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Marathon

Marathon

I’m not a marathon runner but a great fun of it. The farthest I had run was 5 km for Refugee Week in Australia several decades ago. (I did a 10-km walk for our local Cancer Foundation two years ago and will participate in a similar one on October 10). Yet, I went an extra mile visiting Marathon, a quiet town 42 km from Athens in Greece, to see where it all started.

I took a public transport and was glad that the bus stop was only a few steps away from the museum where I enjoyed looking at photographs of amazing marathon winners in many cities of the world, like Boston, London, New York, Paris, Tokyo and, of course, Athens. I had goose pimples (goosebumps) staring at first female and oldest marathoners and the hurdles they overcame to participate. There were medals, trophies, shoes, descriptions of runners and their triumphs. It was Thursday morning and there were only my hubby, me and two Greek women in that historical place full of sporting memories.

ルクセンブルク vs ルクセンブルグ

Wild trees in Schengen

ルクセンブルグでは、ルクセンブルグ語、仏語、独逸語、そして独逸語の手話の4ヶ国語が公用語です。これに、学界では誰もが話す英語も加わります。首都のあるルクセンブルグ市の日常語は仏語で、市からの通知は仏語、そして独逸語(又はルクセンブルグ語)と英語が書きそえられています。雑誌や立て看板などは、ルクセンブルグ語のみの場合も多々あります。集まる人たちによって、話合いの内容によって、地域によって、言語が変わるという柔軟なところがあります。

この間、はたと気がついたのですけど。日本語のウイキペディアには、ルクセンブルでなく、ルクセンブルと表記されているのですね。独逸語では語尾のGが無声音なので、独逸語を得意とする偉い人がルクセンブルクと表記したのが始まりだろうか、と推測したりしています。

まあ、どちらでもいいのでしょうけど。(いずれにせよ。誤訳や誤記を見かけるのは、残念ですが)ベルギーとフランスの公用語としての仏語と英語の音を表記するなら、ルクセンブルグがより近いかと思います。やはり気になるので、上の4ヶ国語がわかる人たちに聞いてみました。生粋の現地人アナとロビーにも聞いてみました。「どっちだと思う?」「グかな」というのが、今のところ6人に聞いた結果です。

。。。下につづく

Lambert Schlechter - one day I will write a poem

Wild flowers in Little Swiss of Luxembourg

Lambert Schlechter is an author, poet, and retired teacher in Luxembourg.

There was a holiday summer event in July. It was a very nice night garden party. I noticed that someone was looking toward us. It was him. (Among nearly 100 people, I was probably the only one from the Far East.)

I was a little tipsy. So, I talked to him in bad Luxembourgish, “What do you do in life?” “I was a school principal,” he answered. “Ah, I thought you are an artist.” “No… maybe, a little. A little.” This was what I understood.

Two months later, I realized that he is a well-known author. After coming back from his daughter’s home, I opened the book ― the book I picked up from her bookshelf: one day I will write a poem (translated from French by Anne-Marie Reuter. Luxembourg: Black Fountain Press, 2018).

To my surprise, I found something very Japanese (Page 71). So, I would like to share his poem with you.

Read more...

"AVERTING SYSTEMIC COLLAPSE"

Jean-Marc Jancovici's speech in Paris – Sept. 17, 2019

"AVERTING SYSTEMIC COLLAPSE"

Professor Jean-Marc Jancovici is a well-known French specialist in climate change. He usually gives talks in French. In this video, he speaks in English.

In my view, he is quite blunt and vastly knowledgeable. Within 15 minutes, he tells lots of jokes with a dry sense of humor. I strongly advise watching this video today (but not before you go to bed!).

Travellers and tourists

Ljubljana as seen by Rolade

I’m writing this while on holiday in Greece; however, it’s not about it but on Ljubljana – the capital of Slovenia.

I know little about eastern and central European countries and their people, so I’ve made it my priority to visit at least one of these places every summer. My last month’s holiday in Ljubljana was relaxing and eye-opening in many ways. Slovenes are friendly and accommodating. The hotel where we stayed didn’t only allow us to use their locker for our bags after we had checked out but offered us unlimited tea. These were the exact words of its male receptionist “You’re still our guests and feel free to use our facilities till you depart from our city”.

