Category Archives: Art

My Travel in Vancouver 7 (Day 3 Part 2) ~ The Roedde House Museum, Robson Public Market, & Offsite ~ I’m your third student!


バンクーバー2014 217-1     What shall I do? I was standing at the door of the Roedde House Museum, perplexed. There was a notice on the door. It said that it opened at 1 p.m. and the opening time had already passed. So, I tried to open the door, but it did not budge. Then I found there was a small piece of paper on the door. It said “Ring the bell if you need anything.” Oh, I see! But…where is the bell? First I could not find the door bell. Is this the bell? A gold colored key-looking thing was poking out from a keyhole-looking hole in the lower part of the door. I tried to turn it. バンクーバー2014 217-4

     Tinkle-tinkle. Yes, it was the bell. I heard the soft footsteps of someone coming, and then the door opened finally. “Hello.” A tall man was standing in front of me smiling. He must have been the one I had seen through the window a few minutes ago. The Roedde House Museum was built in the late 1800s as a residence for the family of Gustav Roedde, a German immigrant and bookbinder. Actually, the city of Vancouver, the owner of the house, decided to demolish this building and to develop the area as a park in the mid 1970s. But some citizens took action against the development and the house was preserved and now the area is maintained as a park called Barclay Heritage Square. バンクーバー2014 220

     Tinkle-tinkle. When the guide began explaining about the history of the house for me, the door bell rang behind us. He rolled his eyes and said “Excuse me,” and rushed to the door. There a short woman was standing with two little boys, who looked naughty. She told him that she was their teacher. The boys looked like each other. Probably they were brothers. They were about eight to ten years old. While their teacher was paying the admission fee, they started hunting around for something interesting. One of them picked a notebook up from the table. Of course, both of the notebook and the table are exhibits. バンクーバー2014 231

     “No, no!” The teacher darted to him, “You must not touch anything!” In the meantime, the other one sat on a chair in the room. “No!” She said and tried to pull him off. The house which had been quiet several minutes ago became lively. “Oh, so sorry…” she apologized to the guide, who was standing with his eyes wide open. He blinked a few times and whispered, “Ah…that chair is…okay…but not the others…you know…the 19th century…”バンクーバー2014 232-a

     Mr. and Mrs. Roedde had six children. But a daughter died from eating poisonous berries at the age of five. Another daughter was killed by a patient while she was working as a nurse… “Oh, my…” the teacher murmured at the guide’s explanation. The guide showed us around the house, which had not only possessions of the Roeddes but also many things from the 19th century. Of course, the boys ran around during the tour. Their teacher apologized to me, “I’m sorry for disrupting the tour.” Actually I was enjoying the extraordinary experience and said, “Oh, that’s okay. You know, I’m your third student. And they are my little brothers.” She chuckled and looked relieved saying “Oh, thank you for saying that.”バンクーバー2014 235-a

     After the grand tour, the guide gave me the information card written in Japanese. “It looks Japanese for me…why don’t you look around at your pace? You can take photos.” At that moment the door bell rang again. “Take your time.” He smiled at me and rushed to the door. “Hello…” So, I started looking around in the house again. The teacher was asking the boys about the exhibits in front of them and giving them other questions. I was able to spend a relaxed afternoon at the museum.バンクーバー2014 239

     It was past 2 o’clock. I felt hungry. So, I went to Robson Public Market, which was on the way to my hotel. The market was not colorful compared to the other one in Granville Island. There were few customers inside. Some booths were closed. I went upstairs. It was a food court, but only two booths were open. I looked around and caught the eye of the chef at Apple Deli. He smiled at me. バンクーバー2014 240

     “Hmm…” I could not quickly decide what to eat.
     “I highly recommend the smoke salmon and cream cheese sandwich,” he said.
     “Actually, I had the same kind of sandwich on…on…a famous island this morning.”
     “Granville Island?”
     “Yes, there.”
     “So, you had a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich there…then…how about an avocado and bacon sandwich? It’s also delicious!”
     “Okay, I’ll have one!”
バンクーバー2014 243

     I was waiting for my sandwich reading a free paper, when the chef brought the food to my table with a newspaper. “Here’s today’s paper. Enjoy.”

