2023 年 12 月 16 日
There is a word 言葉があります
There's this word which I keep on hearing in Germany. And it isn't really a German word at all. It begins with S and has 6 letters. Yes? got it? It must be related to the word Christmas in some obscure way. Well I am heartily sick of reading it and hearing it, being on the receiving end of it from customers, friends........ well anyone really. You don't believe me?....well look......Vitamins from Aldi supermarket.......that word again.....
"..........He's obviously under a lot of stress/Er steht offensichtlich unter großem Stress......"
There are lots of juicy German words which you could use, like Belastung...(burden) 🏋️ Spannung.....(tension) ⚡ or Drang...(pressure).....😣. But oh no, we have to use the English word don't we? Stress is actually a short form of Distress, and has the Latin origin Strictus "drawn tight". A ship in distress will send out an SOS........a human body in distress is more complicated. And we may not listen to the signal. 📢 End of Essay. Amen.
I went to a yoga class last week. There was no free spot on the course, but Jasmin* said I could maybe join in January. The theme of the evening seemed to be the colour "orange", so now I am seeing orange everywhere I go......
(*it was all first names - quite unusual for Germany)
It started with my orange juice at breakfast....
Then at lunchtime I thought - ".....that Hokkaido* pumpkin looks good!...."
Uchiki Kuri? 😋
...and also tastes good!
(* about that name Hokkaido. Hokkaido is the big northern island of Japan. It has very civilized temperatures in summer, and gets a lot of snow in winter. But I was met with a blank look of incomprehension when I used this name amongst Japanese friends. Oh, you mean Uchiki Kuri? A quick google and I found a mine of info......... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_kuri_squash
So there you are (one theory is that Americans brought pumpkins to the island in the 19thc, and they were bred for their intense flavour).
We are getting distracted from my orange theme. You may have noticed a couple of Persimmons in that "fruit tray" photo. They are my new discovery. We ate them for breakfast at Shonenji temple in Kyushu last November. And this year I saw them everywhere.....even in Iwate......
Mmmmmm........😋 however, they are not always sweet I'm told....
In fact orange seems to crop up everywhere. Even in the biscuit department ......(one of my favourites)........
....and in the varnish I used for this `cello.....
...and of course what would the festive season be without a warm orange star?.....
Strangely enough, I don't find orange a good colour to wear.
We now move over to a sort of Tuscan pink. Maybe because Carlotta Dalia, virtuoso guitarist, 🎵comes from Tuscany. Whatever. Thanks to the connection with an investment group, Langen is able to put on concerts featuring top notch young musicians who are lent fabulous instruments. Carlotta was playing a guitar especially made for Segovia. Her concert partner, Giuseppe Gibboni, who had recently won the Paganini Competition in Genoa, was playing one of those instruments which you don't forget easily. Responsive in all registers, and with a superb clear carrying power. It was built by that guy in Cremona..whatisname...Tony Strad....(?) The only trouble was he insisted on playing a lot of Paganini. Show case stuff - but the audience was thrilled.
My favourite piece on the programme was Astor Piazzollas "The History of the Tango".
A different sort of violin turned up in my workshop recently. It had literally just been brought from Osaka. It was a child's violin, built by the Suzuki workshops 🎻 . Shinichi Suzuki was a remarkable man. He tried to learn German, but found it difficult. But he noticed how little children picked up languages naturally, and decided to try to apply this to music. His central belief was that all people can (and will) learn from their environment. So little children could be "saturated" in the musical community, with a deliberate avoidance of tests and auditions, but regular appearances on stage to make it feel quite normal after a while. The philosophy has attracted criticism and praise alike. I found this explanation fascinating.....
I think he was a very optimistic man. He hoped that music would also benefit the character of young people.
I was in Darmstadt again this week, having lunch with an old friend. This meant that I had to pass through Darmstadt Railway station. This station looks and feels like a station should. I love it. You may not appreciate it if you are hurrying for a train, but if you dare stop for a moment and admire.........
It was finished in 1912, and still has that Art Nouveau feel about it.
Quote Wiki: "......An architectural competition was announced for the construction of the station building. At the express request of Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig, the new station would be built by a modern master builder (Baumeister), not a style architect (Stilarchitekten). Kaiser Wilhelm II refrained for diplomatic reasons from intervening on the issue, although he intervened in the design of many other station buildings on the Prussian state railways......."
The Entrance hall......looking up....
Windows which would not be out of place in a church (indeed, is this not a temple to railway travel?)........bow down and kneel, all ye who need help understanding the hopelessly complex rail system here....
a general view.....
......and then these groovy industrial-style doors. Inspired by a steam locomotive if you ask me, or a bridge construction.
All of this has mercifully survived the ravages of the 20thc and had been lovingly restored.
My Weihnachtsbaum. Not yet belastet with trimmings....
But perhaps I should get some Christmas cards into the post........
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p.s. Christmas comes only once a year. I hope you can enjoy it.....😊