One of my favourite Japanese snacks is “Kakinotane”. Those are spicy ricecrackers with peanuts. It is very popular and a long time ago a Japanese friend of mine in Vienna offered it to an Austrian friend. He became “addicted” to it and said that she should bring back two kilograms from Japan. My friend said “We must never let foreigners try Kakinotane because later there will be problems”. Nowadays in Vienna it is easy to buy Kakinotane, for example in so called Asia shops. There are some companies which produce it, but I especially love the ones from Kameda. Because it is imported from Japan, it is much more expensive than in Japan and so I only buy it for special occasions and I want to appreciate it as a treat. Usually one pack does not last very long. My Austrian husband loves Japanese food but he is not a very big fan of it. Therefore there will be no fight about Kakinotane. When I eat it he says “It stinks”. While you are eating you do not smell it, but for example on a train or in an airplane the smell is instantly recognizable. I cannot believe that a dried and hard snack has such a strong smell. In Kameda’s Kakinotane there are often six small packs in a big one and on each small pack there is one interesting story written on it. Today there is a story about rain forecast in Japan. In Japan the weather forecast shows the probability of rain in percent. According to this story 0% is not nothing. It is not read “zero” but rather “rei”. Zero is truly nothing but Rei means almost nothing but there could be a little bit. In German 0 is totally nothing.
By the way… In German 0 is read as “Null”. When I saw James Bond 007 in German language for the first time, I had to laugh because it sounds like “Nuru nuru sieben”. In Japanese there are many words to express sounds, feelings, actions, etc. “Nuru nuru” usually describes some oily or slimy slithering. Therefore the handsome secret agent suddenly did not sound so cool anymore. By the way… Roger Moore is one famous 007 and I am a huge fan of his. I rather prefer him as Simon Templar (The Saint) and Lord Sinclair (The Persuaders) but his 007 was a good fit at the time according to the Zeitgeist.
Yesterday I bought one pack of Kameda Kakinotane in order to have a special treat for New Year’s Eve and Day, today is the 30th of December and already almost all of it has vanished…
Lullaby from the Chugoku region (Old traditional Japanese song)
Kosaku Yamada – Composer and Arrangement
中国地方の子守歌 日本古謡 山田耕筰 作曲、編曲
Yuka Simeno – Soprano 示野由佳 ソプラノ
Hina Oono – Piano大野日菜 ピアノ
Old lullaby which was sung in the Hiroshima/Okayama region. The mother comforts the child and the next day she will go to the shrine in order to pray for the child to have a good life.
From the CD “Japanese Songs – Journey of the Japanese Heart” (2018) CD「日本の心の旅」より 2018年発表
Today is Christmas Eve and I chose this video as a Christmas present. I read somewhere that young Chopin in his native country Poland took his piano outside, played there and his friends and neigbours enjoyed his music. I rememebred that also Gautama Siddharta delivered his teaching outside under a tree. The video above gives me wings of imagination to fly across time and space and fills my heart… (in this video Samson François plays Debussy. The pianist and composer give me the image of the setting being in Paris).
This year it is not so cold right now and there will be no white Christmas in Vienna. Back when I first came to Vienna, I was riding the streetcar and heard two girls talking about white Christmas. According to them, there absolutley must be snow at Christmas. On that day I was indeed snowing heavily and in that year there was really a white Christmas. But recently there have not been white Christmases. On TV they said that snow for Christmas in Vienna is actually rather rare historically. However, we would like to dream about white Christmas, how about your city…?
Ever since I was a child, I listened to Samson François’ (pianist) music with passion. Back then I could not exactly understand my fascination with his music. Also when I was studying the piano, besides my fascination I always asked why he played differently than what was written in the scores. Later I changed my major from piano to voice and the beginning was quite difficult becuase in my head I was still in an instrument mindset. After continuously studying and also with good teachers, I understood bit by bit what singing is and what voice is. When I watched the video above, I felt deeply moved by it and something within me felt as though a big riddle had been cleared up. Out of joy I almost feel like crying. I want to ever more deeply study voice and because of watching this interview I think that I have not been “singing” enough. I feel motivated to “sing”.
Here is a brief overview of what he is saying:
He is not looking for virtuosity, speed or technique necessarily. He is constantly looking for the melodic curve. Rhythm must not be ignored, that is anti-musical. When one sings, one does not think about rhythm, rhythm comes after melody. Rhythm is a function of melody. As examples Beethoven and Schumann are architecturally constructed pieces. He seeks to go from note to the next note. In order to find the melody it is allowed to ignore a little bit the rhythm. When he sees a piece, he thinks about how he would sing it. He tries to sing with the piano. In order to feel music, one has to sing it.
It has gotten cold and I heard that the flu season has already started. “You will go to the peak of En Vogue” my doctor in Japan said to me when I was a child. He knew me very well and he meant that not in the sense of clothes but my being the first to get influenza. I think that I always take good care of my health but this winter it seems that I am “En Vogue” again. I am feeling better now but still cannot practice singing just yet, which is very hard for me. In Japan many people wear masks against influenza but here in Austria that is forbidden by law. The current government decided that this is considered “hiding your face” (meant as a law against terror). In Austria there is no custom of wearing a mask in everyday life. In different countries there are different customs. Nothing can be done against that. In Japan it is common to gargle, which is not “illegal” in Austria but maybe not as common (in German it is called “gurgeln”). I alwas gargle when I get back to my apartment but still once a year I catch something. My Austrian husband seldom gargles and seldom gets sick, I find that unfair！ Usually I only use water or slightly salted water to gargle. When one already has a sore throat, then it is of course good to use some medicine to gargle. In my experience this is quite effective against a sore throat. A long time ago in Japan I read a tragic story about that topic. A small child used salted water and accidentally swallowed it. This child then died because of it. I feel so sorry because gargle is meant to be beneficial for health but such an accident happened. This child used way too much salt and being very young it was fatal. When I gargle, I often think about that child and that I should be careful.
I don’t know why but I like this picture. I have never noticed such a cleaning vehicle. Maybe some time in Italy I did in fact see it but especially in front of a sexy mannequin it caught my attention. Three wheels and small. How cute! Thanks for doing a good job! 何故かわからないけど私はこの写真が好きです。私はこんな清掃車に気がついたことがありませんでした。多分、イタリアですでに見ていたのでしょうけど、セクシーなマネキンの前でとても目をひかれました。3輪で、なんだかかわいい…。清掃車の方、お疲れ様！