     The avocado and bacon sandwich, vegetable soup and coffee. They were voluminous but cost just $8.50 or something. Of course, they were tasty! I enjoyed the meal, reading the newspaper, which filled blanks of my understanding of recent news. I cannot catch exactly what people are saying in English on TV. I thanked him and went back to my hotel to take a rest. I was going to go out again in the evening. バンクーバー2014 248-a

     Around 6:30, I left my hotel and headed to Shangri-La Hotel. Actually, my final destination was not the hotel. It was an open space next to it, where there is the exhibition space of Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG), called “Offsite”. バンクーバー2014 245

     There was an opening ceremony for new exhibits in the evening. People started gathering together when I arrived at the place, where some terracotta pots were perched on piled jute sandbags on the water. Then men in black costumes began serving some drinks and foods, and I got some. The open space became a party place. There the artist Babak Golkar, who is a Vancouver-based artist, appeared and the atmosphere was heated up. According to a curator of VAG, the exhibition was expressive of our fragile lives in the modern time or something… What do you think?バンクーバー2014 250

My Travel in Vancouver 5 (Day 2 Part 3) ~ The Bill Reid Gallery & Christ Church Cathedral ~ : You are the first person to buy!


clip_image002     I certainly said “adult” when I bought a ticket at the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art…But the lady at the counter treated me as a “student” somehow…

clip_image004      The Bill Reid Gallery is just a one minute from the Pendulum Gallery. Bill Reid was a Canadian artist of Haida tribe origin. I looked at some of his art works at the Museum of Anthropology the previous day. So, I came to the gallery after the Pendulum.

     When the lady at the ticket office said, “You’re a student,” I denied it, “Oh, I’m not a student.” But she said something and unfortunately I could not understand exactly what she said with my English abilities… Or…should I say “fortunately”?

     There were many elaborate art works of Bill Reid in the gallery. I love First Nations’ designs. They look “naïve” at first glance, but they are artful and sophisticated. They have both boldness and sensitivity. I had a wonderful time there surrounded by my favorite art.clip_image008

     A cathedral stands with stealth among modern glass-scrapers behind the Bill Reid Gallery: Christ Church Cathedral. I visited the church after the Bill Reid Gallery. Opening the door, I was enveloped by heavy silence. I stepped into the world of the 19th century. The light source was the faint sunlight through beautiful stained glass and flickering candle lights. Adjusting to the dim light, I found a cleric at the counter. clip_image006

     “Excuse me.” I whispered because the place was really quiet.
     “Yes.” The holy man looked up at me from his book or something.
          “Can I look around inside?”
          “Of course.” He smiled.
          “Um…How much…?”
          “Oh, you don’t need to pay.” He looked a little surprised.
          “Oh, really? Thank you. And can I take some photos…?”
          “Sure. And you don’t need to pay for that, either. Take your time.” He said that with a big smile.

clip_image010     A man was sitting on a bench with his eyes closed. I also sat on a bench and closed my eyes. The scent of delicate flowers hit my nostrils. I felt as if my tangled nerves were untwining slowly. After how long time I don’t know, I opened my eyes and scanned the place. The sitting man was still there. I started walking on tiptoe to look at the stained glass…The panels were wonderful!clip_image012

     Leaving the cathedral, I dropped by Urban Fare, the grocery store, on the way to my hotel. A sales clerk caught my attention while I was shopping.

     “Why don’t you try some tea?” She said that and smiled at me. Suddenly I realized how tired I was. I had not drunk anything at all after brunch. I approached her and chose an herbal tea: Chocolate Spice. “Where are you from?” The clerk started a conversation.clip_image013

     She said that she had come to the shop from Capilano, where I had been in the heavy rain that morning. We talked about Canada’s rich nature while I was sipping the tea. The paper cup was empty, and the chocolate-colored liquid was soon absorved into my cells. Then I felt revived.

