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STAY SALTY ...... means column

Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

from  Buenos Aires / Argentina

Sumiko Kuramitsu
Reiki Teacher / Hypnotherapy Therapist

Reiki teacher and hypnotherapy therapist. Fascinated by the Argentine tango, she moved to Buenos Aires and fell in love with the city, the sky, the culture and the people. She spends her days enjoying tango and photography while running a healing salon. I will share with you the charm of Buenos Aires.

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DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

People on topics you shouldn't hear about.



Apparently, the topic of my Argentine boyfriend is something that I am not allowed to mention.
They feel like I shouldn't ask about him because he might have broken up before I know it.

Whenever my friends bring up the subject, they say, "I don't know if it's okay to ask..." and when I mention his name, they say, "I don't know if it's okay to ask. When I mention his name, they sometimes ask, "Are you in touch with him? When I mention his name, he sometimes asks back, "Are you in touch with him?

It is indeed a strange thing to stay in touch with a man from a Latin country over a long distance.
But in fact, he and I have a good relationship.
Perhaps it is because of the distance.
We have our own lives that are not visible to each other, and the only things we say to each other on the phone are what we think of the other and what has been happening recently.


He sometimes asks me to do Reiki for him when he is not feeling well.

When I do a reading of his condition while healing him remotely, I often see that his condition seems to be much more mentally demanding than he is telling me.
Making a living in Argentina, where inflation is over 200%, must be more stressful than expected.
At times like this, I am so glad I am a therapist.
If I had to worry anxiously about him because I was too far away from him to come to him immediately, I would have been more exhausted than he would have been.
I think that being able to help him get better by sending him healing has been helpful for our connection.

For me, it is the conversations I have with him that heal me.

When he asks me, "How was your day? I often tell him, “Nothing particular.

I've been editing videos and writing in my spare time," he says, with a hint of a pout.
In Argentina, "killing time" is expressed as "matar tiempo" (killing time).
He replies, 'What Sumiko is doing is hacer tiempo viva (making the most of time), right?
To him, it is like a play on words, but I like him for being able to say this.


When I am feeling down about caring for my parents, he has a nice way of getting back at me.

I would get frustrated and later feel down myself for the harsh words and abusive attitude I unintentionally let loose on my parents.

He, too, understands such situations because the mother he saw off had dementia.

In addition, he told me, "There is a saying, 'Uno no es de fierro' (people are not pieces of metal).” 
It is natural that we have feelings because we are human beings.
There is no need to worry about it.
He told me that his grandmother used to say this phrase to him when he was a child, and as I listened to him tell me about his past, before I knew it, my blur had disappeared.

Whenever this happens, I think that this boyfriend is important to me. I think, "I love this boyfriend of mine.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

Dancing in Paris, Dancing in Bangkok,
Argentine Tango


I enjoyed traveling abroad during the year-end and New Year's holidays for the first time in a long time.

During the month, I traveled to Paris and Bangkok.

I had friends in both cities and my main purpose was to visit them, but as a byproduct I was able to go to an Argentine tango milonga in both cities.


I had lost touch with tango since I started living in Hokkaido, and I wondered if I would ever be able to dance it. I was worried about whether I would be able to dance the tango, but once I started dancing, my body moved on its own.


Once I started dancing, however, my body moved on its own. I was so intoxicated by the comfort and fun of the dance that I wondered how I had been able to keep this pleasure away for so many years.


The joy of expressing music with one's body can be experienced even in a solo dance such as hula.


The enjoyment of communicating with others and the feeling of being free can also be experienced in the world of therapy.


However, the fun of sharing the music and the space with your partner, and dancing while communicating silently, is something that can only be experienced in a dance danced by two people.

And then there is the abrasso (dance embrace), which is the Argentine tango.

It is only through hugging that one can feel and feel what is being conveyed.


I wonder when was the last time I enjoyed the fun of just feeling good and smiling.

On the way home, I said out loud, "Oh, that was so much fun! I said out loud and was surprised at myself.

I had forgotten that such innocence had been lurking in me.


Tango in Paris and Bangkok are a little different from those in Buenos Aires.

It was also fun to find out.


I think tango in Paris is a little macho. I think so.

I feel that the men enjoy moving the women as they wish.

Is the French national character of being "very individualistic" reflected in tango? They are often led in fancy steps without regard to their partner's intentions.

The way the music was handled was no different, and sometimes I felt as if I were playing a sport, moving my body in time with the sound rather than listening to the music.

However, Paris has a large tango population, and it was unexpectedly fun to find my favorite dancers on the floor.


Tango in Bangkok is tango dancing.

The humid heat of the tropics, the soft air of Thailand, the land of smiles, and Argentine tango are hard to match in my mind.

At the milonga I went to, there were more foreigners and tourists living in Thailand than Thais, and it seemed to me that they had gathered what they thought was Argentine tango to make up the floor.

I genuinely enjoyed following the teacher who danced for me, as if I had taken a tango lesson.


People say, "Tango is your passport.

As long as you can dance tango, you can dance all over the world and make friends all over the world, even if you don't speak the language or know anyone.

After going to two milongas in two different cities, one in Europe and the other in Asia, two completely different cultural spheres, I found this to be absolutely true. I thought.

If there is Argentine tango in that place, there is a place for me.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

Argentina's New Era of Presidents

On November 19, Argentina held a presidential runoff election in which Javier Millay, 53, an economist, libertarian (libertarian supremacist), third-party and far-right, was elected.
He will be the next president of Argentina.

Originally, the presidential election was to be held on October 22, but in an election in which five candidates ran, none of them met the 45% or more requirement to win, so the election was rescheduled for November with a runoff between the center-left Economy Minister Sergio Massa, 51, of the ruling coalition, who received about 37% of the top vote, and Milay, who came in second with about 30%.
To that extent, support was split.
As one citizen put it, "No matter who is elected, Argentina will be worse off or worse off." Many were cynical about the election.

In the end, Mr. Millay, nicknamed "Argentina's Trump" for his unprecedented behavior and promises, was elected.


Inflation in Argentina is over 140% higher than the previous year.
The impression of the citizens is that it has risen even higher, and it is said that 40% of the population is poor and cannot afford daily groceries and other necessities of life.
This result is the result of the people's will that they will not tolerate a current government that cannot improve this situation.
I wonder whether the people were right in electing Mr. Millay, or whether it is a reflection of their intention to say "No" to the current administration.

Mr. Millay's surprise-box-like promises include making the U.S. dollar a legal tender, abolishing the central bank, privatizing loss-making state enterprises, cutting state spending, eliminating import and export taxes, and so on.
As a weak party and with a small number of seats in Congress, people say there are barriers to actually fulfilling his promises.
However, having lived in the country for six years and having spent the last presidential transition period, my feeling is that it may be surprisingly possible. Argentina is a country that changes quickly.
Argentina changes very quickly.
I wondered how much the sense of life changes when the president changes! I was surprised at the direct connection between politics and life in a foreign country.

In his election speech, Mr. Millay said, "From today, the reconstruction of Argentina will begin. Today the fall of Argentina will end. I like that.
I like that. I think.

Former President Trump, who was also cited, caused surprise and consternation in the world when he was first elected, but now, many years later, the truth of his policies and achievements is beginning to emerge with legitimacy.
Looking at this, it makes me feel that Trump in Argentina is not so bad after all.
Argentina, which has been undermined over the years, must first be completely destroyed and rebuilt from the ground up.
To do this, a maverick character was needed, and I believe that the times are encouraging this.
I know that people born and raised in the powerful land of Argentina are big enough to take it.

It will be okay, the dawn is just around the corner.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

A day to give thanks to Mother Earth in South America

Living in the countryside of Hokkaido, the changing seasons are very close to home.

