I am pleased to announce Boku-ga (Sumi ink paintings) exhibition by Sunao Yokota in October at Taga Asahiya. Ms. Yokota is a painter who lives in Hikone. There is an article about her which was on art magazine "Hyakubei" in 2013 with her several works. Although the article is partially rewritten by Ms. Yokota, I would like to quote some lines from it: "I encountered Japanese calligraphy when I was in my early thirties and it influenced me more than I expected. At the calligraphy school, I expressed myself by borrowing words from classics, poems and parts of novels. However the more time passed, the more distance I felt between the words and myself which I couldn't resolve and I felt a limitation in my expression because the existence of the words didn't free me. I wanted to express my thoughts and feelings as I live in the real world. Therefore, I decided to leave calligraphy school where I was for nine years and departed for the Sumi-ink world to express myself. I wanted to keep thinking deeply and widely about various events which occurred in the world. Thinking of the color, shape and structure, I draw my painting repeatedly through trial and error and in this process, I feel a sense of power and only the one which I am satisfied with remains as Yokota's work. ---(omitted below) ----".
I met Ms. Yokota one year ago via my acquaintance. She brought a photo album of her works. I was overwhelmed by her Sumi-ink paintings in which she puts all of herself and never compromises. Her black and white paintings show her deep and condensed world which I felt is sharp and tough but at the same time soft and warm. They struck and moved me very much. Every year Ms. Yokota has her exhibition at the gallery in Kyoto, but due to the Corona situation, it was cancelled this year. so I offered the place instead. It must be a good place to appreciate her paintings. We limit ten people in a day to prevent infection of coronavirus and we ask you to let us know your visit beforehand.（phone：0749-48-0186、Email：email@example.com）
二学期が始まり学校での読み聞かせも再開。今朝は４年生の教室へ。落語絵本の「そこつ長屋」を図書館で見つけて思わず吹き出したので「これにしよっ！」と決めました。教室はエアコンが効いて涼しいけれど子供たちはお疲れ気味。要所要所で反応して笑ってる子もいるけどな〜んか今ひとつです。夏休みが短かった上に朝の登校で疲れ、教室に着いてからも色々することがあって忙しいのだとか。お子さん方も厳しい毎日で同情しますが、体力なくなっているとしたら心配です。ところで、粗忽（そこつ）というのは私にいつもついて回ります。用事があって二階へ上がってふと「あれっ？何しに来たのかな。」、向こうから友達が来たので手を振って近づいたら知らない人だった、お客様がないので変だなと思っていたら表のサインが「閉店」のままだった、とか切りなし。見た目は違うらしいのですが私をよく知る人は私がドジをすると「ああ、また…」と笑います。何歳になっても何をやってもそそっかしいのはなかなか直らず自分でも苦笑しますが、子供達が笑わないのは私の実力不足が一番の理由とはいえ、慢性疲れやストレスも原因なのかなあと思ってしまいます。The second semester started a couple days ago and the morning story-telling started, as well. This morning, I went to a fourth grade class to do it. The other day when I was searching for books at the library, I found a picture book named "A row house where careless people are living." which was a story from traditional Japanese comic storytelling. It's a funny story and I couldn't help laughing, so I decided to make it the upcoming storytelling book. They have AC in their classroom to make them comfortable to study but they actually looked a bit tired. While I was reading the story, some of them laughed at the funny scene of the story, but I didn't get as much reaction as I expected. According to the school coordinator, children had abnormally shorter summer holidays this year due to the coronavirus and they are already tired of the morning commuting under the hot sunny day. Moreover, they are busy doing their daily chores in the morning before class starts. I sympathize with the kids but also worry about their lack of physical strength. By the way, the word,"careless" always follows me. Ex.1: When I come upstairs with the matter, I sometimes forget and think "why am I here and what was the matter?". Ex.2: I waved my hand to the distant person because I thought he/she was my friend, but I realized it was not when he/she came near me. EX.3: When I was in the cafe and puzzled why no customers were coming, it was because I hadn't turned over the shop sign to "Open" from "Closed". The example goes on and on. My friends who know me well, laugh at me saying "Oh, you did it again." I try not to do it but I often do it again. Probably it is because of my nature. The reason that kids didn't laugh much was lack of my reading skill, but it might have come from chronic fatigue or stress on them and it is a serious problem.
