Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Diane in Paris
Subj: Good Morning, Sayuri!
How did you feel in Paris?
Date: 06/12/2010 5:15:21 PM
Pacific Standard Time
(Japan Time:Tue., July 12 10:15 AM)
I’m sorry to tell you, Sayuri, that we must leave Paris after having unforgettable days in the center of Europe.
Yves Montand sang “Autumn Leaves” while we took a romantic stroll along the right bank of the Seine.
We ate bouillabaisse in the famous restaurant (Le Petit Niçois) near the Invalides (L’Hôtel national des Invalides ), didn’t we?
Oh, what a delicious crispy baguette dipped in soup seasoned with aioli containing garlic!
Sayuri, you were happily struggling with crabs and prawns, using various tools such as pliers and knife. 🙂
“Next time, I’ll bring my kids, who are definitely gonna love this kinda feast.”
Yes, yes, yes…your kids are an apple in your eyes.
While mumbling such sweet words, you really enjoy eating like a horse. 🙂
I honestly admire your appetite. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha…
When the feast was almost over, the Japanese tourist group led by a flag-waving tour guide came in and sat down around a huge roundtable.
“Oh not again!… Kato, it’s the same red-necked farmer group from Japan, isn’t it?”
“Yes, you’re telling me, Sayuri.”
How come both of us come across the same Japanese tourist group over and over again?
It was like a nightmare.
We hastely got out of the restaurant and went to the Bois de Boulogne by taxi.
It is a huge park like Stanley Park of Vancouver.
“Kato, what on earth do you think you’re doing?”
“I’m setting up a mosquito net.”
“Well…, seeing is believing, they say. So, please see me set it up.”
Just like the scene in the French movie, I set up a mosquito net under the tree.
(French: Le bonheur)
It is a 1965 French drama film directed by Agnès Varda, about a married man having an affair with another woman.
The film is associated with the French New Wave and won two awards at the 15th Berlin International Film Festival, including the Jury Grand Prix.
The films beautiful colours resulted from the creation of a new colour negative because the original had faded during production.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Agnès Varda, 1965)
“Kato, are you out of mind?”
“No, of course not. On the contrary, I’m quite serious.”
“But we’re here in autumn. No mosquitoes.”
“Well…, we left Japan in autumn, but we’re here in Paris in July.”
“So, Kato, you’re still dreaming, aren’t you? But how come you set up a mosquito net in the Bois de Boulogne?”
“They say, do as the Romans do when in Rome.”
“So, you and me will do as the couple in the movie did.”
“On no! Kato, don’t take off your shirts and pant! You shouldn’t be naked.”
“Look over there! The same Japanese tourist group is coming!”
“Oh, no! Not again!”
“Kato, we shouldn’t make love in the mosquito net while they stand around and watch us, should we?”
“Well…, since we’re in Paris and as happy as the couple in the movie, we might as well do as the couple did in the film.”
“Don’t be silly, Kato. I don’t want to be a laughing stock in Paris, surrounded by a group of Japanese rednecks. “
“But…, but we should do as the the couple in the French film.”
“No buts, Kato. I’m not here to be a laughing stock.”
That was the end of our happy journey in Paris, interrupted by the Japanese touring group of rednecks.
Anyway, Sayuri, you should cheer up and have a nice day.
From Vancouver with love.
SOURCE: “Bye from Paris”
(December 9, 2010)
So, Kato, you enjoyed life in Paris with Sayuri, didn’t you?
Yes, Diane, you’re telling me. However, it was all in my dream.
Are you kidding?
Oh, no. If you click the above link and read the article, you’ll find it quite hilarious.
Unfortunately, I cannot read Japanese.
Too bad. I wish you could read my articles in Japanese.
Anyway, Kato, what part of the city do you like the most?
I like the Latin Quarter.
Especially Saint-Germain district—Saint Germain des Prés. This is the best part of the city to me. It was the haunt of writers and artists.
Oh, was it?
Oh, yes. In the 19th century, painters like Manet and writers Balzac and Georges Sand frequented the area, which was the home to a number of famous cafés, such as Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore, and in the 1920s Picasso and Hemingway visited those cafés. It was the center of the existentialist movement associated with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.
