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  • Writer's pictureNigel

🎇Spätzünder たいきばんせい 大器晩成 *

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

I hope your coffee does not get cold...If it does then it's bad news for you. At least it is in Kawaguchi's novel コーヒー ga samenai uchini . Here we read of the urban myth that in some gloomy hidden café in Tokyo you can travel back in time....for as long as your coffee stays warm.The critical question of course being who would you want to meet? And whatever the outcome of your short meeting one thing is certain; you cannot change the present. On the face of it, a rather quirky fantasy. But each chapter ends with a thoughtful point which is not banal at all. It challenges us to think of the future and how we use time now.

Well now is Tuesday and here I am in the Mal seh'n Kino café in Frankfurt waiting for a film to start....However I am not drinking coffee but a deliciously cool rosé wine............

The title of this post. The word Spätzünder makes me laugh. In typical German fashion it is actually two words joined together. Spät = late, Zünder = Igniter, detonator (spark plugs in cars are called Zündkerzen = "Igniting candles"). But you can also call somebody a "Spätzünder". It means someone who matures late in life. I wonder if I am a Spätzünder? 😂. I'm certainly late in some things. I was the last in my family to get a smartphone; I still use a fax machine; I have only now started using apps like Komoot (for walking).........and .......not so long ago a very persuasive musician friend asked me to sing in a chorus version of this..... I had never heard of the song.....so I was greeted with the all-too-familiar refrain of "what!???? Nigel! don't tell me you don't know this...????" This being........https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3wKzyIN1yk. Haha 😂....I'm only human after all. And after my initial scepticism I grew to rather like it 😎.


* On asking a Japanese friend if there was anything like "Spätzünder" in her language I made an unexpected discovery. The advice I got was "....大器 (Taiki) means a big plate. The expression comes from the fact that a big plate (or vessel/utensil) needs a longer time to be created than a small one. (晩成 are the characters for "evening/nightfall" & "become).

"...t遅咲き can be used as well. Literally flowers that bloom late, but we also use it for human beings". So here is a saying which originates from the world of craftmanship. Fascinating.✔ And what's more, there seems to be a proverb here as well. "Great talent matures late" - look, there are even T-shirts on sale!!!!!https://www.teepublic.com/t-shirt/5853481-great-talents-mature-late . Cool.

 

I have spent half of my life in the UK and half of it in Germany. 私は人生の半分を英国で過ごし、残りの半分をドイツで過ごしました。When I go to the UK people find me too German, and when I am in Germany the ALDI cashier wants to speak English with me. So I now call myself a European. It's simpler. I know many other people who find themselves in the same situation. However, this does not stop me helping others with their English. This week I met up with Svitlana from Lviv, who wants to improve her English. We spent an hour in a Bockenheim Café talking about all manner of things - including apples. She desperately wants to go back to her garden (which is uncomfortably near the Belarusian border) and pick the apples. She wants to smell them again, and, of course bring some back. There are no flights, and the coach journey will take over 24 hours......

Meanwhile here in Langen the apples are already falling onto the dry, dry ground.......一方、ここランゲンではすでにリンゴが落ちています.

Some of course are still on the trees.....yellow....黄色

.....and red......赤

Did I mention Komoot? Yes, with a few swift finger swipes, one of my intelligent friends has showed me how to use this walking/cycling app. So off I went on Saturday, heading for.........wait for it......the airport. Yes, the airport.空港. It so happens that you can cycle all the way around the perimeter of Frankfurt airport.....

Of course I did not keep to the suggested route. But I did find myself on the very southernmost end of the runway.かっそうろ 滑走路.......with the Taunus hills on the horizon....

Haha...you think I'm a bit crazy don't you. But the woods and meadows around the runway are surprisingly wild and beautiful......

with tinder-dry pine forests.......まつばやし 松林.


....where Europeans lurk behind trees....😁

....and a rare sight.....some water....!

To get there I had to cycle through the little town of Walldorf. This involved going under the A5 Autobahn and the main railway line......

Is this a shining moment of truth? or just........

Now Walldorf is so nondescript as to be hardly worth mentioning. But when you are cycling, and not in a metal box on wheels ( 車 ) you discover things. In former days, before the airport was built, this town must have been a little country village. I stumbled across the old 18thc. village church......モーフェルデンの古い教会.


complete with organ and bible....オルガンと聖書.

Simple. Protestant. Later, when I had dodged under the 747s lifting off from the runway, I turned my bike in the direction: home. My route took me past the Jagdschloss Mönchbruch, an old 18thc. hunting lodge, now part hotel, part restoration project....

where a small rose has survived the drought....干ばつにもかかわらず、バラが咲く.

....and the Yew tree is doing just fine....

Others things caught my eye: I stopped my bike to gaze at this wonderful sight. A field full of the most impressive cabbages.....キャベツ.That is when I remembered Lewis Carol and Alice in Wonderland. "The time has come", the Walrus said, "To talk of many things: Of shoes - and ships - and sealing wax - Of cabbages - and kings- And why the sea is boiling hot - And whether pigs have wings." Well these cabbages look pretty good if you ask me.....

And here are some lovely details on a house in Mörfelden....Those Handwerker took pride in their work.......