Although I have no freedom in my daily life as a caregiver, I do have some free time, so I go outside to take my eyes off the changing hues of greenery and photograph flowers.

When I get close to nature, I am reminded once again how delicate the energy of the Japanese earth is.


Whenever we step into a foreign country, we all notice something different, like, "Oh, it smells different. There is also a difference in the energy and chi of each land.

I feel the energy in Japan is delicate and cool.

When I am here, I feel as if I am being led to the essence of the place by the elimination of unnecessary things.

In contrast, Argentina has a powerful, uplifting sense of vitality.

Many of my friends who have visited Buenos Aires have said, "I feel invigorated. I don't think it has anything to do with the energy of the earth.



The deity that governs the chi of the earth is considered to be the South American goddess Pachamama.

Pachamama's name translates to "Mother Earth," and is derived from the words "Pacha," meaning "world" or "universe," and "Mama," meaning "mother," in the language of the Quechua, the indigenous people of the Andean region.

Although their appearance varies depending on the illustrations and figurines that appear on the market, they generally have a sturdy body and gentle expression that conveys a sense of richness and motherly love.


I am writing about this topic because August 1 is "Pachamama Day" in South America, a day to give thanks to Mother Earth.

This custom has continued throughout the Andean culture of South America since the time of the indigenous people, and in Argentina, the tradition still exists in the northern part of the country near Peru and Bolivia.

People dig a hole in the ground, and offer prayers by storing sake, fruits, grains, and other gifts from the earth in the hole.

August in Argentina is winter. Before spring comes and seeds are sown, people ask the earth for permission to dig up and cultivate the soil, and give thanks for the abundant harvest it will provide.


This year, Argentina's crops are not doing well due to the lack of water.

In Argentina, where agricultural exports are an important source of income, this has cast a large shadow over the economy, which is not good even if it were not.

Because of this, this Pachamama Day is going to be a day to deliver our prayers to the earth more carefully than ever.

I would like to pray from the other side of the earth with the intention of thanking the earth for its energy that cheers people up and for bringing us abundant harvests in the next harvest season.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

Argentina Mom's Last Gift


One day in early May, at an unusual hour, I received a phone call from my boyfriend in Argentina.

It was to inform me that his 83-year-old mother had passed away.

It was not sudden, as she had been wheelchair-bound and institutionalized for several years, but the news still came as a sad surprise.


His mother was not the stereotypical Argentine mother figure.

In general, family ties are very strong in Argentina, family gatherings are quite frequent, and communication among family members is very close.

At first, the sight of a middle-aged man on the train talking to his mother on his cell phone, saying "Hola mama," seemed strange to me, but as I lived in the country, I came to understand that it was not unusual.

From a Japanese point of view, it may seem like an over-involvement in the family relationship, but in his home country, it is normal.


His mother was a person who had a sense of distance from her children, which may have been due to her profession as an actress.

This may be because she was an actress by profession or because she was a working mother who lost her husband early and raised her two siblings while working.

She changed careers from dentist to actress at the age of 66, playing the role of a dignified older woman in the theater and in several films.

She was very cool, with a sense of humor, socialite, fashionable and glamorous.

She was articulate, but also slow and gentle in instructing me, a foreigner, in the language.


When I burst into tears over the phone upon hearing the news of her passing, my boyfriend joked, "People other than me and my sister are much more saddened by my mother's passing than I am."

He said that there were so many comments of sadness for my mom who had lived a glamorous life on the stage.

I was relieved to hear him say this joke not with sarcasm but with love in his voice.

It was because I had been concerned about their parent-child relationship, which had been fraught with emotional entanglements and frequent conflicts.

Even though they were over 50 years old, my boyfriend and his sister still seemed to be hungry for their mother's affection and frustrated that they had not been given the love they expected when they were young.

The relationship between mother and daughter was particularly difficult.


However, when her mother became too weak to live alone, the daughter took her into her own home and devoted herself to her mother's care until she was transferred to an institution.

And during that time, it was as if she had reconstructed the relationship between herself and her mother.

At the moment of her death, Mom told her daughter, "I love you. A lot, a lot, a lot." She said, "I love you.

For my boyfriend, her older brother, the past few years have been a time of slowly preparing to say goodbye to his mother.

The strong, energetic side of Mom was gone, and she began to forget things, so he could no longer joke around or fight with her.

Since he was institutionalized, he could not see her frequently, and that was a "losing Mom" experience over and over again.

It feels as if the reason he is so calm and accepting of his mother's death now is because of these years that he had.


Looking at it that way, maybe the years after the illness were a gift from Mom to her son and daughter.

For the two children, it may have been a necessary period of preparation to see their mom off.

I wonder if Mom was waiting to leave until the tangled emotional relationships were settled and they were ready. I wonder.


The week after the funeral, the siblings traveled together to their hometown.

My boyfriend informed me that the trip to scatter their mother's ashes was very satisfying.

I felt as if everyone's feelings had been sublimated, and I was truly happy.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

Lovers in limbo


When I live with my elderly parents, the topic that bothers me the most is that of my closest relatives.


My mother, who suffers from dementia, already does not remember many things, and so I ask her on a moment's notice, "What did your husband do today?" I ask.

Because of course she doesn't remember that her daughter divorced after 16 years of marriage, then went to Argentina, left her boyfriend over there, and returned home to take care of her.

I reply, "He's not my husband, but I don't care about that, he's in a foreign country".

Mom: "Why are you in a foreign country?"

I say, "Because he's a foreigner."

From this point on, there were two patterns of development.

One is, "Can he cook by himself ?"  To my mother, it is important that the family is filled with delicious food.

Or, "Why do you stay apart? No, a man should never be left alone."

As a woman born in the early Showa period, it is natural for a couple to stay together.

Either way, "I'll bring him over next time and you can cook him a feast." In most cases, when I responded, "I'll bring him next time. Bring her over. My mother is always in a good mood.

Anyway, I usually end the topic of conversation early, leaving it ambiguous.


In fact, the long-distance relationship between him and me is also quite ambiguous.

When I temporarily returned to Japan from Argentina, he understood my reasons for leaving because I was taking care of my parents.

At that time, my plan was to return to Buenos Aires at least once, even if only for a short period of time, within two years, and after three and a half years, I would be free to leave my job.

However, now I cannot even schedule the day when I can return to Buenos Aires.


I still exchange messages with him regularly and talk to him on the phone.

We give each other updates on what's going on and worry about the health of each other's parents.

Sometimes we talk for half an hour or an hour at a time, but never about serious topics related to our relationship.


He is an oasis for me.

He is someone I care about very much, and I still love his pure heart.

Even though he is not in front of me, I feel that our feelings are connected.

So I don't really feel that I miss him.

I feel that "soul mate" is more appropriate than "boyfriend" anymore.


I don't really know what he thinks about that.

I am leaving it ambiguous, but I don't feel that this is a bad thing.

When things move, they will move.


At our dining table, my father continues the conversation we had earlier, "When Sumiko's boyfriend arrives, Mom will have to learn Spanish, so it will be tough for her. He continues to laugh.

It is a chaotic scene when I imagine it, but I think it might be exciting for my mother. I think it's good for her, too.

My brother also said I'll take him skiing, fishing, wherever he wants to go. I'll take him skiing, fishing, wherever he wants to go.


I had a faint dream of having my boyfriend see the country where I was born and raised.

I had always had a faint dream of having my boyfriend see the country where I was born and raised. The thought occurred to me that this might be the right time to make it happen.

Sometimes I think it is a good idea, and at other times I think it would be chaotic to have a tall Argentine staying in my house.

