Monday, June 29, 2020

I would like to introduce a joyful clip from The Royal Ballet's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland which my friend, Rone (clown duo "Rone & Gigi") sent to me. I like to hear the tap sound with wonderful choreography. I am thrilled by their expressions and highly skilled techniques. Rone is saying " Great Britain is the fatherland of clowns. It's really joyful, isn't it!"

                                                                 Royal Opera House

Monday, June 22, 2020

毎年お願いしている造園業の方が庭木の剪定に来てくださいました。低いツツジなどは自分で何とかできるので背の高い木を主にお願いしました。チョンチョンチョキチョキ… 耳に心地よい音です。枝葉が伸び放題で行儀の悪かった木々がさっぱりとまるで散髪後のように涼しげになりました。緑の中に紅一点のモミジも(べニシダモミジと言うらしい)枝が整理されて後ろの石灯籠が見えるようになり嬉しいです。先日の蜂の巣は親切なおじさんが除去してくださりほっとしたのも束の間、実は今度は別のところにまったく違う蜂の巣が見つかり大きな蜂が出入りしているのを目撃してしまい昨日から新たな心配が始まっていました。それを植木屋さんに見せたら葉刈りが終わった後に除去して形をなくして袋に入れてくださっていたのです!何と有り難いことでしょう。前のはアシナガバチ、次はスズメバチと教えてもらい二度も蜂の巣に驚かされましたが、どちらも親切な方々のお蔭で落着しました。感謝の気持ちでいっぱいです。A gardener whom I have been asking to trim the trees every year came today. Mainly I asked them to trim the taller trees because I think I can manage the lower ones by myself. It was nice to hear the trimming sound with their pruning scissors. Branches and leaves which were overgrown and unsightly were cut nicely and they look so fresh and cool as if you see someone who has just had a hair cut. The branches of BENISHIDA-MOMIJI (Acer palmatum) which is the only red one among the other green trees were pruned. As a result I am able to see a stone-lantern which is in the rear of the garden through the branches. By the way, the honeycombs which were giving me trouble were taken away by a kind man and I was relieved but my worry didn't end. I found another honeycomb which looked very different from the previous one. I saw bigger bees come and enter this honeycomb. My worry started again. This morning I showed it to the gardeners. When their trimming was over, I saw the honeycomb was in a plastic bag with a broken shape. I knew that the gardener removed it for me. What nice people they are! I learned that the previous honeycomb was a paper wasp's nest and the second one was a hornet's nest. I was a little scared by these two consecutive experiences with those honeycombs, but all was settled by getting peoples' kind help. I truly thank them.

スズメバチの巣。白い縞模様が入り徳利を逆さにしたようなこの形状は不気味ですが同時にその仕事ぶりに感心します。Nest of Acer palmatum. I felt uneasy seeing this shape and pattern but at the same time I was impressed with their work.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

1週間ほど前に我が家に小さな蜂の巣が2つあるのを発見しました。以来どうしたものかとずっと考えています。裏口を開けて外へ出ると、大きな黒い蜂が一匹ブ〜ンと飛んでいるので1つはきっと彼(彼女?)の巣ではないかと思うのですが、まだ突き止めていません。小さい方は別の蜂がずっとくっついたままじっとしてもう生存していないだろうと思っていたのですが、今朝、その蜂が位置を変えて何か黄緑のものを出してじっとしているのに気がつきました。生きていたのです!もちろん巣が大きくなるのを黙ってみているほど寛容な心を私は持ち合わせていません。1日も早く取り除いて心穏やかに暮らしたいのですが、どうしたら良いか考え続けているのです。手でコロッと取れる感じなのですが、小さくても滅多なことはできないと思いつつ数日が過ぎています。蜂の巣を取り除くのは夕方がいいとネットには書いてありましたが、殺虫剤を吹きかけて反撃にあったら大変。ドクダミの虫除け液はまだ効きそうにありません。どなたかお知恵をお貸しくださる方いらっしゃればばありがたいです。About a week ago, I found two small honeycombs outside of the windows of my house. Since then, I have been thinking what I should do about them. When I go outside from the back door of the house, a big black bee is flying around there, I guess one of the honeycombs must be his (or her) house but I haven't followed it yet. There was a bee stuck on to the smaller honeycomb without moving, so I have been thinking the bee has already died but this morning it changed its position and something greenish came out from the bee and stayed there. It is still alive! I don't have such a gentle mind that will keep the honeycombs there and watch the honeycombs become bigger. I really would like to take them off and be relaxed, but I don't know how I can take them away. It seems that I can take them out by hand easily, but I think I should be careful. According to the net info., just after sunset is a good time to take honeycombs, but I am still afraid of the bees attacking back when I spray insecticide over the honeycombs. The insect repellent which I made yesterday doesn't work yet. I would be grateful if someone could give good advice on how to remove them for me.

