Sunday, February 25, 2024

2月23日(金曜日)2024

    前日の夜、ボストンから滋賀に帰って、翌日はJA湖東女性「輝く女性フェスティバル」から
私たち多賀の朗読サークル・ひだまりの会がお招きいただいたので「耳なし芳一」と「夕鶴」の朗読を参加者80名ほどの前で朗読しました。会場となったJA湖東本所の立派な施設に私たちはびっくり。終わって「ちょこっとパン屋さん」のマフィンとクッキー、それに植田農園の章姫という立派なイチゴをそれぞれにお土産にいただき嬉しい限りでした。

    夕方、大急ぎで彦根に買い出しに出かけましたが、強い向かい風で自転車は遅くいつもの倍ぐらいの時間がかかっているんじゃないかと思うぐらいでした。スーパーの前に止めてある自転車が強風で何台も倒されていました。

    帰って、座敷にささやかながら我が家の古い雛人形を飾ったら一気に春の気配が漂い始めました。

     On the night of the 23rd I came back home from Boston, and went to ”Festival of radiant women" which was organized by JA(Japan Agricultural Cooperatives) Kotoh because the recitation circle which I am belonging to was requested to recite two stories which were "The story of Mimi-Nashi-Hohichi" by Lafcadio Hearn and "Yuzuru (The twilight heron)" by Junji Kinoshita. The audience was about 80 women. JA Kotoh has an excellent facility and we were very happy to be there. After our performance was over, we received muffins and cookies as well as two packs of strawberries.

    As soon as I returned home, I went to Hikone to get groceries by bicycle. There was a very heavy head wind and I thought it took twice as long as I was used to. I saw many bicycles in front of the shop had been pushed down by the wind.

    After I came back home, I displayed old Hina dolls in the alcove for the Dolls Day in March. Then I felt that spring suddenly came to my house.






Wednesday, February 21, 2024

2月20日(火曜日)2024 

    家の食材と日本へのお土産を買いに今回初めて、レンタカーで外出しました。今回も予約しておいた車がないという理由で一回り大きい日産SUVを使うことに。大きな人が前に使っていたらしく座席調整は必至。運転は嫌いではないけれど他所の車を傷つけては大変と慎重な滑り出しで出発しました。

 三箇所目の大きなスーパーマーケットで探し物をしていると、どこからか私を呼ぶ声。滅多に来ないスーパーでしかもここはアメリカ。知り合いがいるはずなどないのに、あれっ?と思って見ると、そこにアメリカ人の男性と女性が私を見てました。一瞬誰かしらと思ったけれど、すぐにそれは私がH大学で仕事をしていた時に少しの間日本語のチューターをしていたPさんと奥様のKさんだと分かりました。びっくりしたの何のって!!Pさんは当時すでに日本語はかなり出来て日本で勤務が決まっていたのでブラッシュアップのつもりで私が話し相手になるといった感じでした。しばらくして婚約者のKさんを紹介されお友達に。すぐに二人は結婚して東京に数年。私たちの結婚式にも来てくださいました。

    ボストンでは娘が生まれる直前に二人にもお嬢さんが生まれたので米国での出産に関する色々なことを教えてもらい大変助かりました。その後、いつの間にか疎遠になっていました。一度Pさんにボストンで偶然お会いしたことはありますが、またご無沙汰。Pさんは全米日米協会連合の理事長を長年なさっていたようで、昨年は日本政府から外国人として叙勲されたとのこと。スーパーでの短い会話の中での嬉しいニュースでした。

    混雑したスーパーの中で見つけてくださったPさんご夫妻に改めて感謝です。「奇遇」という言葉がぴったりの再会でした。

    I rented a car for going out to buy foods and some small things for my friends in Japan. I requested a compact car but they rented a bigger one instead because the smaller car was out of the office. I like driving but I should have paid special attention not to damage that unfamiliar car.

