Culture / Literature

In a world of Globalization, cultures are to be discussed

ジュ・テーム

French words Je t'aime (meaning I love you) written in flashy yellow on the sidewalk in the streets of Luxembourg

歩道のJe t'aimeという落書き。ルクセンブルク駅から自宅近くまで、5〜6メートルごとにジュ・テームと書いてある。警察署の前にもあった。好きな子の目につくように、小学生が書いたのだろうか。Je t'aimeの最終目的地は、近所の小学・中学校だろうか。

小室圭さんが「私は眞子さんを愛しています」と公然とおっしゃった。

そう「私はあなたを愛している」という「両性の合意」以外に、婚姻の自由に必要なものはない。日本女性がエージェンシーを持ち自由に生きようとすると、かなり極端に社会からはみ出てしまう、というようなことをDavid Muraが(おそらくTurning Japanese)に書いていたのを思い出した。日本を離れたプリンセスも、その例だと思う。

Great satisfaction comes from sharing with others

AUTHOR INTERVIEWS

Author Spotlight - Interview with Rolade Berthier, PhD, and her book- The Whisper of Regrets

Tell us about yourself and how we can connect with you.

I live in France and am a freelance English language teacher in Luxembourg. I have worked in Asia, Australia, and Europe for universities, research institutions, government departments, and non-profit organizations.

My Doctor of Philosophy (Sociology) from The University of Queensland, Australia, was on Asian Immigration and the Criminal Justice System. I have a French Language Certificate from Sorbonne University in Paris and am currently learning Spanish.

I get a lot of pleasure writing fiction manuscripts (e.g. “Future Perfect” and “The Whisper of Regrets”) and non-fiction books (e.g. “Journey to the World of Public Service Employment,” “Cross-Cultural Liaison: An Inconvenient Love”, “Intelligence, Giftedness: Pre-cradle to Post-grave”, and “A Guide for Everyday Writing”). My fiction manuscripts are based on true stories.

I enjoy listening, reading and storytelling. Here’s my website www.roladesocietalblog.com.

Super recipes for closing 2020

Artistic photo of all the ingredient of the yummy ketchup of the Chef of Hostellerie Stafelter located in Walferdange (Luxembourg)

First, here is our Michelin chef’s ketchup recipe.

We went to my favorite restaurant in Luxembourg sometime between the first and second lockdown.  We were happiest (at least I am) when we were there.  I said to a waitress, “Super! C’était parfait!  Please give the chef our compliments on the wonderful meal!  I wish I had a recipe for this ketchup.”

Lo and behold, this note of ingredients was given via the waitress woman.  I guess the chef saw all the clean dishes after we ate with gusto.  We cleaned all the serving dishes — clean enough so that they could have returned them to their cupboard directly!

Read more 。。。

Meanings are in people, not in words?

With globalisation and digitalisation, employees of one organisation often come from many places and cultures. They can have the same mentality driven by their company’s goals and values; however, not all of them automatically think, communicate and behave in the same manner due to such diversity.

Culture is knowledge and characteristics of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, arts, music, cuisine, and social habits. Although language is often the least difficult issue to confront, it can be a source of misunderstanding and unpleasantness at work.

What and how we speak are developed through cultural values and norms we learn directly and indirectly, which is called socialisation. In my recent English language class, a Polish student mentioned that for them “collaboration” is a negative word, i.e. siding with the Nazis – “the collaborators”. So, I suggested the use of “cooperation” or “working with” to avoid offending them.

Comment tenir bon durant le confinement ? Notre cas luxembourgeois (3)

Hyowon Chi - musicien professionnel vient jouer sur son balcon

6) Concerts aux balcons

Un jour mon compagnon m’a dit : « Peux-tu entendre de la musique ? Une flûte ». Je n’entendais rien. Mais il a insisté. Alors, je l’ai entendue faiblement et j’ai donc ouvert une fenêtre. Nous avons alors vu quelqu’un jouer de la flûte traversière sur le balcon d’un immeuble tout proche. C'était un voisin qui rétrospectivement s’est avéré être coréen. Par la suite, nous avons constaté que ce petit intermède musical arrivait tous les midis comme une pause dans notre longue journée de confinés en l’égayant d’un moment de réconfort et d’oubli du virus. « Notre » musicien se nomme Hyowon Chi et il est flûtiste professionnel.

Selon Hyowon, au début de l’initiative, il était prévu de jouer en duo avec son amie Hélène (flûtiste à l'OPL) qui habite un autre immeuble juste à côté du nôtre. Tous les jours, de leur balcon respectif, ils auraient joué ensemble mais il s’est avéré impossible d'être synchronisés à cause de la distance. Nous aurions bien eu besoin d’un « petit » Seiji Ozawa dans notre voisinage. Alors, ils ont décidé de jouer tous les jours à midi à tour de rôle. C'est ainsi que leurs concerts de balcon ont commencé depuis le 19 mars quand il faisait encore assez froid.

( Lire la suite 。。。)

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...

Clear, concise and unpretentious writing

Happy Easter to all of you!

