Where have all the flowers gone…? 花はどこへ行ってしまったの…?

The first tulips of the year at our supermarket. They say, spring will come soon… 今年初めて見るチューリップがスーパーマーケットに並びました。もうじき春だよ、と告げているようです。

Concerts of friends, going to visit friends, congratulating someone… We like to give flowers as presents. But because all activities are restricted there are very few possibilities to buy flowers. Due to the lockdown, flower shops are closed too. I presume florists have prepared to present beautiful flowers and that work surely must be planned and executed way in advance. Just when beautiful flowers could come to markets, lockdown was imposed. What will become of all those poor flowers? Nobody admires their beauty, nobody will get consolation and nobody will receive joy through them… I find that quite sad…

お友達のコンサート、お友達のお宅に招待された時、誰かを祝うため… お花を贈る機会はいろいろありますよね。しかし、規制のため、現在、人にお花を贈る機会が非常に少なくなっています。ロックダウンで、お花屋さんは閉まったっきり。お花作りの人達は、綺麗なお花を出荷するために、計画して、大切に育ててきたことでしょう。さあ、出荷、という時が、ロックダウンにあたってしまったら…? お花はどうなるのでしょう?誰にも美しさを愛でてもらえず、誰も慰められず、喜ばれることもなく… 何て残念なのでしょう…

Picture by Yuka Simeno, January 2021 in Vienna

Wanting to eat together with 100 friends 百人で食べたいな

Tender and crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Delicious fragrance of butter. 外側は繊細で、かじると、薄く軽くハラハラと砕けてほどけてゆく。中はしっとりもちもち。バターの香りがたまりません。

Friday last week the weather was quite nice. Despite the lockdown more people than I thought were strolling on Vienna’s shopping street Mariahilferstrasse. Even though there is nothing to buy except groceries, people seemed to have a little bit of shopping feeling. It was also nice to see many people and I understood that I indeed missed it. The temperature was also not too low and so my husband and I wanted to enjoy that somewhat positive mood and so we went to get a fresh croissant from a new French bakery and we ate it sitting on a bench on Mariahilferstrasse. Then and there I remembered a Japanese childrens’ song “When I will go to first grade of primary school Will I get one hundred friends? Together with one hundred friends I want to eat…”. I love this song. Of course as an adult I know it is difficult to have one hundred friends but I love the mood of doing something together with other people. Exhibitions, concerts, parties,… Of course one cannot look into the hearts of other people, there may be those who are not having fun or having negative thoughts, etc. but to me it is mostly pleasant to be in a crowd of people. Right now because of the restrictions that is impossible. Eating that croissant in the cold wind I really felt and enjoyed a shimmer of the aura of “normality”.

 先週の金曜日は大変良いお天気でした。ロックダウンにもかかわらず、わりとたくさんの人が、ウィーンの買い物の目抜き通りマリアヒルフ通りに繰り出していました。食べものなど、生活必需品以外買うことはできませんが、誰もが少しだけ、買い物しているような気分になっていたかもしれません。たくさんの人を見ることは私にとって心地よく、とても懐かしい感じがしました。気温もあまり低くなかったので、この良い雰囲気を楽しみたくて、主人と私は、新しくできたフランスのパン屋さんでクロワッサンを買い、マリアヒルフ通りのベンチに腰掛けて食べることにしました。食べている間、私は「一年生になったら 友達百人できるかな 百人で食べたいな… 」という童謡を思い出していました。私はこの歌が大好きなんです。大人になった今では、百人友達ができるのは難しいことは分かっているつもりですが、たくさんの人と一緒に何かをする雰囲気が好きなんです。展覧会、コンサート、パーティー… もちろん、他人の心を覗くことはできませんから、楽しんでない人や、良からぬ考えを張り巡らしている人などもいるかもしれません。けれども私は人の中にいるのが好きなのです。ところが今は規制により、それができません。冷たい風の中でクロワッサンを頬張りながら、束の間の「普通の日常」気分を味わいました。

Picture by Yuka Simeno, January 22nd on Mariahilferstrasse in Vienna
Despite lockdown I discovered a new treat. Because Take Out is permitted, this shop is selling hot “Kaiserschmarren”. That is an Austrian sweet speciality and it could be described as thick-cut pancakes. Emperor Franz-Josef liked it very much and so it has the word “Kaiser” in the name. ロックダウン中ですが、新しくお店が開きました。テイクアウトは許されているので、持ち帰り専用の焼きたて「カイザーシュマレン」のお店です。カイザーシュマレンは、オーストリアのお菓子で、パンケーキをぶつ切り状にして焼き上げます。皇帝フランツヨーゼフの好物だったことから、カイザー(皇帝)の単語をお菓子名の頭に冠しています。Picture by Yuka Simeno, January 24th 2021 on Mariahilferstrasse in Vienna

Mozart for cats? 猫にモーツァルト?