知り合いの方から京都松栄堂のお香を送っていただきました。お香は好きで時々焚いては楽しんでいますが夏場の夜はもっぱら蚊取り線香が必需品で風情ない香りながらも仕方なく付き合っています。ですから久々のお香にしかも今回のように渦巻き状になったものは初めてで心が躍りました。お香について私は素人で詳しいことは分かりませんが、ボストンにいた時お香に詳しい方がいらしてその方のご縁で私の職場の大学にも京都から（松栄堂の方だったかと）何人か招いてお香を鼻で聞き当てる室町時代からの「組香」という遊びをしていただき学生たちと一緒に楽しんだことがあります。日本には香道という芸道があり、その時お香の嗅ぎ方なども教えていただきましたが、５種類ほどのお香の中から最初に嗅いだお香を当てるのは私には至難の技だったことを覚えています。今回いただいた「方輪堀川」というのは新しいお香ですが火をつけて午前中の自然の風が庭から入る和室に置くと何とも良い香りが家中に漂い身も心も落ち着いた贅沢な気分になります。こんなに涼しくて良い香りの所へお客様がいらっしゃれば最高のおもてなしになるのに…と一人至福の時間を過ごしています。One of my acquaintances sent incense from the old shop "Shoyeido" in Kyoto. I like to appreciate incense but during the summer I use mosquito coils daily in the night for necessity even though it is not an enjoyable fragrance. When I received the nice incense and they were coils which I haven't had before, I was very happy to have them. I don't have much knowledge about Japanese incense, but when I was in Boston and working at Wellesley College, there was a person who knew about Japanese incense very much and she introduced us to incense professionals from Kyoto (they were probably from Shoeido). They showed us traditional incense play and I enjoyed it with our students. Japanese people have been using incense since the arrival of Buddhism and people developed a way to appreciate the fragrance called Koh-do as a Japanese art like tea ceremony and flower arrangement in the Muromachi period (about 600 years ago). In the game which is called "Kumi Koh", we distinguish the different types of incense by sniffing several incenses. I remember it was very hard for me to point out the first one I sniffed among others. The incense I received this time is called "HORIN Horikawa" which is described as "offering a modern twist on the ancient art of incense appreciation". I lit the incense and put it in a corner of the Japanese room. Everywhere was filled with a nice incense fragrance and I felt so calm and nice there with the morning cool air coming from the garden. I wish the customers of the cafe would experience such a gorgeous feeling.
縁側の戸を開けておけば午前中は涼風が家の中に入り爽やかに気持ちよく過ごせます。（午後になると陽が差しこむのでエアコンに切り替えますが。）昨年「多賀あさひや」で公演と講座をしてくださった二人組のクラウンhttps://www.op-sesame.com/ 、 ロネ＆ジージのTーシャツが送られてきました。コロナ禍で各地の公演、教室、夏のキャンプがすべてキャンセルになった彼らのような芸術関係の人たちの打撃は計り知れません。何とか活動維持をとWeb での演技講座、クラウン知識講座、月一回のラジオ番組などいろいろ工夫しながら尚且つ自己のトレーニングも怠らずその努力たるや大変なもの。そんな工夫の一つがロネジジのT-シャツ販売です。私は３枚購入。早速、今朝は応援も兼ねて自身も元気を出さねばとピンクのシャツでカフェに立ちました。Tシャツは今も申し込み受け付けているようです。https://roneandgigi.com/emergency-tshirts/3020/ When I open sliding glass doors of Engawa (a narrow wooden deck along the edge of a house facing the garden), the cool air comes into the house and I can enjoy a nice and fresh feeling in the morning. (It is not the case in the afternoon because the sunlight comes in the Engawa area and becomes hot and I turn on the AC.) Yesterday I received T-shirts from Rone & Gigi who are the clown duo who gave a performance and lecture at my cafe last year. Due to coronavirus their performances, classes and summer camp were all canceled, and I guess it must have caused huge damage for artists like them. They are trying to keep their activities such as acting classes and lectures of basic clown knowledge online and monthly radio programs, as well as keeping their routine training which are tremendous efforts I can imagine. Selling their T-shirts is one of their ideas to get their fund. I purchased three of their T-shirts and today I put on a pink one to support them and cheer up myself. It seems that they are still accepting your order. https://roneandgigi.com/emergency-tshirts/3020/
