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DAYS

STAY SALTY ...... means column

Yoko Kaise Column

The greatest joy

from  Paris / France

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Yoko Kaise
Official French Government Guide

She has lived in France since 1998.
She has lived in Lyon and Bordeaux, and is currently working as an interpreter guide in Paris, guiding and explaining about the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles, as well as wine and gastronomy.

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5.5.2022

DAYS /  Yoko Kaise Column

The greatest joy

People who kiss

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It was talked about when i was drinking tea with a French friend, why did France suffer so much damage from this Corona disaster.

In comparaison, Japan seems to have escaped the worst, but what is the differences?

There are various differences in each country and it isn't so bad to think differences in lifestyle due to ethnicity maybe one of the cause.

Of course, there are major fundamental differences between Japan and France such as geographical, histrical and climate condition.

There is no doubt that such a condition will naturally affect lifestyle and way of thinking.

If we think about all the differences, there is no end to it, so let's focus on things that are familiar to us this time.

For exemple, I often hear when French people wash their bodies, they don't soak in the bathtub, or when they wash their hands first in rest room but they don't wash when they leave.

 

Certainly, there are quite a few houses without bathtubs, and many hotels only have showers.

Instead, there are many people who wash carefully for an hour in the shower, therefore, it doesn't save much on water bills.

It's okay to wash their hands first but i don't know why there quite a few people who don't wash when they leave.

Could someone tell me about it?

The French around me wash.

I say that there is a lot of individualism, yes, i admit that this country is certainly extreme depending on the person.

In other words, i think it's different for each person.

 

The next thing that comes to mind is that there were surprisingly many people who were not conscious of gargling regarding this infection control.

It seems that in Japan, it was often said that it was important to wash your hands and gargle frequently, but i think they didn't say much about gargle here.

To avoid misunderstanding, i emphasize that the French people aren't impropre.

Personally, i had just been to the dental treatment many times, so of course the care around that was perfect.

Fortunately, i'm living without any health problems so far, but i don't know if it was the luck of my misfortune, or not.

The French friend often repeated “why Japan was?”from the beginning

Actually. she has a medical job and she is busy with work, and at that time in France, even if it's a medical worker, there was the problem of lack of masks.

 

There was a shortage of uniforms. i heard they had remodeled the garbage bag and used,  and i was surprised at this.

I would no have been easy to get through while avoiding infection in such a situation.

Sometimes, i was receipt SMS from her, “it's not possible to work in such a situation.”

I once said that the difference in whether or not there is a mask might be big.

After that, even in France, no all over the world, there was a lot of noise about the important of masks, the friend started asking me something but i wasn't 00%sure.

I suddenly realized that i was talking to another friend recently. In France, the beginning of the morning of the day is to kiss on the cheaks in stead of saying good morning to family members or cohabitants.

The same is true for colleagues at work, or at school, which maybe  surprising, but this is also courtesy, so if you don't, you'll be rude.

Men often shake hands but between men and women or between women to kiss both adults and children.

I asked her,“What were you doing at your house?”

She replied, “I can't stop the important habits i've had since i was born because of corona”

it's more of a problem for her to stop kissing with her family than to get infected with corona.

By the way, when i was young, i attended a French Cooking class in Tokyo, the professor of the bakery course was from Normandy and had red cheeks like apples, he was a young, naive and kind, looking young man who might weigh 100kg.

While such a professor was moody at the time of final diploma award.

“Everyone kiss me please.”

Everyone shouted in each heart.

The professor is a good person, but  we hesitated because there is no such custom in Japan.

Then, he started to get angry and said “If you take such an attitude, i wouldn't give a diploma.”

Due to he was very angry, the bright red apple was in a great state.

 

When i think about it now, he thought that he wasn't liked by everyone so much and he was shocked and upset, therefore, i can understand that it was like that, but i couldn't imagine why he was so angry at that time.

As expected, Madame, the eldest woman, threw herself in saying “I would kiss him first.”

There were many young women but  we all continued.

I thought it was like this to jump off the stage of Kiyomizu.

It was more than 20 years ago.

However, since corona  infection control, I almost stopped seeing the person kissing.

Of course also shaking hands.

I didn't see it the roadside or into cafe in the morning.

It seems that Paris is dominated by someone.

I even feel like we have broken one of French's smiley scene.