From left to right: Oscar, White Nose, Whiskey and Ska-chan 左からオスカー、シロハナ、ウイスキー、スカちゃん

My husband and I are now taking care of seven cats in our neighbourhood. The more we get to know those cats, their very unique and different characters are very visible. Our best friend since the beginning is “Whiskey” with red and white colour. He is very friendly and seems to be quite easy-going. The big black and white cat we call “white nose” because he has a white pattern around his nose and the one with grey tiger pattern and white socks we call “Oscar” are brothers. Their appearance is different but their character is somewhat similar. From our point of view, they are naughty. Those two are the only ones that strike others when they feel like it. We still love them as all the others.

Recently we sat on the sofa watching TV. “Whiskey” was on my lap sleeping with a loud purr. Next to me was “white nose” and I thought I was enjoying a relaxing time with cats. Out of the blue, “white nose” stretched out a front paw and struck “Whiskey”. That movement was very rapid and “white nose” did not move at all except for that paw movement. I could not believe what had happened and “Whiskey” stopped purring. For some time we were in alert mode but “white nose” did not make any more suspicious movements and so I resumed watching TV and “Whiskey” started purring again. Some time later when we had almost forgotten that attack, again “white nose” rapidly struck “Whiskey”. That movement was so lightning fast, almost like a chameleon catching an insect with its tongue. “White nose” made no other movements as though he was detached from all happenings around him. Within about thirty minutes he repeated those attacks about five times.

The next day on the sofa maybe because “Whiskey” thought he did not want to get struck anymore, he lay next to me and “White nose” took the spot on my lap. From my human perspective the spot on the lap is better than next to me and I thought because of that “White nose” would leave “Whiskey” alone. At first everything was peaceful and I concentrated more on the TV program but in that moment, “White nose” again made the “chameleon tongue” momvement striking “Whiskey” . “We have to do something” was our thought.

My husband and I remembered that in some central square in an Austrian town they were playing classical music from speakers and street violence of young people was measurably reduced. And so the next day instead of TV we played classical music. That time again there was “Whiskey” on my lap and “White nose” next to me. The music we played was a famous piano concert by Mozart. First we were watching out for cats’ reaction and they seemed to relax. “This works” we thought and we were quite happy with the result. All of us could enjoy the music. But suddenly from behind “White nose” grabbed and attacked “Whiskey”. In the middle of the beautiful second movement! We were shocked and even though I wanted to avoid it, I gave “White nose” a light slap on the head. “White nose” gave me an angry look and went away to some place. As though “Whiskey” had thought “I do not want this anymore”, he too went away from the sofa. What can we do…?





Picture by Yuka Simeno, January 2021

Surrendering to cats 猫に降参

In this picture, even though it is the festive beginning of the New Year, I am already in a horizontal position. I was so tired from all the petting. My husband and I are again taking care of the 7 cats of our friends. Because of the current lockdown in Austria, the cats’ owners again went away to their vacation home in the countryside. During the Summer holidays we took care of the cats and so they know us already. The difference is that now is the cold season and cats want to get closer to us than in Summer.

The situation in the picture happened because I just wanted to sit on the bed for a while. First Whiskey, he actually has a different name but here we call him that because he has beautiful Whiskey-coloured eyes, came to me and lay down on my lap. We befriended him first because passing by the window outside we saw him first. He always came out when we called him from outside like a dog even though we didn’t feed him anything, which is unusual and the other cats don’t do that. We think that we are very good friends. Also inside the apartment when I sit down to relax, this red white cat very often comes to me to cuddle. But now the other cats also want to come close to humans. I wish that those cats relax around me in peace. Unfortunately the world of those seven cats does not work as perfectly. Only Whiskey is very friendly and able to share a lap with others. All of the others however want the lap to themselves and that day too other cats came to demand my lap. Since Whiskey is a friendly and easy-going one, he left my lap and came to my side. I find him to be a very good cat. Finally three cats stayed around me and I understood that all of them wanted to be petted. I only have two hands and petting three cats equally at once is very difficult. Also, the greystriped cat with white socks (we call him Oscar for a specific reason) is naughty and if I don’t pay attention, he strikes Whiskey with his paw. He seems to be quite jealous of our close relationship with Whiskey. In order to prevent that, I take special care to watch Oscar and prevent him from striking others. Actually I wanted to rest a little but there was so much tension and effort to be fair at petting that I lay down on the bed and gave up.



Picture taken by my husband, January 2020