歳のせいか猛暑のせいか、恐らくそのどちらもの理由でぐだぐだと過ごしている自分に嫌になりながらも倦怠感の日々が続きます。昨日もカフェ終了後、軽く夕食を済ませシャワーを浴びて時計を見たらまだ７時前。サッパリしたものの眠くて仕方なく、「よし、もう寝よっ」とベッドへ。ゆっくり睡眠の後ふと時計を見るとまだ４時前。もう一度眠ろうかちょっとためらったけれどふいに「夜明け前の色のない世界を見なければ！」と急いで着替えて外に飛び出しました。東の空には細い三日月と明けの明星（金星）が光り辺りはまだ闇に包まれています。こんなに朝早く多賀大社へ参拝するのも珍しいと思いながらしっかりかしわ手を打ってお参り。森を抜けて進むと空は茜色の雲、間も無く昇ってくるだろう強い陽の光と山並みのシルエットが美しい。辺りは徐々に光を受けてそれぞれの色が出てきています。アヌイの戯曲に出てくる少女アンチゴーヌが心をときめかした色のない世界はほんのわずかの時間。それでも夜明けの風の心地よさは例えようがなく気持ちいいもの。あてにしないで行った「きまぐれ市」には思いがけず大きなカボチャ（200円）とみずほあられの袋（100円）が入っていました。２kgのカボチャを抱えながら帰ってきた時、お日様はまだ山から顔を出していませんでした。Either because of this terrible hot weather or because of my age, or maybe because of both reasons, I am spending the days lazily even though I don't like doing this myself. But honestly I feel tired these days. For example, yesterday after closing the cafe, I ate my quick dinner and refreshed myself to take a shower but still felt tired even though it was still before 7 p.m. So, I decided to go to bed much earlier than usual. When I woke up and looked at the time, it was before 4 a.m. I thought I'll go to sleep again, but refrained from it because I wanted to take a look at the world without color before dawn. Then I changed my clothes and went out of my house in a hurry. I could see the thin crescent moon and Venus which was glowing strongly in the east sky, but everything was quiet and still dark. I went up to Taga Shrine to greet God first. It is a very rare experience to go to a shrine at such an extremely early hour. Walking through the shrine woods, there were beautiful clouds which were shining in red and I could see the strong light beyond the mountains which obviously indicates we expect the sun to rise shortly. The mountains were so dark and it showed a beautiful silhouette line. Everything was gradually receiving the light and got color." The world without color before dawn" is a line spoken by Antigone in the French play by Jean M.L.P. Anouilh. A teenage girl, Antigone was amazed by the world without color before dawn, but I realized that it is a very short time before changing into a colored world. However, the fresh and cool air before the sun came up from the mountains still made me feel very good. I walked up to Kimagure-ich without any expectation but fortunately I found a big Kabocha (squash) and a pack of Japanese rice crackers in the vending machine. When I came home with kabocha and rice crackers, the sun hadn't come out of the mountains yet.
昨年１２月に彦根で作曲家でジャズピアニストの谷川賢作さんとコンサートをしてくださったカウンターテナー の中嶋俊晴さんがギターリストの岡本拓也さんと武満徹の歌曲を収録したと録画を送ってくださいました。https://youtu.be/4_thAZtz-pI 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ます。今年五島記念文化賞オペラ新人賞を獲得。一方、岡本拓也さんは千葉県出身のクラシックギタリストで2018年にウィーン国立音楽大学修士を最優秀成績で終了。日本人で初めてアルハンブラ国際ギターコンクール２位に入賞。このお二人、コロナ禍の芸術家支援の一環として京都市が企画「武満徹の歌曲」を収録なさいました。美しい日本語で丁寧に歌い上げる中嶋さんと謙虚に深い音色で曲に寄り添って弾く岡本さんのギターが素晴らしいです。コロナと連日の猛暑で心穏やかならぬ私たちにはひととき安らぎの時間となることでしょう。来年は多賀あさひやにお二人をお迎えできますように… Countertenor, Toshiharu Nakajima who held a concert at Hikone last December with Jazz pianist, Kensaku Tanikawa, sent an email and video tape.
