Today Vienna City Marathon took place. Since the morning at home we constantly heard helicopters flying above the city. This year the event was blessed by the weather and so in the afternoon we went for a walk. It was after 2PM but still people were running and here you can see some pictures.
“This table I bought from IKEA”. That is what a Japanese resident, in the same building I was living at, said when she showed my a beautiful round table. It was my first apartment in Vienna and it was over 30 years ago. Back then I was totally new here without any knowledge and I thought that there was a Japanese furniture shop in Vienna called “Ike-ya”. And I thought how wonderful Japanese people are also selling furniture in Vienna. Soon however I discovered that it was in fact called “IKEA” and that it was a Swedish chain of stores. This name could really be Japanese and so I misunderstood.
Back then about once a year, a thick catalogue of IKEA was sent free to all households in Vienna. One day that catalogue appeared at the door just like a present. What joy it was to browse through that catalogue in full colour! I moved four times within Vienna but always to fully furnitured places. Therefore buying furniture was not necessary but nevertheless with pleasure I always looked at the catalogue and fantasized. Also “IKEA” was somewhat far away from the city and without my own car, I had to use the shuttle bus for about 30 minutes. So when I finally arrived I could see beautiful interiors and imagine living there and as souvenirs I took home small things such as candles, napkins, artificial plants, etc.
Time passes, online commerce has become so widespread, that nowadays most catalogues and sortiments can be viewed on the internet. Therefore that present from IKEA to me ceased to exist. But recently IKEA gave me a big present of a different kind. In a central location of Vienna a branch of IKEA opened its doors! It is next to Westbahnhof station and there is even one direct access from the station concourse. The size and capacity of this store is smaller but one can stroll around inside and see many different types of merchandise. Above all, there are many small affordable items such as candles, napkins, etc. IKEA is now close to me.
Last year due to Covid there were no Christmas markets in Vienna and now finally some have opened again! I visited the one at Spittelberg in the 7th district. Many shops were showing their colourful goods sparkling into the darkness. How nice to see that again! It was really busy and it was even difficult to move forward in the crowd. I was quite astonished however that many visitors were not wearing masks. Even this past Spring it was compulsory to wear masks in some empty park areas. Of course by now many people have been vaccinated but nevertheless I hear that people get infected. Even the Netherlands with a high percentage of vaccinations have recently reimposed a lockdown for all. I got a little fearful, could not calmly look at shops and quickly returned home.
Starting today, because of the coronavirus, in Vienna there is now a compulsory registration for all customers of gastronomy. This does not apply to take out items. Name, telephone number and/or email address has to be registered by the establishment on a paper form. A friend of mine told me that such a system is already in place in Germany and many people provided false names. She told me that she will not provide her email address because she wishes not to receive any future advertisements. My husband does not want to register and therefore he says we should always do take out. Today we went to get some coffee and sweets from Starbucks as take out. Even though it had rained a little before, we sat outside somewhere on a bench on a street nearby eating and drinking. I would like to value and protect my private information.
The part closest to Mariahilferstrasse of Otto Bauergasse in the 6th district in Vienna was renovated a couple of months ago. The border between sidewalk and street was removed and the street is now all flat and paved with new stones. This makes the steet appear broader. There are new flowerbeds . Since the advent of Spring, many different plants can be enjoyed. In the flowerbeds trees have also been planted. They are quite slim and look young. It was hard to identify what kind of trees they are. Some now carry blossoms as in the picture above. I know this blossom, I suppose they are from Asia.
There are two different kinds that carry quite similar flowers but they are different after all. One is called “Fuyō” and the other is called “Mukuge”. In Japan in my garden there is a “Mukuge” tree. My mother loved plants and so she had this tree planted in our garden. But she used to call this tree “Fuyō”. Always in summer when this tree carried big soft bright purple blossoms, then my mother said “Oh how beautiful the blossoms of Fuyō are!”. Recently my gardener said that it is “Mukuge”. My mother passed away without knowing it was in fact “Mukuge”. It does not really matter because this tree gave her great joy.
When I see the blossoms of the trees in Otto Bauergasse my thoughts fly to my garden in Japan. Does my “Mukuge “carry blossoms too now? And I think of my mother…
Due to coronavirus related travel restrictions I still cannot go to Italy to my voice teacher. But I still have the previous recordings of my lessons with her and so I can nevertheless learn a lot. At home I kept trying to understand those lessons and kept trying over and over again. I have noticed that recently I can sing the way I want to express myself. I am so happy and want to continue on this path. I give thanks to my voice teacher and look forward to seeing her again soon.
Classical singing, which I am specialising in, truly is a precious art. Everyone can sing somehow but there is only one right way to master this art. That can only be studied with a good teacher. I can say that everything that I have experienced, also with all previous teachers, has supported my path. I am very grateful for that. My path is not straight, there have been many detours and obstacles but I want to believe that all of it has value. In the future I would like to convey the best and most correct to others through my experiences.
When I was a juniorhigh school pupil , I studied piano siries “Children’s corner” by Claude Debussy. The title of the first piece is “Gradus ad Parnassum” and my piano teacher commended me for playing this piece very well, which made me very happy. I heard that this title “Gradus ad Parnassum” means a difficult path which has to be followed anyway. I find it amusing that Debussy chose this title for the first piece in “Children’s corner”. I grew from this children’s corner and now have reached an age when I can look back at the path to Parnassus but I am still continuing on it.
Cats are very cute. Even when they are naughty, I find them cute. I love all about cats! Especially the ears are one of my preferred parts of cats. They are thin and when I lightly pinch them, I feel happy. Cats mostly let me do that without problems. We talk to cats and we think they are listening but I heard that cats can choose what to hear. That may be because we think they are listening to us when in fact they are listening to something else or just ignoring us. You never know!
I think this applies to humans as well. When during my education at university I had to teach at a high school, the class teacher I was assigned to said “the pupils only hear what they want to hear”. For example if there is a trip planned for the next day they like that information but in other cases they don’t remember at all what had been said. Therefore when I have something important to say, I should repeat it several times. I found that interesting and so when once I spoke about important information I wanted to check whether the pupils were really paying attention. I told one pupil to repeat what I had said but she could not and so it really is better to repeat the message several times. This does not only apply to pupils but to adults as well. I have experienced similar situations many times in life. If one wants to really make others understand something important, it is better to repeat that message several times.
I cannot complain about others, I am the same. I sometimes notice that I too am not really paying attention to other people and that my mind sometimes wanders… This may be due to a lack of concentration ability. In this respect I have a somewhat unpleasant memory. When I was a child my father taught me at home, also during the holidays. I am grateful that he so diligently wanted to teach me things, but his explanations were very long and quite repetitive. Therefore I developed a method of seeming to listen and sometimes reply “Yes, yes”. In my head however I heard the music I wanted to hear or thought about things I would have liked to do at that moment. This method was successful but I noticed that I have some difficulty with concentration. When I had to do something with concentration, my mind wandered and other thoughts came to my mind. I cannot blame everything on my father’s lectures but I suspect one factor of it lies there. I started to do concentration exercises sometimes and now I am doing much better.
But the cat ear method of choosing what to hear is not always bad. For example if my flight is delayed and around me there is much noise, I can sink into my thoughts or let music flow inside my head. And I think “I now have cat’s ears”, which gives a funny happy feeling.