“Really…?! ”Yesterday when I was in the kitchen doing the dishes, I heard my husband’s voice from the living room. It was quite loud and emotional and I thought that something must have happened so I went to the living room immediately. Iphone in his hand, likely watching some news and said “An-chan will quit”. This meant the Austrian Health minister Rudolf Anschober. Since his name is a little longer, we affectionately called him An-chan. He will resign from this post very soon due to some health issues. We think it is no wonder because this job is extremely demanding. Actually we always worried about his health because due to the Covid pandemic he was extremely busy all the time. It could be said that he sacrificed his own health in order to safeguard the health of the citizens. From our hearts we give thanks for his effort. During this difficult time, his existence was a consolation and agreeable. We heard that he used to be a school teacher and his well tempered aura often calmed our souls. He will surely stay active with good results as a politician of the Green Party.
Some time later, my husband saw the name of Mr. Anschober’s successor. His name is Wolfgang Mückstein and we thought that name sounded rather familiar. My husband said that one of the several doctors working at our General Practitioner has the same name. 5PM news came on TV and Vice Chancellor Kogler presented him as the new Health Minister, quite a young man wearing jeans and sneakers. He actually is the one from our General Practitioner and some years ago we received influenza shots from him. Since we know him personally, we feel no less sympathy for him than for Mr. Anschober. We expect him to do a fine job.
For a couple of days the temperature in Vienna was quite agreeable. I heard that from tomorrow it will get much colder for some time. Before the change in weather I went out for a walk today. In the beginning it was sunny and mild but slowly it became overcast and later I heard rain falling. Finally the trees started to blossom and green leaves came out. They have to endure some colder days now.
Today is Sunday. Mild weather invited me out for a walk. Due to restrictions still in place I usually take walks around my neighbourhood but today after some time I went to the city centre. The wind was so fresh and agreeable, it was quite lovely walk.
Recently when I read some Japanese news websites, I was really quite shocked. One headline I saw “Kokujin” (black person), “Hakujin” (white person), and another headline on the same page with “Asiakei” (person of Asian descent). Other races are described by colour of skin but for themselves using the expression “Asiakei”. If other races are to be described by colour, then also here the word “yellow person” should be used. Does one only use sensitive terms to describe one’s own race? Another day on the same news site I found a report about an interview on the street in the USA and the person answering was referred to as “Kokujin says…”. Why is it necessary to emphasize skin colour in this case, it would be sufficient to describe this person as an American. If the racial origin of that person were indeed important, there should be a different description used. Japanese media should immediately use different racial descriptors in their reporting. Like the currently used term “Asiakei”, there should also be an acceptable term such as “Africakei” (person of African origin) or “Europakei” (person of European origin). If those words are too long, the media should find an abbreviation for them.
Today is Easter Monday. Since Austria is a predominantly Catholic country, today should be a day of family gatherings and celebrations. But now there are anti-Covid restrictions in place and so one household can only receive one person from another household. I think this is hard for those wanting to celebrate this time.
The rabbits in the picture above I bought at a shop in Vienna some time ago. They are toys from Japan and were sold in the childrens’ books department. Even though I am Japanese I had not previously known that product and I find them really cute. I use them to make an Easter decoration together with eggs. When Easter is over, they return to their nest in a box and will be waiting for the next Easter holidays. Hopefully next year it will be possible to have proper celebrations with families united.
In Austria right there is a TV spot “1, 2, 3”. This spot is to raise awareness about the Covid situation. 1 is wearing a mask. 2 is keeping a distance of two metres to others. And 3 means getting tested every three days.
Last night I had a strange dream of a cat. My husband and I sometimes take care of seven cats from a family we are friends with. One of those is “Whiskey”. Some years ago we saw him at the window when we passed by. Even though there are several cats living there, only he came to us when we called. Because we never gave him any food at the window, we thought that it must be friendship. All cats living there are former stray cats and it could be said that that apartment is a kind of cat asylum. This family also gave some cats to other people and maybe thereby Whiskey thought we could adopt him. The owner also said we could adopt Whiskey but unfortunately my husband has strong cat allergy and so we cannot have any.
Yesterday I dreamt of “Whiskey”. In that dream there was a party at that apartment. The owner family, many friends and both of us were there. I do not know why but I held Whiskey in my arms wrapped in a blanket. Actually it is really difficult to hold him because this place is a kind of asylum and the pets do not have a very strong relationship with owners and so being held by someone is very unusual for him. In my arms inside the blanket he was peaceful and still almost like a doll. His eyes were milky white and strange. My husband and I said goodbye to the family and returned to our place with Whiskey. I cleaned his eyes and the usual Whiskey colour returned which made us happy. I woke up with the joyful feeling of a cat being in the home.
And then today afternoon we received a message from Whiskey’s owner and surprisingly they went to see a veterinarian doctor with him. Recently he lost some weight and they were somewaht worried about that. Thankfully the checkup did not reveal any reason for worrying. When I got that message I had to associate it with my dream and that really surprised me. Since he was doing better in the dream and also doing ok in reality, our joy was double. I could not stop thinkng that there really are inexplicable things.
Soon there will be Easter holidays when they will go to the countryside again and we will again be able to take care of those cats. I am looking forward to it!
I miss meeting friends at coffe houses in Vienna. The last time was at the end of December 2019. That day at this very coffee house in the picture I met a colleague from Vienna Conservatory. We studied opera together and after that lost contact for many years. After some time however she contacted me and we met s couple of times at this place to chat. That day in December she told me that she would like to sing together in a concert with me and my husband. I was very happy and accepted the offer. Also that day we spoke about “A new virus”. She was well informed and spoke about her fears, I on the other hand was quite optimistic and did not at all believe that it could turn into a global pandemic. She was right and sadly the situation turned worse and worse and Austria was placed under lockdown. There were also times when lockdown was lifted but because I was somewhat afraid I had no mood to go to either a restaurant or a coffee house. Right now Vienna still has restrictions. Gastronomy is all closed except for take out. It is also still a difficult time for all events. The last concert I went to was in February 2020. The outlook for the concert together with my friend is still to this day very unknown.
Viennese coffe houses have their own distinct tradition. I love to be at one of those places. Some time ago I wrote for “Kochi Shinbun” an article about Viennese coffee houses and I would like to attach it here (Only in Japanese unfortunately but I hope to translate it in the future).