And then the decision is postponed.


Third spring in a row, with plans to invite her boyfriend to Japan also in limbo.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

I made up my mind to buy a national team uniform
Argentina won the World Cup


It seems like a long time ago that the World Cup soccer tournament was over.


On December 20, when the team that brought Argentina its third championship in 36 years made its triumphant return, it is said that as many as 5 or 6 million people took to the streets of Buenos Aires.

The sight of people filling the city was extraordinary, and the bus parade of triumph took two or three different routes.

In the end, it took the form of a helicopter, with the players greeting the crowd from the sky.

I think it is very typical of Argentina that the Tuesday of this parade was suddenly made a national holiday after the victory.


This was the first glamorous event in a long time in Argentina, where the economy and politics were bad and the whole country was exhausted.

It was the World Cup that the country had been longing for for 36 years but for some reason could not win, and for the star player Messi, it may have been his last chance due to his age.

You don't have to be a soccer fan to stay silent at home.

The desire to share the excitement of the victory, the gratitude to the players, and the elation with as many people as possible must have lured people to the streets.

When the final was decided and on the day of the victory, many people took to the streets after the game to go to Obelisco.


If I had been there, I would have taken to the streets too, because I wanted to share.

Because I want to share this moment.

I want to share this moment.

How fun it would have been to wear Argentina's colors, jump around with strangers, and sing cheering songs.

With this fantasy in mind, I watched the final match alone on TV at my parents' house in Hokkaido.

Watching soccer live in silence in the middle of the night is boring.

For once, I regretted not having an Argentina national team uniform.

I wanted to sit in front of the TV wearing the team colors, even if I was all alone.

I had no choice but to grab a cup of yerba mate with the national flag design on it.

I have made up my mind to buy a new national team uniform the next time I return to Buenos Aires.

The design should have three stars on it to signify three championships.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

As one who remembers the abrasso (embrace) of the tango.


It has been almost two years since I left Argentina.

In Buenos Aires, I heard that the world of tango, where people can hug each other and dance without masks, has completely returned.


While I was not there, I received a number of sad obituaries as well as reports of what was happening there.


Many of the milongueros (tango dance party lovers) are elderly, and I had experienced the passing of milonga (dance party) acquaintances when I lived in Buenos Aires.

But in the past two years, there have been far too many of them.


In most cases, I learn of the fact through social networking sites.

I don't know about the rest of the world, but in tango circles, acquaintances and friends post photos with their memories of the deceased, or comment on the person's Facebook page with their condolences.

So, as soon as I wake up and lift my phone, I see a plethora of posts.

I am disturbed by the thought that I will no longer be able to greet them or dance with them starting in the morning.


Especially in the case of those who were close to me, I received news of their passing directly from their friends. In the past two years, I have received two such news.

One was a man who used to sit at the same table at the weekly milonga.

He was not an old man and seemed to be in good health, but he died suddenly on a trip.

He had a big body and danced with a gentle abrasso (embrace).

In between songs, the señor would make us laugh with the same, totally unimportant, lame, shallow emotional pickup lines every time.

A waltz one-tander (a one-cour of three songs) like Heidi's white bread that was quirky and reassuring.

The "usual that" between us will never return.


The second was a very important man.

I loved to dance with him.

I received news of his passing from a female friend who also loved his tango.

I had heard that he was ill a while ago, but what happened after that was too soon.

He danced in his own unique style and was a wonderful dancer.

It is not so easy to get into the list of milongueros who do not dance with everyone and have a clear preference.

One day, when he finally accepted my eye-line love call to tango with him, I was more captivated by his abrasso (embrace) than by the dancing.

All my girlfriends laughed when I told them it was like an electric shock, but it was something so unusual and special.

Later, when I unraveled my past life through hypnotherapy, I found out that we had been mother and son at some point in time.

He was my child in the past, and the loving feeling of holding him in my arms came back to me in the embrace for the dance, which was the reason for the special feeling.

Even after all these years, I still felt a thrill when I danced with him.

In my work I know that the soul is eternal.

Still, the thought that I will never again be able to tango in his passionate embrace is a great loss.


In the tango world, we dance and say goodbye.

At the milonga they used to attend, a flower is placed on the deceased's fixed seat, the organizer says a few words, and a tango is played for the deceased.

Then people would dance in memory of the deceased.


If you are the leader in the dance, you may be able to pass on their tango through your own unique steps and musicality.


Women in the role of followers can do less.

However, we know their tango in a way that only those who have actually danced with them as partners can understand.

The heat of the energy inside the embrace, the distance from the music, the new worldview fostered between the two of them.

What we can do is to continue to dance with pride as those who remember that embrace.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

Argentine background essential to tell my story


It has been a while since I have had the opportunity to work on a face-to-face Reiki class in Japan, and I had the chance to introduce myself.


As a teacher, I believe that self-introductions are all about the goal of getting closer to the student in front of me.

I try to incorporate as much history as possible that the other person can relate to, and I try to add a little something extra to the story in areas where I felt a response.


The story of living in Tokyo for 16 years, marriage, management, and divorce brought us cuddly close.

Next, I talked about Argentina, and I could feel the listener leaning forward. I knew that in order for someone to know who I am today, I had to share my life in Argentina.


I told the following story roughly.


After leaving my job and getting divorced, I went to Buenos Aires, the home of Argentine tango, where I had learned to dance.

Since the itinerary alone requires 30 hours to get there on the other side of the world, it is difficult for working Japanese to go there on a short vacation because of the lack of time.

It was the perfect destination for me, as I was on an indefinite vacation.

When I returned to Japan six months later after extending my schedule by three months, I felt like I was no longer where I wanted to be.

I felt that it was no longer possible for me to "do it right.

I felt like I could never go back to being a member of society who could accomplish tasks that met people's expectations, or an adult who could behave in a manner that was not embarrassing to anyone. I don't want to go back to that kind of person.


I was surprised to experience a different culture in Argentina, a country where Latin people are free, cheerful, and carefree (pardon the pun), where work is not a priority in life, and where everyone is self-centered (pardon the pun). Is that okay? This was the first time in my life that I thought, "This is it. It was a major discovery in my life.

I was healed by friendly and warm relationships, and I enjoyed every day when I could take as many tango classes as I wanted and dance in authentic milongas.

On the other hand, I struggled with the language and cultural barriers.

The days were full of new and exciting experiences, and they gave me color again after I had burned out from working too hard at my job and in my marriage.

If I had stayed in Japan, it would have been difficult for me to recover.


Reiki, which was recommended to me by a friend just before I left for Japan, was very useful for my solitary life abroad.

The healing techniques that allowed me to take care of my mental and physical ailments and create peace of mind on my own provided reassuring support.

Reiki is more popular overseas than in Japan, and it was easy to start a conversation with local people.

Once she understood the strengths of Reiki, she took upper-level classes every time she returned to Japan for a short period of time, became an instructor, and began to give healing treatments and transmission classes in Buenos Aires for a living.

Currently, she is temporarily living at home in Hokkaido to take care of her parents.


This is how I introduce myself.


The change in my consciousness and the opening of another door in my life was triggered by the experience of living in a foreign country as an escape from reality.

I think I was too hard-headed to accept the change without such an experience.

But now I realize that I didn't have to work so hard to be the person I was before I went to Argentina. I wish I had been more carefree in my life. I wish I could have lived more carefree.


If I could realize and master the art of healing myself, my days would be easier, more enjoyable, and more radiant without having to make a big leap to another country.

I know that now.

I want those who are interested in my life to take more shortcuts.


With this in mind, I gave a Reiki class.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

Home coffee bean selection, after wandering.


