Thank you Mr. Anschober アンショーバーさんありがとうございます

“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.

「ええーっ!本当?!」昨日、台所で昼食後の食器を洗っていると、居間から夫の叫び声が聞こえてきました。すごく大きくて感情的だったので、何事かと居間に駆けつけました。「アンちゃんが辞めるって…」ニュースをチェックしていたようで、スマートフォンを片手に夫はそう言いました。「アンちゃん」とは、オーストリアの社会.保健.介護.消費者保護大臣ルードルフ アンショーバーさんのことです。お名前が少し長いので、夫と私の間では親しみを込めて「アンちゃん」と呼ばせていただいています。健康問題のため、急に大臣の職を辞めることになったというのです。実は、私達はさぞや激務であろうと、彼の健康を大変心配していたのです。コロナ禍のため、非常に尽力されていたからです。住民の健康のため、御自分の健康を犠牲にしていらっしゃったかのように感じていました。心から御礼申し上げたいです。私達は彼の仕事だけでなく、外見から受ける印象にも助けられているようでした。もと、学校の先生だったそうで、とても落ち着いた、朴訥としたお人柄に見受けられて、コロナ問題でテレヴィなどでお目にかかる度に、私達の心が休まるように思いました。きっとこれからも緑の党の政治家として活躍されることでしょう。

少し後に、夫はアンショーバーさんの後任の方の名前が発表されているのをスマートフォンで見ました。ヴォルフガング ミュックシュタインさんだということです。なんだかどこかで聞いたような名前だと思っていたら、夫が「そういえば、いつもお世話になっている病院のお医者さんに、そういう名前の人がいたなあ」と呟きました。オーストリアでは、誰でも、予防接種や、健康の相談ができるかかりつけの小さな病院(普通のアパートの中にあることも多い)を持っています。私達のところは、数人の医師が働いていて、その中のひとりが同じ名前なのです。午後5時のテレヴィのニュースの時間がきて、副首相のヴェルナー コーグラーさんが新しい大臣を紹介しました。彼の呼びかけで登場した、比較的若くて、ジーンズ姿の男性は、なんと、その、私達のお医者さんだったのです!数年前に私達は彼からインフルエンザの予防接種を受けたことも思い出しました。大臣が知人ということになると、親しみも感じます。大変なお仕事ですが、よろしくお願いしたいです。期待する気持ちが湧いてきました。

Today’s pictures of Vienna 今日のウイーンの写真

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.


A flying Lippizan over the courtyard of the Spanish Riding School.
Fountain at Maria-Theresienplatz.
Usually there are many people arounds such as tourists but now there are only a few people around. Despite that, it is now compulsory to wear a mask here. A policeman told me to put on a mask, but is that really necessary here?
マリア テレジア広場の噴水。
Flower bed in front of a restaurant. Sadly due to the lcokdown this restaurant is closed. These flowers could delight the eyes of many people buit now they blossom lonely.

Pictures by Yuka Simeno, April 12th 2021 in Vienna

A Sunday in Vienna in April 4月のウイーンの日曜日

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.


White blossoms in Burggarten. Every year I marvel at its beauty.
Yellow blossoms at another exit of Burggarten draw looks towards them.
Doves as well are resting. Fountain in front of Albertina.
Flowers in their beds delight our eyes.

Pictures by Yuka Simeno, April 11th, 2021 in Vienna

Kokujin, Hakujin, Asiakei 黒人 白人 アジア系

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.


Happy Easter 2021 2021年の復活祭

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.



Picture by Yuka Simeno

1, 2, 3

Antigen testing station free of charge at a pharmacy in Vienna. The test result will be delivered by email. ウイーンの薬局に設置された無料テスト場のひとつ。結果はeメールで送られてきます。

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.


Picture by Yuka Simeno, March 2021 in Vienna

Favourite cat 最愛の猫

Whiskey relaxing exactly on my bag 私のバッグの上でくつろぐウイスキー

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!





Picture by Yuka Simeno

Conversation at a Viennese coffee house ウイーンのカフェハウスでの語らい

Picture taken through the window. It can be seen that pictures have been taken down from the walls. Are they using this time for renovations?

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).



Pictures by Yuka Simeno