Hallowed ground-- Koyasan

Koyasan in December was very calm. There were few visitors and I could hardly believe the crowd  in Summer.
Thousand of gravestones were filled with moss and a lot of  big cedars have been making a tranquil, still space for a long time.I wonder how many years these cedars are living. Their diameter were pretty large. There were a lot of warrior's tombstones we know. While some of them were alive, they might have fought each. Now they are resting in the same site.

Near Okunoin
 Matuo Basho came here and sang a haiku that "父母の しきりにこいし 雉子の声” (my translation: When I listen to a pheasant crying, I miss my parent. If this translation is error, please correct this.) This is included in 笈の小文. This is based on "山鳥の ほろほろと鳴く 声聞けば 父かとぞ思ふ 母かとぞ思ふ”(my translation: When I listen to a copper pheasant crying , I take it for my parent voice. I miss my parent.) This  tanka was made by Gyoki at Mt.Yoshino. Basho might have miss his parent ,seeing gravestones,I wonder?

protecter  there
 When we go though here, we come to a place that we purify our hands and mouth. And beyond a river is holy place. There is Okunoin of Kobo-daisi's mausoleum in that holy place. People comes Okunoin to place the ashes of the dead.  It's dark inside the house and I could only see  orange lights of countless  lanterns hanging from  the celling. Those silent , warm lights make atmosphere of esoteric Buddhism. While a priest recites a sutra for an hour, my eyes were used to that darkness then suddenly I became to be able to see a picture of Kobo-daishi on the wall in front of us. I was a little bit surprised and I prayed its picture irresistibly. It seems  like a magic. I wonder how people  think of it in the old days.

A priest in Yakusiji explained one day that they say about wabi-sabi when they say about  temples in Kyoto ,on one hand ,temples in Nara are standing heavily, peacefully at big site and they don't say about wabi-sabi. That reminded me that number of suicide in Nara prefecture is the lowest in Japan.(by a magazine "President") Things in Nara are not so nervous, I wonder? If so, it's good for me to live in Nara.
By the way,how about temples in Koyasan? Koyasan was founded by Kobo-daisi  and it has accepted  people in all sects or all classes and has developed as people's spiritual home or rest and now became a Buddhism capital of Singonsyu, according to a guide. Surely I felt somehow elusive tense because thousands of spirits are resting in the grave and a repository. May their soul rest in Heaven.
three cedars connect each other


My trip in London and Paris this Autumn

Houses of Parliament and Big Ben: Westminster Abbey(right middle)
from London Eye

Foreign Minister : Buckingham Palace(back center)
from London Eye

river Thames: Millbank Tower(back right)
from London Eye
 This was my third times to trip in London and Paris. And I was also admired the beauty of rows of houses and streets. Reddish buildings with the ground floor in London and ivory same height  buildings  with beautiful sculptures in Paris. And parks with thin shade of green at both cities relax me.


 I am a poor  speaker and listener in English. But when I ask something someone, I smiled a greeting and asked eagerly. So people answered  kinder than I thought.  Smiling is a good way.

 I felt both cities were flooded with cars  exhaust gas awful heavy. Especially, in Paris they went on strike against that government raised age to get pension, so the road was closed to strike and a lot of buses that local strikers  got on to come to Paris  occupied roads and I heard  ballet performance in  L'Opera de Paris was cancelled for strike on the day before we scheduled. Also I saw a man running away from many policeman at the airport and a old Gypsy woman begged to a customer who was eating outside a restaurant was hit by a waiter. I saw pickpockets of sister and brother in the metro. I thought I saw two faces of Paris. Lovely scenery and uneasy.
We visited many places but I will write my favorite tour only.

Chicago at Cambridge Theater
  Musical "Chicago" at Cambridge Theatre
I was very excited at their dance. Because it  was sexy and skillful. But regrettably, I got drank and got sleep during the part of men's sexy dancing in the first half. I wanted to see it. Although I can't drink ,  I drank just before this musical.

