Invisible injury 見えない傷

View from hotel window at Piatra Neamt, Romania 2012
ホテルの窓からの景色 ルーマニアのピアトラ ネアムツ 2012年

In the winter of 2012, my husband and I had concerts close to Piatra Neamt in Romania. I remember that it was very cold, the streets were covered with snow and it was difficult to walk. We wanted to have some hot drinks in our hotel room. My husband prepared some tea in a cup we had brought with us from Vienna. We chose that cup for travel because it was said to be robust against heat and not made from plastic. Nevertheless when my husband passed the cup with hot tea to me, the cup suddenly burst and boiling water spilled onto my right thigh. I immediately removed my clothes and cooled down that spot in the shower. Unfortunately there was a burn injury which hurt very much. We called our Romanian organizer and she came to our room right away to ask whether we needed an ambulance because it was already quite late in the evening. I wanted to wait and see how it would develop and so she went to the nearest pharmacy to buy some bandages.

The next day there was still strong pain and the burnt spot even had a completely different colour. That day I was supposed to sing an aria from “Die Csardasfürstin” by Emmerich Kalman. Since this region of the concert is close to the operetta’s protagonist’s home, I heard that the audience would be happy to hear that aria. There was an interlude when I was supposed to dance a little. But I was in strong pain and it was impossible for me to sing and dance. The announcer made a statement to the audience that I was injured and they should have understanding which was helpful for me. When I entered the stage, I forgot all about my pain and I could perform. This is a beautiful memory. Even afterwards at the party with the locals, I participated in some Romanian dance with them!

The pain increased however and the next day when we departed, it was difficult for me to walk. We thought that we should call for assisance at Vienna airport to take me to a taxi in a wheelchair. This assistant looked at me and asked what the problem might be. The location of my injury was invisible on the thigh and since I was wearing a long coat, it was completely out of sight. I have a feeling that my pain was difficult to estimate because just from seeing me it was maybe impossible to recognize. That assistant took me in wheelchair a long way to the exit but there was still some distance to the taxi stand. Out of consideration I declined to be taken any further and said goodbye to the assistant. With the help of my husband I walked very slowly to the taxi and the pain was very strong.

The burn mark was quite severe and stayed visible for a long time. But without seeing a doctor, it eventually fully healed and now there is even no more trace of that injury.

2012年の冬、主人と私はルーマニアのピアトラ ネアムツという街の近くでのコンサートに出演しました。とても寒く、通りは雪に覆われていて、歩くのが大変でした。ホテルの部屋で、熱いものを飲もうと思い、ウィーンから持参したカップに主人がお茶を入れてくれました。このカップは、壊れにくく、耐熱だけれどもプラスティックではない、ということで、旅のために購入しました。ところが、主人が私に手渡した時、突如としてカップが炸裂し、熱湯が私の左大腿部にかかったのです。私はすぐに服を脱いで、お湯のかかった部分をシャワーで冷やしました。しかし、火傷は非常に痛くてたまりません。ルーマニア人の企画者に連絡すると、直ちに駆けつけてくれて、すでに夜間だったため、救急車を呼ぼうか、と言ってくれました。私が、少し様子をみてみることに決めたので、企画者の方は薬局で、薬や包帯を買ってきてくれました。




Street vendors in the mountains of Northeast Romania

Picture by Yuka Simeno, December 2012 in Romania

Finally it is working! ついに稼働!

The device I mentioned in a previous post was finally active today! This is more than mist however, almost like a gentle shower. One can really cool down, fantastic!


Pictures by Dieter Pasching and Yuka Simeno, June 2020 On Mariahilfer Strasse in Vienna

“Fuyō” or “Mukuge”? 「芙蓉」か「むくげ」か?

The part closest to Mariahilferstrasse of Otto Bauergasse in the 6th district in Vienna was renovated a couple of months ago. The border between sidewalk and street was removed and the street is now all flat and paved with new stones. This makes the steet appear broader. There are new flowerbeds . Since the advent of Spring, many different plants can be enjoyed. In the flowerbeds trees have also been planted. They are quite slim and look young. It was hard to identify what kind of trees they are. Some now carry blossoms as in the picture above. I know this blossom, I suppose they are from Asia.