 

Let's get back to the conversation with the first friend, even her, who loves japan still doesn't  seem to understand how many times i say we don't say hello in Japan basically with a kiss.

However, one day she suddenly said that she wanted to go on a trip to Japan.

When i returned to Japan once or twice(however, in my case, i takes about 2weeks due to my studies or works)i gave her tea as a souvenir.

She was overjoyed

She also likes pickled plums, i think there is not so much French people like her.

So, before having a cup of tea together, she asked me if it's okay to stop by the shop.

it's been about 5 minutes since i said “i'm waiting at the exit because it's crowed.”

“Thanks for waiting.”

Daifuku is in her one hand that came ot happily. 

“You know? Daifuku is very delicious.”

so, eat while walking.

Because she had taken a classical ballet lesson before meeting me, so i'm sure she was hungry, and most of all, we were meeting at the opera area today, so i guess she was looking forward o buy sesame daifuku a that store.

 

By the way, the speed of the expansion of rice cakes in Paris is remarkable.

I think it was dorayaki a while ago,

but now, if i want to eat red bean paste, i could buy easily if i pay a lot.

After that, when we went to the tea house, it was full.

After Daifuku, she said that she wanted to have tea, so we decided to walk for 15minutes to the famous tea house in Japan.

At that time, my friend was satisfied, but i was a little sad because i paid about 1000yen for the tea that is free if i had a meal in Japan.

I would have liked to invited if i had tea in my house, but since i havn't returned to Japan for more than 2years, i have no tea in my house in France.

I have a delicious green tea deficiency and i feel like crying, but even some Japanese people will be fine without tea.

I wonder if it's related to that it, but how French people who can't kiss think.

If a French friend actually comes to Japan, if she suddenly attack while saying “Bizes〜”

If my friends, everyone understand it, so i think it's okay if i talked in advance.

It will be complicated if she should be surprised somewhere.

In the end, our answer is still in conclusion, however, i was convinced that this problem was deeper.

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4.5.2022

DAYS /  Yoko Kaise Column

The greatest joy

Morozov Exhibition after that

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The once extended Morozov exhibition at the Louis Vuitton Museum in Paris is about to end

(until April 3.. 2022)

 

In my last article, i wrote about contemporary French painting.

After all, there are so many works on display that i can see the original works of my favorite artist, because i wouldn't be possible unless i went to Russia in the future, i looked around with Renoir, Matisse, Cezanne and Van Gogh as if i was biting.

 

To that end, i regretted the Russian corner after it only lightly saw.

Also‥in the planning of this exhibition, i could see the works of a huge number of artists, i didn't spend much time looking at Cezanne, even though i felt it was particularly important, so i still regret it.

 

So this time, in order to deepen my understanding of this collection, i  reread the booklet in advance.

 

 I can't miss the corner of Cezanne.

 

Also, the magnificent works of this exhibition were owned by the Russian Morozov brothers, i haven't had much interested in modern Russian painting until now,especially considering the relation with Franch art since in the 19th century, in this current situation, i keenly realized that it was essential to review the culture of Russia and Ukraine.

 

 

Although it was still lined up as expected on the day, it wasn't hard to see the work.

If i waited for a while,i could take a picture.

 

From the impressed staff, the degree of tension was apparent.

It would be scary, if the works were scratched, because it was such a time.

Also, i don't remember how it looked like last time, the visitors were instructed to throw away plastic bottles of water before security control.

 

Even inside of the room, an alarm would sound when approaching the work.

Many people, including myself, have been warned for some reason.

Security monitoring was unprecedentedly strict

 

The visited course is divided into 11 rooms and Russian works were mostly lined up in room 2.

The inside of room was almost portraits.

Most of the rest is French painting.

Russia painting was sometimes mixed in it. This is probably because it makes it easier to compare the differences.

 

Actually, i've never heard of a name other than Kazimir Malevitch(1878ー1935)、

I didn't even know that he was born in Ukrine.

 

However, this time, many of the Morozov brother's collections were French impressionists.

the focus was on Constantine Corovine(1861-1939), Valentin Serov(1865-1911) and Piotr Kontchalovski(1876-1956) which are closely related on French art and there were only two Malevitch works.

 

Corovine decorates the building of the Russian pavillon during the 1900 worlds Fair in Paris and was awarded the Medal of Honer by the French governement.

The style of painting is really influenced by France, especially the Impressionists.

He is said to represent the Russian Impressionists. but let's not  talk much about this.