  Covent Garden
I like to stroll around Covent Garden. There are Jubilly Market that  are selling antiques or Royal Opera House, small shops around there and a woman was singing opera tunes. It reminded me of "My fair lady." ( a woman is singing under the stair in the picture. After her singing, maybe her mother was collecting tips. Her voice was nice.)
Covent garden

  Victoria and Albert Museum
The real things like obelisk from Middle East were exhibited. The displays were so big. Maybe England may seize exhibits from Middle East or Asia etc. I thought England was a strong empire again. And people can enter free to museum and young people were copying their favorite works. so they may become to like archaeology. Dresses were exhibited,too. The British Museum or The National Gallery or this museum entertained us.

 Victoria and Albert Museum
         St.James's Park
 This park is next to Buckingham Palace. After we also saw Guardsmen parade performance we walked in this lovely park. My eyes were filled with beautiful pale green. It's eye-friendly green, mild, soft. An avenue of  big trees extend to the far and gradation of green cover the ground. Cute many squirrels are going up and down big trees and come to us to get food. I felt so comfortable.

   Afternoon Tea at Brown Hotel
A waitress brought  tea, milk, hot water in silver wares and served sandwiches on the bottom plate, scones on the middle plate, small cakes on the upper plate. we can get another helping so it's was more expensive than I thought.Tea was very tasty and  elegant flavor. That's because water of England matches tea,I wonder? The light of  tea room was changed to candles around at 6:30 and it's atmosphere changed to a bar.  

Scone and Tea

  Football at West Ham United's Stadium
During staying in London, there was a soccer game "Carling Cup"between  West Ham United and Stoke City. It's not famous teams like Chelsea or Arsenal but we went to experience England soccer. When we arrived at there the game was already started. So we sat down seats were vacant and I asked   people around there. They said that your seats are in opposite side but stay here. We cheered West Ham up with them. All people around there were side with West Ham. They were excited very much, crying,booing,singing,standing. They were almost middle age not young. It looks like baseball in Japan. Happily West Ham won by 3 to 1. People tremendously exulted. I was surprised that audience is near to the ground.
at home of  West ham United

Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
Whitehall court :Nelson's column-in Trafalgar Square( center)
from London eye

Tower Bridge
The day we reached Paris was very fine. So we rode on the ferryboat in Seine. We could see the Notre-Dame de Paris from Seine very near. When the boat arrived at the Eiffel Tower stop, it became dark and the Eiffel Tower was just lit up. It was very beautiful. Base color was orange  and a lot of white dots were flickering on the orange light. I heard orange light is changed to blue on Christmas

Notre-Dame de Paris

The Tower Eiffel  at dusk from a boat

The Tower Eiffel was lit up

Ballet "Paquita" at Palais Garnier
I went to see Monet's Water lily at Orangerie museum alone. It's early morning so when I crossed Tuileries Park, the cold wind passed over my face. But it and  greens in Tuileries Park pleased me.

Water lily at Orangerie
We went to Opera Garnier to see ballet "Paquita".The leading character-Paquita- was performed by Myriam Ould

The celling painting of  Opera Garnie by Chagall

Opera Garnier

The gallery

Ballet "Paquita"

Paquita finished

   Saint  Germain des Pres
Our hotel was in Saint Germain des Pres. It was a little but has a cute court that we can have a tea. It is near a main street but quiet, and very comfortable. When we come back the hotel at late night, a young man in front desk  says "Bonsoir  Madam"with a smile. I thought the tone of "Bonsoir"suits more as greeting of night than tone of "Good Evening"and it's near to the tone of  "こんばんわ".
There were  many small cozy shop that have atmosphere of Paris around there, for example, macarons shop, delicatessen, sweet shop, bread shop, restaurant. Le Deux Magots (cafe)was near our hotel. Macarons were soft and flavorous and a shop girl put macarons into one that we choose among many lovely boxes. Unexpectedly some middle-aged men were waiting in line to buy  in the early morning. They eat them by themselves or use it as a gift, I wonder?  It's mind  my business, of course.
 There were some kind of Pate and contents were variety , delicious.  I think Japanese taste  is closer to Paris's than London's. At one brasserie, I was surprised, because the width between our small table and next small table is narrow,about 10 centimeter so we can hear next parson's conversation, of course I can't understand their French. The shop's menu was written in French only. So we asked a waiter if they  have this dish pointing a photograph in a guide book. "No." He said bluntly. So a next gentleman  spoke to us,"Any help?" He and his wife were Brazilian and they could speak four language. I thought that tables are near may be good thing.