    When I was looking for something I needed at the third shop which was a huge supermarket, I heard someone calling my name. I thought that it can't be true because I rarely went to that supermarket and I knew very limited people in the US. I looked towards the direction of the voice, and an American couple was looking at me. First, I wondered who they were, then I remembered that he was Mr. P.K. whom I was tutoring Japanese when I was working at Harvard Univ. and she was his wife, Ms.K.D. We haven't met each other for several decades. I was so surprised !!

    At the time we first met, P was expected to go to Japan for his business, so he wanted to brush up his Japanese with me. He introduced his fiance to me and we became good friends. Soon, they married and moved to Tokyo and lived there for a couple of years. They came to our wedding in Shiga.

    In Boston, just before I was pregnant, they had a baby girl, so K taught many things about giving birth in the US. I was helped so much by her advice. After that, however, I lost touch with them. I met P in Boston many years ago, but again we had not contacted each other. P told me that he had been a president of the National Association of Japan-America Societies for many years and was awarded by the Japanese government for his contribution between the US and Japan. I heard this wonderful news from him during our short conversation in the supermarket.

    I really appreciated that they found me in the crowded site. The word "Coincidence" is just suited in this situation and it was a happy meeting.






Monday, February 19, 2024

2月16日(金曜日)2024

    米国の大学で仕事をしている時から、職場を離れて10数年経つ今も変わらずお付き合いいただいているモンゴル文学を専門とする研究者の先生ご夫妻が今回もご馳走してくださいました。ちょうど中国のお正月の時期でもあり珍しい広東風の鍋料理とロブスターのお料理という贅沢なメニューでした。

 まず、鍋と一緒にテーブルに並んだのはココナッツの実が2つ。上をくり抜いて中のジュースとココナッツの果肉も削ぎ取ってお鍋に。熟していないココナッツのジュースは透明で、熟してくるとこれがココナッツオイルやミルクになるらしい。鍋の中にはすでにナツメが切って入っており、クコの実も。鶏のぶつ切りを入れてしばらく煮込んだ後に里芋ときのこも入れて、またしばらくグツグツ。調味料は何も入れていないのに日本食には絶対にないコクのあるいい味のスープでした。中国野菜の付け合わせと、ロブスターの生姜をタップリいれた少し甘辛い料理も贅沢この上なし。美味しかったのはいうまでもありません。

 いつもご馳走になるばかりで何もお返しできていませんが、日本でカフェをしている私を温かく見守ってくださるご夫妻のサポートに感謝するばかりです。

    Ever since I left my work teaching Japanese at the college in the US, a professor and her husband whose research is Mongolian literature have been keeping in touch with me and supporting my current work of running a cafe in Japan, and they always treat me when I come back to Boston. This time they invited me to a Chinese restaurant. Since it is around the time of Chinese New Year, they served a special hot pot and lobster meal which I never have a chance to eat.

    First, I saw two coconuts by the pot on the table which were cut on top. Waiter of the restaurant came to our table and poured the coconut juice and sarcocarp into the pan. I learned that if the coconut is young, the juice is clear but if it is ripe, the juice becomes opaque like coconut milk or oil. Some Jujube and wolfberries were already in the pan. Then, chunks of chicken were put in and we waited for several minutes. Then, taro and a kind of mushroom were put in after. It became a very good soup which I have never tasted in Japan. We also enjoyed Chinese green vegetables and lobster which were cut in pieces and seasoned with ginger and scallions. They were also so good!!

    Everytime I come back to Boston, they take care of me like this and I haven't returned anything to them. I feel so bad about it but I really appreciate their warm support to me while I am running a cafe in an old Japanese house in the countryside.