https://youtu.be/4_thAZtz-pI It was a recording tape of songs of Toru Takemitsu with guitar by Takuya Okamoto. Mr. Nakajima is an opera singer who grew up in Hikone and went to Kyoto City University of Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts, University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, and Conservatorium van Amsterdam. He finished his master degree with Best Honor Award at Conservatorium van Amsterdam and currently he is singing in Europe mainly as a soloist. This year he was awarded the 31st Gotoh Memorial Foundation Culture Prize for New Opera Performer of the Year in 2020. On the other hand, Mr. Okamoto from Chiba is a classical guitarist and he finished his master degree from University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna with the best grade. He got the second prize at the prestigious Alhambra International Competition in 1918 as the first Japanese finalist. They recorded "Songs of Toru Takemitsu" to support artists amid the difficult situation caused by the coronavirus by the City of Kyoto. Mr. Nakajima sings beautiful Japanese with all his heart and Mr. Okamoto plays guitar accompanying humbly with Nakajima's songs in a deep sound. It is a beautiful recording and I am sure it will be a calm and rich time for us who are in an uneasy situation with the coronavirus and terribly hot days. I am hoping to welcome them in my cafe "Taga Asahiya" next year.
T.Okamoto (guitar) & T.Nakajima (songs)
千葉に住む兄が梨を送ってくれました。千葉といえば落花生で有名ですが、梨園もたくさんあるようで、兄の地元松戸の石川園の「幸水」がたくさん入っていました。早速、ご先祖にお供えをしてまずは初ものの梨を一つ皮を剥いていただきました。甘〜くて果汁いっぱい！梨独特の食感にも感激です。梨というと英語ではpearといってアメリカなどでは一般的に少しヒョウタン型の’洋梨を指しますが、日本にあるような梨も確かAsian pearといってスーパーにも出ていたように思います。洋梨は風味も食感も違って別の美味しさがありますが、日本の幸水は何といっても昔から私たちに馴染みの味。カフェにお見えになったお客様にも「千葉から届いた梨です」とお出しして皆さんに「美味しい！」と喜んでいただきました。お盆や地蔵盆のお供えにも梨は登場します。その地蔵盆も今年はコロナの影響で中止。８月の毎日が飛ぶように過ぎていきます。I received Japanese pears from my brother in Chiba. Peanuts are a famous product in Chiba, but it seems that there are many farms of Japanese pears which are shipped from Chiba. I got "Kohsui" (one of the kinds of Japanese pear) from Ishikawa farm in Matsudo where my brother is living. After opening the box, I offered some pears at the altar, then I took one and peeled it to eat for myself. It was so juicy and sweet. I also liked the texture. When you are in the US and hear "pear", many people imagine the western pear which is gourd-shaped but you might be able to find Japanese pears in the supermarket as well. They call it Asian pear. Western pears have a different flavor and texture which I also like but I like Kohsui which has been familiar since childhood. I served pieces of this Japanese fruit to guests in the cafe saying "This pear has just arrived from Chiba.". All of them appreciated the fresh, sweet and juicy one. We have Bon and Jizo Bon this month. Jizo Bon is the day of the festival of Jizo Bosatsu and in the Kansai area it is held as a children's festival. We often offer Japanese pears as one of the offerings for these Buddhism events. However due to the coronavirus, Jizo Bon was cancelled this year. Days in August are passing by so quickly.
日本を留守にしている間にいつの間にか新しい祝日がカレンダーに入っていました。今日は「山の日」。「桃原（もばら）プロジェクト」の中川さんのお誘いを受けて「藍の生葉染め」体験を杉木立に囲まれた桃原の森口さんのお宅でしました。山の中の爽やかな空気は久しぶりです。まずはゴボウ畑の隣に植えられている藍の茎を切り取るところから。藍の茎が濃い茶色でなければ競い合って生えている雑草の中から見つけ出すのは難しかったでしょうが、何とか十分な藍を確保しました。次は葉だけ水と一緒にミキサーにかけ、その絞り汁に無地の絹布を数回くぐらせて、水気を切って天日に干す。それを水で洗ってもう一度干して出来上がり。淡いブルーのスカーフに仕上がりました。While I was away from Japan, a new national holiday was added in the August calendar before I knew it. Today is Mountain Day. Since I was invited to "Indigo dye workshop from fresh Indigo leaves", I participated in it at Mrs. Moriguchi's house in Mobara village which is surrounded by cedar trees in the mountain. Being in the fresh air in the mountain after a long time, I felt so good. The first step of dyeing was picking indigo plants. Someone told me that the stem of Japanese indigo plant is dark brown, so I could get the plants easily otherwise it must have been hard to find one because the field which was supposed to be planted indigo was full of weeds. After getting enough indigo plants, you separate the leaves and put them into a blender with water. Squeeze the juice, and dip white silk cloth there several times. Dry it in the air, rinse with water and dry it again. With this method, finally I could get a beautiful pale blue scarf for myself. It was a fun experience on Mountain Day.