One of the things that people who have lived in Argentina say is, "I started putting sugar in my coffee when I came to Argentina.

The same is true for me.


Cafe con Leche (cafe au lait) or Cafe Cortado (with less milk than cafe au lait), which many people order at cafes in Buenos Aires, comes with a large bag of sugar.

And Argentines use many bags.

At first, I looked at them and thought, "I can't believe it. But when I tried it, I found that the drink tasted better with the sugar dissolved in it.

It is because it has a strong bitter taste.

If it were served without milk, it might not be drinkable.

Even so, the taste of coffee served at a table in a street corner café suits me.


The coffee I drink in the morning in my apartment is straight coffee.

When I started living in Buenos Aires, it was a long road to choose the brand of coffee beans for my home.

It is said that only a few coffee beans are grown in Argentina, even in South America, the world's leading coffee-producing country.

Most of the coffee beans lined up in supermarkets in Buenos Aires come from Colombia or Brazil.

In addition to these imported products, some imported beans are roasted and commercialized by Argentine brands, but the Argentine roasted coffee we tried was a brownish liquid with only a bitter taste.

Later, when I heard that the beans are roasted with sugar, it made sense.

It was close to a burnt bitterness.

I tried many products from the supermarket, but I could not find a coffee that I liked, as I like deep roasted coffee.


There is a Starbucks in Buenos Aires, but in the local sense, Starbucks is a high-end coffee shop.

The beans they sell are ridiculously expensive, and the prices are frequently revised as the dollar rises.

I tried the packaged beans that I was familiar with in Japan, and of course they tasted and smelled like coffee.

They are delicious.

But they are expensive.

And, I think to myself, "Why?

Why Starbucks when I'm in South America?


On second thought, I tried several coffee beans, including a brand name coffee from a local coffee shop chain and beans from a specialty coffee shop that roasts its own beans.

The wandering journey took a long time, because it takes quite a few days to consume a bag of coffee beans once you buy a sample.


And in the end, what I arrived at was Starbucks coffee beans.

My Argentine boyfriend said to me, "You must be crazy to buy coffee beans at that price." But this was the final result of my steady trial and error.

I could no longer compromise.

He nodded when I asked him, "This coffee is expensive, but it tastes good, doesn't it? He nodded his head in agreement.

It is a funny story, but now that I live in Hokkaido, Starbucks coffee has become a taste I remember from Buenos Aires.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

Healing sent to the other side of the earth


Since I started living at home in Hokkaido, I have been working almost entirely at home as a therapist.

Reiki has a healing method called Distant Healing, which transcends time and space dimensions from a remote location.

I send healing energy according to the client's physical and emotional condition, and adjust the state of the chakras and aura so that the self-healing power is activated.

Some of my clients are Argentines who were my clients when I was in Buenos Aires.

Although the world is in a state of instability, Argentines are historically accustomed to recession and uncertainty.

Even in such a world situation, they are good at finding their own enjoyment and living optimistically day by day.

I like their resilience and learn a lot from them.

When I lived there, I was aware of this and did not doubt it.

Recently, however, I realized through remote reiki that they are also anxious and afraid.

I have been experiencing a series of cases that make me think so.

Specifically, the first chakra and the sixth chakra, two of the seven major chakras, were inactive. It appeared that the person was not firmly rooted in the ground and was not forcing himself to look into the future. Moreover, it was as if his subconscious mind was doing so intentionally.


If he puts down roots on the surface of an unstable country, he will be wobbly along with the country, and if he struggles to draw his own future prospects in the midst of economic uncertainty, his hesitation will deepen even further. That's how I would interpret it.

However, not all chakras are in disarray, and the seventh and third chakras are active.

It is a state of being in which we are receiving energy from the heavens, we are bright with inspiration, and our self-esteem is stable.


So I am beginning to think that this intended chakra imbalance may be their own way of surfing the waves to survive in the present.

Usually, the ideal spiritual state is one in which there is a strong connection with heaven and earth, and each chakra is active. As a therapist, I usually try to activate the chakras that are stagnant in the session.

However, in such a situation, it is not a good idea to focus on activating all chakras by force.

We send healing energy with the intention of doing what is best and most appropriate for the person's current situation.

You could walk on tiptoe through the scary darkness with your eyes dimly open.

It would be good if, at the time of the coming leap, we could seize the opportunity with well-tensioned antennae and stand up with trust in ourselves.


I did the healing as if I was sending a cheer to that soul.

I also decided to send healing to the land of South America from the other side of the earth so that the future of the country of Argentina would also shine brightly.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

Memories of Buses and Fares in Buenos Aires



Lately, all I hear from Buenos Aires is talk of rising prices.

Japan is also experiencing inflation, but Argentina's inflation has gone beyond the norm.

Prices are said to be at their highest level in 20 years, with March's increase at 55.1% over the same month last year.

In my daily life, I feel as if prices have doubled or tripled since last year. He said.

If the total cost of shopping at the supermarket is 3,000 yen instead of 1,000 yen, it is a big burden.


One of the advantages of moving from Japan to Buenos Aires was the "low cost of living," but that is no longer the case.

However, this is no longer the case.

The first bus fare of 18 pesos (a few tens of yen) is an astonishingly low price.

It is a small pleasure to know that my beloved bus trip is protected.


I loved traveling by bus, which many people do not like.

The reason I spend 50 minutes on a bus that goes around in a circle, when I could have reached the city in 15 minutes by subway, is because I enjoy looking at the city from the bus window.

By watching the people, cars, and stores on the street, I could see firsthand the changing seasons, the state of security, and what was happening in the city.

However, I did not enjoy the bus trip from the beginning.

Riding a bus in Buenos Aires requires proficiency.


In fact, it is easy to use a cell phone app that covers maps and traffic in the city and lets you know where to get off, but the balance is quite difficult to weigh when you consider the risk of theft with a cell phone in your hand.

The risk of theft on buses is quite high.

Buses in Buenos Aires are pre-paid.

You have to tell the driver where you are going when you get on the bus, and there are no announcements inside the bus, so you need to know exactly where you are getting off.

So when I was a beginner, I used to study the bus route on the app before I left home, making a note of the major streets I would pass, the street number, and the bus stop where I would get off.


This is easy to do thanks to the way the city of Buenos Aires is built.

The central area is almost a grid, with even numbers on one side and odd numbers on the other, increasing and decreasing precisely.

On some long streets, the street numbers go up to the 4000s.

So, if you follow the street numbers, you can usually figure out where you are.

And the street names are always displayed on street corners.

Every street has a name, like Ginza-dori or Suzuran-dori in Japan, but in Buenos Aires, many streets are named after countries, saints, or famous people.

Some streets are even named "Osaka.

Others are named after historically important dates.

The main street "9 de Julio" is called "July 9th Street" because of Independence Day, and "25 de Mayo" is called "May 25th Street. This is a step toward Argentine independence.

This is the day that commemorates the May Revolution of 1810, which was the first step toward Argentina's independence.

It is easy to remember the names of streets when you can unravel what the origin of the day is like this.

Time flies when you use your imagination and look at the names of the streets.

I loved such bus trips.


I hope that bus fares will remain the same in the future, even in the midst of skyrocketing prices.

No, fundamentally, I pray that both the economy of Argentina and the world economy will be on the road to recovery.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

Choco Torta", a sweet memory of Argentina


Too much sweetness gives me a headache.

There are many sweets in Argentina that really make you get a headache.

I used to avoid them when I lived in Argentina, but now that I'm away, I miss that sweetness.

Among them, the one that makes me really wish I could eat that is a home-made improvised cake called choco torta.

It is a cake made by assembling store-bought ingredients without baking.