So, Kato, you’re attracted by the scent of art, aren’t you?
Yes, I think so.
When you visit Paris, you take a stroll in the neighborhood of Saint-Germain, don’t you?
Yes, I do. By the way, I come to know that Fujiko Hemming also loves Saint Germain des Prés.
Saint Germain des Prés
In spring, I was sitting in the cafe of Saint Germain des Prés.
It was raining and cold.
I’ve taken two cups of café au lait.
Soon it started downpouring. Nobody walked outside.
I looked out blankly when an old woman came in with a mandolin, followed by two dogs with drooping ears.
The old lady in a shaggy overcoat and the two dogs were soaked up in the rain.
The lady sat down at a table near me.
After wiping her dogs, she then wiped herself.
She was about 70 years old, apparently one of the street artists of Saint Germain des Prés.
Both dogs were gentle, tightly wrapped up for protection with a tiny blanket.
When a boy came in, the old lady ordered two café au lait, hot milk, and a snack.
The boy didn’t throw out two wet dogs.
In Paris people care about dogs as much as themselves.
When the boy brought the drinks, the old lady took out a pan from her luggage, and poured some milk into it, then gave each dog some food.
Both dogs started licking warm milk happily.
The lady also sipped café au lait, holding the cup with cold-numb hands.
Relieved somewhat, I glanced at the adorable dogs once in a while.
Aftre half an hour, the old lady took out her purse and cheked into it, then she called the boy and asked for a favor.
Apparently, she didn’t have enough money.
Although I was poor myself at the time, I couldn’t ignore the scene, and walked up and paid on her behalf.
It wasn’t much anyway.
The old lady thanked me a lot, saying that she would pay later after doing her performances on the street.
“Oh, don’t bother. It was my present for your adorable dogs.”
I like animals. So, I really meant it.
“Well, they are brothers, and I love both,” said the old warm-hearted lady.
Whenever I walk through Saint Germain des Prés, the lady and the dogs come into my mind, warming my heart.
(Note: Picture from the Denman library
Translated by Kato)
SOURCE: “My heart’s in Paris”
by Fujiko Hemming
発行所： 株式会社 阪急コミュニケーションズ
Ingrid Fujiko Hemming
Ingrid Fujiko Hemming
Fujiko Hemming is a classical music pianist.
Born on December 5, 1932 in Berlin, Germany to a Japanese mother and a Swedish-Russian father but educated in Japan, Hemming began learning to play the piano at a young age from her mother.
She was identified as a child prodigy and performed her first concert at seventeen.
She went to Aoyama Gakuin Senior High School, Aoyama Gakuin Junior High School, Aoyama Gakuin Elementary School. She graduated from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and began her professional career immediately.
Hemming received many prestigious honors during this time, including the NHK-Mainichi Music Concour and the Bunka Radio Broadcasting Company Music Prize.
She relocated to Germany at the age of 28 to study at the Berlin Institute of Music.
During a concert in Vienna in 1971, Hemming lost her hearing from a bout of high fever.
She relocated again to Stockholm, Sweden to take advantage of its medical facilities.
She performed many more concerts throughout continental Europe before returning to Japan in 1995.
A documentary that aired in 1999 raised public interest in her music.
Her subsequent debut CD, La Campanella, sold over two million copies.
Hemming performed at Carnegie Hall in New York in June 2001.
By 2002, Hemming had performed at every major population center in the world.
In 2008, Hemming was signed by Domo Records for the world.
In June 2009, Domo Records released five titles from her catalogue in the U.S.A., including “Echoes Of Eternity”; “La Campanella”; “Nocturnes Of Melancholy”, Live At Carnegie Hall, and Liszt’s “Piano Concerto No.1”.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
It is a nice story, isn’t it?
Yes, it is. So, Kato, you also have a nice story to tell me, don’t you?
Oh, yes, of course. When I had a cup of café au lait at Café de Flore, Juliette Greco walked in and sat down next to me.
You must be kidding.
You don’t like my story, do you?
Well…, anyway, tell me.
