覧会にいらっしゃった後、作品集の本を見せて下さり、毛糸会社のポスターでしょうか、絵はがきになったかわいい作品を額にいれてお土産に下さいました。サヴィニャックは商品に人や動物を組み合わせたユーモラスな優しい雰囲気の作品を沢山残しているようです。色とデザインが何ともおしゃれでクリスマスのカフェの素敵なアクセントになりました。Mr. Kiyoshige Matsui, who is a sketch artist, used to work for a design company, so he often teaches me many things about art. Several months ago, I learned about a German painter, Otto Nebel (1892-1944) from Mr. Matsui. This time, I learned about Raymond Savignac (1907-2002). He is known as a French graphic artist. Mr. Matsui showed a book of Savignac's art works to me after he had gone to a Savignac exhibition at Hyogo prefecture. He also gave me a framed picture card which was from Savignac's poster for probably a yarn company. Savignac left many works which combined depictions of humans and many kinds of animals. They are warm and full of humor. I like Savignac very much because his colors and design are very stylish. The little framed picture became a nice accent in my cafe this Christmas season.

Sunday, December 23, 2018


昨日(12/22)は冬至でした。冬至は一年で昼(日の出から日没まで)の時間が一番短い日。つまりこの日を境に翌日から再び力が蘇ってくることから中国では「一陽来復(いちようらいふく)」、運が向いてくると言われているそうです。冬至にゆず湯に入るのが昔からの習慣ですが、これは運を呼び込む前に厄払いをするための禊(みそぎ)だとか。私も夕べの入浴は香りの良いゆず湯でした。Yesterday was "Tooji (the winter solstice)". It was the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. According to the net info., there is a four letter word meaning "favorable turn of fortune" in China. In short, it means from the next day onward, your strength will come back again (your luck will turn in your favor). In Japan it has been a custom that people take a hot citron bath on this day. I learned that the origin of it was to purify yourself for getting luck. I took Yuzu-yu (hot citron bath) which has a nice smell last night and I felt sooo good.

Friday, December 21, 2018


裏にお住まいの方から畑で採れた大根とかぶをいただきました。 かぶは大きな方は直径14センチ、重さも優に1キロは越える巨大なもので、 その大きさにびっくり。思わず「わあっ!」と声を出してしまいました。 早速、大根は去年いとこに教えてもらったビールをつかったお漬け物、かぶは ご近所のおばさま直伝の京風ゆず甘酢漬けを作りました。ビール漬けは1週間後、かぶは明後日ごろには美味しく食べられそうです。A neighbor who lives in the house behind mine kindly gave me daikon (Japanese white radish) and turnip from her vegetable field.The turnips were huge. The bigger one was 5.5 inch diameter, more than 2.2 lb. I said "Wow!" because I have never seen such a huge sized turnip before. Immediately after I received them, I prepared for two kinds of pickles using both daikon and turnip. I will enjoy daikon pickles in about a week, and the turnip one will be ready in a couple of days.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


カフェで出している「特製いなり寿司」に使うお米、多賀産 「秋の詩」を今回は玄米で購入し、まずは10キロ、自分で精米してみることにしました。注意していると町のあちこちに自動販売機のような精米機が見つかり、我が家の近くにもあったのですが使うのは初めて。インターネットで「精米機の使い方」を検索して事前にやり方をノートに書いても、いざ機械の前に立つとまだ不安でノートと機械の説明が違っていないかどうか何度も確かめ、恐る恐るスタートボタンを押しました。が、待てどもお米は出て来ず。「えっ?」と思って機械の説明を読むと「下のペダルを踏む」とあり、これも怖々やってザアーッと白いお米が袋に入った時はほっとしました。触ると温かい精米したてのお米。「案ずるより産むが易し」、初めての経験とはこんなものでしょう。米ぬかが自由に持ち帰れるようになっていたのでヤッホーと思いながらもって帰りました。I make "Asahiya special Inari-zushi" (vinegared rice mixed with minced lotus root and carrot and wrapped in deep-fried bean curd) for customers in the cafe and I use rice of the variety named Aki-no-uta produced in my area. This time, I bought 30 kg brown rice and polished 10kg of them by myself. If you pay attention, you can often find a rice milling machine in the town, and there is one near my house. It is the first time for me to do it, so I checked how to use it by the Internet info beforehand. Even so, I was very nervous in front of the machine. I read the procedure on the machine again, and after putting the brown rice into the machine, I pushed the start button. According to the net info, the polished rice should come out automatically, but it didn't go well as I expected. Worrying about what I did was right or wrong, I tried to press the pedal which was lower in the machine. Then eventually white rice came out and went into the rice bag. What a moment of relief that was. There is a proverb "It is easier to do something than worry about it" and I agree with it. It is a good thing that I can take the rice-bran back home for free.