When I lived in Buenos Aires, there were several dishes that my boyfriend was in charge of, polenta, ravioli, and choco torta.

At first I tried help at making them with him, but eventually I realized that it was easier to let him take care of them than to do my best while respecting his detailed attention to detail.

Chocolate torta tastes like mom.

Each family has their preferred brand of ingredients for the cream, and the amount allocated is different.

Some houses use coffee and that replaces milk.

Generally, this cake is a staple for birthdays and children love it, but his recipe is a chocolate torta for adults with the tartness of cheese cream and the bitterness of coffee added.

As an artist, he is very dexterous with his hands and works beautifully, which is a relief to watch.

It was like watching a work of art being finished, and I was a spectator.

And I loved that sweet time.


Making choco torta is super easy.

The dough is made from a cheap chocolate-flavored cookie called chocolina, and the cream is a 50-50 mixture of dulce de leche, a milk jam that Argentines love, and cheese cream, which is sold as a spread.

After soaking the cookies in thickened instant coffee and placing them on a cookie sheet on one side, simply spread the cream, then layer the biscuits, coffee soaked biscuits, and cream again, in that order.


Store this in the refrigerator.

They are definitely best eaten the next day.

The cookies absorb the moisture and become moist, and when the whole mixture is blended, it tastes like tiramisu.


Since the dulce de leche, the original ingredient, is extremely sweet, the finished cake is also sweet and even heavier.

However, it is a delicious and addictive taste.

That's why I miss it.

I miss the chocolate torta and saying, "It's too sweet." I want to blurt out.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

Far Away Argentine Tango as I Think of It in the North


It seems that Argentine tango has returned to Buenos Aires.

Milongas (tango dance parties) and lesson classes have resumed with some conditions, and foreign tango lovers are beginning to return little by little.

When I see the booming dance halls in Buenos Aires on social networking sites, I feel a mixture of nostalgia and envy, and I can't help but feel a twinge of sadness.

I want to dance tango, and I want to be in that space. I want to be in that space.

I gave up dancing Argentine tango when I started living at home.

There is no tango studio in the countryside of Hokkaido.

However, I started learning hula dance because I wanted to surrender myself to the music, whatever it was.


The best thing about hula dancing is that you can dance alone without a partner.

This healing dance that connects me to the earth and the gods suits me well, and the once-a-week classes are a great distraction.

Although I am satisfied with the healing effect that all dances have in common, which is the ability to move one's body mindlessly while feeling a sense of oneness with the sound, I still miss Argentine tango.

Compared to hula dance, which has a healthy spirit at its core, tango's "badass" feel, with its darkness and subtlety, may be what makes it so addictive.

The bargaining with one's partner, which is unique to pair dancing, is not only interesting but also healing, as it allows one to feel a deep connection with others.

I think again that it was this effect that cheered me up when I went dancing, especially when I was lonely or feeling down.

The warmth of the interactions and games with the people gathered on the floor was enhanced by the nostalgic musicality of Argentine tango and the chaos of the city of Buenos Aires.


The world on the other side of the world through the screen, and the pure nature of Hokkaido, Japan.

It was like being in another dimension.

It takes a little energy to step out onto the dance floor in an open-back sparkling dress and high-heeled tango shoes with the kind of enthusiasm that makes you feel as if you are going on a hunt.

I'm worried that that spunk might rust away.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

A New Year for Him and Me on the Other Side of the World



The end of the year and the beginning of the new year in Argentina comes in the middle of summer.

No matter how many years have passed, I always feel uncomfortable with the Christmas tree in the sunshine and the hot, sizzling heat.

Unlike Japan, where they change the display for New Year's as soon as the 25th of December passes.

Unlike Japan, which changes its display for New Year's as soon as the 25th of December passes, in Argentina, the Christmas display lasts until the beginning of January.

In Argentina, as in Europe and the United States, the emphasis is on Christmas rather than New Year's Day.

On New Year's Day, only the first day of the year is a vacation, and from the second day, daily life returns to normal.

Even so, the night of New Year's Eve is always a party.

Compared to Christmas, when most people gather with their families, New Year's Eve is often a night for friends to get together.

In any case, most people eat at home.

The only people who go to restaurants may be tourists or foreign residents.

Argentinean parties start at eight or nine o'clock in the evening.

There are many cold plates on the table as in summer, and meat is grilled on the barbecue corner in the garden.

The toast at midnight of the new year is either cider or champagne.

Some families eat 12 dried grapes at this time.

The grapes, which represent the twelve months of the year, are eaten in a hurry, just in time for the twelve church bells to ring at midnight.

This is a Spanish custom that promises good luck for the coming year.

Since the majority of immigrants in Argentina are of Spanish and Italian descent, there may be many such families.

At the dawn of the new year, the night sky is filled with fireworks.

Many people set off fireworks in their yards or in squares, and even in residential areas you can see fireworks going off here and there.



Most of the time, I go back to my hometown and spend the New Year's holidays in Japan.

I usually spend the New Year's holidays in Japan, so I usually greet my girlfriend in Buenos Aires by video phone.

The time difference is exactly 12 hours.

The time difference is exactly 12 hours, so when it is midnight on New Year's Eve in Japan, it is midday on New Year's Eve in Argentina.

I celebrate the New Year with a phone call from him.

The custom of making New Year's Eve soba is very strange to him, and yet interesting.

"Have you eaten New Year's Eve soba yet? "Have you eaten New Year's Eve soba yet?

At noon on New Year's Day in Japan, when Argentina celebrates the New Year, I call him and wish him a happy new year.

I greeted his family who was there, and then asked him to show me the fireworks that people outside could see.

That is our current New Year's Day.

I wonder if there will be a day when we can watch the New Year's fireworks together in Buenos Aires.

Will we be eating New Year's Eve soba together in Japan someday?

This year, too, we will welcome the new year on opposite sides of the globe.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

I visited a dentist in a foreign country.


I was in the waiting room of a dentist accompanying my mother.

There was a sign on the wall that said, "We use CT scans to diagnose the condition of your teeth and jawbone in detail. There was a sign on the wall.

I thought to myself, "Wow, even a dentist in a small town in Hokkaido can take a CT scan in the clinic.

No, it's common in Japan, isn't it?

It's funny that I'm so used to the division of labor in Argentina that I've come to admire this Japanese quality.

In Argentina, it is normal to go to a specialized laboratory for blood tests, echoes, and X-rays.

So the first time you go to see a doctor for a medical problem, the doctor will listen to you and give you a test order, and ask you to bring the test results next time. You are told to bring the test results next time.

You have to make your own appointment, go for the test, pick up the results, and bring them to the specialist for diagnosis.

Naturally, this takes time and effort.

It is amazing that the Japanese standard is such that the test results are delivered to the doctor while you are in the waiting room of the hospital. This was the first time I realized this after living in Argentina.

The same goes for dentistry.

You have to go to a specialized institution to get your own oral x-rays.


It was about two years after I started living in Buenos Aires that I had a pain in my tooth that my dentist in Japan had told me, "If you have any problems in the future, we will have to pull this tooth. I think it was around the second year after I started living in Buenos Aires that my tooth started to hurt.

When my cheek started to swell up, I gave up and decided to go to the dentist.

Because of the language barrier, my first priority was to find a dentist who could speak Japanese.

I found a Japanese-Argentina lady doctor who said, "First of all, we can't do anything until the swelling goes down. She prescribed antibiotics.

It took me an hour and a half to get there, but it was a dentist's office in an apartment.

The week I was on the antibiotics, I brought up the topic of my toothache in language class, and the Spanish teacher said, "Don't compromise on eye and tooth care." The Spanish teacher said, "You must not compromise on eye and tooth care," and introduced me to a dentist she had worked her way up to, and even accompanied me to my first appointment.

