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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

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.


That's why when I walk down the street and see a sign that says "Locro is available," I think, "What day is it today? I think, "What day is it today?

It could be Independence Day, May Revolution Day, or General's Day.


I immediately asked my friends, "Do you want to go out to eat Locro? and we went out to a restaurant.

As the theory of stewing goes, it is always better to prepare a large amount of stew and make it in a big pot.

The taste of the beans soaking up the flavor and fat of the beef is a winter treat.

It warms you up, and above all, it tastes good.

I usually suffer from an upset stomach that night, but I still give in to the temptation when I see the menu.


In winter in Buenos Aires, it's Locro.



DAYS / Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

Maradona is not a soccer player.

In 2021, there will be no Maradona in Argentina.

After he passed away, someone said to me as I left Buenos Aires, "Argentina is worthless without Maradona. It sounds like a joke.

It sounds like a joke, but the news of Maradona's death was such a big news for Argentines that it could not be called a joke.


It was reported on November 25, and on the same day, the Argentine government announced that a farewell ceremony would be held at the presidential office on the next day, and that the government would be in mourning for three days.

Immediately after that, many fans started gathering in the plaza in front of the presidential palace, and the next day, the number of citizens who wanted to pass by his coffin to say goodbye swelled to hundreds of thousands, and the line stretched for kilometers.

In no time, the city was filled with posters saying "AD10S," a combination of ADIOS (goodbye) and DIOS (God) and Maradona's number 10, and his life was marked with the infinite symbol "1960 - ∞" instead of ending in 2020.

Not only soccer fans, but also people from many other walks of life were saddened by his absence, which was a surprise to me.

I knew that Maradona was a famous and popular soccer player, even though I am not a soccer fan.

But I didn't expect it to be this big.


When I told my Argentine girlfriend that I was surprised that the farewell ceremony for a soccer player was held at the presidential palace, she said, "I'm surprised. I said to my Argentine girlfriend, "It's not just a soccer player. The commentary that followed was so long and so passionate that I couldn't stop myself.


Maradona was born into a poor background and was not well-built, but in addition to making a name for himself in the world of soccer, he seemed to have a character that was loved by many.

He stood on the side of the weak and poor, and his actions and deeds were sometimes righteous, sometimes witty, and sympathetic to many people.

On the other hand, he is also a treasure trove of scandal.

He has a history of drug arrests, drinking, womanizing, and bad behavior.

Nevertheless, people are fascinated by his tremendous charisma.

There are so many people whose lives have been influenced by his play, his words, his actions, and his presence.

That's why everyone says 'thank you' to him.


A lot of memorial programs were aired in Argentina over the days, and in addition to a collection of famous scenes of soccer play, a lot of special features were planned on his words of wisdom.

One day, my girlfriend, who was watching TV with me, made me do a double-take when she uttered her lines word for word to Maradona on the screen.

My girlfriend is not an avid soccer fan.

But she is.

The people who lined up for hours to attend the farewell ceremony had no idea....

I was moved to tears when I watched the memorial program, even though I had no feelings for him at all.


In Argentina, the TV world has been abuzz with talk about him ever since.

The rush of memorial programs was followed by criticism of the Argentine team's response to the NZ Rugby and All Blacks' memorial haka, allegations of negligence by Maradona's doctor, and now the legacy issue.

Maybe people don't want to pretend that Maradona is over.

I'm sure they want him to be a constant source of consternation. I'm sure of it.



DAYS / Sumiko Kuramitsu Column

Beloved Buenos Aires

What the world's longest isolation policy has brought to Argentina.

The eight-month isolation policy, said to be the longest in the world, has been eased to a limited extent in the metropolitan area, and life in Buenos Aires has finally begun to move forward.

I'm so glad to be able to come out to the city in the season when flowers are blooming and the city is beautifully colored.

But by this time, the temperature exceeds 25 degrees Celsius on some days, and this year's law requires people to wear masks, so it's not easy to feel stuffy or hot.

I heard that there were cool masks made of functional materials in summer in Japan, but it seems that these masks have not yet reached Argentina in South America.

After the quarantine policy started, all kinds of stores started selling handmade cloth masks, and you can choose from a wide variety of patterns and shapes, but we have yet to find a cool, comfortable mask.

Due to the corona fiasco, masks have become compulsory with penalties here in Argentina, and health and hygiene guidance has been strongly promoted.

It's funny to see people wearing unfamiliar masks, exchanging greetings without hugs, taking off their shoes at the entrance to their homes, and carrying around alcohol gel to disinfect their hands.

I think it's a tough thing to change a habit, but I'm impressed with how quickly people get used to it.

According to the Argentinean, we are good at adapting.

In a country where the economy is in a bad state and policies change drastically with each presidential change, it is natural for people to live flexibly.

No wonder they are so quick to produce their own cloth masks.

How resilient they are.

This year, I've heard that the home delivery industry has grown all over the world, and I think it would be fair to say that Argentina has reached the genesis of home delivery.

In the past, it was a country where things were not delivered.

The service itself had been around for a long time, but people didn't trust the delivery service because it was almost the basic setup for things to get damaged or lost on the way, or take extra time.

However, in a situation where no one could go out, what a wonderful thing the delivery business started to work.

Whether it's groceries at the supermarket, clothing at the retail store, or gift delivery, it seems to have grown into a service worthy of being trusted.


Also, a system was put in place to make it easy to open a bank account with a smartphone in order to distribute benefits to citizens who do not have an account in this environment.

Some of the support for citizens who have lost their income includes a service that regularly distributes preserved foods such as flour, pasta, and oil to their homes, which may seem like a precursor to the much talked about basic income.


The long, long period of inconvenience may have been a catalyst for health education and modernization in Argentina.

Do not hesitate to contact me to discuss a possible project or learn more about my work.


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Tsutomu Kinoshita
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