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 百人と食べたいな… 」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。もちろん、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。しかし、たくさんの人と一緒に何かをする雰囲気は好きです。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が、私は人の中にいるのが好きなのです。しかし、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

Cold Moon in Vienna ウイーンのコールドムーン

Today is the 30th of December. I heard that a full moon in December is called “Cold Moon”. When I took this picture, an elder pedestrian spoke to me and said “You may make a wish”. We all wished each other a wonderful New Year and good luck and parted ways. I found this short conversation quite nice and pleasant.

Always when I see the moon, I get a feeling that I want to talk to it. This feeling is maybe not only my own. The moon is always so close to us and seems so familiar. I find it somehow filled with meaning that we are able to see such a beautiful moon at the end of the year. I find it especially mystic … From my mouth the following words flowed spontaneously “Thank you, moon. Stay with us please forever…”


 お月様が出ているのを見ると、私はいつも月に話しかけたくなります。きっとこんな気持ちになるのは私ひとりではないと思います。お月様はいつも私たちの傍にいるので、親しみを感じます。1年の終わりにこのような美しい月を見ることができるのは、何か意味がありそうに思います。とても神秘的… 思わず私は呟きます「ありがとう、お月様。いつまでも私たちの傍にいてね…」。

Picture by Yuka Simeno, December 30th 2020 in Vienna

Moon over Mariahilfer church at the end of the year 2020 2020年師走のマリアヒルフ教会とお月さま

Yesterday (December 26th) I finally saw at least a partially blue sky. Since for along time in Vienna there were cloudy and dark skies I was very happy about that. In the evening I went for a walk on Mariahilferstrasse. The air was cold and dry. Suddenly I noticed the moon above the church in the sky. The weather improved and the moon was clearly visible. Normally here is one location of Christmas markets in Vienna with many visitors. This year however, Mr. Haydn in front of the church must have felt somewhat lonely. Right now there should still be a small market in front of the church selling New Year charms to give to other people. This year however everything was cancelled.

One night passed and one day later the weather has improved even more. There is even sunlight and a blue sky. How much I have missed it! But the weather forecast however says this will sadly not last long. That’s why I will go for a walk soon and enjoy this blessing.


 一夜明けて今朝は更にいいお天気。青空が広がり、お日様の光が溢れています。どれほど待ち望んでいたことか! しかし予報では、またお天気は下り坂とのこと。ですからこれから散歩に出かけて、束の間の賜物を楽しみたいと思います。

Picture by Yuka Simeno,. December 26th 2020 on Mariahilferstrasse in Vienna

Switched on! Vienna Christmas illumination 灯りました!ウイーンのクリスマスの照明

From the small street where I live to the big shopping street Mariahilferstrasse, I suddenly noticed that it was so bright. I looked up and saw that the Christmas illuminations had been switched on! Oh how I had waited for this! How bright and beautiful! There were many other people taking pictures of it. Everyone had been waiting for it. In this difficult time filled with restrictions and bad news I feel as though these lights also illuminate my heart. I noticed that tears flowed from my eyes and it was not due to the cold wind…


Picture by Yuka Simeno, December 4th 2020 at Mariahilferstrasse Vienna

Snow locking down Vienna 雪にロックダウンされたウイーンの街

Yesterday (December 3rd) when I opened the curtains of my window, I was surprised to see that it had snowed. The roof of the neighbouring house was all white! Still it was snowing a little bit more. I love Vienna in the snow but this time I could not be entirely happy about it. Snow in Vienna during the time before Christmas I find special because it creates a unique atmosphere. Especially Christmas markets in snow are so pretty. Getting hot wine or punch and enjoying it in the cold while warming up with it. That is a specialty in Vienna and together with snow it is more enjoyable. This year however all Christmas markets have been cancelled! How sad. The last couple of years it was rare to get snow during that time and then right now it did snow.

I heard that yesterday there was snow not only in Vienna but in fact the entire country, which is quite rare. If there is a lot of snow in the mountains, it is lovely to go skiing. The last couple of years, those regions as well did not have enough snow. And now it is snowing even though tourists cannot come to Austria easily. I find that somewhat ironic.

But starting today in Vienna it will get a little warmer every day and the snow will not stay for a long time. Presumably Monday the snow will be barely visible and the city can defrost a little bit from lockdown! Because the infection numbers came down a bit, the Austrian government decided on lifting some restrictions. With all my heart I hope that this time will end soon.




Picture by Yuka Simeno, December 3rd 2020 in Vienna

Slightly fewer infected people 罹患者数が多少減少

Today, November 23rd, the Austrian minister of health publicly stated that the number of infections has decreased slightly. If all goes well, starting December 7th, there will be some easing of lockdown conditions. Yesterday in Vienna there was a beautiful red dusk. I hope that our future will be like that beautiful dusk filled with hope.


Picture by Yuka Simeno, November 22nd 2020 on Mariahilferstrasse in Vienna

Second lockdown in Austria オーストリアの2度目のロックダウン

Since Tuesday, November 17th 2020, Austria has been in the second lockdown. But this time it is a little less strict than the first one. Some people are out on the streets going for a walk, playing sports, and some restaurants are open for getting takeout food. Unfortunately the infection numbers are still increasing. I hope that the effect of the lockdown will show in the numbers soon. All of us living in Austria are looking forward to Christmas markets. Previously it was said that despite the pandemic there would be Christmas markets but because of the situation some markets have already been cancelled. Today the preparations for the famous market in front of City Hall Vienna were stopped. Now it is being said it is unknown whether this market can indeed open at all this year. To be honest, I never thought we would experience such a time…


Picture by Yuka Simeno, November 19th 2020 in Vienna

Beautiful discovery in the city of Vienna ウィーンの街で発見した素敵なもの

Today the weather turned really nice. After some time I went for a longer walk to Burggarten and a short stroll on Kärntnerstrasse. Due to the coronavirus restaurants are closed except for takeout service. Also because recently there was a very sad incident, not many people were out on the streets. I made some discoveries and my heart could be consoled a little bit.


Found a pinecone between fallen leaves! Pinecone is called “Bockerl” in Austria. In Japanese it is called “Bokkuri”. Sounds somewhat similar, doesn’t it?
Found different types of leaves.
Christmas illumination on Kärntnerstrasse. Even though it is not switched on, glass reflects the sunlight and glitters in different colours. Like magic!

Pictures by Yuka Simeno(except the third from above), Novmber 6th 2020 in Vienna