He studied an art at School in Moscow since 1886, he has traveled to France and Spain several time.

 

Of the many works, especially when i see the picture titled <Boated>at glance, surprising emotions seemed to overflow from my throat.

Not to mention the vividness of the colors, i felt a presence in the drifting air.

The impressionist sprit was clearly felt.

 

I wanted to know what kind of people he met and what he talked about in   Paris.

 

I decided to pursue it on another occasion, specifically to make things a little better with regard to Russian and French art here, i gathered information about another artist.

 

Although Piotr Kontchaloviski was born in Ukraine, he has still deeply interested in French painting.

He was influenced by the Impressionist works at the french art industry exhibition held in 1895 in Moscow.

After that, he went to Paris and and went to the Louvre Museum.

it's far from being satisfied, and he was searching around if he couldn't convince himself.

“If i don't see the picture of Cezanne, i won't be convinced.”

 

After that, although he returned to Russia, he traveled to and from Russia several times in Paris between 1896 and 1898, studying at a private art school in Paris.

At that time, the Orsay Museum wasn't here, and it wasn't easy to gather information.

The passion of the artist is beyond imagination, no matter how hard it was to come to Paris.

 

It was treated very big at this exhibition, Cezanne was adored by so many people.

 

First of all, <Saint Victor>is a representative of the works in which the natural green and the blue of the earth's color sky are conspicuous and simple and powerful air natural light has spread to the room.

 

And it seems that the Morozov brothers liked especially those that portrayed men powerfully.

There are several portraits of artists on display that clearly seem to have been influenced by Cezanne's distinctive style.

Above all, his dynamic male image is a work with a connection that makes me think.

 

There were a few opportunities to collecte and see the works of one painter so far.

Although i'm grateful for this project, i can't criticize it.

 

However, when this exhibition is over, the work must be returned to Russia.

It wouldn't have been a problem until now, but given the situation over the past month, i'm worried that the work will be safely returned to its original place.

 

It's not leave it in France.

 

However, against the danger of being safety stored on or after returning to Russia are too obvious.

 

When Russian troops attacked a museum in Ukrine, it was burned several works of Mariya Prymachenko, Ukrainian national painter.

There is no way to do this.

 

What it was lost once will not come back to its original state.

 

 

This time, the collection of the Morozov brother has given us tremendous excitement and discovery.

We were fortunate to be able to see so many stunning works.

Also, i'd like to express my sincere gratitude to the organizers who selected from the collection and further classified and exhibited it.

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3.6.2022

DAYS /  Yoko Kaise Column

The greatest joy

I want to see beautiful things

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It's been almost two years since the corona wreck spread all over the world.

 

So many people died, so many people have lost their families and relatives.

The world's economies are rattling, the education system is also tattered.

 

What should the children do?

Adults are looking for a solution, but for now, it can't be helped.

On the contrary, it looks like it's heading in the wrong direction.

Worst of all, it looks some people are trying to exploit this situation.

People are all exhausted in such a time. I can't do anything physically, but i have to find a solution mentally.

Someone suddently muttered, “I want to see beautiful things.”

That words came to my mind when i heard it

I decided to go to the Botticell exhibition for the second time.

 

When i went the first time, there were too many people that i couldn't see the work well, so i booked a second visit.

So, i have to see well this exhibition maybe so magnificent.

It was around mid-january when i booked my second visit, the special exhibition was nearing the end and it was quite crowded, however,i managed to make an internet reservation.

 

My reservation on the day is the first ride at 10o'clock in the morning.

Arriving a little early, i showed my sanitary pass and reservation confirmation, and went to the museum.

I know very well the permanent installation, so i went immediately Botticelli exhibition.

Concerned as video of presentation,i skipped it, because i've already watched.

First of all, I arrived at the place where <The Madonna and Child>lined up.

This time, which is the second time, i have marked the works that i will definitely watch.

The museum is between the Arc de Triomphe and Saint Lazare station, distance that can be walked from either.

It's called the Jacquemart André museum built in the 19th century, Nelly Jacquemart and Edouard André's mansion was later renovated.

In addition to being able to observe the interior and collection as a permanent installation, a special exhibition is held in a small but fixed place.

All the special exhibitions are so popular that you can't make a reservation easily.

A friend who couldn't make that was mourning about this Botticelli exhibition when i asked why she didn't try to make it early.