I thought today's the 31st of March. I have just come back from a 4-hour chess tournament and am waiting for dinner. It's nearly 9 in the evening, and I have little mental energy left to do my first day-of-the month's blog. Thus, I decided to tell you about my soon-to-be-published book instead.

Foreword

The first article I wrote was published in my university newsletter 40 years ago. It was about my 24-hour travel by boat and bus from home to my alma mater. I felt disappointed seeing some words changed and several sentences reconstructed by the newsletter editor. I soon realised that at 16 years old I was just starting to learn how to write.

Ten years later, when my first journal article took a dozen drafts and tough comments from academic reviewers, I just grinned. I even considered it a victory because, at least, it was not an outright rejection and it eventually got published in the Australian Journal of Criminology. Writing is an art and a skill. Some people are gifted by nature and need no or little help to become good writers. Most of us, however, must spend time and energy to harness our writing skills.

Though the evolution of culture and society impacts how we use language, the essentials in writing have remained fairly constant, particularly in formal communication: grammar, verb tenses, punctuation, paragraphing, sentence structure, capitalisation, and tone.

Nowadays, English is spoken widely in countries that have national languages (e.g. India, Singapore, and The Philippines) and not only in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the USA. Nevertheless, standard American and British English varieties remain the main global business and academic references (lingua francas).

Summer of culture and history

You've probably heard about the simplicity and generosity of Polish people; well, I've been a recipient of these admirable human traits. I recently spent a week in Gdansk in the company of a cordial and considerate Pole and her mum.

Gdansk is one of the five big cities in Poland with about 470,000 inhabitants. (I'd like to visit its capital, Warsaw, one day). This country, which is rich in mineral and agricultural resources, is often referred to as "ex-eastern European nation” when geographically it lies entirely on the north European plain and is in the central European time zone. It’s one hour ahead of standard Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in the winter months, and two hours ahead from late March to October due to daylight saving time.

I've been told by my hosts that winter in Poland is very cold and summer is not-so-warm. I agree with them concerning the later; I haven't experienced the former yet. I was there in the middle of August but always carried a jumper when I went out. I was lucky to experience several sunny days promenading in the famous Royal Way which included the Old Town Street, where Polish kings used to parade; the Golden Gate; the Torture House; the Prison Tower and Neptune’s Fountain.

The majority of Poles are Roman Catholic, so there are churches and places of worship in almost every corner and street; I went to half a dozen of them. Some Poles belong to the Polish Orthodox Church and various Protestant denominations, such as the Lutherans. Of course, there are also members of minority religious groups.

Carnival

This week, 9 of my acquaintances are on holiday or have taken days off from work to participate in carnival activities. One of them lives in Binche, Belgium, where every year during the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday (i.e. today) there are street performances, dancing and merry making. The Shrove Tuesday’s parade includes the throwing or giving away of oranges to spectators by the Gilles – famous participants colourfully dressed with wax masks, ostrich-feathered hats and wooden footwear. The oranges are considered to bring good luck because they are a gift from the Gilles and it is an insult to throw or give them back. (Shrove Tuesday is also known as Mardi Gras, Pancake Day or ‘Fat Tuesday’ in French as it’s the last night of eating rich and fatty food before fasting during Lent, which is 40 days before Easter).

According to The History of Carnival (on CarnivalPower.com), the Catholics in Italy started the tradition of holding a wild costume festival right before the first day of Lent. Because Catholics are not supposed to eat meat during Lent, they called their festival, carnevale — which means “to put away the meat.” As time passed by, carnivals in Italy became quite famous; and the practice spread to France, Spain and all Catholic countries in Europe.

Two years ago, I was at the Notting Hill carnival in London and it had a fully Caribbean flare with lots of feathers, and I have since found out that in Africa feathers are used in masks and headdresses as a symbol of humans’ ability to overcome problems, pains, illness and difficulties. I’m certain you’ve heard a lot about the spectacular carnival bonanza in Brazil and Trinidad & Tobago, and the lavish Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, Sydney, Venice and other cities.

Language, identity and global necessities

Language is a cultural, political and economic tool, and English has shown great success in this domain. The spread of English internationally has been aided and abetted by the advancement in technology, forging of international organisations, and bare economic and political necessities. On the other hand, languages have been (and can be) taken over by one which is spoken by those from an economically, politically and socially dominant nation.

People who speak English as a second language do so because either they want or are obliged to (it is imposed from the outside). These days, they represent more than two-thirds of English speakers in the world, and the distinction between native and non-native speakers is not that significant anymore.

In the Philippines, for example, English is used in government, private and public dealings. Although Tagalog is the official language, English is the medium of instruction in schools and universities and is used lavishly in the mass media. This country was a Spanish colony for more than 300 years; however, it's the Americans who have had the recent influence on its culture. Its proximity to Australia - another native English speaking country - has been a convenience. In the Asia-Pacific region, the Philippines has the largest population of English-speaking inhabitants (over 102 millions).