I took every opportunity to mingle with the locals and be a traveller rather than as a tourist. The more I learnt about them, the more I became interested in their history and culture and able to empathise with them.

It’s fine to talk about the advantages of international travelling when you have the means to do so; however, for many families this occasion remains a dream. Where’s Ljubljana? Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia in central Europe and has borders with Italy, Hungary, Austria and Croatia. The Roman Empire controlled Slovenia for nearly 1,000 years; most of it was under the Habsburg rule (Austria) in the mid-14th century and 1918. The state of Slovenia was formed in 1945 as part of Yugoslavia; gained its independence in June 1991; and today, it is a member of the European Union and NATO.

Stereotyping

Everyone is vulnerable to stereotyping.

I first came to Europe in 1985 and spent a few days in Innsbruck (Austria), a sunny city 168 kilometres from Salzburg and lies on a high mountain plateau with green alpine meadows and secluded groves. The classic 1964 movie ‘Sound of Music’, which is based on the memoir of Maria Von Trapp starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, made Salzburg famous; and more than 300,000 cine fans come to this place every year to walk into the footsteps of the Von Trapp family.

Last month, after nearly 35 years, I visited Austria again but, this time, I didn’t see rolling hills and didn’t find its inhabitants cold and rigid. Contrary to my subconscious oversimplified image of Austrians, I experienced their friendliness and warmth. They are distinctly different from the Germans in terms of cultures and behaviours though they share the same language. However, it’s true that Vienna is bursting with classical music and schnitzel, and I joined the bandwagon by attending a Vivaldi concert and had a plate of the latter.

The more I travel to different European countries, the more I want to learn their diverse cultures and people and get rid of my stereotypes.

Stereotype is a set idea or opinion that we have about someone or something, which often focuses on the differences between groups rather than their similarities. It causes over-reaction to information that confirms such a stereotype and under-reaction to the one that contradicts it. Psychology research and essays reveal that stereotyping is one way to feel good about ourselves, i.e. we (our group – where we belong) are better than them (the outsiders – those who are not in our group).

山本太郎議員への提言 救国の方法

<貨幣は負債であるを知ることから始まる>

先月、田辺聖子さんが永眠された。「田辺さんの小説に、こんなくだりがある。自分ではどうすることもできない苦境に陥り、人生が行き詰まったかにみえたときでも「神サンはちゃんと、『この道抜けられます』の札を吊(つ)るしておいてくれてる」◆その札の存在を教えてくれるのが、人間の優しさなのだろう。神戸新聞2019・5・25」
(www.kobe-np.co.jp/column/seihei/201905/...)

絶体絶命。もう打つ手がない。という時に、通常では思いつかない型破りな発想をし、すんでのところで危機を回避し、ついには事態を好転させ、もの事を成功に導く人たちがいる。あわやという時には、火事場の馬鹿力で難を逃れることもある。

。。。下につづく

Psychology of feedback

flowers for Rolade

Our highly competitive world requires good and service companies, organisations and employees to improve constantly to stay on the top of their game. Giving feedback, which is information provided regarding aspects of one’s performance or understanding, is part of this “room for improvement” business.

Employees undergo appraisals periodically. Clients and customers have access to online reviews. During a birthday dinner party last June 15, I sat next to a lady who advised me to get into our city government’s website and expose my displeasure with their inaction regarding the pigeons’ invasion of my neighborhood that has caused financial and health anguish.

Since we are all either employees, employers, consumers, clients, or mere citizens, we do give or/and receive feedback regularly. As well, we get and give remarks, comments and advice from our family and friends, which are actually receiving and providing feedback.

Eurovision? Why not “Europe and friends’ musical extravaganza”?

During the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel on 14 May 2019, one of my students asked me what I thought of Australia being in it. When I was still living in Brisbane, I always looked forward to watching it as I found all participants talented; many were creative, and some were outlandish. Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), whose mission is “to provide multilingual and multicultural radio and television services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians and, in doing so, reflect Australia’s multicultural society”, covers this event every year. After I had said to my student that it should not be in it based on geography, I did some research.

