Tuesday, December 31, 2019

令和二年、元旦を迎えました。さて、今年はどんな年になるのでしょうか。地球規模の気候変動は不安です。また私の住む地域は高齢化と人口減少が深刻です。故郷に帰って実家でカフェを開き、地域の人々と交わりながらゆっくりと日々を過ごしていますが、自分なりにできることを考えていきたいと思います。今年もどうぞよろしくお願いいたします。New Year of 2020 has just begun. Well, what will the new year bring? Global climate change is a very serious concern. Aging and depopulation has been a serious problem in my region. Going back to my hometown, I opened a cafe at an old Japanese house where I was born and grew up in until 18 and now I am living a relaxed life connecting with local people and friends. I would like to think about what I can do for others here and for my family who are in the US and Europe. Have a Happy New Year!

                                           Flower arrangement by H.Nishimura  

                                              Flower arrangement by H.Nishimura

Saturday, December 28, 2019

多賀大社前絵馬通りの商店を中心とした共栄会では毎年「笑門絵馬」を作り、絵馬通りの家の玄関軒下に飾っています。先日、その絵馬作りの手伝いに初めて参加しました。まずは町内の書の上手な方に絵馬一枚一枚に手書きで笑門と書いてもらった後、来年の干支である「子(ネ)」の焼印を入れ、同様に小さなRの焼印(これは商標登録?)、さらに裏側には「表参道絵馬通り」の焼印を入れる。これが当日の作業でした。大きな作業小屋を借りて、昔ながらのダルマストーブに火を入れ焼印の型を入れて熱し、それを絵馬に押し付けるというものです。私は途中で抜けた方に代わって小さな商標登録の焼印を少しやらせてもらいましたが、手伝いはもっぱら押した焼印の後、次の作業がしやすいようにアシスタントをする役目でした。焼印が終わったところでこれらの絵馬は多賀大社でお祓いをしていただき、しめ縄に御幣(ごへい:白い紙)を挟んでできあがりです。この笑門絵馬は多賀大社に参拝に来られる方にも販売されます。「笑う門に福来る」子年の来年も楽しいこと、良いことがたくさん訪れますように… Every year, Kyoueikai (Ema-dori shops association) around Taga taisha, makes "Shoumon Ema (votive tablet for welcoming fortune which decorates the front door area) by members. This year, I voluntarily participated in making them for the first time. A person who is very good at calligraphy wrote the word "Shoumon (lit. good fortune and happiness will come to the home who smile) in Kanji on all tablets. Then we press branding 子(ne) which shows zodiac year of mouse, new year. In the same way, little "R" which probably is a registered trademark was pressed, and on the backside of the street name, "Omote-sandoo Ema doori (Main approach to the shrine named Ema-doori) was also pressed. We borrowed a big working shed where woods were burned in a potbelly stove. Iron branding molds were in the stove until they were ready. I had a chance to press the little one but mainly I was an assistant for the person who press branding. When they were all done, they were brought to the shrine, and purified by shrine priest. The Shoumon Ema was completed with sacred straw festoon and strips of white paper used in Shinto rituals. I put the new Shoumon Ema outside of the upper part of the entrance. They are also sold at shops along the street for people who visit the shrine. We wish good fortune and happiness to everyone in the coming year.