Sunday, February 18, 2024

2月15日(木曜日)2024

    最近、日本でも紅茶を楽しむ傾向があり、コーヒを飲むけど紅茶も好きという人が増えているように思います。アメリカでもこの傾向があるようです。

    昨日、ボストンの自然食志向のスーパーを覗いてみたら、紅茶のセクションが結構な場所を占めているのに驚きました。そして紅茶とともに日本茶もブームのようで、Green Tea. Matcha Tea, Yuzu Bancha, Kukichaなどといったラベルや言葉が目に入りました。

 アメリカの普通のスーパーでも紅茶のティーバッグと一緒にGreen Teaのティーバッグが随分前から売られていますが、カフェインがまったくないアメリカのスーパーの日本茶を私は美味しいと思ったことがありません。この少し高級感あるスーパーのお茶が美味しいのかどうか私には分かりませんが、アメリカ人の緑茶志向には興味があります。

    Recently there is a tendency for people to enjoy tea. Many people still enjoy coffee but some of them also like tea. I guess it is the same as the US.

    Yesterday I went to a supermarket which sells more natural food and I found the tea section took more space than before which made me a little surprised. I saw many green tea labels or boxes on the shelves as well as English tea such as Green Tea, Matcha Tea, Yuzu Bamcha, Kukicha, etc. It seems that Japanese tea is booming in the US.

    I know that Green Tea has been sold in the common supermarket in the US in the same section as English Tea, but I have never thought that those Japanese teas were good. I don't know if this Japanese Tea sells in this high-class supermarket, but I am just curious about whether people in the US like Green Tea.

 





Saturday, February 17, 2024

2月13日(水曜日)2024 

    私が半年に一度帰るボストンは日本に比べて変化の速度が遅いとずっと思っていました。街の景観や人々の様子など日本に比べたら特に東京に比べたら変化はあまりなく、古い地下鉄は駅も含めてそのままだし街の様子も何十年も大きくは変わっていません。けれども、今回は長年見慣れた景色や様々なものが良きも悪しきもあちこちで変わりつつあり今までとは違う思いです。
 
 景気の悪さを感じるのは、街の通りの店屋は飲食店も洋服屋も結構な数が閉店になっていること。そうかと思えば、街の古い図書館やスケートリンクが新しく建て替わるために取り壊されたり閉鎖されたりしています。近年、中高一貫の公立学校が新しく建て替わり、市のプールが綺麗になったばかり。この上、まだ公共の建物が新しくなることは、単に喜んでばかりいられません。それだけ住民の税金が上がることを意味しています。
 
 物価の上昇も驚きです。ガソリンは2年前よりむしろ安くなっていますが、日用品、例えばティッシュペーパーや化粧用コットンなど高くて驚きます。ティッシュは$3.99(600円)、コットンも安いもので$2.99(450円)。コットンが高いことは常々感じていましたが、日本では百均で2パックぐらい買えるのでこの値段には「えっ!何で?!」と叫びたくなる程です。 

 余裕で暮らしている人も生活費を切り詰めて暮らしている人も様々ですが、我が家は確実に後者です。

 I have been thinking for a long time that the US is much slower than Japan in terms of the speed of social change. The scenery of the area and people's looks haven't changed much in contrast to Japan, especially Tokyo. Subway and subway stations in Boston haven't been changed for several decades except the fee. But this time, I felt a little bit different. It has been changing here and there although I don't know whether they are getting better or worse.

    I saw many shops and restaurants in the central area of the town closed and this shows how the economy is going worse. On the other hand, the city's library and skate rink were closed or shut down in order to make new ones. Recently the middle school and high school were newly built, and the city's pool was remodeled. I was surprised by the fact that more public buildings will be built in the near future. I think we cannot simply feel happy because it means our tax will be raised.

    Although I feel the gas price hasn't risen much in the US, the commodity prices are getting higher. A box of tissue paper is $3.99 (¥600), a small pack of cosmetic cotton 2.99 (¥450), etc. We can get two packs of cotton in 100 yen shops in Japan. They all surprised me.

    There are many people who are living comfortably or people who are living by cutting back on living expenses but I can say that we definitely belong in the latter group.