今日も猛暑の１日。カフェの素敵なのれんを作ってくださったのは永源寺の染色家、野田浩二さんで染飾展示会も二度「多賀あさひや」で開催し大勢の方に来ていただきました。その野田さんとお別れしたのが去年。悔しい思いで一杯ですが奥様の公子（こうこ）さんがご自身のインスピレーションで工房兼ご自宅でその後も色々な展示やイベントをなさっています。少し前になりますがうちに来てくださった時にお土産に永源寺名物のコンニャクをいくつか戴きました。珍しいなあと思って冷蔵庫に入れておいた「こんにゃく麺」を今日食卓に出しました。糸こんにゃくよりもっと細くて滑らかでほんのり青のりの香りがします。タレも付いていたので生姜とわかめとゴマを加えて涼しげな夏の一品に。野田さんを偲びながら、そして公子さんの温かさに感謝しながら、美味しく、美味しく戴きました。Today was another extremely hot day. Kohji Noda was an artist in Eigenji who made the beautiful shop curtain for my cafe. He held his exhibitions for two consecutive years at my cafe and many people came. He passed away last year. It was a huge loss. His wife, Kohko got some inspiration and held interesting exhibitions and events after his death. A while ago, when Kohko came to my house, she gave me several kinds of Konnyaku (jelly made from Konnyaku yam routes) which is a famous product in Eigenji. Among them there was a "Konnyaku noodle" and it was the first time for me to get one. I kept it in the refrigerator until today. The noodles are very thin and smooth which have a subtle smell of green laver. Noodle soup was in the same pack, so I put grated ginger, seaweed and sesame seeds on top of the Konnyaku noodles. Both the looks and taste were very good. Thinking of Mr.Noda and feeling of Kohko's friendship, I finished up this nice summer lunch.
お盆を前に散歩のかわりに裏の赤坂山へお墓掃除。７月にも草取りはしておいたものの雑草はまた顔を出しているに違いないと再びお墓へ。坂を登りながら吹き出る汗に真夏を実感します。うちへ帰ってシャワーを浴びて遅い朝食をとり風通しの良いところで本を読み始めると間も無く睡魔がやってきて素直に隣の和室でゴロン。庭からいい風が入ってきて何とも贅沢な気持ち。風鈴の音を耳に昔と同じ天井を眺めていると子供時分の夏休みがアレコレ蘇ります。ごろごろ、ゴロゴロ、仰向け、寝返り、タタミ最高！なんてしばらく目をつむっていたらお昼を知らせるサイレンの音。「よし！こんな日はひやむぎ。」と起き上がって愛知の方にいただいた金魚印の手延べひやむぎの支度。薬味たっぶり（ミョウガ、ネギ、青じそ、錦糸卵、鶏肉、生姜）でおいしくいただきました。８月６日は原爆投下の日、コロナや尖閣のニュースがYoutubeから入ってきて穏やかならぬ状況ですが、今日はうんと気儘に静かに自分だけの完全な夏休みを過ごしました。Since Bon is coming soon, I went up to the hilltop graveyard near my house to clean up instead of taking a morning walk. Bon is a Buddhism custom to welcome back the spirits of our ancestors. I took weeds off in the area in July, but it was a month ago and I thought new weeds must be coming out which I wanted to clean again. When I was walking up the hill to the graveyard, I sweat a lot and it felt like a real summer. After coming back home, I took a shower, ate a late breakfast and started reading at the spot where a nice cool breeze came. However, a short while after, I got very sleepy so I lay down on the tatami mat in the next Japanese style room. I felt so good because a nice breeze came from the garden and I was relaxed and comfortable on the Tatami mat. While I was looking at the ceiling while hearing the sound of the wind bell which is the same since I was a child, many old memories came back to my mind. When I heard the siren indicating noon, I got up and started to prepare my lunch. Today I wanted to eat cold noodles which I received from a customer from Aichi the other day. I ate them with many kinds of vegetables, egg and chicken. Aug. 6 is the memorial day of Hiroshima and our nation is in an uncomfortable situation now such as coronavirus, the Senkakus Island dispute. However, I spent all day freely and enjoyed myself very much. It was my nice summer holiday.