亡くなった母は大正2年、商家の長女として生まれて当時としては比較的自由な少女時代を過ごし、父と結婚してからは5人の子(男4女1)の母となりました。子育ての時代は毎日の洗濯だけでも大変な量であったと思います。私が生まれてしばらくすると一槽式の洗濯機が我が家にも置かれるようになり、母にとっては夢のような文明の力(リキ)の登場だったに違いありません。私が子供の時は掃除は祖母(姑)、料理と洗濯は母がやっていたように記憶しています。そんな訳で忙しかった母から料理や裁縫を習うということはあまりなかったのですが、母がしていたことを思い出しては時々やってみることがあります。その一つは台所で使う布巾の煮沸消毒です。母は時々布巾を大鍋に入れて石鹸も少しいれてグツグツ煮ていました。汚れが出た後すすいでからしばらく漂白剤に浸けて、再びすすいで、干します。これを私も真似てやっているとそばに来て見た人が「布巾を料理するんですか!?」と珍しそうに言います。年末の1日、思い立って布巾の煮沸消毒をしました。My mother (1913-1976) was born in a family of merchants as the first daughter and grew relatively freely at that time. After getting married to my father, she became a mother of five children (4 boys and 1 girl). During the time she was raising children, I can easily imagine that many things must have been hard for her such as washing kids' clothing daily. A washing machine was set up in my house several years after I was born and it must have been a remarkable cultural device for her. When I was a child, my grandmother took care of cleaning the house and my mom prepared meals and washed the clothing of all family members except my grandma's. Therefore I didn't have chance to receive any cooking or sewing lessons from such a busy mom. However, I remember what she was doing at home and I still do them by myself. One of her house chores was to sterilize kitchen towels by boiling. She sometimes put kitchen towels into a big pot and boiled with a little powder soap to take the dirt out from the towels. She would wash and soak them in water with bleach for a while. She would rinse them again and air-dried them. When I was doing this, people who came to watch said with surprise, "Do you cook kitchen towels!?". On one of the last days of the year, I thought of doing the sterilization of kitchen towels my mother's way.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

日本語の歌の中に時々「アイラブユー」などといった英語が入っているのを聞くことがありますが、英語の歌なのに日本語のフレーズが入っているのを聴きました。カナダ人女性歌手のケイ・ディー・ラング(k.d.lang)がBBCラジオ(ロンドン)でコンサートをしているのをYouTubeで聴き流しながら台所に立っていました。イギリスでのコンサートということでキング・クリムゾン(King Crimson)の歌を歌いますと言って静かに歌い始めたその曲はもちろん英語。ふわっと聴いていて、アレ?今の英語?…と手が止まり、何度かそこを注意深く聴いてみました、が…どうしても「マッテクダサーイ」としか聞こえてこない、でも脈絡がまったく分からない。1970年代のイギリス、ロックバンドのキング・クリムゾンの歌の題は「Matte kudasai」でした。メンバーの一人、ロバート・フィリップが作詞作曲したこの曲はまるで夢の中で漂っているようなゆったりした美しい曲でキング・クリムゾンのオリジナルもギターの好きな人にはたまらない魅力でしょうが、大好きなケイ・ディー・ラングが歌う「Matte kudasai」も素晴らしいです。https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLqwmOgG5c8ちょっと哲学的な歌の流れの中に入り込む「マッテクダサイ」は、どうも音の響が曲に合うというだけで入れたようです。日本語訳を茨城県のハルさんという方がつけていますので、添付します。https://ameblo.jp/teruteru-g13/entry-12541679720.html

Still, by the window pane                          
Pain, like the rain that's falling                

        苦痛 終わる事の無い雨の様に降り注ぐ
She waits in the air, Matte Kudasai          

        虚しさに満たされながら待っている 『待って下さい』
She sleeps in a chair, in her sad America 

        悲痛に満ちた国 彼女は椅子で眠り続ける

When, when was the night so long             

Long, like the notes I'm sending                

       本当に長い まるで僕の手紙の様に
She waits in the air, Matte Kudasai           

       彼女は虚無に満たされながら待っている 『待って下さい』
She sleeps in a chair, in her sad America  

       悲痛に満ちた国 彼女はまだ椅子で眠っている

There are some instances where we hear an English phrase in Japanese songs such as "I love you", but I experienced the opposite where I heard a Japanese phrase in an English song the other day. I was working in the kitchen and listening to a Canadian singer, K.D. Lang on YouTube. She was singing in a concert for BBC radio in London (2011). In the concert, she said that she was going to sing a song of King Crimson which is a British rock group because she was in Britain then. I did not manage to catch the title but it was beautiful quiet music which made me feel calm. In the middle of the song, I felt very strange because it seemed to not be in English. I stopped the music and listened to the part over and over. "Mattekudasaaai" was what I heard. Matte-kudasai means "please wait " in English but there was no connection before and after. In the end, I discovered it was a song named "Matte kudasai" by King Crimson in the 1970's. His original music must be good for the people who enjoy guitar, but the rendition by K.D.Lang whom I am a big fan of is also so good.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLqwmOgG5c8