    “How was that tea?”
     “Very nice.”
     “That’s good. You can take a sample. Which one would you like?”
     “This one,” I picked up a box of Chocolate Spice tea.
     “What do you mean? Do you want that as a sample? Or…are you going to buy it?“
     “I’d like to buy this.”
     “REALLY?” She was surprised and stared at me for a while.
     “Any problems?”
     “No, no, no…Actually, you are the first person to buy anything from me today!”
     “REALLY?” It was my turn to be surprised. “Well…Congratulations!”
     “Thank you! Enjoy your trip!” She looked really happy.
     “Thanks!” I got on the way back to my hotel in a cheerful and agreeable mood.


My Travel in Vancouver Part 1 is HERE.

MY Travel in Vancouver Part 2 is HERE.

My Travel in Vancouver Part 3 is HERE.

MY Travel in Vancouver Part 4 is HERE.

My Travel in Vancouver 2 (Day 1 Part 2) ~Museum of Anthropology~: The person that walks about finds a cafe.


4 22 6      Vancouver is the coffee junkies’ paradise. You don’t need to look for a café. The person that walks about finds a café. Before going back to the hotel, I decided to have a coffee break. I had decided to try Tim Hortons and Blenz coffee because both of them are Canadian shops, and I found one of Tim Hortons at Alberni Street soon after leaving the bank. I bought a cup of coffee and a blueberry muffin there. I thought the coffee was a little weak, but it was nice, and the muffin was tasty. バンクーバー2014 021

     After checking in the hotel, I decided to go to Museum of Anthropology in the University of British Columbia, which was the place I had most wanted to visit. I like First Nations’ relics and artworks. バンクーバー2014 022

     I needed to take a bus to go there from downtown. Inconveniently, you have to pay the exact coin fare when you take a bus in Vancouver. You know, I gave up having the electric fare card. But I managed to gather $2.75 which was the one-way fare because I had paid in cash at Tim Hortons. So, I decided to use the coins for the return trip and to buy a ticket at Burrard Station for going to the museum. バンクーバー2014 024

     I got on the bus for the university near the station. It was about a 30-minute ride. I got off the bus at West Bound Chancellor Boulevard at Allison Road and started walking to the museum. The skies were blue and the breeze was cool. I saw the blue sea just ahead on the right. I felt fantastic. After a 15-minute walk, I was welcomed by a big sculpture standing by the museum. The entrance looked like a Japanese Shinto shrine gate called Torii. The admission fee was $6.75. バンクーバー2014 025

     There were many wooden beavers on the wall. Ancient people created not only beavers but also other wild animals in Canada, such as wolves, or grizzly bears. Each item was dynamic.

     Interestingly their gates looked like Japanese Torii. Cultures of Canadian aboriginal people might have something to do with faraway Japan. In fact, the appearance of some tribial people  there looks Japanese… バンクーバー2014 037

     Both of us might have connected in the same cultural area in ancient times. In fact, I found another similar item at the museum: wooden fish. They are used as percussion instrument for Buddhist ceremonies in Japan. Interesting!バンクーバー2014 032

     The museum also has outdoor exhibits: Haida tribe houses and totem poles. I strolled around the museum, imagining ancient civilizations. バンクーバー2014 047

     It was nearly 5 p.m. but the sun was still high because the sunset was after 8 o’clock. I was feeling freedom released from daily life.バンクーバー2014 052

My Travel in Vancouver 1 (Day 1 Part 1) is here.


Japanese Version is here.

My Travel in Vancouver 1 (Day1 Part 1) ~ The ‘Ksan Mural ~ Where can I buy a Compass card?


バンクーバー2014 040     “Do you know Fukushima? It’s my town,” the girl next to me said to the man sitting on her right. I was sitting on her left and dozing on a plane to Vancouver while she was talking to the man. When she mentioned the place, I sensed the man tensed for a moment and I opened my eyes. Then he managed a word, “Oh, my gosh…” and I was in the conversation before I knew it. 4 22 2

     She was a high school junior in Japan, but left school to study English in Canada. According to her, she was going to stay with a family and go to high school in West Vancouver for two years. I had never thought of leaving Japan alone when I was her age. Young girls today are brave. However, she said she was feeling nervous about her new life. That was why the man from Whistler and I encouraged her while flying. I hope everything is going well for her.