Any way I enjoyed London and Paris.

Cafe Magots

Macaron shop through a window


 A Good season for reading

Now, the nights are getting longer and a good season to read books has come. In advance of Autumn, I read 8 books during Summer in this year. So, I will introduce and rate them by  my dogma and prejudice.

Autumn :Golden rice paddy in Shirakawa-go
        classified list  (by my way)
       If you don't read it, you will not get something-------------*****
       very good--------------------------------------------------------****
       average or good ------------------------------------------------***
       you need not to read--------------------------------------------**
       I can't understand at all-----------------------------------------

 <容疑者Xの献身> by 東野圭吾   *** 
This is a kind of mystery. In spite of a wizard at math, he is a math teacher in a high school. But he committed murder for a woman who he love unilaterally. It's a perfect crime and he didn't ask any return to her. Can she respond with his devotion to her? But his passion and devotion could not overcome her moral sense. A physicist (Fukuyama Masaharu played in the movie in 2008) solves this mystery.

<竜馬がゆく(7)(8)> by 司馬遼太郎   *****
Ryoma  Sakamoto worked for Taiseihokan (大政奉還)very much and wrote something like draft of Gokajyono-goseimon(五箇条のご誓文)). He says "Being born for us means achieving something". He and shishi(志士) devoted their lives for Japan. Those serious era made their sense of responsibility or cooperation stronger. I didn't  known after Satuma-Cyosyu domei (薩長同盟). When he was young he was looking for  how he should do Japan and he walked long way, saw new things, heard about new world, ponder,and found his way.

<カラフル>by 森 絵都            ****
A junior high school boy died but his soul got a chance to stay at another boy's (Shin) body who committed suicide for a year.  Shin's body revives with the boy's soul and the boy's soul sees Shin's miserable life that is bullied at school objectively. But the soul thinks Shin's life easy because of temporary homestay. Even if we have a trouble  in our mind , we may be able to find its solution by thinking things like this soul.  Everyone lives with theirown colors..........This makes our soul release.

<Terre Des Hommes> by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
人間の土地  via堀口大学translation             ***
  This is written by a pilot who carried mails from Toulouse in France to Casablanca in Morocco or Dakar or some places. In those days planes sometimes crashed. So this pilot teaches us human marvelous in exchange for his life. What is human nature? What is human dignity? What is human truth?
Where does strong human responsibilities idea come from? When can we feel happy? What is meaning of living?  ..........? But this  gives us warmth or charming of human being.

He carried mails by planes  like this.
This is a map from a satellite.  He crashed in the Sahara Desert. And he disappeared  in the Mediterranean sea.
Out of The Silent Planet> by C.S.Lewis  ***               
 沈黙の惑星を離れて マラカンドラ via 中村妙子translation
Our existence is so tiny for a split second compare with universe. How can we live under unavoidable destiny? Humankind may not be able to live on the Earth  someday. But though prof. Weston wants to continue human DNA, he planed to hijack a planet is called  Marakandra in case of that day. And he tried to hand over prof.Ransom to creatures in Marakandra. On the other, prof. Ransom is taken to Marakandra by prof.Weston and meets a lot of creatures there and appreciates their society. And he lives as a moral human under his destiny.There are supernatural forces that I allow it may be  possible or myth C.S.Lewis think in this story. But even if  Weston find a planet that no creatures live without any sacrifice, should it be blamed,too? Or thinking of pioneering includes science or something materials is already immoral?  Although C.S.Lewis criticized  imperialism. This story is difficult for me.

