Monthly Archives: October 2010

Halloween Party at Mairo in 2010


      Happy Halloween! There was a Halloween party at Mairo, the bakery, last night, though, Halloween has not come for another week. There were many delicious food and drink, and nice people in the party, and I had a really good time there.5467629_817185526_28large.jpg-a

     The bread shop began holding the party last year, and I’m surprised that one year had already passed.     

The party last year ( had been really crazy, but this year’s was, of course, raging! TS3N0845

     Fallen angels, a vampire, a Death, pirates, a dog, a cat, a cheerleader, witches, a rabbit, anime characters, a crazy fan of Dragon’s, damned nurses, a space alien…funny!TS3N0863

     Mairo is not an ordinary bakery, but is an experience-based one! Of course, they sell lots of wonderful bread and light meals. Why don’t you join us next time when they throw an interesting party?マイロ正面

Mairo, the bakery:
     2-1112 Umemorizaka, Meito-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan

Charles and Emma: Darwins’ Leap of Faith


charles and Emma      So different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner…


     Charles Darwin, well-known for his masterpiece The Origin of Species, wrote that on creatures, but might express about his marriage, too.

     Look at the book cover of Charles and Emma: Darwins’ Leap of Faith. You see silhouettes of an ape, a man with his arms crossed a woman with a cross in her hand. In the 19th century, it meant a kind of rebellion on Christianity to put up evolution theory because it challenged Genesis. His wife Emma was a religious person. The cover depicts a confrontation between Charles as a scientist and Emma as a believer in Christianity.

     This book, Charles and Emma: Darwins’ Leap of Faith written by Deborah Heiligman in 2008, is a kind of biography, but is not an ordinary one. The author has focused on Darwin’s conflicted feelings among faith, science, society and love, and his personal life.

     I used the word of “confrontation” above, but Charles and Emma really loved each other. That’s why they were in torment. Emma believed in God and in the after world: heaven and hell. She couldn’t bear of thinking if she would not be able to see his husband in heaven after their death. Charles knew very much about Emma’s religious devotion and her love for him, but couldn’t give up his conviction that the Bible is not true literally: God didn’t create all of creatures as they are. The first human was not Adam…

     Charles Darwin was serious and sober. He studied specimens carefully over the years and tried to avoid his opinions making a big fuss in the world. Interestingly, his habitude reflected not only his books but also his marriage. He made a list of the pros and cons of settling down in his late twenties. He divided into two a line on a piece of paper and wrote Marry on the left side and Not Marry on the right side, and wrote his ideas for both as follows:

Marry: Children, constant companion (& friend in old age) who will feel interested in one, Home & someone to take care of house, Charms of music & female chit-chat, Terrible loss of time, etc

Not Marry: Freedom to go where on liked, choice of Society & little of it, Conversation of clever men at clubs, Not forced to visit relatives & to bend in every trifle, etc

     This book is full of his personal ideas and life with quotes Charles left in his large amount of notes. As like thinking of marriage, it seems that he wrote anything, everything he came up with in his mind on his notebooks. In addition, he wrote so many letters, maybe thousands of. Emma also. Those are important factors for the book, too. This book illustrates the hidden side of famous Charles Darwin and which will spellbind you.

Shiragiku – the lute with a tragic love story


      Have you ever heard of these names of places: Myo-on-dori and Biwajima? Myo-on-dori is in Mizuho-ku in Nagoya, and the name of Biwajima is seen in Nishi-ku in Nagoya, and in Kiyosu, a suburb located north Nagoya. These two places are more than 10 km away from each other, but they’re connected by a musical instrument and a tragic love story.

     There was a man named Moronaga Fujiwara, Chancellor of the realm in Heian-era more than 800 years ago, and he fell from the power and was driven into exile by a coup. He came to a village named Idota, which is in the south of Mizuho-ku, and lived there, lamenting his misfortune and playing the lute. He was a great lute player, and the name of the place “Myo-on-dori” derives from his lute’s beautiful sound. Myo-on means exquisite music and dori(=tori) means street. shiragiku

     Who took care of Moronaga was a daughter of the head of the village. They fell in love with each other. But their love didn’t last. He was discharged a year and a half later the coup and left for the capitol in Kyoto behind her. He gave her his lute as a remembrance of him. But she couldn’t bear the breakup and chased him with the lute.

     She, however, noticed that she couldn’t stay with him forever in the capitol and despaired around Biwajima, and drowned herself in The Shonai River. The name of Biwajima derives from the lute. Lute is called biwa in Japanese.

     According to one estimate that the lute was housed in Seion Temple in Biwajima. Interestingly, Seion means beautiful sound. But another theory holds that Moronaga dedicated the lute to Atsuta Shrine. Anyway, it went around and around, and Yoshikatsu Tokugawa, the ruler in Nagoya area in 19th Century, hold it, and then he made Emperor Komei a present of the lute in 1863. But after that it hadn’t been located for many years.

     But it was found among treasures in Museum of the Imperial Collection in Tokyo at the end of last month. And now you can see it at the exhibition of Treasures of the Owari Tokugawa Family – Including Works “Returning Home” at Tokugawa Art Museum. Actually, the lute has a name: Shiragiku, which means white chrysanthemum. The name of the place Shiragiku also still remains in Biwajima. Why don’t you go to the museum to see the lute with a tragic love story and visit those connected places this fall?

*The photo from The Chunichi

The Mortal Instruments


city of bones      To love is to destroy…

     Jace, the hero of this series of three novels, The Mortal Instruments trilogy: City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass written by Cassandra Clare, believed that in his life.