Participation in the Eurovision contest is, firstly, open to those who belong to the 56 member-countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and its 21 associate member-nations. Therefore, participation is not by geography, which makes the title of the event “Eurovision” misleading and susceptible to innuendo. In 2019, 42 countries travelled to Israel and 36 of them performed in the semi-finals to qualify for the finals. Every year, the so-called “Big Five” – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom – are prequalified to take part in the finals.

Earthquake – never thought it’d happen to me

fire after earthquake

I took a 21-hour flight to be at the reunion of my maternal family (Carañgan) in La Castellaña, Philippines. Whilst on stopover in Manila on 22 April 2019 at 5PM, there was an intensity 5 earthquake. I was in a parlor when suddenly the ground trembled and furniture started to shake, then the power went out. The six people in that beauty saloon, which is on the ground floor of a 22-level building, stayed where they were whilst I rushed to the door barefoot and run to the nearby one-level-structure. I was the first person to get out and one of the last to get back as I was worried about aftershocks.

After the earthquake, there was fire two blocks away from where we were. I took this photo from our window.

Aftershocks are tremors that follow the main earthquake. They happen more frequently in the hours and days after an earthquake, but their magnitude and frequency decrease over time. Even though their shaking intensity is relatively small compared with that of the main earthquake, they can destabilise buildings and injure people.

OUNI ルクセンブルグのお店

OUNI shop front door

うちから歩いて3分。ほぼ毎日行く有機食品のお店。名前はウニという。See OUNI's Official Website (in English)

ルクセンブルグ語の ouni ウニは、ドイツ語の ohne、 フランス語の sans 、 英語の without にあたる。日本語で[・・・]なしに [・・・の]ない、を示す。野菜や果物やたまごがバラ売りされていて、プラスティック容器やビニール袋や廃棄物など要らざるものをできる限り、すべからくなくす。 「なし」がウニの名前の由来だ。

小麦粉やお茶も、オリーブオイルやバターも、お菓子やナッツ類も、洗剤もはかり売り。客は容器を持参し、自由に品物を選んでレジで払う。お店の棚に置かれた空き瓶に、入れてもよい。私の場合は・・・くるみチーズを切ってもらってから、容器を忘れたことに気づき、そのまま手持ちのネット編み袋に入れて持ち帰ったこともある。最初はまごついたが、2回目からは過剰包装がなく、すずやかな感じがした。

夕方たちよるのが楽しみで、お目当てはオーガニックのクロワッサンとパン。季節のくだものと野菜。秋にでまわるミラベル(飴色のが一般的だが、ブルーベリー色のもある)が好きで、reine-claude というスモモ種を見つけて毎日通うようになった。

。。。下につづく

OUNI championing the organic packaging-free trend

OUNI front desk and team representatives

This is a little blog about OUNI, Luxembourg’s first packaging-free organic grocery store. Visit OUNI's Official Website. We eat their croissants nearly everyday (or at least 300 croissants a year), though we hardly get tired of eating them… their croissants are simply natural, yet profoundly tasty.

OUNI is a self-service shop, but also a social vision of making community a sustainable better place. I believe that the secret of OUNI’s popularity lies not merely in their concept and their fresh/environmentally friendly products. But also it lies in their positive atmosphere created via face-to-face interactions; the store generates a spirit of connectivity, trust, and shared responsibility for sustainability in the course of community life.

ルクセンブルグの魅力

Clausen banks

ルクセンブルグへの通勤者の数は、一日に約20万人。ベルギー・ドイツ・フランスから、国境を超え毎日やって来る人たちが、労働人口の約半数を占めています。金融危機の2008年以降さらに人口は増え続け、この国に住みたい人たちの数も年々増え続けているらしい。

10年ほど前、フランスのメッツからオランダのハーグまで、車で出かけた時のこと。午前6時に、フランス側はすでに交通渋滞。ルクセンブルグを通りぬけ反対車線を見ると、ものすごいラッシュアワーで、ベルギー側から延々と続く通勤車両のテールランプをよそ目に、すいすいと北上していったことがありました。

その渋滞対策として、現在トラムの延長工事が行われ、2020年の春から公共交通は世界で初めてタダになります。横断歩道を渡るときは、交差点にたどり着く前にたいてい車が止まってくれます。まれに横柄な車両に出くわしたりしたら、外国ナンバー(フランスのF)だったりします。

。。。下につづく

שלב תוכן