Friday, February 16, 2024

2月10日(金曜日)2024

 一ヶ月ほど前にFBでクラウン・ロネが、宙に浮いてビルの間に挟まった二つの大きなクラウンの風船を紹介してくれて、それがボストンにあるというので行って見てきました。最寄りの駅で降りて当てずっぽうに歩いていると角を曲がったところに小さな人溜りができていて、そこに確かにありました。

    子供達ははしゃいで大人たちは皆カメラを向けていました。一体何なの?と誰もが持つ疑問に答えるように説明がありました。これはサミュエル・ベケット(1906-1989)というアイルランドの劇作家のエンドゲームという芝居に出てくるナッグ(男)とネル(女)を表しているそうで、調べると劇中では二人とも足をなくしてドラム缶の中で生きるという役柄。特にクラウンという設定ではありません。ロネとジージは明るいオープンなクラウンですが、これは何とも重苦しいキャラクターです。ベケットは不条理の世界を表す作家と言われていますが、この二つのクラウンが狭い空間に折重なるようにひょうきんな顔で浮いているのはある意味不気味です。

    ネットでこのエンドゲームを調べていたら、日本でも上演されたことがあるとのこと。佐藤信演出でナッグが三谷昇、ネルが渡辺美沙子とありました。三谷氏は大学の頃にお世話になり卒業後二度ほど芝居を観に行き、お宅に泊めていただいたこともあります。以後不義理をしていました。昨年亡くなったことを知り、思いがけない時に優しかった三谷さんに想いを馳せ自分の不甲斐なさに後悔ばかりが残っています

    About one month ago, Clown Rone introduced me to an exhibition of two big clown heads floating between the buildings. Since they are in Boston, I went to see them. Getting off the train at the nearest station, when I was walking down the street, I found small children gathering and clown heads were in the area.

    The children were excited and adults were taking photos. There was an explanation to answer everyone's question why clowns were there. According to the explanation, the two clowns were Nagg and Nell who were in the "Endgames" by Irish playwright Samuel Beckett (1906-1986). Bothe Nagg and Nell didn't have legs and stayed in steel drums, but those two were not set as clowns in the play. While my favorite clown, Rone & Gigi are open and funny, Nagg and Nell are dark and depressing characters. It is said that Beckett expressed absurdity in his play. The two funny-faced clowns, Nagg and Nell, were stuck in the narrow building space. It was creepy, in a way.

     When I was checking Endgame on the net, I found out that the play appeared in Japan a couple decades ago. Makoto Sato directed and Negg was played by Noboru Mitani and Nell was played by Misako Watanabe. Mr. Mitani is a familiar name to me, because he came to our dramatic club for teaching when I was in college and I went to his theater performances a couple of times after graduation. We were well taken care of by him and we even stayed at his house. I haven't contact him at all ever since. I knew that he passed away last year and I feel very sorry about it. I was glad to see his name coincidentally and at the same time I regret that I didn't express my thanks to him.













Monday, February 12, 2024

1月31日(水曜日)2024

    1月最終日の朝、小学4年生の読み聞かせで選んだのは科学絵本「かがくのとも」の「このよでいちばんはやいものは」でした。原本はロバート・フローマンの「Faster and Faster」。

    動物たちを比べて速いものをあげていき、海の魚、空飛ぶ鳥へと速いものがわかっていき、人間はそれらより遅いが新幹線やジェット機などの速い道具を作り出したこと。ジェット機よりも「おと」、おとより地球の自転のほうがずっと速いこと、それより人工衛星や宇宙船。更に地球が太陽のまわりを回る方が速いこと。もっと速いのは「ひかり」。子供達は途中の速い順番は知らなかったけれど「ひかり」が一番早いことは何人か知っていました。

    さて、「光より速いものがある」と作者は述べます。それは人間の「想像力」。想像力で宇宙の果ての星にも何百年先の未来の国へもいけると。

    読み終わって、みんなに目を閉じてもらって、自分が海に浮かんでいると想像してもらう。何の隔たりもない、自由にどこへでもいけるこの自分の想像力の海を大切にしよう、この海で伸び伸び泳ぎ回ろう...と作者は語ります。生徒はもちろん先生もみんな目をつぶっていました。  

 良い本に出会えました。

    On the last day of January, I went to Elementary School for storytelling. The book I chose was "The fastest one in the world" from the science picture book "Friend of Science" and it was originally from "Faster and Faster" by Robert Froman.