In a clean clinic with brand-new equipment, the dentist, a fresh young man, explained slowly and in gentle words, using a model.

After that first visit, my mind was completely set on switching to this clinic.

This refreshing visit to the dentist's office was the first time I learned about the division of labor in Argentina, where there is a specialized x-ray service.

As a result of taking x-rays of my entire mouth as ordered by the dentist, I was presented with a number of treatment issues.

Initially, I only intended to have my back teeth treated for pain, but the polite and refreshing suggestions led me to have my other teeth treated one after another, and my visits to the dentist lasted for a long time.

The reason why I continued with the treatment as suggested was because of the low price.

In Japan, ceramic and implant treatments, which are not covered by insurance, can be done at two-thirds, if not half, the price.

The dental clinic I chose was high enough in comparison to the local market, but it was still cheaper than in Japan.

Basically, medical care and school fees are free in Argentina.

The policy may be great, but I was worried about getting medical care for myself. I thought it was a good idea.

But through my dental visits, I somehow became okay with it.

In short, in this country where the gap between the rich and the poor is huge, there is a wide range of medical care from free to a level where you can feel secure.

In this country, where the gap between the rich and the poor is huge, there are many different levels of medical care, from free to a level where you can feel secure. If you are careful in finding the right dentist, you can get good treatment at a lower price than in Japan.

Except for the hassle of X-rays, I have no complaints at all.

I am so satisfied with the results of my treatment that I now like to show my teeth and smile.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

Short trip to neighboring country Uruguay



In Japan, an island nation, foreign countries are literally outside the sea, but Argentina in South America borders five countries: Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, and Uruguay.

The closest and most convenient neighboring country from Buenos Aires is Uruguay.

Uruguay is the country of former President Mujica, who was called "the world's poorest president," a topic of conversation in Japan.

It is a place where you can feel different values, culture, and atmosphere from Argentina.

There is the capital, Montevideo, with its urban feel and beach resorts, but today I would like to talk about Colonia del Sacramento, a border town in the southwest.

Colonia is located on the other side of the La Plata River from Buenos Aires and is only about an hour away by ferry, so Buenos residents are most familiar with it.

It is also a convenient destination for Argentines to spend a large amount of time off, and tourists can enjoy a one-day trip from Argentina to the neighboring country Uruguay through optional tours.

It is also an indispensable destination for those who do not have Argentine residency and enter on a tourist visa to stay in Buenos Aires.

This is because one of the ways to legitimately stay in Argentina is to leave every three months for another country and re-enter Argentina.

There are five neighboring countries, and you can choose any country you want, but there is no place that can beat Coronia in terms of distance and cost performance within an hour's journey.

Since the travel restrictions were imposed due to Corona, measures have been taken to extend the period of stay, so it is no longer necessary to force yourself to travel, but I used to go there quite a bit.


Even if we remove the need to inscribe departure and entry stamps in our passports, Colonia is a fascinating place to return to again and again.

We left the ferry terminal in Buenos Aires early in the morning and arrived at the port of Colonia by mid-morning.

A ten-minute walk from the ferry terminal will take you into the old town at the end of the cape.

This area, which is registered as a World Cultural Heritage site, is a historical trail of the city, which was repeatedly the territory of Portugal and Spain since the 1600s.

Centered around a square, there are cobblestone streets, lighthouses, and historical buildings from the time when the only way to make a path was to lay uneven stones.

The area is compact, easy to explore, and comfortable, with the waterfront close by and very few vehicles.

The area is compact, easy to explore, and comfortable. There are cafes and restaurants that have reused old buildings, as well as folk art and artist stores scattered around, so there is no shortage of places to take a break and shop for souvenirs.

I once took a sightseeing bus that took me around a large area of the city of Colonia, but it turned out that the old town area was the only place I could see, so I decided to stay within walking distance of the ferry terminal.

After lunch, a stroll, and a cup of coffee, it was time for the return ferry in the evening.

That's about all the time I have in Colonia, not enough, not too much.



By the time I boarded the ferry for my return trip, I realized that I was looser than usual.

The noise, the hustle and bustle, and the lack of security had somehow made my mind and body tense, though it didn't bother me when I was in Buenos Aires.

The tranquility and laid-back atmosphere of Old Colonia has the effect of soothing the fatigue of city life.


Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay is just the right place to take a short trip away from Buenos Aires to refresh yourself.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

The Tango of Buenos Aires that Captured Me


Until I started living in Buenos Aires, I thought that all Argentines danced the tango.
But I was wrong.
But that was a big misunderstanding.
For modern Argentines, tango is a very minor part of their lives.
Young people go out to clubs, and most of the older people can't dance tango even though they listen to it.
Most importantly, tango is a city thing in Buenos Aires, and it becomes even more minor in other areas of the vast country of Argentina.

So, when I was asked what brought me to live in Buenos Aires, I answered, "Tango. When I answer "tango," the average person is surprised and says, "Really? they are surprised.
They can't believe that they would come from the other side of the world, where it is convenient and comfortable, to live in a chaotic South American country in search of a traditional culture they have no interest in.


On the other hand, when I asked the same question, the people involved in tango responded, "There are people like that, aren't there? while a foreigner who came to study tango for a short time said, "I envy you! I envy you!
While Argentine tango is in decline in its home country, there is a growing mania for it in Japan, Europe, and the United States, where it is exported, and many foreigners come to the holy land of tango.
Many foreigners come to the holy land of tango, and those who fall in love with it return to Buenos Aires.
This is because there is a charm that can only be found there.
Or, more correctly, because there was.


It has been more than a year since tango was banned by COVID-19 calamity.
Tango danced while hugging in a crowded space is inferior from the viewpoint of infection prevention.
Although the ban has been eased little by little, no one knows if the tango world will return to the city of Buenos Aires as it was before.
In Tokyo, you can dance tango with caution, and in Europe, milongas (tango dance parties) are being held on social media.
If you don't choose a place, you can dance tango.
"But..." I thought.
I still want to dance in the night air of Buenos Aires, in the hustle and bustle of the Spanish language, and in the salons steeped in history.
I feel that once I have felt the fit between the city of Buenos Aires and tango music, I will never be able to feel tango music in any other place.
Even if the tango salons and milongas held in the future will not be the same as before, I would like to think that the spirit of tango indigenous to Buenos Aires will embrace this period of suffering as part of the history of tango, maturing and deepening its flavor.

People who have fallen in love with tango say, "Tango has reached my heart. "The tango has captured me. Tango captured me.
It seems to me that it was "the tango of Buenos Aires" that captured me.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

It was the Argentinians who raised me as a therapist.


My career as a therapist began in Buenos Aires.

When I told my friend that I was going to live in South America by myself, he said, "You should learn Reiki before you go, because it will definitely help you. It was a friend of mine who recommended that I learn Reiki before I went.

In fact, when I went there, I found that it was useful enough for me to take care of my health and live a safe and comfortable life, and as the rumors said, foreigners were more knowledgeable and interested in Reiki than Japanese people.

This is in spite of the fact that Reiki is a healing technique that originated in Japan.

Whenever I talked about Reiki with Argentines, I was always bombarded with questions, and many of them asked me to do a session for them.

In the beginning, I had to say no because I was not confident enough, but I soon realized that there was enough demand for my services, so every time I went back to Japan for a while, I took a training course to improve my skills so that I could start my own business.


In reality, it took me longer to get the courage to start taking clients than it did to build the system.

It was an Argentinean friend who pushed me to start my own business, even though I had healed Japanese friends living in Japan for free.

