Today is Thursday “Fronleichnam”, which is also a public holiday in Austria. After a long time I went for a walk around Museumsquartier. This is a very popular space between two museums. Until recently it was compulsory to wear a mask here and all the poular seats were not provided. Very few visitors and the square was almost empty. Today it was very lively again, benches were again provided and a new sculptures are here to decorate the space. Many people relaxing and enjoying the day. That is so nice to look at.
In front of a house there is a small flowerbed which I pass by almost every day. It is the flowerbed in this picture and it was a little joy to look at those plants. Somehow those small fruits got a little bigger each day and I thought they might be Strawberries. Yesterday when I passed by and was looking forward in joy to its growth. When I saw it however I felt some confusion. The flowers and fruits were gone! There may be some reasons but to me it is so sad that I cannot see them anymore. Just like the flowerbed which does not belong to me, such things happen and there is just nothing we can do about them.
I am so happy, that restaurants and cafés are open again in Vienna. To me it feels as though the city of Vienna has recovered from an injury. After some illness when one finally goes outside, everything looks fresh. And one realizes again that one has recovered with a grateful feeling in the heart. I think everyone has some kind of such an experience. I feel that the city of Vienna had suffered together with its inhabitants. I wish for a continued recovery.
That was a long time. Finally Vienna emerges from lockdown. Cafés, restaurants, hotels, etc. are finally allowed to open their doors to the public. There are still measures taken to allow guests to enter such as Covid test result, proof of vaccination and proof of past infection. There is a limited number of guests per square meter and per table. I feel that everyone is relieved and I yam happy as well. Unfortunately today’s weather was not very good but I felt that rain was refreshing. Finally Austria is categorized as a safe country (Category A).
In Vienna nature is in full bloom and a beautiful season has arrived. Recently after a long lockdown period finally shops opened up again. After May 19th other locations such as restaurants will open again. Finally Vienna will come closer to some normailty.
When I was about ten years old, there was a lecture in primary school about a fairy tale with a dragon. The teacher said we should paint appropriate paintings with watercolours. When I saw the finished painting of one of my classmates, I was quite astonished. Behind a flying dragon, he painted a mountain range in soft purple. I had never consciously looked at that colour before and I found it so beautiful. This colour was very appropriate for that mystic fairytale.
At home I told my grandmother about it and asked her the name of the colour. She said “That must be Wisteria colour”. I said that I really liked this colour and my grandmother made quite an annoyed face and said “What? That colour you like?”. I was very shocked and asked her why. Then she said that colour was for old people but she herself actually loved it too. My grandmother meant that concerning Kimono that coulour was for older people and that children and young people should wear brighter colours such as red for example. She added that Wisteria is not a flower with a very positive meaning. I did not ask any further and was very dissatisfied with the conversation. Somehow I realized because of her annoyed reaction I should not discuss Wisteria colour any more. But when I went for the traditional temple visit for New Year with my friend I saw Wisteria decoration hanging from her hair! Yes, her Kimono was mostly red colour but the hair decoration was “Wisteria colour”. On this very important and festive day for Japanese my friend was allowed to wear this colour. And my grandmother had such bad words for this colour. I found that to be unfair.
Later, after graduating from university in Japan, when I started to live in Vienna I had to take Subway line 2. Back then this line was from Karlsplatz to Schottenring and almost all platform walls were decorated with purple mosaic. Many small squares with many different shades of purple. I liked it very much but because of my grandmother’s brainwashing I was shocked to see it. I told a Japanese friend about it and she also said that this colour is not usually used for public spaces in Japan. Also in Austria the well known chocolate brand “Milka” uses this colour as signature colour. There was even a Milka commercial featuring a purple cow! Then I realized that I was truly in a foreign country.
Concerning coulours of Kimono, my grandmother may be right. She was born in “Meiji” era and very old-fashioned. She wanted her only grandchild to really savour life as a child. Times have changed and nowadays I see children in Japan too getting purple couloured things. Also I think my grandmother may have had different thoughts about “Wisteria blossoms”. Later, I believe written by Osamu Dazai, in Japanese Literature there was the association of people hanging with “Wisteria blossoms”. The shape of those flowers hanging from trees may have been uncomfortable for my grandmother. During times of world war she said many soldiers hung themselves in the forest because they could not stand the strenuous life in the Japanese military. She said “Many young and healthy men died for no reason. War is truly despicable”. She also lost her only brother to war.
Despite all that I really love this “Wisteria colour”. Growing older my affection for it grows even stronger. There are so many gradations of purple, more reddish, more blueish, even almost greyish… I marvel at the limitless variety of expression and character. When I see this colour my soul gets calm and I feel happy. I thank my classmate who made me aware of this colour with his painting.