    There were a series of comparisons to choose the fastest animal among all. Cheetah is the fastest animal on the surface but tuna is faster than cheetah and swallow is faster than tuna. Human beings are much slower than all those animals but people invented faster devices such as jets. Sound is faster than jet but rotation of the earth is much faster than sound. Artificial satellites and spacecraft are faster than the rotation of the earth, and the speed of the earth going around the sun is faster. The fastest one is light. Some kids knew that light is the fastest although they didn't know the ranking in the middle.

    Now the author said that there is something faster than light and that is our imagination. We can go to the stars which are at the end of the universe and go to the future world several hundred years ahead.

    After finishing the reading, I asked the children to close their eyes. I said "you are floating in the sea and this is an imaginary sea.There is no wall and you can go any place you want." The author says that let's take good care of this imaginary sea and swim freely."  I saw that all the kids, even the teacher, closed their eyes.

    I am glad I could encounter such a fine book. 












Saturday, February 10, 2024

1月25日(木曜日)2024

 多賀町役場から大雪警報が出ていたために、夜のうちに雪かきをしておこうと二度ほど作業をしましたが、積雪はそれほどでもなくその時は雪も止んでいたので、このまま朝になるかと思いきや、私の見込みは甘かったようです。

    朝になって見ると開けておいたところから更に20センチほど積もっていました。昨夜も朝8時の時点も道路の融雪装置は稼働していませんでした。しばらくして午前10時ごろには水が出て、ビチョビチョ状態。地下の水道管の凍結を避けるために止めてあったのでしょう。

    昔のように道の両脇に側溝があった時の方が積もった雪を放り込めるので確実によかったのですが、今は融雪装置と言っても、車の通るところだけ除雪されて家の前は水分を含んだ重い雪を各家がシャベルで両側や道の真ん中の水が出ているところに持っていくしかありません。

 今は運動と思って頑張れても、この先どうなることか..... 腰を痛めないように日頃の運動の大切さを思います。

    Since the town had announced a heavy snow warning, I eliminated snow several times during the night which accumulated in front of my house. It was not heavy at that time, so I thought it would not be so heavy. However, I realized that my prediction was off.

    More than 8 inches of snow had accumulated from where I shoveled last night. The snow melting pipes coming from the central part of the road were not working both at night and at 8 am. After a while at around 10 am, the water was coming and some part was clear on the road but it was only the center and both sides of the road were covered with drenched snow. Maybe because of avoiding the water pipe freeze, they had stopped running the water during the night.

    I prefer the past when we had a side-ditch on both sides of the road before the current road was made by taking off the ditch, because we could put accumulated snow in there so that it would melt away. It was really hard work for me to put all the wet snow on both sides of the house.

    I could do this work by myself now, but I wonder how long I can do it in the future. It is important to keep my muscles well for the future.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

1月24日(水曜日)2024

    クラウン・ロネ&ジージの緊急支援の期間が終わりました。インドでのロネの大怪我に続いてジージの左足骨折という前代未聞のダブルパンチで今後の活動が危ぶまれた二人でしたが、多くの、実に多くの方々の温かい力強い支援のおかげで、回復の兆しとともに元気に活動を続けています。今後更なるクラウンの魅力をロネジジらしい大らかな笑いで皆さんに届けてくれるでしょう。楽しみですね!