 

“I was a bothersome to do it.”

 

Certainly, this reservation system has never existed before, this has significatly affected the number of visitors to museums.

As soon as possible, if you can't enter without a reservation like before, museums in Paris are also beginning to scream here and there.

Well, the story goes back to <The Madonna and Child>,

Here, there are two <The Madonna and Child>, of Botticelli and Filippo Lippi, were lined up. Both are brewing  the calmness and the overflowing love of mother and child.

 

These are my favorite works.

 

There are very few chances to see the works of Botticelli in Paris nowadays.

At the Louvre museum. two frescoes are exposed next to the Nike of Samothras and the other three works are not open to the public.

And there is <The Madonna and Child>In the Florence room of the Jacquemart André museum, moreover, it was initially thought to be Verrocchio's.

 

Also, there is only one <Escapes to Egypt> in the venetian room.

 

So, only four of Botticelli's works can be seen in Paris.

That's why expectations of french people were high.

 

And when we come to museums, it's not just about people's cultural curiosity, but it should also satisfy the aesthetic desire to see beautiful things that we wouldn't normally see.

 

In that sense, the subtitle of this Botticelli exhibition says <designer>,

with the artist's creative side as well as the endless pursuit, is great importance,

I can't show all the exhibited works here, but let's share the two works that i especially like.

First of all, it's said to be the work of Botticelli, which attracted the most among the sevral <The Madonna and Child>.

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<The Madonna and child supported by an angel under flower decoration>.. peint between 1460 and 1465.

It features a technique of making colors by mixing eggs called tempera with canvas of poplar trees.

 

This is seen in the Renaissance era and is a deterioration of color is littre,it should be beautiful over time.

Also, the composition is unique for this period, <Our lady(The Madonna)> is standing.

Even Filippo Lippi, who was said to be the master of Botticelli didn't peint like this.

 

The another is <La belle Simonetta>

it's said to be around 1485.

This is used as a representative work of this exhibition on posters and catalog.

 

Therefore, it's impossible to understand this exhibition  without talking this work.

Here too, the tempera technique is used, but the big difference compared to the another is where oil paints are also used.

The voluminous and realistic feeling that can be seen at a glance appeals to something.

 

What is interesting is the hairstyle.

It makes me think that i should try to imitate it.

I can't be the same with clear skin,but i also like her pendant.

 

Yes, she deserves attention as a beautiful person in our time.

 

The model is Simonetta, Julian de Medici's mistress.

She was known as the most beautiful women in Florence.

 

Since she was said to be a model of Venus in < The birth of Venus >, which is known as a masterpiece of Botticelli, therefore, it's suitable to be said to be the main presence of this exhibition.

A work by an italien artist Botticelli, that has fascinated Franch people.

Also i kept it's in my heart as one of my favorite artists, i would like to meet somewhere on another occasion.

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2.5.2022

DAYS /  Yoko Kaise Column

The greatest joy

Expectations for 2022

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January 1, 2022 was a little different from the same day the year before.

The weather was nice and the temperature was high for this time of year, so I decided to take a walk around Paris by myself, using public transportation such as metro and bus, and walking.

I'm not very good at jogging these days, so I prefer to just walk while taking pictures slowly.

It was still dark until about 8:30 in the morning, so I got on the bus a little before 9:00 and arrived at the Notre Dame Cathedral square first.

There were only a couple of people around besides me and a security guard, so it was nice and quiet.

The air seemed clearer, too.

I actually like to come here every year at Christmas time to see the Christmas tree in the middle of the night, but since the fire in 2019, there's been a lot of repair work going on, so I haven't been here in a while.

 

9:30 a.m. - It was getting light all around.

However, the color of the sky was not clear, so I might as well have come back on a clearer day if I only wanted to take pictures.

Still, there was no problem with my schedule if I returned home before lunch, so I thought I would enjoy the quietness of Paris and if possible, stop by a church to make my own New Year's visit.

There were several candidates for churches, but I decided that Saint-Germain-des-Prés would be the best one near here.

It was only a ten to fifteen minute walk, and I wanted to take a leisurely stroll through Cartier-Latin to get there.

I also wanted to see what the city looked like on New Year's morning.

 

Leaving Notre Dame Cathedral behind, we headed west along the Seine River.

Of course, none of the famous bukinist (used bookstore) stands were open.

The square of Saint-Michel was also deserted.