   4 22 1  I traveled Vancouver by myself from April 22 to 26, when it was right before the high season. In fact, the spring in Vancouver is the rainy season. Nevertheless, it was sunny when I arrived at the airport. I was so lucky. I stayed at Barclay Hotel at Robson Street. It was an oldish building without elevators built in 1950. My room had neither hair-dryer, electric kettle, nor fridge. But the hotel was renovated in 2008 before the Olympics in 2010. So, my room was clean and had a bath tub and free wifi! Actually, I didn’t need a hair-dryer, an electric kettle, or a fridge because the hotel is located in a very convenient place where there are some convenience stores, cafes, restaurants, and grocery stores within a few-minute walk and my hair is short. (You can borrow a dryer and a kettle at the information desk.)4 22 3

     I arrived at the hotel around 11:00 a.m. I couldn’t check in yet, but the counter clerk in the hotel was very kind and offered to accelerate their check-in time to noon from 2 p.m. for me. So, I left my backpack at the hotel and went for a stroll in town. There is a Japanese style convenience store a few-minute walk from the hotel. It is Konbiniya Japan Centre at Robson Street. I dropped by the shop though I was not going to buy any Japanese things. You know, I had just arrived there from Japan. Interestingly the store had many Japanese products, especially glico’s merchandise. I did not see any Japanese students there because they had to be at school that time, but many of them might come to the shop for Japanese snacks and comics after school or on weekends. バンクーバー2014 163

     My first destination was Burrard Station, which is the nearest Skytrain station from the hotel. It was about a 12-minute walk. I was going to buy an electric fare pass called Compass there because it would be convenient to use the public transportation in Vancouver. But I couldn’t find any places to buy the card at the station. The vending machines just sold usual tickets and there was no ticket window nearby. Then a member of staff happened to appear by chance and started taking out money from the machines . So I asked him where I could buy one. But he replied, “Not yet,” shaking his head. The system of using electric fare passes had just begun this year and had not spread throughout the city yet…4 22 7

     There is a big building of the Royal Bank of Canada called Royal Centre near the station. I gave up getting the IC card and headed to the bank. It has one of the largest First Nations’ artworks on its walls. A man came to me with a smile when I stepped into its mezzanine floor because I didn’t look like one of their customers obviously.

     “May I help you?”
     “Um… I’ve come here just for looking at those walls…” I said that and looked up at the walls before me.
     “Oh, I see…” He also looked up.

     There were huge artworks called “‘Ksan Mural” in front of us. They are nine 30m-long and 2.5m-high wooden panels carved and painted by hand. They were created by five Native Indian carvers in 1972. The main work depicts their legends of Weget, or Man-Raven. The bold designs of the giant aboriginal artworks were breathtaking. 4 22 8

     “Can I take some photos?”
“Yes, I think so…but…no?” he said so and saw something. Actually, he was looking at someone, who was shaking her head. The woman said apologetically, “I’m sorry, but for security reasons…” and gave me a leaflet. So, I cannot show you the great works here. Why don’t you drop by the bank to look at the hidden artworks if you visit Vancouver? They are impressive and worth seeing. 4 22 9


 Japanese Version is HERE.

My Travel in London 10 ~ North and South Kensington ~ I’ll be back!


London 2013 302

     Trees were swaying in the heavy rain and the strong wind. I was having breakfast at the hotel, looking out of the window. Has my luck run out finally? I had not needed to use an umbrella until the previous day since I arrived at London on March 18 in spite of the chance of precipitation being more than 90 % during the week. (The former episodes on my trip are here: My Travel in London 1, My Travel in London 2, My Travel in London 3, My Travel in London 4, My Travel in London 5, My Travel in London 6, My Travel in London 7, My Travel in London 8, and My Travel in London 9) That was my last morning in London. I was supposed to leave for Japan that evening on March 22. The weather forecaster was warning of the worsening weather repeatedly on TV on the wall. London 2013 303

     After finishing my last breakfast at the hotel, I dragged myself back to my room to do my packing. I had nearly four hours until the check-out. I did not want to hang around in the heavy rain, but I decided to go out. I wanted to shop in a local supermarket. I would be able to come back to my room and to put the things I bought in the store in my pack in four hours.