 (以下、Rone and GigiのFBから)

    フアンドが終了しました。『みんなのおかげでいまあるセサミ』は、2024年のスタートを好調な滑り出しで迎えておりますっ!日本の片隅のちびっこいクラウンたちを、こんなに温かく応援して見守ってくれる人がいる…これこそが奇跡だよ。ホント。

http://blog.livedoor.jp/op_clown2/archives/52618412.html?fbclid=IwAR0JkmdEytrpqJUj9mr7mYQ792l8b6yGpRX0R7_eaoHsK_MsfrjUphPWn0U

    Clown duo, RONE & Gigi Emergency Relief Project was over as of Jan. 21st 2024. Both Rone & Gigi had severe damage in their bodies individually in different situations (Rone fell down from the stage during their show in India and Gigi broke her left leg when they were rehearsing in Tokyo). Because of their injury, they faced a financial crisis and asked for support. As a result, they could get a big amount of warm support not only from Japan but also from overseas. They are showing a good sign of recovery and acting their clown roles with a lively and energetic mind. I am glad to see their clown show with a big and happy laugh.

https://roneandgigi.com/emergency2024/6545/

Sunday, January 21, 2024

1月20日(土曜日)2024

    19日は毎年絵馬通りに獅子舞がやってくる日で、昨日もお昼を過ぎて笛・太鼓・カネの音が近づいて我が家にもお獅子がきてくれました。カフェのお客様にも喜んでいただけたのは何よりでした。

    さて、土曜日のもんぜん市で珍しいものを見つけたので買ってきました。「さわし柿」。祖母がいた頃に聞いたことがあるような.....。柿の季節はとっくに過ぎているのに今頃柿?レジの地元のかたに聞いてみると渋柿だけど渋抜きをして甘くなってるよとのこと。「丸かじりも美味しいよ」と書いてあったので、早速買って家で食べてみました。うわ〜っ、甘〜い!おいし〜い!ヘタのところを焼酎に漬けて作るそうですが、猿も渋柿だけは食べない嫌われモノの柿がこんなに美味しくなるなんて、人間の知恵って大したものだなと思います。

    January 19th is the day the Shishi-mai troupe comes to our neighbourhood every year. The troupe was approaching with the flute, drum, bell and finally a big Shishi (lion) came into my cafe. Customers and I all welcome the troupe.

    Now, I found very special persimmons at the morning market. It is called "Sawashi-gaki". I felt a little strange because persimmons usually appear in the fall but it is January and out of season. A local cash register woman told me that they were astringent persimmons but had already removed bitterness and became sweet. I purchased them and ate one of them. Wow, it was so sweet and good! According to the net information, Shochuu (distilled spirits) was inserted into the calyx of each one and stayed for a certain number of days. Nobody likes astringent persimmons like even wild monkeys hate them. I admire human's brain changing an astringent persimmon into such a sweet wonderful one.









Friday, January 19, 2024

1月18日(木曜日)2024 

    朝から小降りながらも私にとっては無情の雨。丘の上の中学校に読み聞かせ。電動アシストとはいえ、ギアを1にしてもやっとという感じ。「100年たったら」は壮大な輪廻転生がテーマ。中一の生徒諸君がどう感じたか分からないけど集中して聴いてくれました。

 うちへ帰ってコーヒー飲んで蒸し野菜いっぱいの朝食を済ませ、今度は市立病院へ。帰りに買い物をするので愛のりタクシーは使わず自転車で出かけることに。雨用ジャケットとパンツで万全の支度.....のつもりが出発するとすぐに後悔。長靴にすればよかった、サングラスがあれば雨が目に入ることはなかったのにと。診療が終わって、特に変化なし次からは地元の医院で外用薬の処方箋を出してもらうように手紙を書いておくと医師に言われたことが何よりの朗報でした。

 帰りに本屋、薬局、スーパー2軒寄りました。自転車に乗って聞こえてくるのは、ただただ車が行き過ぎる音ばかり。車がなかった昔はさぞかし静かだっただろうと思いながら無事宅。

    今日のお慰みはスーパーで買ったマグロでマグロ丼、といっても寿司ご飯の上に魚を乗せただけ。それでもほっと一息、美味しく頂きました!

    It was a rainy day in the morning which made me depressed. In the rain, I went to Taga Junior Highschool which stands on the hill by bike for storytelling. Even though I was riding an electric assist bicycle and I set the lowest gear, it was still hard to go up the hill. I read "After 100 years" by Mutsumi Ishii which had the theme of grand reincarnation. I didn't know what the students thought of it but I am glad that they concentrated to listen.