He said, "I want you to do Reiki. I want you to do Reiki, but only if you don't charge me. She gave me a loving offer.

She even brought her own friend to the second treatment and helped me to get more clients by word of mouth.


Argentines are very chatty people.

So word of mouth spreads very easily.

I didn't want to take on clients I didn't know from a security standpoint, so word of mouth was very helpful.

On the other hand, the Japanese community abroad is much smaller and much more difficult.

There was one time when a resident wife asked me not to tell anyone after I had done a healing treatment. She asked me not to tell anyone.

Of course, therapists have a duty of confidentiality, so they don't tell anyone what they learn during the treatment, but she didn't want anyone to know that she had even requested the treatment.

It was one of those cases that made me think that word of mouth in the resident wife community was unlikely.

This is one of the reasons why I later started to study oil treatment and shiatsu, instead of just healing, which deals with sensitive issues.


One of the things I can't forget about my Argentine temperament is that I am a good complimenter.

I believe that it was the praise of my clients that helped me grow as a therapist.

After the session, the Argentineans would say less, but they would still talk about how they felt and what happened, and often compliment me on my techniques.

This made it clear to me that the sensations I felt during the treatment were correct, and I could feel that my work was helping others.


I think the overwhelming difference between Argentineans and Japanese as clients is that they want to know everything clearly.

The purpose of a Reiki session, roughly speaking, is to adjust the energy, but in the process, the state of the chakras and aura is also known.

In the counseling session after the session, the results are told to the patient, but there are some things that are not told.

However, Argentineans tend to prefer to hear it straight from the source.

However, Argentineans tend to prefer to hear things as they are, and the harder it is, the more they will say, "I know, I know. That was the worst, wasn't it? My condition! I'm so happy that you understand that! That's how I feel.

Everyone wants to know what's happening to them, but they are happy to be affirmed even when their condition is not good.

If it were Japanese, they would ask, "So what should I do now? But in the case of Argentines, it would be, "When do you want to make your next appointment? Thanks to this, I have many repeat customers.

Thanks to this, there are many repeat customers.

I may have been helped by Argentineans' tendency to rely on others.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

Stay the same. A bookstore in Buenos Aires.


In Buenos Aires, you can now buy a book online and have it delivered to your house.
In South America, online shopping is more MercadoLibre than Amazon.
When I first heard that people who want to sell and people who want to buy meet each other on the site and exchange goods in person, I was surprised at how analog it was! I was surprised.
I was surprised when I heard that people meet each other in person to exchange goods.
Thanks to Corona's lockdown, the surrounding environment was dramatically improved, the service grew, and Mercado Libre's stock price climbed.

In the blink of an eye, everyone can shop at home with peace of mind.


Even in Buenos Aires, where the shopping environment has changed so rapidly, until just a few years ago, the mainstream was to go to several bookstores to find the book you wanted.
One day, I received an order from an Argentine tango teacher in Tokyo to buy a photo book of Sandro.
It was a time when you couldn't just pop in and buy a book.
Sandro was a male singer active in the 60's and 70's who was well known to everyone in Argentina, but it was not easy to find a photo book because it was a long time ago.
First, we went to El Ateneo Grand Splendid, the most famous bookstore in Buenos Aires.
It is a renovated theater built in the early 20th century, which is on the list of the most beautiful bookstores in the world.
At first glance, the entrance looks like an ordinary bookstore, but as you walk in, you suddenly find yourself in an atrium and looking up at the ceiling painting.
The second and third floor seats are filled with books, and the display is truly beautiful.
The books are beautiful and practical, and there is a wide selection of books to choose from.
However, they didn't have that photo book because it was too maniacal.


At times like this, the caring spirit of Argentineans is very helpful.
The clerk at the bookstore made a note of the names of other stores, saying, "The bookstore down the street is the best place for this type of thing.
After that, at each store I went to, the store clerk saw my disappointed face and introduced me to the next bookstore.
So I didn't just go around in the dark, but I ended up spending two whole days on the road, literally dragging my feet.
When I finally found a photo book, I was so happy that I almost hugged the shopkeeper.

This bookstore tour made me a bookstore lover.
In Buenos Aires, there are still many old bookstores, each with its own quaint structure and unique selection and display.
Although it is convenient in the age when you can just click a book and have it delivered to your home, I hope that the wonderful bookstores in Buenos Aires will remain.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

The fun of visiting street art


Like the situation in the rest of the world, the lockdown in Buenos Aires has been loosened and tightened repeatedly, and recently it has become difficult to go out again.

Under the strict regulations, you need a permit to take public transportation, so those who don't have one tend to take cabs or go out mainly on foot.

But even if you have to walk for an hour, the saving grace of the city is the pleasant view.


The historic buildings and street trees are nice, but my favorite part is walking around and finding the street art painted on the walls.

As you walk down the street, you can enjoy a variety of art, from shutter-sized pieces to those that decorate the walls of buildings.

If you take a different street from the one you usually walk on, you will encounter new things, and if you keep scurrying along, you will reach your destination in no time.



Street art in Buenos Aires started out as spray-painted graffiti.

The economic crisis of 2001 was a major trigger for the transformation of graffiti, which had been a way to express political grievances, into art.

The owners of the buildings began to ask artists to paint their walls in order to brighten up the city, which had been hit hard by the economic crisis.

Now, 20 years later, the city has positioned street art as a tourist asset, and there are many works to enjoy.

There are many different sizes and styles.

Of course, you can see some with strong political messages, and some that are purely artistic.


There are two things that I find attractive about street art.


The first is that its life is short and changing.

On the one hand, this is a pity, but I think it is also a charm.

It is interesting to watch the changes from the freshly painted shiny state to the one that gradually blends into a part of the city after being exposed to the rain and wind. There is also the surprise of seeing a new painting on a familiar wall.


Another point is that street art is art with a background.

A painting on a store wall or shutter is a work of art in harmony with the entire building and the people on the street, while a wall of art has the sky as its background.

Some of the paintings look great against the blue sky, while others, I discovered one day, look better against a cloudy sky.

If you are lucky enough to come across a moment when the changing colors of the sky and cloud formations at dusk are beautifully combined with the wall painting, you will feel very fortunate.

In this way, art in a living city has the pleasure of a once-in-a-lifetime encounter, which is different from that in a museum.

That's why I can't stop walking the streets of Buenos Aires.

ブエノスアイレスのCafé Notable


DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

Café Notable in Buenos Aires


Cafes in Buenos Aires are friendly.

Even if you are all alone, you somehow feel accepted by the place and the city when you are there.

In particular, old-fashioned cafes have a unique warmth.

Perhaps it is because the walls, floors, and spaces are imprinted with the history of joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness of the people who have gathered there over the decades.


When I first started living in Buenos Aires, with few acquaintances and not knowing the language well, cafes were an important place for me to connect with the city and its people.

The old decorations and high ceilings were comfortable, and I would often spread out my language school homework on the well-worn wooden tables and do some idle people-watching.

I think I absorbed a lot of Argentine behavior and phrases there.

The hustle and bustle of the city coming in through the open windows with the breeze and the chatter in Spanish coming from the table next to me was lively and energizing, and I felt at ease with the feeling that I was a part of the place.

In recent years, Buenos Aires has seen an increase in the number of modern cafes, but I definitely prefer the old, tacky classics to the nicer ones.


Cafes with history and atmosphere are known as "Cafe Notable," and their conditions are defined by Law 35 of the City of Buenos Aires.

The list of establishments that meet the criteria, such as year of establishment, architecture, and cultural value, includes some long-established establishments from as far back as the 1800s, some with stunning stained glass windows, and others whose names appear in the lyrics of tango songs.

