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  • Writer's pictureNigel

😶 Back with a bump 着陸が難しい

2024 年 4 月 20 日

Welcome back to Germany. I saw this wholly unnecessary and ludicrous sign in Bingen this week. It actually says, would you believe it : Due to the lack of parking regulations, this door will remain closed until further notice !


Frankfurt Airport ✈️. I am standing in a long queue at passport control. I know this situation and am patient. But the lady beside me is worried. She has to change flights to reach Barcelona, and does she really have to wait here? She does not speak German. I offer to help her and approach an employee at the corner of the queue. I enquire on her behalf in perfect German. The woman stares at me with an aggressive stony expression as if I have committed some crime 😠. I am shocked. I try smiling, but this is like trying to remove a dirty patch on your bathroom mirror with the wrong sort of tissue.

Ok, eventually I get the answer I need.

Now it would be wrong to extrapolate from this one brief encounter that all people here are rude or uncouth. That just leads to prejudice. I just haven't had time to adjust yet. My cultural skin is thin and everything here is hitting me hard.

フランクフルト空港で、日本人女性が乗り継ぎゲートを見つけるのを手伝いました。 しかし、私が尋ねた従業員は非常に冷たく、役に立たなかった。 それはカルチャーショックです。

When my train arrives at Langen I leap out of the doors, desperate to get away from the smell of mens sweat and women's perfume as quickly as possible 🫢. (* In the 19thc., when Japanese women encountered European men for the first time, they complained of how they smelt !). The station lift works fine - it is a shining example of technology. But it is not shining. It is filthy and smells of pee. And then there are the cigarette butts.......

oh good grief what is wrong with me? Nothing. It happens every time I return from Japan.

電車がランゲンに到着すると、降りるのが待ちきれません。 電車の中 男性は汗臭いし、女性は香水が多すぎる。

Later, when I reach my flat, I see that the lawn has obviously not been cut for ages. So I get out the lawn mower and do the job. Very neat. Later on, I meet my neighbour. There is no "did you have a nice holiday?" - just " DID YOU CUT THE LAWN? WHY?" It's like a slap in the face 🤛. It's so direct, and my brain is saying : This is rude.

なぜ芝生を刈ったのかと隣の人が尋ねます。 言い方が非常に直接的です

What my tutor said.

It's a classic question, and during my last lesson in Hoshikawa I asked it of my teacher. He was a wise man who had travelled a lot in his lifetime.

"Is there anything you didn't like about Germany?" I asked.

After a pause he replied (not his exact words)...It's the insistence on personal rights, he said. Your colleague at work will go home at 5pm, bang, on the dot. Even if by staying on another 10 or 15 mins he could have finished the job he's on......

「ドイツで気に入らなかったことはありますか?」 日本語の家庭教師に聞いてみました。(彼はビジネスマンとして大変苦労した)


As always, I will adjust and develop a thick skin. Looking at it from another angle, it occurs to me that there are people here who don't adjust, and cling on to hackneyed stereotypes like "foreigners are loud" or "why can't they behave like we do?"


End of rant 😉.


Flashback: When I left Japan it was just at the start of the new school year, which coincides not only with the new fiscal year, but perhaps unsurprisingly, with Spring. There is something new in the air. And nobody can miss it. I pass the river in Hoshikawa, draped in Koinobori

Windsocks which fill up with air, each colour denoting a family member......In Aeon, the local department store, school sachels are displayed in all colours.....

And in the morning I pass little children on the pavement, imaculately kitted out in blazer, bowler hat and shiny shoes. Often still clinging on to their mother or father's hand for the the first walk to school.....As a parent I remember the great issue of buying a Ranzen (satchel) in Langen. The design was critical. It had to be right. I don't remember anything like that in the U.K.

Sparrows wait at the school entrance.....



Last week We found ourselves looking down at that famous zebra crossing at Shibuya station in Tokyo. But it's actually a very un-Japanese evening. A production of Romeo and Juliet by the Sadlers Wells Ballet company from London. The music is Prokofiev, and the production is by Sir Mathew Bourne. And it's on the 11th floor of a Tokyo tower block...

It's a fantastic production. Romeo and Juliet are cast as inmates of a borstal (or is it a psychiatric Institution ?), intimidated by violent, brawny guards. It is breathtakingly intense, with sharp, quick and superbly precise choreography. Here is a view of, and from, the foyer of the amazing Orb Theatre.......


Shibuya is one of those big nodal points in the south west of this sprawling metropolis. To the north there is Ueno Park, home to museums and the Tokyo University of Arts. And it here where you find the first western music concert hall in Japan......The Sōgakudō Concert Hall of the Former Tokyo Music School, built in 1890.....


......Ueno Park

Evening Sakura.....


Fast Forward. So what do you do in Germany if the weather is good and you need some fresh air after spending over 14 hours in a metal tube? You go hiking. So I have booked in to a Meet Up hike, brushing the earth of Kamakura off my boots 🥾.

I never got on that hike. Trains. There were delays because of "people on the track" at Frankfurt station etc. etc. etc......So I ended up going on my own. Which actually was rather nice, because I could dawdle and take lots of photos....some of which you have to look at here.....

では、ドイツで天気が良く、金属管の中で 14 時間過ごした後、新鮮な空気が必要になったらどうしますか? ハイキングに行きます。

We start at the charming little town of Bingen am Rhein, where there is a funny little ice-cream shop.....


...and an ancient crane used for unloading Rhein barges of long ago......On the far side of the river you can see that grotesque monument above Rüdesheim....The Niederwalddenkmal.


I think Bingen is a nicer place than Rüdesheim. There is an expansive park and promenade along the bank of the river, and if you continue walking you will see the 12thc. ruins of Ehrenfels castle etched on the skyline.....


And here is the 14thc. Maüseturm - an old customs house which sits on an island with water running past it left and right.......

14番目。 マウゼトゥルム

....and where driftwood collects after high water....


and where you can sit on a tree trunk and take a selfie....


Then you can branch off into a nature reserve - a swampy area which is underwater in winter

......but is now a heaven for frogs. How loud they croak 🐸!

...pollination is in full swing.


To climb up the side of the valley you first have to cross the railway.......


...over a very strange bridge.......

Under which the train from Koblenz passes.....

I now had to find the start of the "Kreuzbachkramm". This is a steep ravine, with an excellent walking path (apart from a few steps and ladders, that is). Today it is is bathed in fresh green light (a good case of Komorebi 木漏れ日....sunlight piercing through tree foliage)......


......a beautiful waterfall appears around a bend..........


...and a walker appears like an odd blot on the landscape with his Uniqlo orange T-shirt 😅

When I had huffed and puffed up to the top of the hill there was a nice little sign directing me back to Bingen......


......... in the company of that famous musician, herbalist, writer and sage, Hildegard von Bingen.......

A stunning gap in the forest reveals Assmanhausen down below......

Thank you for reading "..Back with a bump.."

🌳  ".. 着陸が難しい.."を読んでくれてありがとう

  Feel free to share the blog with friends.

 🌳 よろしければ、リンクを友達と共有してください

🌳  And and I enjoy hearing from you...!





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