    After coming home, I finished my breakfast with hot coffee and a lot of steamed vegetables, and left for the hospital to check my hip joint with my bike again. Wearing a rain jacket and pants, I thought I was protected perfectly from the rain but I regretted leaving without putting on rain boots and wearing sunglasses. I, however, got good results that my left hip joint didn't get worse and the doctor said that I could get the prescription at the nearest clinic if I need to and I don't need to come to the hospital which is very far from my home.

    On my way back home, I stopped by a bookstore, pharmacy and two supermarkets to buy necessary things. While I was riding my bike, I heard the noise of busy cars passing me and I thought it must have been so quiet in the old days before cars were invented.

    I bought fresh tuna at the grocery store and made sushi rice topped with tuna at home. It was so good! 









Sunday, January 14, 2024

1月8日(月曜日)2024

    雪が10センチほど積もる寒い朝となりました。地元のデパートはお年玉年賀はがきを郵便局より早く独自に抽選番号を決めて割引券を発行していて、私は3割引と2割引がそれぞれ3枚ずつ当たっていました。有効期間中に外出できるのは今日だけ。しかし、あいにくの雪。雪道の自転車は流石に危険と考え、地元の「愛のりタクシー」を利用することにしました。「愛のりタクシー」とは路線バスの小型版と考えるのが分かりやすく、決まった所から決まった所に安く行けるのですが、1時間前に予約が必要なことと、タクシーのように行きたいところへ行けるわけではありません。高齢者が多い地域では彦根の病院やスーパーなどが目的地となります。

    さて、絵馬通りの通行規制が解除になっていないので、多賀大社前駅まで自転車で行って、そこからタクシーに乗車することに。絵馬通りは融雪装置と明け方からの除雪車のお陰でビチョビチョながら自転車や歩行も可能で駅に近づくことができました。....が、駅近くまできて、何と駅の前が全然除雪されていないではありませんか!
天気がイマイチとは言え、今日は成人の日。多賀大社参拝の方が駅で電車を降りてこられるのに、駅前が雪溜まりとは何ということ!除雪車が駅前をぐるりと回れば済むことなのに..... 役場がどこかの業者に依頼しているのでしょうが、あまりに配慮がないことに呆れるばかりでした。

    買い物から帰ってきた時は雪は溶けていたので証拠写真が撮れなかったのが残念!

    It was a cold morning and 3 inches of snow had accumulated. In Japan many people send New Year's postcards with lottery numbers. Ahead of the announcement of the lottery number by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, the local department store announced their own lottery number using the same postcard and gave discount tickets such as 30% off or 20% off at the department store.. I hit several 30% tickets and 20% tickets. Today was the only day that I could go to the store before the expiration date, but the weather was not good for me to go out by bike. So I decided to use a local discount taxi which is not a regular taxi and because of several limitations to use that taxi, I had to go to the railway station to get on it.

    Since snow-melting water was coming from the central part of the street, I could walk toward the station with rain boots, but when I came just near the station, I was very surprised because there was no water drainage system, and snow was not eliminated in front of the station. I felt sorry for the people from the train and went to Taga Taisha through the street. If the station master was in the station, he would have managed this problem but no station staff is there. I don't know who has the responsibility to eliminate the snow in that area. It should be solved as soon as possible. I am ashamed that the problem remains unresolved still now.

    I took a photo of the area but the snow was already melted when I came back from shopping.