     My luck was still lasting! Amazingly, it was just drizzling when I went out. It was only necessary to pull up the hood of my jacket. Before going shopping, I decided to drop by an old house of George Orwell, the author famous for Animal Farm and 1984. I walked to West Brompton Station and took the underground to Notting Hill Gate. Nathan, an English teacher in Japan, had mentioned the place before I left Japan. Notting Hill Gate is just the third station from West Brompton. London 2013 306

     It was snowing when I came out from the North Exit of Notting Hill Gate Station. But it was not so bad. I pulled over the hood and began walking in the powdery snow. I walked along Pembridge Road and then turned left at the second corner to Portbello Road. Then soon I found on the right side the round-shaped blue plaque, which is a historical marker set up at the places of famous people in U.K. Young George Orwell lived there in 1927 after coming back from Burma to become a writer after resigning as an officer of the Indian Imperial Police. London 2013 307

     I was able to locate the old house easily but I could not find “The Travel Book Shop” or “The Blue Door” eventually because I had not researched beforehand. But I was happy to be in Notting Hill as if I were in a filmic scene. All of the shops and most of the stalls had not opened yet. I walked back to the tube station. London 2013 308

     I got off the underground at Gloucester Road station. It had stopped raining and snowing. I walked toward the north and turned left at the first crossing. It was about a 10-minute walk along Cromwell Road to Sainsbury’s, the supermarket. When I was browsing through the shop, an elderly woman spoke to me, “Excuse me, but could you read this for me? I forgot my glasses!” She pointed at the bottom of a box of tea. London 2013 309


“Um…it says 10 sachets.”  

“10 sachets?”

“Yes, 10 sachets.”

“Oh, thank you very much.”

“You’re welcome.”

 London 2013 311  

     It was just a small interaction, but I was happy because it was my first time to communicate with a local person apart from clerks in London. I enjoyed the slow and peaceful atmosphere in the store on a weekday morning. I bought some snacks, sweets, and bread there, and went back to my hotel.

     When I turned on the TV, a reporter was talking about the terrible snow storm in the northern part of U.K. I worried about Yuko, who was going to Wales that day, and was about to text her, when I noticed a message from her had arrived in my phone. She was concerned about my condition and prayed for my safe return. Yes, I had to leave this room. I also wished her a safe and enjoyable trip, and then hoisted my pack with lots of souvenirs. Ugh! Heavy!London 2013 317

     After checking out, I asked a clerk to keep my baggage for a while. It was only at 10:30. My travel agent was supposed to pick me up at 5:00. I had much time left. I went to West Brompton Station again and took the underground to South Kensington Station. Walking through the underground passage, I entered the Victoria and Albert Museum.

     More than 100 people were queuing inside. I wondered what exhibit was ahead. I passed them walking along the line and went to the room. It was an exhibition of David Bowie! Unfortunately it would start next day. Those people were supporting members of the museum and were able to see the exhibition the previous day. I might be able to see it if I became a member on the spot. But I would have to wait in the line for more than two hours. So, I gave up seeing David Bowie’s costumes, and went to see other treasures. London 2013 328

     Ah…I should have decided what to see ahead…I got tired soon because I walked around at random. Actually, I had already been exhausted before coming to the museum. I had been occupying a bench before one of Raphael’s big paintings for a long time, but I was not only appreciating it but also having a rest. Raphael’s works were indeed therapeutic, but not enough for me. So, I went to the café on the ground floor. London 2013 321