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

国際ソロプチミスト彦根主催のチャリティーコンサートに行ってきました。カウンターテナーの中嶋俊晴さんとピアニストで作曲・編曲家でもある谷川(かわ)賢作さんの歌と演奏を1時間半たっぷり聴くことができました。中嶋さんは彦根出身の声楽家で京都市立芸大から東京芸大へ、さらにウィーン国立音大大学院、アムステルダム音楽院修士課程を最優秀栄誉賞付きで修了してソリストとして欧州を中心に活動なさっているとのこと。谷川賢作さんは父上が詩人の谷川俊太郎氏でお二人で詩と音楽のコンサートを開いたり、映画音楽から校歌まで幅広く活躍していらっしゃいます。カウンターテナーを実際に聞くのは初めてで、どんなだろうと興味津々でした。女性の音域を男性が歌うのがカウンターテナーですが、中嶋さんは普段クラシックばかり歌っているとおっしゃっていましたが、賢作さんのジャズ風にイメージ豊かに弾かれるピアノに併せて谷川俊太郎氏の詩を実に丁寧な日本語と素晴らしい歌唱力で歌ってくださり、言葉がすーっと聴き手である私自身の体に入ってきて感動しました。15編の詩を全曲楽譜無しで歌い上げてくださったことにも感銘をうけました。賢作さんのピアノと中嶋さんのカウンターテナー、最高の組み合わせでした。是非もう一度!I went to a charity concert organized by International Soroptimist Hikone. It was a roughly 90-minute duo concert of Mr. Toshiharu Nakajima (Counter tenor) and Mr. Kensaku Tanikawa (piano) which I enjoyed. Mr. Nakajima is a classical singer from Hikone and he graduated from Kyoto City Univ. of Arts, Tokyo Univ. of the Arts, and finished a Master degree with Best Honor Award of both University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, and Conservatorium van Amsterdam. Now he is singing actively as a soloist mainly in Europe. On the other hand, Mr. Tanikawa is a pianist whose father is a well-known poet, Shuntaro Tanikawa, and he often holds poem and music concerts together with his father. He also composes a wide range of music from film music to school songs. It was the first time for me to listen to a counter tenor and I was looking forward to listening to Mr Nakajima's singing. Counter Tenor is a type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range is equivalent to a female mezzo-soprano voice. Although Mr. Nakajima said that he is usually singing classical music, at this concert, he sang Japanese poems mainly by Shuntaro Tanikawa with Kensaku Tanikawa’s jazz piano. I was fascinated with his marvelous singing technique and beautiful Japanese. I was also very impressed that he sang almost 15 poems without music text. The combination of Mr. Tanikawa and Mr. Nakajima was perfect and I wish I could listen to more of their music.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

銀杏(ぎんなん)をたくさんいただきました。銀杏ご飯を食べようと、まずは殻を割るところから。タオルを敷いて、かなづちでヒビを入れ殻を外すと薄皮のついた果肉が現れ、次に熱湯をかけて冷ましてから手で薄皮を取ると艶のあるきれいな実が顔を出し、それを塩を多めに入れて茹でるとさらに美しい薄みどり色の姿になりました。お酒と塩少々で炊き上げたご飯に混ぜて銀杏ご飯の出来上がり。初めての挑戦でしたが、なかなかの出来栄えで銀杏の弾力のある食感とほろ苦い風味に大満足でしたが、銀杏は食べすぎは良くないとのこと。我慢してお代わりは一回だけにしました。I received a lot of ginkgo nuts from Ms. S.K., so I decided to make ginkgo rice. Starting from cracking the shells with a hammer on the towel, I took off every shell, then the flesh with pellicle appeared. When I took off every pellicle after pouring hot water and cooling down to make it easer to remove, they turned to shining ginkgo fruits. I could see beautiful light green ginkgo fruits after boiling them with salty hot water. Then I mixed them in steamed rice which was made with two spoonfuls of sake and a bit of salt. It was my first trial to make ginkgo rice and I think it was well done. I enjoyed the firm texture and little bitter taste of ginkgo fruit. It was so good but since people say that eating too many ginkgos is not good, I only had a second bowl of rice despite my wish to have more.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