There are two different kinds that carry quite similar flowers but they are different after all. One is called “Fuyō” and the other is called “Mukuge”. In Japan in my garden there is a “Mukuge” tree. My mother loved plants and so she had this tree planted in our garden. But she used to call this tree “Fuyō”. Always in summer when this tree carried big soft bright purple blossoms, then my mother said “Oh how beautiful the blossoms of Fuyō are!”. Recently my gardener said that it is “Mukuge”. My mother passed away without knowing it was in fact “Mukuge”. It does not really matter because this tree gave her great joy.

When I see the blossoms of the trees in Otto Bauergasse my thoughts fly to my garden in Japan. Does my “Mukuge “carry blossoms too now? And I think of my mother…

ウィーン6区の、オットー バウアー通りの、マリアヒルファー通りに近い部分は、少し前に改装されました。歩道と車道の境がなく、平になり、新しい石も敷かれました。道が広くなったように見えます。新しい花壇もできました。春が訪れてから、いろんな花が次々と咲き、目を楽しませてくれています。花壇の中には木も植えられました。細くて、まだ若い木のようです。いくつかの木が、上の写真のように花を付けました。この花、私、知ってます。東洋の木だと思います。


オットー バウアー通りの木を見ると、私の想いは日本の我が家の庭に飛んでいきます。もう「むくげ」は咲いたでしょうか?そして母のことを想います…

Picture by Yuka Simeno, June 2020 in Vienna

Rainy Summer Solstice 雨降りの夏至

Today (21st of June) is the Summer Solstice. In Japan there is also a partial Solar eclipse. Unfortunately here in Vienna this time it cannot be observed. Summer solstice and and a solar eclipse (New moon) on the same day, of which some people say that it could mean that something special might be coming. I do not know, I have limited knowledge. All I can see is that it rains every day. I think this may not be very unusual in Vienna.

Now in Japan it is rain season. Once I spoke to a Japanese friend who used to live in Vienna about rain season in Japan and I said that there is no rain season in Vienna which is nice. She replied that in her opinion there is a slightly rainy period in June here in Vienna. I thought that could indeed be the case. It could be said that now there is a “mini rain season” in Vienna now.

Recently sometimes the rain noise wakes me up during the night. This morning I woke up and was surprised that already around 4 AM the twilight started to illuminate the sky somewhat. Today is New Moon and also rain which means it should be quite dark. However Vienna is at a latitude where the daylight hours in summer are longer. But starting tomorrow, the days will get shorter every day and so maybe I can sleep better.




Picture by Yuka Simeno, June 2020 in Vienna

Gradus ad Parnassum グラドゥス アド パルナッスム

Due to coronavirus related travel restrictions I still cannot go to Italy to my voice teacher. But I still have the previous recordings of my lessons with her and so I can nevertheless learn a lot. At home I kept trying to understand those lessons and kept trying over and over again. I have noticed that recently I can sing the way I want to express myself. I am so happy and want to continue on this path. I give thanks to my voice teacher and look forward to seeing her again soon.

Classical singing, which I am specialising in, truly is a precious art. Everyone can sing somehow but there is only one right way to master this art. That can only be studied with a good teacher. I can say that everything that I have experienced, also with all previous teachers, has supported my path. I am very grateful for that. My path is not straight, there have been many detours and obstacles but I want to believe that all of it has value. In the future I would like to convey the best and most correct to others through my experiences.

When I was a juniorhigh school pupil , I studied piano siries “Children’s corner” by Claude Debussy. The title of the first piece is “Gradus ad Parnassum” and my piano teacher commended me for playing this piece very well, which made me very happy. I heard that this title “Gradus ad Parnassum” means a difficult path which has to be followed anyway. I find it amusing that Debussy chose this title for the first piece in “Children’s corner”. I grew from this children’s corner and now have reached an age when I can look back at the path to Parnassus but I am still continuing on it.