     Wow! There were many kinds of food, sweets, and drinks in the cafe! It was around 11:30. Many people were enjoying their breakfast, brunch, or lunch. I decided to have early lunch there. I ordered smoke salmon and cream cheese sandwiches. The clerk asked me smilingly, “Would you like salad?” So, I replied, “Oh, yes. Well…some green salad and that carrot’s one, please.” Then I was very surprised at the amounts of the salads she served. In addition, I was astonished at the weight when I received the tray from her. I wobbled to an empty table. London 2013 319

     The sandwiches and the salads were excellent! If I had a much bigger stomach, I could eat them up…I enjoyed my lunch, reading a book. I had dropped by a book shop in the museum before coming to the café and had bought a copy of Walk London. It is a guide book for walking tours with beautiful illustrated maps. It may sound strange to buy a travel guide book several hours before leaving the place. But I had sworn to myself to come back to London! So, I was planning my next visit…CAM00931

     Actually it is tiring to keep sitting at the same place for a long time. So, I explored in the museum again, and then went out for some fresh air. It had completely stopped raining and snowing. I decided to go to see Royal Albert Hall and Kensington Palace. I walked on Exhibition Road and came to Kensington Road, when I felt really exhausted. I did not have that stamina to keep walking. So, I turned back and went to the Science Museum, across from the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was not for seeing the exhibits, but for taking a rest at a café. London 2013 329

     The Science Museum was filled with little kids! More than 100 pupils were lining up to buy souvenirs at the shop. They were holding something small such as erasers and excited. How noisy! And how cute! I got a pot of tea and was seated against the wall on the first floor. I was able to see the ground floor because the walls were made of clear acrylic boards. There was a big wheel in the air, and it responded to the sound when an attendant clapped her hands and flashed red lights. She was trying to attract children’s attentions. I was watching her and school kids absent-mindedly for a while. It was time to leave…London 2013 332

     I went back to the hotel and talked to the clerk who I had asked to keep my bag in the morning. He looked at me coldly and said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “What?! Wh, where should I…?” I was surprised and stammered. Then he produced a big smile and slapped my back saying, “Ha ha! Don’t worry! Follow me!” He was just pulling my leg! Oh, London! I did not want to leave…In the back seat of the car where I was committing myself to come back to this wonderful city, hearing the driver talking to my travel agent in the passenger seat that he really liked to see planes. Heathrow Airport loomed in front of us…

My Travel in London 9 ~ Soho ~ Singin’ in the rain!


London 2013 293-a

     I was too tired to appreciate the exhibits at the British Museum. I was sitting down on a stool against the wall at a café and browsing through a guide book of the museum instead of looking at the real things. In the meantime, I was getting a little energy back with a cup of coffee. There was a museum shop in front of the café. I decided to look around the shop until Yuko came. (The former episodes are here: My Travel in London 1, My Travel in London 2, My Travel in London 3, My Travel in London 4, My Travel in London 5, My Travel in London 6, My Travel in London 7, and My Travel in London 8)

     Mmm…Should I have bought something with the Rosetta Stone motif? There were many kinds of souvenirs printed with the text of the stone in the Collection Shop: Rosetta Stone T-shirts, Rosetta Stone iPhone cases, Rosetta Stone calculators, Rosetta Stone notebooks, Rosetta Stone bags, Rosetta Stone mug cups, Rosetta Stone umbrellas, Rosetta Stone ties, Rosetta Stone USB stick, etc! Yuko phoned me when I was debating whether to buy one of them. She came to the main entrance. I went out of the museum without buying any goods of the Rosetta Stone. Actually you can get them anytime on the Internet. So, I might buy something with the stone motif later!London 2013 295

     When I looked back, the overwhelming powerful-looking edifice was there. You know, I had entered the museum from the north entrance under construction. Wow! I had actually been at the museum! I could hardly see its precious items, though…Well, I was not supposed to feel down! Yuko and I were going to see a musical that night! I was surprised when I met Yuko again. Both of us did not know where the theatre was located exactly… London 2013 296-a

     Not to worry! We were in London, which had been named as the best city to visit in the world last year. There were many signposts with detailed maps and street names in town. Besides I could tell the direction because I had seen a map of London many times. So, without any problems Yuko and I were able to get to the theater: the Palace Theatre. We were supposed to see Singin’ In The Rain in the prominent red-brick building.London 2013 298