<Perelandra>by C.S.Lewis            ***       
ビィーナスへの旅  via中村妙子translation
This story is the second story in SF trilogy. " Out of The Silent Planet" is the first one. A naked green lady lives with animals on the beautiful planet is called Perelandra.  She doesn't feel inconvenient. Prof.Ransom is sent there by Oyarusa who governs space. Prof. Weston landed this planet,too , he is a thing like a snake entered a paradise and he advises the lady to wear feather and teaches about independence. Prof. Ransom tries to stop Weston from approaching  and teaching  her his philosophy. But independence is good, isn't it?Ransom fights against fear and wins. But this story is difficult for me,too.

Eden  by Cranach
<風に舞いあがるビニールシート> by 森 絵都 *** 
A couple of an American man and a Japanese woman work in UNHCR. Though they get  married but he applys to be sent to Zaire or Afghanistan so they can't live together only about 25 days in 7 years of their married life. She asks him that their life is as same as a plastic-seat is flied. And  he dies in Afghanistan, protecting a local girl. I didn't know about UNHCR well. Which is important the best among money, life, family? At the end she thinks under the cherry blossoms  that Japan is peace and peace is beautiful as such, she wishes this beauty and wonderfulness continue forever and homeland keeps plastic-seats on the ground firmly, keeps resisting against rough-wind. And she applys to be sent  to Afghanistan. This young person's  love to homeland  makes me move. This was aired on TV,too.

He wished refugee is not flied like plastic seats.


My Summer trip (5) ~Vienna~


We came our goal ,Vienna.
We had dinner at the oldest restaurant "Griechenbeisl" that has "Mark Twain Room". The room's celling or wall are filled with signs of a lot of famous people,such as Mozart,Beethoven or Schubert,Strauss.    a sommelier guide us there,singing a passage of Mozart's opera. His voice was nice, truly. We tried some traditional dishes, WinnerSchnitzel, Gulasch or Zwiebel Rostbraten and Kartoffelsuppe. As we can't read German menu , we ordered them by  pointing pictures in a guidebook. This is a good idea.

Do you know which sign is Mozart :at Griechenbeisl
Next, Palace Schonbrunn. What a big!  It's Habsburger. I was surprised with it's bigness.
I could see reason that Marie-Antoinette married into King of France . The garden was so large that we stopped visiting there.

Palace Schonbrunn

We went to  have a cup of coffee of Vienna at cafe "Gerstner KHM" in Kunsthistorisches Museum. Decoration of this cafe was fantastic. Marble pillars, geometrical figures floor and they take in a part of museum decoration.  The work of Bruegel  or Rubens,etc were displayed.

Kunsthistrisches  museum

It's hot day on that day and we were tired.So we wanted to take a nap on the grass in the park as many people were doing. It's cool in shade under trees and comfortable. After taking nap for 30 minutes, my husband said " This guidebook is saying that there are ticks in grass of Vienna".I jumped out of grass.

before a concert in St.Stephansdom

We checked a big supermarket or got Sachertorte.
We had dinner at the roof restaurant  in hotel hastily as we planned to go to listen to a concert at St. Stephansdom next door. It's Italian but dishes tasted nice. We thought this is the best savor of all dishes we had in this trip.It amuse me a little.

There were nothing big concert on that day in Vienna ,too.  So we listened to a chamber concert in St.Stephansdom. The sound reverberated  in dome well and  "Aria on G string" as an encore was right in the dome. I thought Virgin Mary and angels on the top of the altar are satisfied with this pure melody every night.

We  could tasted supreme beer around German and Austria.
It's good to be able to see culture or people  in Germany and Austria. I didn't know that countries in the center of  Continent are so attractive. Because I didn't  know about history around here well, such as Habsburger or Bayern Kingdom, etc. Also I didn't  know  that  Japan  is  larger  than  Germany.
I forgot to take battery of camera. So though we took two cameras but we couldn't take one of them after Rothenburg.
I couldn't get used to Cent Euro and I couldn't calculate tip smoothly.
I want to come  to enjoy Vienna more again.

Thank you for reading this for long time.