She asked me in French, “Are you a Japanese by any chance?” I answered, “Yes, I am. But I’m from Vancouver, Canada—not from Japan. I lived in Canada for almost 20 years” Juliette Greco said, “No wonder you speak French fluently.” So I said, “Thank you. You know, Canada’s official languages are English and French.”
So, Kato, you speak French fluently, don’t you?
Oh, no, I don’t.
But Juliette Greco admired your French, didn’t she?
I spoke a smattering of French at the time, but compared to other Japanese, my French sounded somewhat fluent to her.
I see. So what happened afterwards?
I told her that Vancouver was my paradise although one of my lady friends said otherwise.
So, you were quoting my opinion about Vancouver, weren’t you, Kato?
He, he, he, he, … you’re telling me, Diane. Anyway, I told her when she would come to Vancouver, I could show her around.
Did you really say that?
It was all in my dream. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, …
Don’t give me such a fib, Kato!
Anyway, Juliette Greco spent most of her life on Saint Germain des Prés. So she frequented the cafés in the neighborhood. Although I’ve never exchanged a word with her, I’ve seen her a couple of times. So, here’s a video clip for you:
Juliette Greco at
But you haven’t shown up in the clip.
Since I didn’t make the clip myself, I wasn’t in the clip.
I see. Tell me, Kato, what makes you love Saint Germain des Prés so much.
Most of all, those street artists interest me so much.
Live Young Street Artists at
So, Kato, you spend much time in watching those street artists whenever you stay in Paris, don’t you?
Oh, yes, whenever I’m tired of sitting at café, I usually walk around and watch street performers. Sometimes, I come across a pantomime who remain unmoved like a Napoleon statue for more than half an hour. It’s unbelievable.
So, you like waching scarecrow-like people, don’t you?
Oh, no. It’s okay once in a while, but not always. I like a leisurely stroll while listening to nice music such as “Sous le Ciel de Paris.”
Sous le Ciel de Paris
by Hideshi Kibi（日本人）
Jeez…the musician is a Japanese, isn’t he?
Yes, he is. Fujiko Hemming also likes Édith Piaf who sings “Sous le ciel de Paris.”
Sous le ciel de Paris
by Édith Piaf
So, Kato, you like Chanson Française (French song), don’t you?
Yes, I do. I like Édith Piaf, but Juliette Greco’s “Sous le Ciel de Paris” is much beter, I guess.
Sous le Ciel de Paris
by Juliette Greco
I believe Yves Montand’s “Sous le Ciel de Paris” is the best of all.
Sous le Ciel de Paris
by Yves Montand
So, Diane, you consider Yves Montand best of all French singers, eh?
You’re telling me, Kato. So, when do you think you’re taking me to Paris?
Don’t be silly, Diane. As I said so many times, we’re in a paradise here.
Vancouver is better than Paris. Don’t you think so?
Here’s a Japanese proverb, Diane. If I translate it literally, it means this:
The lighthouse does not
shine on its base.
It also means this:
The darkest place is
under the candlestick.
So, you’re saying again, Kato, that I should reconsider Vancouver to be a paradise, aren’t you?
Well…, it’s up to you. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,…
I’d love to spend days in Paris.
Have you ever been to Paris?
I wish I sat down in a cafe and watched passers-by while having a cup of café au lait.
Well, spending happy days in Paris is one thing; romance is another.
Come to think of it, I’ve never met a decent man in my net life.
How come I’m always a loner?
I wish I could meet a nice gentleman at the library in my town as Kato met Diane.
Well, they say, there is a way where there is a will.
Have a nice day!
Bye bye …
■“Catherine de Medici”
■“Catherine the Great”
■“I wish you were there!”
■“Jane Eyre Again”
■“Jane Eyre in Vancouver”
■“Jane Eyre Special”
■“Love & Death of Cleopatra”
■“Spiritual Work or What?”
■“What a coincidence!”
■“Wind and Water”
■“Yoga and Happiness”
■“You’re in a good shape”
■“Net Travel & Jane”
■“Madame Riviera and Burger”
■“Roly-poly in the North”
■ 『ちょっと変わった 新しい古代日本史』
■ 『 ○ 笑う者には福が来る ○ 』