中学生の頃、ドビュッシー作曲のピアノ組曲「子供の領分」を習いました。第1曲目は「グラドゥス アド パルナッスム」という題名で、ピアノの先生が非常に上手に弾けている、と褒めてくださったことがとても嬉しかったです。この「グラドゥス アド パルナッスム」は、通らねばならない難しい道を示している、と聞きました。ドビュッシーが「子供の領分」の第1曲にこの題名を選んだことを、とても面白く思います。私は、「子供の領分」から育ち、「グラドゥス アド パルナッスム」を振り返ることのできる年齢になりましたが、今も変わらずその道を歩んでいます。

Picture by Yuka Simeno, June 2020 in Vienna

Cat’s ears 猫の耳

Cats are very cute. Even when they are naughty, I find them cute. I love all about cats! Especially the ears are one of my preferred parts of cats. They are thin and when I lightly pinch them, I feel happy. Cats mostly let me do that without problems. We talk to cats and we think they are listening but I heard that cats can choose what to hear. That may be because we think they are listening to us when in fact they are listening to something else or just ignoring us. You never know!

I think this applies to humans as well. When during my education at university I had to teach at a high school, the class teacher I was assigned to said “the pupils only hear what they want to hear”. For example if there is a trip planned for the next day they like that information but in other cases they don’t remember at all what had been said. Therefore when I have something important to say, I should repeat it several times. I found that interesting and so when once I spoke about important information I wanted to check whether the pupils were really paying attention. I told one pupil to repeat what I had said but she could not and so it really is better to repeat the message several times. This does not only apply to pupils but to adults as well. I have experienced similar situations many times in life. If one wants to really make others understand something important, it is better to repeat that message several times.

I cannot complain about others, I am the same. I sometimes notice that I too am not really paying attention to other people and that my mind sometimes wanders… This may be due to a lack of concentration ability. In this respect I have a somewhat unpleasant memory. When I was a child my father taught me at home, also during the holidays. I am grateful that he so diligently wanted to teach me things, but his explanations were very long and quite repetitive. Therefore I developed a method of seeming to listen and sometimes reply “Yes, yes”. In my head however I heard the music I wanted to hear or thought about things I would have liked to do at that moment. This method was successful but I noticed that I have some difficulty with concentration. When I had to do something with concentration, my mind wandered and other thoughts came to my mind. I cannot blame everything on my father’s lectures but I suspect one factor of it lies there. I started to do concentration exercises sometimes and now I am doing much better.

But the cat ear method of choosing what to hear is not always bad. For example if my flight is delayed and around me there is much noise, I can sink into my thoughts or let music flow inside my head. And I think “I now have cat’s ears”, which gives a funny happy feeling.





Picture by Yuka Simeno, “Ear of my darling” 2020 in Vienna

Season of cherries さくらんぼの季節

Now is the season for cherries and they are offered at Viennese supermarkets. I think cherries are fruits that are mostly harvested in regions with a cooler climate. In Japan, cherries from Yamagata in northern Japan are well known. Every year, one of my mother’s friends living in the north, sent us a box of Yamagata cherries. They are much lighter in colour than those in the picture above and quite expensive. Since cherries are seasonal fruits, they can only be enjoyed for a short time. I remember that those cherries in the box sparkled like jewels to my eyes.

Austria is situated northerly enough and there are many cherry trees, also in many private gardens of houses and those owners can harvest beautiful cherries from their own trees. But often there are white worms inside the cherries. In Japan, cherries are special delicacies and it is wondrous to me that people can just pick them from their own trees and I had never seen worms in them. Austrian friends said worms are a sign of naturalness and of not using pesticides. If you leave cherries in water overnight, those worms will come out and you can enjoy those cherries worm-free. If you should swallow a worm, that is actually no problem and Austrians say that they consist mostly of protein.

Still to me it is unusual to eat cherries with worms and so for many years I decided not to buy any cherries in Austria. But the cherries are so beautiful and in their season there is the opportunity to buy them at a reasonable price. One time, more than 15 years ago, I gathered the courage and went to a market to buy some cherries. I asked the vendor whether his cherries had worms in them. He replied proudly “none of my cherries have any worms, see for yourself!”. He opened one cherry with his fingers and we both saw a white worm moving inside. Both of us could not speak any more and I left the stand without cherries.

Now in Austria however, there are cherries from many different countries. Recently I bought some from Greece, the ones in the picture above are from Italy. My Austrian husband always tells me that nowadays in supermarkets they don’t sell cherries with worms. And he says” If the unlikely case should occur, who really cares? It is mostly protein!” That is why I started buying cherries in Austria, they all taste quite good, no matter where they come from. Still to this day I need a little courage to eat cherries .





