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  • Writer's pictureNigel

Saturday Ritual 土曜日の習慣

2023 年 4 月 8 日

I push on the solid, generous brushed steel handle of the glass door and enter. A flood of warmth, laced with the homely smell of fresh bread 🍞 hits my senses. The bakery パン屋 is modern and spacious. It is a sort of reassuring beacon of solid prosperity and efficiency in this country. The colours are heartening - deep red and browns. This includes the aprons and uniforms of the chatty, middle-aged women who serve behind the counter. They are like good-natured Bürger (citizens) who oil the social wheels of this town. The bread itself, from Dinkel Vollkorn down to just white normale Brötchen is neatly arranged on the shelves. "....Morgen" I say. The ritual begins. "Was darf es sein ?" ("What may it be?" ie your choice of bread)....."Am Stück or geschnitten?" 🔪 (whole or sliced?) "Papier oder plastic?" (paper or plastic bag?)..."Noch ein Wünsch?" (lit. any other wish?). It is at this point that I lose focus and start thinking of all the things I do actually wish for..(🏖) not say this out loud just here 😂 ..). Meanwhile the cold rain lashes on the clean windows. Clutching my paper bag I make a dash across the street to my house. Saturday has begun. パン:ドイツ文化. 土曜日が始まりました。

The morning sun......朝日.......(ビールの名前ではない?)

....with a blossom explosion on the apple trees coming soon....すぐに開花


I think I am impressed by music and drama because it expresses things in a way that words cannot. However, this event actually started with the spoken word - a monologue, just called "Koe 声" Voice.

There was this extraordinary event in Musashino, in the west of Tokyo, last Autumn. To call it a contemporary music concert would be an understatement. It was more like some sort of voice, light and music event. At times uncomfortable but always fascinating. It was put on by the Ensemble Muromachi in the Musashino Civic Cultural Hall, and presented the world première of Kaiga ("Conversation") by Tokuhide Niimi.

I find contemporary music exciting, because it is experimentation in sound.. You never know what is coming your way. And it can articulate things that a well known piece cannot. Thank you 'cellist Aki for sending me the link ( no, I was not actually there ). Traditional Japanese instruments alongside the classical organ, violin and `cello - quite extraordinary. Some moments: Yuri Sugawara plays the Sho - an ancestor of the modern accordian - its history? read here... .....the sound is said to imitate the call of the phoenix - I like that idea! And a note from history : The American composer John Cage wrote several pieces using the Sho, after meeting player Mayumi Miyata during a course in Darmstadt in 1990. I was living in Wiesbaden at the time. But I knew nothing of these Darmstadt sessions.

Someone has tried to put the Sho chords into western musical notation. Sit down at the piano......and play these.....nice dense chromatic wonder western composers were interested in these instruments.....

Here Keiko Tada accompanies Aki with an eerie beat......on the Tsuzumi.

In my (humble) opinion the ´cello is the nearest instrument to the human voice ....the Tsuzumi acting like a sort of insistent consciousness knocking at the door....

Contemporary music can be difficult to listen to. Lighting technicians highlighted the performers, which helped the focus. Here is Kensuke Ohira at the organ......

Shakuhachi players...The organ blends seamlessly with these instruments...

It reminded me of the time Touzan Hirano played the Shakuhachi at the Main Matsuri in Frankfurt last summer.....マイン祭り 2022. フランクフルト.

Hiroaki Takaha conducting. I like his shirt! シャツが好きです😊

...a view from the audience, who gave a full appreciative round of applause at the end........最後は大きな拍手でした.

Here is the whole concert, if you are interested.....


The subleties of language. In stumbling through some grammar recently, I wanted to write "I never eat a meal without washing my hands (first)" in japanese ( 手を洗わないで、ご飯 を 全然食べません ) 🍽 I though that was all right. But oh no! I was advised that it would be better to say......"I have never eaten a meal without washing my hands (first)" ( 手を洗わないで、ごはんをたべたことがありません ). A small but subtle distinction. My sentence was obviously too direct and maybe a little arrogant. The second version has a touch of detachment about it, and is more self-effacing. Interesting. And how Japanese! I had to laugh, because I could imagine a fine lady in a kimono uttering the second sentence, maybe looking at me rather severely over her fan 😅.


Last week I was complaining about the weather, and enviously reporting on my fellow hikers' adventures abroad. One intrepid colleague has been down a salt mine in Austria. Apparently the Nazis stashed all their looted art here during the war. But weirder still, there is a chapel down there .....what next...オーストリアの地下礼拝堂.

Photo: Julia

meanwhile another hiking colleague has been climbing a mountain on Jeju, an island south of South Korea - 1.950 m!! That's rather more serious than the Odenwald....韓国

Photo: Phe

I am still in Langen, Germany. 私はまだドイツのランゲンにいます. On one my local walks I notice that Easter is coming - and here is how you celebrate it in a VW workshop.....イースター........🐣

And further down the road nature turns on the "blushing beauty" colours.....美しさ

A flash of mechanized red rushes into the perspective.......🔺

And as the sun sinks, a horse grazes unperturbed......平和

What is this that I stumble across......a grave?....墓?

a closer view.....The stone marks the boundary between the old Fürstentum (principality) of Ysenburg and the Landgraftschaft (county) of Hessen-Darmstadt. It's been there since 1783....境界モニュメント

Also from the 18th century, an old jetty remains in this fish pond ....the so-called Egelswoog. The hunting Grafs and Counts needed fish as well as boar on their plates...古い養魚場 (what a word.......ようぎょじょう !)

One last picture. The setting sun even illuminates my telephone. Time to call the Exchange. (電話交換 a でんわこうかんき? I wonder if that word is still used 😆)

Finished your tea break now? Well thanks for reading my ramblings..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!Thank you, Nigel.😊 and do subscribe if you want new posts automatically in your inbox. But check your spam!




Postscript: One of my favourite tools : The inside-ground gouge. Invaluable for cutting blocks on new instruments, or a thousand other applications. 私はこのツールが好きです.

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