断続的に雨脚が強くなる1日でした。野菜や草花は梅雨の雨で生き生きすることでしょう。(しかし今日の雨はちと過ぎるでしょうが。)3日ほど前に刈り採って少し乾燥させておいたドクダミで自家製虫除け液を作ってみました。教えてくれた岡山県蒜山に住む友達はミントやローズマリーも入れておしゃれな虫除け液を作っていますが、うちにはドクダミしかなく35度以上のホワイトリカーも田舎の酒屋にはジンやヴォッカは置いていなくて焼酎を使うというもっぱら田舎仕込みの虫除け液です。ドクダミは十薬(じゅうやく)とも言い効能薬効は驚くほど多く、例えば動脈効果、皮膚病、殺菌、解毒など様々。小学校の時は夏休み中に「ジュウヤクを採って2学期の始業式に学校に持っていく」という宿題があり、始業式の日は皆んなが持ち寄った乾燥させたドクダミが講堂に高く積み上げられていたのを思い出します。学校はこれを業者に売って収益にしていたのでしょう。虫除け液はドクダミの花を使って作るというのもネット情報にはありましたが私は葉だけ使いました。1ヶ月ぐらいで虫除け液になるとのこと。ミントやハッカを加えればスプレーした時に「爽やか感」がでるのでしょう。もう一つの瓶は調味料として使う塩麹です。敏満寺の渡辺糀店で買った糀と少々値の張る極楽塩を使っての自家製塩麹です。こちらは1週間ぐらいでまろやかな塩麹が出来るはずです。さて、結果は如何に…It was a rainy day and intermittently it got heavier. We have entered the rainy season and the rain makes vegetables and plants healthy although today's rain was a bit too heavy. Today I made a homemade insect repellent using houttuynia leaves which I picked three days ago from my backyard and dried. My friend who introduced me to her insect repellent from Hiruzen in Okayama prefecture, put mint and rosemary in it as well. I could get only houttuynia and purchase traditional Japanese distilled spirits instead of gin or vodka because liquor stores in my town don't have them. Houttuynia incredibly has a lot of efficacy and medicinal effects, for example it is good for arteriosclerosis, skin disease, sterilization, detoxification, and more. When I was a child my school gave us homework to collect houttuynia during the summer vacation and bring them to school at the beginning day of second semester. I remember a stacked dried houttuynia in the auditolliam which were all from children. School sold them to a pharmaceutical trader and got some money for our school. In order to make insect repellent, I used only leaves of houttuynia, although in the information it can be made from the flowers. I have to wait for about a month until it gets ready. If you add mint or Japanese peppermint, you probably feel refreshed. The other bottle is SHIO-KOJI (salt-marinated rice malt) which I mixed with rice malt from the local rice malt shop and good quality salt. This one will be ready after 7 to 10 days. These were my first challenges. Well, I am excited to see the result.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

長い間お休みだった小学校の朝の読み聞かせが今日から再開しました。家で検温を済ませてマスク姿で教室へ行くと教室は窓が開放され、子供達はマスク着用、先生はフェイスシールド姿(となりの教室の先生はマスク姿)。今までは前の方に集まって話を聞いてくれたのが今回からは机についたまま。(横の広がりと後ろまでの距離は読み聞かせとしてはちょっと厳しい。)状況は事前のミーティングで聞いていたので本選びは苦労するところでした。小さな絵本では遠くの子供達に見えないだろうと今回の小3のクラスで私は民話の紙芝居「たのきゅう」を選びました。マスク姿で声を出しているとだんだんマスクが下がってくるので何度も引き上げながら我ながらの奮闘ぶり。聞こえなかったら黙って手を上げてねと頼んでおいたけど誰も手が上がらず一安心。お母さんの手作りなのかな、男の子も女の子もそれぞれのマスクが可愛らしい! 大人より一回り小さいマスクの顔、顔、顔。しっかり聞いてくれました。Storytelling at elementary school which had been stopped to avoid infection of coronavirus for several months restarted from today. After taking my temperature at home, I went to the classroom with a mask on. I found that all windows were open, every child was wearing a mask and the teachers had face shields on (but the teacher in the next classroom had a mask instead). Before the coronavirus, kids got together in front of me, but they stayed at their own desks to listen to the story. (This setup is a little hard for us as storytellers because the space among everyone is too wide.) It was hard to select an appropriate book since I heard of the condition beforehand. I chose "Kamishibai (storytelling using picture cards)" titled "Tanokyu" so every kid is able to see even if he or she is a little far from me. When I was telling the story, my mask was coming down, so I had to pull it up several times. Before I started the story, I said to the kids that if they couldn't hear well, to let me know by raising their hand silently, but in the end I didn't see anybody raise their hand. The children's masks were so cute and were probably hand-made by their moms. I saw the faces of children who were wearing smaller size masks than adults' . I appreciated that they listened to my storytelling with attention.