     Yuko and I need to eat something before the musical started. After getting the tickets, we set off to a night town of the West End. Walking from Moor Street to Old Compton Street, we were standing at the door of Café Boheme. We did not have so much time to drift from place to place. So, we decided to have quick meal there. Actually I was too tired to have good appetite at that time, but the French restaurant gave me great satisfaction. London 2013 299

     I ordered Soupe a l’oignon or a cup of onion soup and Omelette or an omelet with herbs. They were excellent! The onion soup was the best I had ever had! The golden liquid gave energy to me! Yuko had the same onion soup and hamburger with French fries. Her dishes also looked really delicious. Everyone seemed to be enjoying their food. The atmosphere of the restaurant was very nice and our waiter was gentle and good-looking! Yuko and I had a great time at Café Boheme.

     At around 7:00 we left the French restaurant and headed to the Palace Theatre. All of the doors of the theater had already opened and were swallowing up people, when we arrived. Climbing up short stairs, we saw a bar floor on the right and many excited people holding glasses there. The interior decorations were gorgeous. I was almost overwhelmed by the historical atmosphere of the theater. Mmm…Should I have worn a more fashionable dress?CAM00929

     My seat was O-14 in the Stalls. A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N and O. That is, I was sitting the eleventh row from the front. We were quite close to the stage because there was not a pit on the ground floor for the orchestra, which played above the stage. Yuko was sitting at O-15, which was next to the aisle. We were able to see the actors up close because they acted not only on the stage but also in the aisle. It was as if we were also in the scene. The stage was really wonderful. I could not understand all the actors were saying, but I really enjoyed their performances.CAM00928

     They showered large quantity of water on the stage before the intermission and the ending and the stage became like a pool. The actors splashed water to the auditorium seating on purpose while dancing. That was why people sitting from the first to the fourth or fifth row got wet. Of course, they were squealing with delight instead of complaining. The rest of the audience also cheered at the spectacle. At the end of the play, the whole audience gave a standing ovation to the actors, the orchestra, and the rest of the staff. Yuko and I had a really great time!

     It was raining when we went outside. But no one put up an umbrella. Many people from the Palace Theatre were willingly getting wet, singing in the rain “Singin’ In The Rain”! Lots of people came out from not only the Palace Theatre but also other theaters in the West End. The street was full of excited people. Yuko and I did not know where the underground station was, but we did not need a map. We were just swept along in the crowd and then arrived at Leicester Square Tube Station automatically. CAM00930

     We took the Piccadilly Line to Earl’s Court Station together. Yuko’s hotel was near Bayswater and mine was near West Brompton. We said goodbye to each other at Earl’s Court Station. Yuko went to the eastbound platform and I went to the westbound of the District Line. Yuko was supposed to go to Wales and I was leaving for Japan next day. My feeling was still running high even after I was alone. But at the same moment, I was feeling sad when I thought about my flight back on the following day…

My Travel in London 8 ~ Back to London ~ I was making a strategic plan!


London 2013 264-a

     I cannot believe I have not finished writing about my travel in London yet. This is the eighth episode on my travel in London. (The previous ones are here: My Travel in London 1, My Travel in London 2, My Travel in London 3, My Travel in London 4, My Travel in London 5, My Travel in London 6, and My Travel in London 7) I have just said “in London” above, but I was in York on March 20 and stayed in Hull that night. A friend of mine Yuko, who studies English at the University of Hull, let me stay at her dormitory. London 2013 269

     Yuko and I got up at 6:00 next morning. We shouted for joy when she opened the curtains. It was sunny! Surprisingly there were no clouds in the sky. We made a quick change and headed to the kitchen. Yuko began preparing for our breakfast in a very assured manner when we arrived there. I asked her, “Do you need a hand?” in a fashion, but I did not help her. I was just watching TV in the sitting room instead. Hmm…we looked like a sweet mother and a spoiled daughter…London 2013 276