Wednesday, January 10, 2024

1月4日(木曜日)2024

    新年が始まって、いきなり能登での大地震と飛行機事故のニュース。世界も日本も決して穏やかな幕開けではありませんが、お天気だけは穏やかで表通りは多賀大社参拝のかたで賑わいました。

    暮れからずっと営業を続けて、元旦と二日のカフェは目の回るような忙しさでした。3日目は随分落ち着きカウンターのお客様とも余裕でお話しができました。四日目の今日も好天で絵馬通りは人通りが多そうでしたが、週末のことを考えてカフェは休ませていただきました。

    買い物に出ようと表にでてポストを開けると、多賀大社の延寿すずの箱が入っていました。毎年、新年にいただくN様からの贈り物です。せっかくお出でくださったのにコーヒーもお出しできず失礼してしまいましたが、早速記念写真を撮りました。

    十二支の5番目の干支である辰は唯一空想の動物。「昇り龍」と言われるようにあらゆる物事を上昇させて良い方向へ導く力があるそうです。どうかそうであってほしいと心から願います。

    Just soon after the new year started, we had a big earthquake in Noto Peninsula (Japan sea coastal area) and an awful airplane accident at Haneda airport in Tokyo. It is not an easy start of the year in both domestic and the world, but only the weather was fine and many people went to the shrine passing by my cafe.

     I had been opening my cafe without a break since the 29th of last year and the first two days were the peak of busy days. The third day of January was easier than previous days and I could enjoy a little talk with the customer at the counter. Then I could take the day off on the fourth day.

    I found a little white box in my mailbox. Earthenware bell shaped dragon from Taga-Taisha, which is a symbol of this year, was inside the box. Instantly I knew that it was a gift from Mr. N who is honorary chief priest of Taga taisha. Every year, I receive his kind gift of the earthenware zodiac bell. I felt sorry for not serving coffee to him because of closing the cafe.

    Dragon is the fifth symbol of the zodiac and it is the only one which is an imaginary creature. "Rising dragon" has the power to lead everything to good fortune. I sincerely hope that this is the case.






Sunday, January 7, 2024

1月1日(月曜日)2024

 今まで大晦日の夜は8時ごろ、人がそれほどいない多賀大社でゆっくり年越し参りをしていましたが、今年は一度夜中の12時近くに行ってみようと思いました。

    時間がきて神社に行くとすでにかなりの人出。それも若者が大勢。古いお札(ふだ)を返して、拝殿に向かうも人が並んでいるようで動きがまったくない。参拝の順番を待っているようでもないので脇からすり抜けて正面に進んでみました。新年用に賽銭を入れる場所が広くとられてこの間見たしめ縄の下あたりからお参りすることになっています。とりあえず、賽銭を投げ入れてお参りしましたが、周りの人たちの様子が変です。賽銭を入れることも参拝することもなく、そこに立っているかスマホを見ているだけなのです。結構な人。私の参拝は終わりましたが、何だこれは?何か始まるの?と思って、少しそこで待つことにしました。携帯で時間を見ると11時58分。間もなく太鼓がドンとなって新年を知らせました。すると、どうでしょう!周りの人たちが一斉にお賽銭を投げて、手を叩いて参拝を始めたのです。そして次の人と入れ替わっていきます。こんな光景は初めてです。まるでアメリカでカウントダウンして新年を迎える時のよう。違和感でいっぱい。

    Every year I visit Taga Taisha on the last day of the year at around 8pm. There are several reasons for me to do so. First, I go to a shrine at the end of the year rather than on the first day of the year because I have no time to run my cafe on new year's days which are the busiest days in the year. Second, I want to avoid crowds of people who visit the shrine to make wishes for the new year. However, this time, I decided to go to the shrine at midnight.

    When I went to Taga Taisha, many people had already gathered there. Most of them were younger. However, they were not moving toward the front of the shrine and I wondered why. Since I wanted to go to the center to pray, I reached there weaving my way through a crowd and finished praying by offering some money. Then, I felt something weird because people nearby were not praying nor throwing money, and they were just standing or looking at their cell phones there. I didn't know what was going on, so I stayed a little longer to know what would happen next. It was 11:58 in the midnight and soon after, I heard a big drum sound to let the people know it started the new year. I saw all people started throwing their money into the offering area and praying in a shinto way. It was just like Countdown in the US and I had never seen such a sight in the shrine. It was very strange for me.

    I went home thinking about my next visit to the shrine at the end of 2024. I prefer visiting earlier like I had been doing because I have more quiet time to pray and thank God for the year passing safely.