However, cycling through the woods these days you just yearn for some rain for the parched ground.

The old trees are surviving thank goodness....干ばつ.

....and the grasses will come back....

Sunday: We had a Kerb in Langen. No, this is nothing to do with pavements or kerbstones (or is it?). I first noticed something was different when I looked out of the workshop window in the morning......there was no traffic outside......and there was an odd sight - a Union Jack buggy (What the.....?)......Langen の"まつり"......

Some medieval characters walked by......

The main street had been transformed into one big party, with businesses, clubs and locals all doing their bit. So we had a stall ばいてん売店 for the jewellery shop, the local Turkish bistro selling delicious take-aways, the classic Wurst (Sausage) stall....ソーセージ....

.....the local chess club.....チェス

...The Ebbelvoices....(of "I'm only Human after all" fame!)....

.....the green Party giving away sunflowers.......ひまわり

.....and the local Yoga centre........(I never knew that there was a Yoga centre in Langen ランゲンにヨガセンターがあることを知りませんでした)

One end of the street ended in a stage for the local dance school -ダンス- Tanzschule Mundt.👯‍♀️. I was amazed by the shows they put on - from small schoolchildren to pensioners, with teenagers in between. Dancing is popular, that's a fact.....here are the little children.......

Meanwhile, a glance westward to the UK and it's not Kerb but Cricket. This is Goodwood Cricket Ground (in West Sussex) last week. My brother is the umpire Schiedsrichter 審判 しんぱん in the white hat.......

photo Vivien Ruddock

Unsurprisingly there is no kanji for cricket (except of course if you mean the insect which chirps in the bushes), but there is one for "dance".......

(odori ..おどり..👯‍♂️.)...Some of you may have seen the Bon Odori dance in Frankfurt. It takes place every year around the Liebfrauenberg just behind the Hauptwache.

But back to this Kanji - or at least my efforts to render it under the discipline of shodou (Calligraphy)書道. Taking the brush in one hand is a bit like taking a violin bow in the hand. You know what to do and in what direction the brush/bow has to go. But if there is no inner conviction to your stroke it will show on the paper/in the music. For you only get once chance to do that stroke. There is no room for retouching or hesitation. That is why my calligraphy teacher was always using trying to get us to paint with"Schwung". The best English translation for this is "force". Paint with inner force, and you will see that translated into a strong and convincing image. Or in the case of the violin, a clear melody with a message 🎼. That's why if you are feeling low or fed up your Calligraphy will mirror this - and look crappy. And if you are bouncy and full of energy you will see this on the paper in front of you.

Odori - Dance......oh dear, my old chinese brush is disintegrating....a ragged dance this one!

 

"Aussteigen!" growled the bus driver. 🚍 As we appeared to be sitting in the middle of a two lane road to heaven-knows-where, I hesitated. "What here?" I replied, but my hand was already pushing the "open doors" button. I wasn`t expecting an answer from the driver anyway - they always seem so grumpy. Alighting from the bus I was faced with a huge expanse of wasteland. Some scaffolding on the left suggested some structure, and the air was filled with the roar of planes. Big ones. I was going to a concert. Yes, a concert. The venue? Well, after walking down a windy avenue for a while, peering at my phone like a zombie, I saw a hopeful sign. A bearded saxophone player. He plays in the Kammerphilharmonie Frankfurt. The guys who play in this wacky orchestra are a friendly bunch. I asked him where exactly they were playing. He just smiled and pointed "Around the corner". Turning around said corner the invitation to the concert sprang into my mind - read all about it here - https://kammerphilharmonie-frankfurt.de/projekte/ Let's get Lost at Klassik Island. Yes, darlings, I nearly did get lost....We were in Gateway Gardens, Frankfurt Airport. Well, actually, in a space between some monolithic hotel blocks which would not have been out of place in some apocalyptic film. As the planes roared by we sat in deck chairs and listened to an all- American programme. This included works by Florence Price (great stuff).....arrangements of Spirituals sung by a dusky voiced Kaye Ree....https://www.kaye-ree.com/

....and George Gerschwin. And it was a great privilege to witness the two superb dancers* who joined the orchestra during "An American in Paris", weaving in and out of the musicians, and even taking over the conductor's rostrum at one point! * Evie Poaros https://www.theapolis.de/de/profil/evie-poaros and Madeline Ferricks-Rosevear........https://www.theapolis.de/de/profil/madeline-ferricks-rosevear

The choreography had been created by Gal Fefferman, with Nicolai Bernstein conducting. (The bass player in the picture by the way is Nicola Vock - seemingly the mastermind behind this group.) Never mind the planes - I had great fun just sitting there and taking this all in. So dance and planes have become the theme this week. I wonder what next week will be like?


 

I send out this blog pretty randomly to whoever I think might be interested. Some of you have subscribed (if you are on your mobile then open the menu at the start), which means you get a deluxe notification via email. Thank you! Some of you though have not been receiving the notification emails. Could be they have ended up in your spam folder. If you don't want to be sent this blog, don't hesitate to tell me and I shall take you off the list. No problem.

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.😊


THE END

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終わり



Thursday 8th September 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest-serving monarch, has died at Balmoral aged 96, after reigning for 70 years. R.I.P. 安らかにを眠れください

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