     Wow! What a lovely breakfast! Boiled potatoes, a boiled egg, a sliced cucumber, cheese, ham, blood oranges, toast with cream and jams, and tea, which Yuko had bought in York the previous day. Everything was fantastic. We enjoyed our breakfast in a relaxed atmosphere. London 2013 275

     There is a bus stop across from the dormitory. We left the dorm and took a bus for Hull Rail Station at around 10:00. I do not know the details, but it seems that there are at least two bus companies that run buses to the station, and that the fare is different. So, I did not know how much I would pay when I got on the bus. London 2013 278

     Actually I do not know how much I should have paid still now. When I asked the bus driver what the fare to the station was (You tell the driver where to go and pay the fare when you get on the bus in York and Hull.), he said something, blocking the slot of the fare box with his left hand, and motioned me to get in with his right hand. I did not understand what he said exactly, but I got the meaning. It looked like the fare box had broken. That was why I took the bus without paying. Oh, I’m lucky! London 2013 281

      After about a 20-minute ride, we arrived at Hull Rail Station. There is a statue of a British poet Philip Larkin in the concourse. Yuko says to him, “Wish me a safe trip!” when she sets out and “I’m home!” when she arrives at the station from her journey. Well, I will say to him, “Hi, Mr. Larkin! Nice to see you again!” next time when I visit the station.

     We were going to London. Most of the scenery we saw from the train window was the rural countryside to Doncaster from Hull. Suddenly Yuko shouted, “I’ve just seen a hare!” “Where!?” I looked for the form but missed it. What I just found from the window was a power plant where a chimney and its cooling towers were billowing out white smoke. Those concrete structures looked ominous in the idyllic view. London 2013 282

     We changed trains at Doncaster to King’s Cross in London. The train was almost filled with passengers. Our seats were rear-facing table seats. It was my first time to sit at a table seat in a train. Yuko and I were sitting across the table from other passengers. At first, I felt a little awkward, but soon I noticed the advantage of our seats. Surprisingly, Yuko had prepared for our lunch: sandwiches! It was very convenient for us to use the table when we were having the sandwiches. They were, of course, delicious! 907249_502287319819908_976877235_n-a

     We arrived at London at around 2:00. Yuko was going to her hotel in Bayswater to check in and then to St. James’s Park to see daffodils. In the meantime, I was going to the British Museum. We decided to meet each other at the shop in the British Museum at 4:00 and went to each destination separately at King’s Cross. I took the underground to Russell Square. It was an about 10-minute walk to the British Museum from the station. I entered the museum from its north gate, which was under construction when I visited. London 2013 283

     My main target in the museum was that famous chunk of rock: the Rosetta Stone. As you know, the Rosetta Stone was a part of a stone pillar discovered by Napoleon’s army in the Nile Delta in the 18th Century. There are the same text written in three scripts- ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic and ancient Greek- on the surface of the stone. It is beyond renown that a French scholar Champollion deciphered the text in the 19th Century. London 2013 284

     I found the stone easier than I had imagined. The stone was sitting neatly in the Egyptian Sculpture section in the Ancient Egypt Department on the ground floor near the shop. It is wonderful to see the real thing that I learned from the textbook in my school days. I had thought the stone would be much smaller.

     London 2013 290After the Rosetta Stone, I began exploring in the museum. But I could not. I was more tired than I had thought. I could not climb up the stairs from the ground floor briskly. My legs were heavy like lead. I had to drag myself. I was walking somehow, but I did not have stamina or concentration to appreciate precious exhibits. I was just browsing. I got more exhausted because I was just walking without a plan.

       At last, I got too tired to move any more. I used all my strength that was left and bought a guide book of the museum, and then slumped in a chair at Court Café on the ground floor. It was almost 4:00, when I was seeing Yuko. Then she phoned me and said that she would arrive at the museum near 5:00. “Take your time,” I replied and decided to rest there for a while. It was funny and pitiful to scan the guide book of the museum without looking at actual things…Well, I was making a strategic plan to walk in the museum efficiently if you look at it another way…