     The Mortal Instruments is a fantasy for young adult. This boy, Jace, is one of main characters, and weaves the story with the heroine Clary. And don’t forget that it has another important character, Simon. Jace is 17, and Clary and Simon are 16 years old.

     Clary and Simon have been friends from childhood and lived in Brooklyn. They spend a lot of time together, and they go to a club together that night, too. In the club, Clary witnesses a murder by a teenage group in for a surprise. But who is surprised is not only her but also those teens. “Mundane” can’t see them. “A mundie girl,” he said, half to himself. “And she can see us.”city of ashes

     They ―Jace, Alec and Isabele― are “Shadowhunters”, which is a kind of secret police in another world. They chase bad “Downworlders”, that is, demons, werewolves, or vampires, and kill them if it’s necessity. They find a demon entering to the club and kill it, when Clary sees the scene by accident. But Simon doesn’t know what’s happening there because he can’t see anything. For him, everything is normal. That is, there’s no murder and no teenage gang in the club for him.

     Next day, Clary meets Jace again at a café, where she and Simon go together. 

    “ So, who is it, then?” Clary asked. She was about to add  that if he were in love with Sheila Barbarino, Eric would kick his ass, when she heard someone cough loudly behind her. It was a derisive sort of cough, the kind of noise someone might make who was trying not to laugh out loud.    
     She turned around.
     Sitting on a faded green sofa a few feet away from her was Jace. He was wearing the same dark clothes he’d had on the night before in the of glass

     That is when Simon tries to declare his love for Clary. He has been in love with her since he was five years old, but she hasn’t noticed it at all and has never thought of it because for her he is like a brother.

     “What is it?” Simon had followed her gaze, but it was obvious from the blank expression on his face that he couldn’t see Jace. So, Clary makes excuses to Simon and goes out of the café to talk to Jace outside.  “I was laughing at you because declarations of love amuse me, especially when unrequited,” he said. “And because your Simon is one of the most mundane mundanes I’ve ever encountered. And because Hodge thought you might be dangerous, but if you are, you certainly don’t know it.”

     And then, Clary gets involved in another world about which she has never known its existence and comes to play an important role there…Actually, the story consists of not only paranormal fantasy things but also many kinds of love, such as a love triangle (Oh, maybe, it’s a love hexagonal or a love octagonal…), family love, almost incestuous affair, homosexual love, and of course friendship…

     As for the word of “To love is to destroy”, Jace has believed it for a long time, but he comes to know true love by meeting Clary. “…And even back then, in that stupid coffee shop, when I saw you sitting on that couch with Simon, even then that felt wrong to me ― I should have been the one sitting with you. The one who made you laugh like that….”

     Hey, are you getting interested in what happens to Jace, Clary, and Simon? Actually, Simon also gets involved in that world and now he is not a human…it seems that the fourth book is coming next year, and which focuses on Simon. I can’t wait to read it!

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments)
City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments)
City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments)

Yu-chan’s Farewell


TS3N0812     Yu-chan, how have you been? Have you already got used to your new life in the U.K?

     Yu-chan is a young graduate student. She had played a role as the leader of the English Conversation Club until last month since the first leader has gone to the U.S . She’s gone to the U.K to study peace and conflict studies at a university. Actually, I’d never heard of the subject until I met her, and I haven’t understood what the hell it is yet, to be honest.

     There was a farewell party for her at the end of last month at Elephant’s Nest, the British style pub, in Fushimi. I haven’t heard from her since then. I’m wondering what she is doing by now, whether she’s already began going to the university or has tried to visit some real pubs in the U.K.

     Yu-chan and I met first at a conversation club at an English language school last year. We had a nice chat because she is so nice and friendly. But we didn’t have many opportunities to see each other after that. Probably two or three times, I think. I was a daily class student and she came to school at night and weekends. TS3N0818

     I, maybe I guess she also, thought we’d have some chances to meet at the school the last time we met at the school, but we couldn’t. The language school went bankrupt and closed suddenly year ago last October. I went to the school on the very closing day although I hadn’t already been a student there. Then I met her there again.

     Actually, one of my ex-classmates was also there, and he and Yu-chan decided to start a conversation club, where anyone could join and practice speaking English for free. Many students lost their school, but some of them never gave up and tried to find the way for a new place where they could keep studying. And I was also invited to the club. Lucky!

     It seems that we sometimes look and sound weird because people all of whom look like Japanese speak English at cafes. In fact, one day when we spoke English at a Starbucks near Nagoya Station, a white male, who had been sitting next to us, addressed us before leaving, “You sound weird because you are talking in English in spite of that all of you are Japanese!!” things in fluent Japanese, smiling. TS3N0821

     To tell the truth, we felt self-conscious about speaking English next to him. He wasn’t sitting alone. Actually, he was teaching English a woman at the place. You know, there are many English schools send their teachers for having lessons on a one-to-one basis at cafes. The man added, “Keep up studying English!!” in Japanese, and left, waving.

     As a sad memory, one woman came to us and said, “I don’t know you’re studying or something, but this place is not for studying or chatting. This is for eating!” when we were talking at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Sakae. She looked really upset and stormed off. Maybe we talked up a storm about romances or something…She might be on a bad day…

     We’ve kept the conversation club for almost one year. During this time, our conversation sent many our companies away abroad, mainly to the U.S and U.K. I hope we’ll be keep having this club until at least Yu-chan comes back to Japan. I look forward to hearing from her about her life and many interesting episodes in England.