学生たちが質問に答えると下のベルを引いてサンタさんにバンザーイさせて、学生たちの笑いをとっていました。先日、月曜の朝の読み聞かせにこのサンタをつけて1年生の子供達の前に立ちましたがイマイチの反応で残念。来週の2年生で面白いクイズを考えて再挑戦してみます。実は一番ウカれているのは私なんですが… It's Christmas season again. In Japan many people spend this season in a cheerful mood without any religious feeling. I bought this cute Santa ornament (broach) at CVS/pharmacy in Boston more than 20 years ago. It was only 1 or 2 dollars. I used to put this Santa on my jacket in my Japanese class every year during this season and when students answered correctly my questions, I showed Santa raising both arms by pulling the red bell. In this way I enjoyed students laughing and feeling relaxed. This Monday morning, I went to the elementary school for story reading putting on this Santa, and contrary to my expectations, I couldn't get much reactions from the kids and I was a bit discouraged. I will try again during the next reading class for the second graders and give a more interesting quiz. In fact the person who is most excited by the Santa is myself...

Thursday, December 5, 2019

多賀町あけぼのパークで開催されているパッチワーク作品展に行ってきました。「ちくちくQuilt倶楽部」を主宰なさっている竹内綾子さんの作品と生徒さんたちの力作が展示されて見事でした。「ふふ、ふふふ」というのは古布の「ふ」と笑い声の「ふ」の両方をモジったものだそうです。竹内綾子さんは国際キルト展で過去何度も賞を獲得し、今年出された作品も入賞したとのこと。多賀にも素晴らしい方がいらっしゃること誇りに思います。パッチワークというと幾何学模様が頭に浮かびますが、竹内さんの作品の多くは「ゆがみ」があったり身近な道具や思い出の情景の刺繍がしてあったり、大きな作品一杯に独創的で自由な世界が広がっています。しかも、すべて子供の頃の服地やお母様の着物、布団地など古布が使われており、過去の思い出が竹内さんの豊かなな感性で再登場しています。途方もないエネルギーの結集です。I went to a quilt exhibition at Akebono-park in Taga town. Ms. Ayako Takeuchi organizes "Chiku-chiku Quilt Club" and Ms. Takeuchi and her students' powerful works have been on display since last Friday and will continue to be shown until Dec.8th. "Chiku-chiku" is an onomatopoeia to describe the way of sowing with needle. Ms. A. Takeuchi got many awards in International Quilt Contest in the past and today I heard that she was awarded this year in the same contest, too. We are proud to have someone in Taga with such wonderful talent like Ms. Takeuchi. When you hear "Patchwork", many of you would imagine one with geometric patterns, but Ms. Takeuchi's works are different. She makes many distortions and embroidery of lovely tools and scenery based on her memories in her quilts. They are full of her creative world. She also used old clothes such as her childhood cloth, her mother's kimonos, cloth for futon. In this way, her good old memories are revived. I was overwhelmed by her powerful creativity.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

多賀町、桃原(もばら)ごぼうの復活に取り組んでいる方たちから今年も無事皆さんで収穫が終わったとの知らせは受けていましたが、出荷が終わった1週間ほど前にチームの代表の中川信子さんから残ったごぼうのお裾分けをいただきました。以来、湿気を含んだ新聞紙に包んで少しずつ大切にいただいています。昨夜はごぼうをさっと茹でて黒ごまと甘酢に少し漬け込んで食卓へ。柔らかくて香りのいい桃原ごぼうを堪能しました。マーケットのごぼうとはやはり違う贅沢な食材です。Ms. Nobuko Nakagawa is a person who is putting her effort on reviving Mobara-goboh which used to be grown at Mobara, located in the mountain side of Taga and shipped to Kyoto for luxury restaurants decades ago. Because of the decreasing number of people in the area, growing goboh roots had been stopped for many years. I heard that the volunteeer group including Ms. Nakagawa finished digging out goboh and about a week ago after shipping them, Ms. Nakagawa brought some left overs to me. I wrapped them in wet newspapers to keep them fresh and use for my dinner little by little. Yesterday, I boiled some goboh lightly, and put them in sweet vinegar with ground black sesame seeds. Both the smell and tenderness were perfect and I enjoyed them for dinner. They are different from the one in the supermarket. Mobara-goboh is a truly precious vegetable in Taga.