Some of the stores have been forced to close due to the repeated recessions and the recent lockdowns, and the number of stores is said to be decreasing these days, but it is said that nearly 100 stores were initially listed.


In Buenos Aires, you can spend hours in a café for a single drink.

The people of the city have been using cafes in this way for a long time, and no one says anything.

Whether it is an elderly person eating the same breakfast at the same table every morning, a group of girls talking for a long time, or a couple arguing, no one cares how long you stay.


Once, I lingered in a cafe late at night with a friend.

She had a problem and couldn't leave the conversation in the middle of the night.

After 1:00 a.m., we were the only customers in the cafe, and the waiters started cleaning up, but they never asked us to leave.

Of course, there was no announcement of "Last order. We talked to our hearts' content until all the chairs in the restaurant were placed upside down on the tables.

I left a little extra tip and said, "I'm sorry it took so long. I said, "No problem. I'll stay either way until everything is cleaned up. He replied, "That's okay.

This is the kind of atmosphere that makes Cafe Notable so welcoming to people.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

Argentina's Birthday



I was born in the spring.

Birthdays at this time of year have a very different atmosphere depending on where you are.

In Hokkaido, where I was born and raised, March and April are still in the thawing period, and the roadsides are still covered with black snow, dusty and gray in color.

It is still an extension of winter.

When I first came to live in Tokyo, the same day was the time when the cherry blossoms were in bloom, and the pink color made me feel excited, which changed my mood a lot.

At the same time, it was the beginning of autumn in Buenos Aires, and the street trees were turning yellow and orange.

The combination of retro cityscape, cobblestones and autumn leaves makes Buenos Aires even more unique and melancholy.



Now, Argentina's birthday.

In Spanish, birthdays are called cumpleaños.

While the Japanese and English word birthday means "the day you were born," the Spanish word is "the day you cumplir (reach) año (age).

Rather than celebrating the fact that you were born on a certain day in the past, you celebrate the fact that you have arrived here today.

There is also a difference in the way we celebrate.

In Japan, birthdays are usually celebrated by the people around you, but in Argentina, it is the person who is celebrating the birthday who sets up the party.

The party is planned, arranged, and the cake is prepared by you.

Everyone says, "It's almost my birthday! and they often talk about how they will arrange their birthday.

I'm the one who doesn't bother to mention my birthday because I feel like I'm making people feel uncomfortable, but this is a completely different feeling.


So this is the topic of birthday parties that I come across frequently, but there is one thing that you must be absolutely careful about.

Don't say congratulations before the birthday.

It is "mala suerte" to ask for congratulations before the day itself.

At milongas, tango dance halls, you often see birthday parties, where friends gather around a big table for the purpose, but no one says congratulations or gives gifts until after midnight.

After the date changes, they usually spread out the cake and celebrate with champagne.

It is also customary to make three wishes in your mind after lighting the candles on the cake, before extinguishing them.

The candles for the cake are like fireworks over there, so you may feel impatient to put them out quickly, but the three wishes are important.

After that, we ate the cake, but of course, it was up to me to cut it up and hand it out.

The main person is also the host, so he or she is busy.

The cake is cut in a strange way.

A circle is cut out of the center of the whole cake, and from there, double or triple circles are drawn, and then the cake is cut into small pieces in a radial pattern.

Each slice ends up as a conical trapezoid (like cutting a baumkuchen), and many pieces can be cut from one whole.

In a place like a milonga, it is a ritual to serve the cake not only to the friends invited to the table, but also to the many acquaintances in the hall, since many people know each other.

This may be the reason why such a way of cutting the cake was born.


In the world of tango, there is also a special birthday dance.

While tango is usually danced with the same partner for several songs, the birthday dance is a waltz with different partners, one after the other.

It is a celebration of friends, and if you are popular, there is a line of people waiting to dance with you.

This is a wonderful and heartwarming custom that I have seen many times.


The tango scene in Buenos Aires is still far from normal, but I hope that such birthday party scenes will return soon.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

Let's go to the park with a yerba mate tea set!



I wonder if Japan is in the mood to refrain from cherry blossom viewing again this year.
Sitting under a cherry blossom tree, talking with friends and admiring the flowers is a wonderful part of spring in Japan, so I hope the ban will be lifted soon.
Although flowers bloom beautifully in Argentina in spring, there is no such culture as hanami there.
They go to parks on a daily basis, sit on the greenery, take a break, and let their children play, so they may not need to get into the spirit of "hanami".
What they bring with them when they go to the park is yerba mate tea.
Yerba Mate is a tea unique to South America, and is also called "drinking salad." It is rich in vitamins and minerals, and some say that Yerba Mate helps Argentines, who eat less vegetables than meat, to maintain a good nutritional balance.
It has a bitter taste, but once you get used to it, it becomes addictive.
It can also be blended with herbs or dried orange peel.


The tea is drunk in a unique way, by inserting a straw-like object called a "bombisha" into a cup of yerba mate filled with tea leaves.
Confusingly, the tea leaves are also called yerba mate and the tea container is also called yerba mate.
You need to carry a set of yerba mate tea leaves, yerba mate container, and a pot with lukewarm water (boiling water will burn you when you drink it).
Of course, there are many situations where I drink tea at home, but it's interesting that I take that style of drinking with me everywhere.
When I went to the park, I saw a lot of people with pots under their arms, which seemed very strange to me at first.

Originally, the standard way to drink yerba mate was to pass around a single cup.
However, after Corona became popular, each person was encouraged to have his or her own bowl of yerba mate.
The magic of communicating with each other by sharing a single bowl is one of the charms of yerba mate, so it is a little sad to think that such a culture has been lost.



There is a specific etiquette for drinking yerba mate.
In the circle, there is an owner who is in charge of pouring hot water, and no one else is allowed to touch the bot. The owner prepares the tea leaves in the yerba mate cup, and after taking the first bitter sip himself, he pours enough hot water and offers it to others.
The recipient drinks it up and then returns the cup to the owner.
The owner then pours hot water into the bowl and offers the tea to another person.
This process is repeated for each person.
Naturally, the owner will be busy, but he is an Argentinean.
He's not very attentive and doesn't manage well, so he'll turn the tea in the wrong order, or he'll be so absorbed in his conversation that he'll forget to pour the hot water. But it doesn't matter to anyone, it's the topics, the yerba mate, and the time spent sharing as people come and go that is important.
Japanese people say "Let's have tea" and Argentines say "Let's drink yerba mate" in the same way, but in Argentina, it is more relaxed and there is no time limit.
You don't need to have anything important to do, and you can just relax and spend the same time in the park, enjoying the greenery, flowers, and breeze, while drinking yerba mate.
The scenery of the Corona vortex park yerba mate is a new style of bringing my yerba mate without turning it, but I think there is still a loose flow of time there.



DAYS/ Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

Locro in the winter in Buenos Aires


February in Buenos Aires, the other side of the world, is the height of summer, with temperatures hovering around 30 degrees every day.

But I'd like to talk about winter in line with Japan.


It doesn't snow in Buenos Aires in winter.

There are records of snowfall in the past, but it usually doesn't, and the temperature never goes down to minus.

But it's cold.

But it's cold. It's a keen, bone-chilling cold.

The large La Plata River runs beside the city, and the humidity makes the cold feel even stronger.

I often feel cold indoors due to the drafts that enter the rooms of buildings that are not well sealed.


The food for such a season is, after all, stewed food.

As is typical in the beef kingdom, a dish called "Locro" is made by slowly stewing beef chunks, offal, vegetables, corn, and legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and white beans.

This is not only the taste of each family's mother, but is also a menu item that always appears on today's specials at restaurants during special occasions.