Monday, June 8, 2020

カフェ閉店後、今日も「きまぐれ市」に向かって「気まぐれ散歩」に出ました。Nさんの美味しいブロッコリーを狙って行ったのですが残念ながら自販機の中は売り切れで空っぽ。でもトマトが200円、いちごも安くなって350円(400円入れたら50円がイチゴケースにくっついていました)。帰り道、麦畑で麦の穂を見ている農家の方がいらしたので「そろそろ収穫ですね」と声を掛けたら、おじさんが今年の麦の生育具合を教えてくださいました。暖冬と3月に突然降った雪のせいで地中からの栄養分の吸い上げが充分でなく中身のないカスカスの穂が多くなったそうで、私がよく分からないでいると麦が入った穂とカスカスの穂を手にとって比べて見せてくださいました。一見どの麦もしっかり実ったように見えるけど気候の影響を敏感に受けるのだと納得。政府の減反政策で水田だったところを一部麦畑に変えたとのこと。前は水田ばかりだったのに…と不思議に思っていた私の疑問が解かれました。麦の行方が小麦粉になるのかビールになるのかというのも気になっていたので尋ねると、これは小麦粉でビール麦ではないよとの返事。やさしいおじさんに自己紹介して’お礼を言った後足下を見ると夕日が私を長〜い姿にしていました。After closing the cafe, on a whim, I took a walk toward "Kimagure Market (lit. whim market)". I wanted to get fresh broccoli but it was sold out and inside the vegetable vending machine was empty. I got tomatoes for 200 yen and strawberries at a discounted price of 350 yen (actually I put 400 yen into the machine and a 50 yen coin was stuck to the strawberry case). On my way home, I saw a farmer in his wheat field, so I said to him "it's harvest time, isn't it". He came to me and talked about the growth result of his wheat. He said that due to the warm winter and the sudden snow in March, the wheat couldn't suck up enough nutrition from the soil, and as a result there are not many fruits in the head of wheat. Since I couldn't get the meaning of what he said, he let me show the difference between fruitful wheat and empty wheat. I really understand how the grain's growing is sensitive to weather conditions. When I was a child, there were all rice paddies but now I see many wheat fields among rice fields. According to him, because of the rice production adjustment policy by the government a few decades ago, he has been growing wheat in some rice fields instead. I also was curious about whether these wheat will become flowers or beer. He said all of these will be flowers not beer. After I introduced myself to this kind farmer and thanked him, I looked down the way. There was a long slim shadow of myself cast by setting sun.

Friday, June 5, 2020

木曜日の夜、食事も入浴も済ませて後は寝るだけと思っていたところにYさんから電話があって、「アジいらん?小ちゃいの。」せっかく言ってくださるものをお断りする理由はないので遠慮なく頂戴することに。どうやら釣り場からの電話らしい。現物が届くまでの待ち時間に急いで「アジの南蛮漬け」の手順をグーグルで調べていると、やがて袋に入った子アジがたくさんやってきました。まあ、こんなチイちゃいアジを今まで見たことがありません。子アジというより豆アジ。さっき調べた手順ではエラのところを手で割いて内臓をとることになっていたのですが、豆アジくんたちと奮闘すること3、40分。それから綺麗にあらって水分をとって塩をして片栗粉をつけて揚げて、野菜と一緒に南蛮酢の中へ投入。豆アジくんは何もつけずに揚げたても柔らかくて最高に美味しい!思いがけない北陸の海からの贈り物。Yさん、ありがとうございました!Last night when I was relaxing, finishing dinner and taking a bath, I got a phone call from Ms. Y saying if I want horse mackerels, although they are tiny. Since there is no reason for me to refuse, I accepted her kind offer. She seemed to have called from the fishing site. While I was waiting for her arrival, I checked how to make "Marinated Deep-fried Horse Mackerel" on google. After a while plenty of small horse mackerels in the plastic bag arrived at my house. In fact I have never seen such tiny horse mackerels before! I followed the process which I learned online a few minutes ago. It took 30 or 40 minutes to take out the internal organs of the fish. After rinsing the fish, drying them and sprinkling salt on them, I fried them putting potato starch on them. Finally I put them into sweet vinegar with vegetables. It is also so good to eat fried horse mackerels directly. I didn't expect to get such fresh fish from Hokuriku sea. Thank you so much Ms. Y!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

絵馬通りはまだ閑散としていますが、とりあえずカフェを再開しました。玄関の紫陽花、風知草、それに万年青(オモト)はいつも季節の植木を飾ってくれる彦根の友人Hさんによるもの。テッセンは裏に放っておいたものがヒョロヒョロと伸びて濃い紫の花を咲かせました。長い間寂しかったカフェですが、玄関は賑やかにお客様のお越しをお待ちしています。尚、お弁当などのご注文は引き続き承ります。前日4時までにお願いいたします。Ema-doori (the street) is still very quiet, but I re-opened my cafe. There are several plant pots (hydrangea, Japanese forest grass and Rohdea japonica) which are from my high school friend living in Hikone who often changes pots according to the season. Clematis had been abundant in my backyard since last year but it opened beautiful deep purple flowers. The cafe was empty and quiet for almost two months, but these beautiful flower pots are waiting for customers. We will keep an order for box lunch, so please place an order by 4pm one day beforehand.