Thursday, December 13, 2018


気温は摂氏7度ほど。風は冷たくも天気は良く散歩には 気持ちのいい朝でした。神社の拝殿は神官や巫女さん達が並んで 祝詞(のりと)を奏上していらしたのが珍しい光景でした。 森の中はつばきが美しく咲いて、先を進むと乾田が広がり、 いつも通りかかる畑には色々な種類の冬野菜がきれいに並んで 収穫を待っていました。田んぼも畑も農家の方の作物を大切に育てる 気持ちが伝わってきます。The temperature of this morning was 7℃ (44.6°F). It was a clear sky and nice for walking even though the wind was a bit chilly. At Taga shrine, I saw Shinto priests and Shrine maidens sitting in the worship area and reciting Norito (Shinto prayer) together. Camellias were beautifully blooming in the woods. Ahead of the pathway, there were dry paddy fields. In a vegetable field which I usually pass by, I could see many kinds of winter vegetables planted which were ready for picking. I understand how farmers grow their products with great affection and care.

Friday, December 7, 2018


多賀町の支援ボランティアとして小学校での「読み聞かせ」活動に初めて 参加しました。卒業して半世紀以上にもなる母校、多賀小学校の門に入った のは午前8時15分すぎ。1年い組の子供達は運動服に着替えて、先生の指導 で机を教室の後ろにやって前方の床に立て膝で座って私を待っていてくれました。25分から約10分間の読み聞かせの始まりです。私が選んだのは「ないたあかおに」(浜田広介作、黒崎義介絵)。「友情」がテーマの 名作ですが、表紙のオニの絵を見て「妖怪ウォッチ!」と声を上げた男の子。 一生懸命読みましたが、果たして子供達に届いたでしょうか。係の方によると月に2度ほど廻ってくるとか。やりがいのある仕事をいただいたと喜んでいます。I participated in "Storytelling" at the Elementary School as a volunteer activity in my hometown Taga. It has been more than a half century since I graduated from Taga Elementary School. At 8:15 a.m. I entered the gate of the school and when I came up to the door of the first grade classroom, children were waiting for me sitting on the floor holding their knees to their chests after pushing their desks and chairs in behind of the classroom to make space to sit. About 10 min. from 8:25 to 8:35 was my reading time. I chose "Naita Aka-oni (The red ogre who cried)" by Kosuke Hamad, drawing by Gisuke Kurosaki). The theme of the picture book is friendship. When I showed the cover of the book, one of the kid said "Monster Watch!" which is probably a name of a game. I read the book with my best effort and hoped the theme reached the children. According to the person in charge, I will read about twice a month in a classroom for various grades. I appreciate having this opportunity because it is enjoyable and fulfilling.

Sunday, December 2, 2018


図書館で適当に選んで借りたCDを家で聴いて感銘を受けたもう一枚。 それは「THE ART of HARMONICA JOE SAKIMOTO」です。これは崎元譲さんによるハーモニカのソロですが、これまで私がイメージしてきたハーモニカの演奏を遥かに越える素晴らしいものでした。ハーモニカは子供の頃、最初に手にした楽器で吹いても吸っても音が出て音楽の時間に皆でブーカブーカ合奏したものです。うちには半音階が出るクロマティック・ハーモニカもありました。映画などではうら寂しい素朴な音色で聞こえてきたり、シンガーがギターと一緒に歌の合間に演奏したりしています。崎元さんのCDにはクラシックのアレンジもありますが、彼のために作曲された曲も多いようです。聴いていると彼の透明感のある音色にうっとりすると同時に「えっ、これどうやって演奏しているの?」とハーモニカの表現力にびっくりしてしまいます。タイトルの通り芸術的なハーモニカの音色。崎元譲さんの感性と力量、すごいです。I would like to introduce another CD which I chose randomly to borrow from the library. It is "THE ART of HARMONICA JOE SAKIMOTO" which is a solo album of harmonica by a Japanese performer, Joe Sakimoto. It is an amazing CD which is far beyond my expectation of harmonica playing. Harmonica is the first instrument I played when I was a child. It makes a sound when you either blow or suck and we played it all together with classmates in the music class at elementary school. I remember my brother had a chromatic harmonica at home.We could hear the nostalgic sound of harmonica in a movie or when singers play it in the middle of their songs. In the CD, Sakimoto plays several classics but some music are original which were composed for him by a couple of composers. I listen attentively to his music and I am often surprised at his unbelievably amazing sound of the harmonica. As the title says, it is really " the art of harmonica". Mr. Sakimoto is very sensitive and talented as a musician. I am glad to encounter his harmonica playing.