The majority of this year’s Eurovision songs were in English. Even the winning title by Jamala of Ukraine has more English than Tatar words. For the first time, Spain's entry was also in English which aroused criticisms from its Royal Academy of Spanish Language (RAE), the official body that oversees language use. The French entry was also mainly performed in English. (In Eurovision's earlier days, contests were dominated by francophone nations - e.g. France, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg & Monaco - and by entries in French). These days, contestants believe that English gives them a better chance to win because it is more widely understood than other languages; as well, successful songs have English lyrics.

The words in our language

“How was your staycation?” my student asked her colleague.

“It was relaxing,” he answered.

Another young woman sitting next to him raised her hand. “What did you say? What was it?” “stey-key-shun?” He replied, “Ah.. you were not with us last year. Staycation means vacation spent at home doing something you enjoy. In the beginning, I also thought it sounded funny.”

Then he added, “holiday in UK and vacation in US English.”

I couldn’t help smiling and was glad that my student remembered something from our previous course. Languages evolve, appear and disappear to adapt and cater to the changing needs and developments (e.g. technology) in our society. Often, new words are created by: 1) putting together letters from 2 different words (e.g. ‘Brexit’ – British/Britain’s exit from the European Union. There’s a referendum on this issue in June 2016); 2) shortening words (e.g. company representative = company rep); 3) borrowing from other languages (e.g. French ‘chef’ – cook); and 4) even from mistakes or words of celebrities (e.g. Gwyneth Paltrow’s conscious uncoupling which describes divorcing or separating couple who find the source of unhappiness in themselves and refrain from blaming each other).

日本礼賛 と 星の王子様のうぬぼれ男

I have just started my own site www.mizohata.org and posted my English essay. Please visit the site!

日本礼賛 と 星の王子様のうぬぼれ男(1)

「日本すごい!」本が、ブームなんだそうですが。 まず芥川賞作家のツッコミを、読んでみてください。


このごろ私が、「気色わるゥ」

と思ったこと、二つ三つ。       (中略)

しかし「日本人上等論」を読んで(それみい、やっぱりや)などとにんまりしてるとえらい目にあう。日本人をほめられてワルイ気はしないところが、要注意のこわさ、気色わるさである。戦争おっぱじめる、軍隊を組織して軍備を強化する、ということをもくろむ手合いはまず、国民の士気と民族意識をたかめ、(それみい・・・・・)という優越感を植えつけようとする。気色わるゥ。

田辺聖子「気色わるゥ」

女の口髭 文春文庫 1987年 116~118頁

。。。下につづく

「敗北を抱きしめて」(Embracing Defeat)雑感

This blog is about my thoughts on John W. Dower’s book Embracing Defeat in Japanese. Several years ago, I read the conclusion chapter only (yes, shame on me). I thought that we Japanese already know this stuff, so the book had been sitting on my bookshelf for years.

But somehow I thought of this book and started reading it. And, once I started reading, I could not stop… and I kept murmuring to myself or growling “Omoshiroiiiii (interesting).” It was an immense pleasure to read.

Contrary to the lyrics of the Southern All Stars (the school textbooks run out of time before getting that part), the book starts with “the part we most want to know.”

It is said that Japan has changed remarkably for the last seven decades. Yet, seemingly there are so many things unchanged: low status of women, their legal and social oppression, poverty, younger women’s resorting to sex work, the gap between the rich and the poor, the inept government, and the like.

I find the chapters on politics most fascinating. Also, I like the chapters on how the image campaign successfully transformed the emperor of war responsibility into an almost saintly figure.

When I started school, the emperor was already a transformed character. But, as a child, I could sense his discomfort: something painfully awkward, stolid, and severe. (Although kids do not have a wide vocabulary, we could feel and judge things.) I was intrigued by his past and character (e.g. what happened to him?). Perhaps, that was the part that even the successful campaign could not change. And, the book provides us some important answers to “the part we most want to know” in our history.

「敗北を抱きしめて」(Embracing Defeat)雑感

ジョン・ダワー先生のベストセラーは、後半をすこしひろい読みしただけで長らく書架においたままだった。浅草の女性ストリーッパーの写真や雑誌の図説を見て、俗っぽい内容の本なのかと勘違いして本を開かずにいた。

昨年成立した戦争法について考えていたとき、この本にあてどなく手がのびて13章から終章までじっくり読みおえた。あまりにおもしろくて序章にもどった。どうして読まずにいたのだろう・・・。

言葉(英単語)ひとつにしても、惜しげもないゆたかな語彙も表現も、話の展開も、限りなくおもしろい。おかしみは尽きず、つい読み急ぐのだけども、一気に読むのはもったいないような、底ふかい愉悦感。「おもしろォーい」と何度もうなりながら読んだ。

ダワーを読まずして、なんとしよう。

全体にただよう文学的な風合いには、星屑を散らしたように、ラテン語が(フランス語も)使われていた。なるほど目でも愉しめるように、四字熟語のように効果的に視覚に訴えてくるのがわかる。英文にも「眼福」ってあるのだなと知らさせた。

。。。下につづく

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