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  • Writer's pictureNigel

I started this blog in January 私は1月にこのブログを始めました


I started this blog in January. A blog which was meant to be about culture, daily life in Germany, with the occasional nod to Japanese culture etc. A fun commentary with humour. You'll see all this if you click the button "Author" on the front page.


Just over two weeks ago, the Russian army started their invasion into Ukraine. At the time of writing, our daily life in Germany goes on pretty much as normal, but we are all worried about the future. Tomorrow another convoy of coaches leaves here for the Polish border. Refugees are arriving by their thousands. Amongst them are many unaccompanied children. The suggested shopping list of donations from the local charity reads like a survival kit after a huge, devastating natural disaster. But let's call it by its real name : war. For the record, I am now going to copy/paste that list (in German)


FÜR KINDER (Babybetten, Schulausrüstung (Stifte, Ranzen und mehr), Babypulver- und Gläschen, Spielsachen)

LEBENSMITTEL (Reis, Öl, Mehl, Kaffee, Tee, Zucker, Konserven, Milch in Kartons, Haferflocken, Nudeln, Süßigkeiten, Cerealien, Müsli- und PowerRiegel)

ALLTÄGLICH (Schlafsäcke, Matratzen, Unterwäsche ((neu) für Frauen, Kinder, Männer), Socken, Schuhe (Frauen (sportlich) /Kinder), Kleidung (allgemein und nicht verschlissen und sauber), Trainings - und Schlafanzüge, FlipFlops/Adiletten, Regenkleidung)

KOSMETIK (Gesichts- und Handcremes, Duschgels, Shampoos, Haarbürsten, Scheren, Schermaschinen, Rasierer, Rasierschaum, Toilettenpapier, Zahnpasta, Zahnbürsten, Kämme, Seife)

HYGIENE (Pampers, Tampons, Binden, Babypuder, Nasenspray, Blutzuckermessgerät, Desinfektionsmittel, Nasenspray, Hustensaft)

SONSTIGES (Ein- oder Mehrweg Küchenutensilien, Batterien, Powerbanks, Streichhölzer, Kerzen, Taschenlampen).


Meanwhile with Mother Nature hope springs eternal. Before starting work today I had a walk along this little stream which runs through Langen. These green shoots will be tall reeds in summer.

and, although seemingly bare, the buds on this bush will soon be sprouting leaves.

And I saw these fresh blossoms this week.

On the other side of the world, the lovely cherry blossom season is in full bloom 😊, and a dear friend of mine is celebrating her wedding at a shrine in Tokyo. May they have a happy day.

Let's look at some more nice things to cheer us up. Here is a dorayakiど らやき, which I bought in Frankfurt this week. It's a sort of pancake sandwich filled with a bean paste an mixed with hazelnuts.....

It kept on looking at me from the cupboard until I could not resist it no longer.....

Gone. But the memory lingers!Definitely another case of oishi 美味しい (delicious) 😋. These dorayaki are the central theme of a wonderful film that released two years ago. Here's the trailer.... It's all about an old woman (played by Kirin Kiki), who persuades a local dorayaki vendor to use her special home recipe for bean paste. Really worth watching if you can find it.


A digression on colour............(you can skip this bit if you like😉).

I was talking about the weather. Aways a good subject in a language lesson."The skies were blue, the sun was shining" I was saying " 空は青かった、sora wa aokatta, ...... Here is that blue sky....

That's blue, right? So, now switch to Tokyo. You are waiting at a traffic light, and the light is red. No problem. As the light turns orange you get ready for green.....and then off you go. Haha. The japanese word for green is midori 緑. So the light turned to midori did it? . Wrong. After orange, the traffic light changed to blue, aoi. 青い . The same word used for the sky in this picture....Here's a traffic light just near my house. To be honest, the colour is a bit ambiguous isn't it?

so what is going on here? The sky is blue isn't it? and for that matter, so is the water on this lake near Langen. Let's look at the colour spectrum.......

The notion of "green" in modern European countries corresponds to about 520-570 nanometers on this scale. However, many historical and non-European languages make other choices, e.g. calling green anything within the range of 450-530 nm. So what we call green in Anglo-Saxon culture is different to.....and here comes the surprise....Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, Tibetan...and Japanese, just to mention a few examples.

So these are green trees are they? I guess I can use midori 緑 then. But apparently ancient Japanese did not have the distinction between blue and green, and the word I quoted at the beginning (aoi 青い,) can refer to either green or blue depending on the situation (!). Confused? I don't blame you....

Educational materials distinguishing blue and green came into use only after World War II; thus, even though most Japanese consider them green, the word aoi 青い, is still used to describe certain vegetables, apples, and vegetation...and the GO on traffic lights. So I think that this lettuce bought from Aldi is probably aoi 青い...

But what about this strange glass object which I found in a Yokohama junk shop?

This afternoon I passed an electric car in Langen. ("Midori ?" I thought.....although just to confuse matters furthers, it could be simply "gurin" グリーン). I get very confused with "gurin". I call it "Jenglish" It sounds a bit like English, but it is certainly not English. And to add to the pain, it is written in a special vocabulary reserved for foreign words called Katakana. Oh this island archipelago and its bizarre culture.

But it is fun. Just to calm your nerves here is a picture of my local woods. Dominant colours at this time of year? Well, green and blue of

A friend of mine recently took this picture in a village near Mount Fuji。It is called Oshino Hakkai, and is famous for its crystal clear pools. Pools which are fed from the melting snow from Mount Fuji. As you can see, the carp Koi 鯉 are all different colours. I would give up at this point and describe the carp as simply beautiful utsukushi 美しい. I think I am on safe ground (oh, sorry, water) here.......

Thank you えみさん for the picture. 

Did you enjoy this post? この投稿を読んでいただきありがとうございます。 新しい投稿のお知らせを受け取りたい場合は、上部の購読フォームに記入してください。 ありがとう!Nigel.😊 do subscribe if you want new posts automatically in your inbox.

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