Picture by Yuka Simeno, June 2020 in Vienna

Thoughts about my father 父への想い

Yesterday was Father’s Day. If I had called my father on the phone in Japan, he would have been very happy about it. Sadly, I could not do that because he passed away at old age in 2013.

He was a high school teacher. There were some students who were close to him and every year some of them came our house at New Year to visit, even when he grew older. He gave them a warm welcome and served food and drinks. From a young age, I always had to greet those people or other guests when they arrived and again when they left. I was quite shy and it was hard for me but I think that as a teacher and father he did the right thing.

My father wanted to become a lawyer and studied law at Chuō University in Tokyo. Unfortunately because of the Second World War he could not pass the law exam. He taught poltitics, economics, ethics, world history and Japanese history . At home he used to read a lot and always continued studying. His spirit of studying had a strong impact on me and I really respect it.

He did not only study by himself but also spoke a lot to his family about his studies. Because of my father’s decision, at home it was almost only allowed to watch the news on TV. He always gave critical remarks and an analysis of the news to us. Thereby as a small child I could listen to his words. I could be said that he was teaching his own family every day. Especially during the summer holidays he made plans for me and I had to study all day under his watch.

This diligent motivation for study was well known among his relatives but he was infamous for forcing relatives’ children to study. However I am sure that those relatives did not know my father’s funny side. He was a wonderful teller of fairy tales. About dogs and cats he could invent funny stories and I really liked to listen. Also surely I was the only person who could do insolent things to him. For example combing his hair or sitting on his shoulder (of course as a small child). If relatives had seen that, they would surely have been amazed because my father was known as a strict person.

He lived to be over 90 years old. Sadly he developed dementia late in life and so what he said was no longer fully reasonable. That made me said. But what he taught me, especially ethics and politics, I do value and cherish a lot. Furthermore he was a motivated singer! Over about 80 years old he studied Japanese Noh theater singing. Because I chose the path of specialised classical singer, he spoke for hours about vocal technique. Surley his relatives do not know that. I know that he wishes for me to walk this path ever more deeply and become a good voice teacher.







Picture by Yuka Simeno, June 2020 in Vienna

Newcomers on Mariahilfer street in Vienna ウィーンのマリアヒルファー通りのニューフェイス

Recently on Mariahilfer street in Vienna, I found those two new things. The one above looks rather strange, it is mounted on a fire hydrant. On top there is a solar panel. I did not understand what it is and for many days we talked about its purpose. Today on the internet we found what it is good for! It is a device that sprays fine mist when the temperatures are high in order for people to cool down. It is quite warm in Vienna now and I can hardly wait to see it in action.

The device on the picture below is obviously a trash can. It also wears a solar panel as a “hat”. I understand that it is an automated trash compactor which reduces the size of the waste so that one can put more in it. How fantastic!

Because both feature solar panels I suppose their operation is quite ecological. Devices that are well thought out for the environment are very important. I would like to welcome them to Mariahilfer street and I hope they will do a good job!




Picture by Yuka Simeno, June 2020 in Vienna

Moon or clouds? 月か雲か?

Moon over Grinzing

When I was very young, I was walking on the street with a friend on a windy night. I noticed that the moon in the sky was moving quickly. I was fascinated and said to my friend “Look, the moon is moving so fast!”. Then my friend said “No, the clouds are moving fast”. That is correct of course, the moon never moves so quickly that it would be visible. I felt quite embarrassed.

I think that such optical confusions exist sometimes. For example, when the train I am travelling on is stopping at the station and there is another train in the opposite direction starts moving, I get the sensation that my train is moving as well. Have you had such experiences?

I think that I am not able to face away from the direction of travel on trains or buses. I have heard however, that this is a deception of my eyes because the outside scenery is coming from behind and is moving to the front which my eyes find uncomfortable. It is said that when one closes the eyes, one cannot exactly sense the direction of movement. I tried it and I think it could be true.

I find the diference between visible and actual things very interesting. When I experience such a thing, I try to enjoy it.





Picture by Yuka Simeno, in Vienna