From this point on, I looked back at Notre Dame Cathedral as if I were Matisse and several other painters.

It was more than 100 years ago that they painted the cathedral from this neighborhood.

At one time, Matisse lived in this apartment on the Seine as his studio and residence, and he painted the Notre Dame Cathedral from his window.

Most of the area has now changed except for the cafe on the corner.

I have a mixed feeling.

Recently, more than half of the large bookstores in the area, such as Givere Jeune, have closed, and Cartier Latin has completely changed its appearance in the past year or two.

I used to come to this bookstore 20 years ago, often to buy books that I no longer read.

 

As I continued walking along the river, I came to the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in this part of the Seine.

On the other side of the bridge you can see a department store called "Samaritaine".

This department store was closed for a long time, but reopened last year.

The luxurious interior and the luxury hotel that opened afterwards are attracting attention from all over Paris.

The dignified appearance of the building was designed by the Japanese architectural unit SANAA.

Because of this, I had been looking forward to it since before its completion.

The interior of the building is beautiful and has been designed in various ways to give visitors a dream come true.

This will bring back the energy that has been lost for a while.

I hope that such spaces and events will continue to gradually bring excitement to the citizens and visitors.

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Now, I crossed the bridge again and came back to the left bank, approaching St. Germain and Odeon.

This area is also Cartier-Latin.

The old bistros and other fashionable buildings and the new cafes with ingenious exteriors are fun to look at even if most of them are closed.

 

I used to like one of these restaurants, but it was replaced by another one before I came back for a while.

The chef/owner had several restaurants, two of which had Michelin stars.

The St. Germain restaurant was small, but I used to go there often because the chef's signature dish, cassoulet, a specialty of the southwest region, was very good.

In the beginning, I could choose the cassoulet as part of the 20 euro lunch set, so I ate only that.

It was a wonder that I could finish it without any trouble, even though it was a hearty dish.

Before I knew it, the place had become a tapas restaurant and the atmosphere had changed.

Cassoulet is a very warming dish made of stewed white beans, sausage and meat.

But at that time, I was feeling very lonely in my heart.

I can't eat that cassoulet anymore....

 

After that, we walked to the church through a roofless passage.

In this passage, there is the oldest café in Paris.

It is now a restaurant, but during the French Revolution, it was used by Robespierre and others for discussions.

Later, Napoleon I visited the café and left his hat behind because he didn't have any change on him when he paid the bill.

The hat is still kept in a glass case in the store.

Diagonally across the street from the restaurant is a tower, a remnant from the days when there was a fortress in Paris.

It is amazing that such a strange shape has been preserved to tell the story of the city of Paris a thousand years ago.

 

Further on, we came to another of my favorite restaurants.

It's small and cramped again.

But it's delicious.

The desserts look simple, but they are handmade, and I like the taste.

I'm rather skinny at the moment, but I still bump into my neighbors.

The bathroom is in the basement, but the stairs are so narrow that you can't even pass someone.

But this is a typical old-fashioned Parisian building.

 

We finally arrived at the church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

For a long time, the inside was covered with a cloth due to construction, and there were times when we couldn't enter, but now it was completely finished and we could take our time to look at the beautiful interior.

This church is the oldest Romanesque church still existing in Paris.

The church is the oldest Romanesque church in Paris, and while there are many Gothic churches around, you should definitely take the time to visit the old and tasteful building itself, which was built in the 6th century, and the interior, which has recently undergone restoration.

The famous old cafes right in front of the building were also open for business. There is a lot of Parisian history and culture in these cafes.

 

Now, I had to get back.

This time I took a quick stroll along Cartier Latin from Notre Dame Cathedral to Saint Germain des Prés Church, but I hope to pursue Paris in more detail in the future.

Thank you for your continued support this year.

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12.5.2021

DAYS /  Yoko Kaise Column

The greatest joy

Gathering the greatest joy of the year

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There are less than two months left in this year, 2021.

 

I can't believe how fast it has gone.

For the past year, I have been thinking only about making it through the day without feeling the passage of time or the satisfaction of having accomplished anything.

In short, I have been feeling annoyed with myself for being so passive lately.

However, I can't bring myself to do something big here and break into pieces.

 

A couple of days ago, I was on my way to the bus stop in my neighborhood when I spotted the show window of a familiar boulangerie (bakery, and most of them sell cakes as well) right in front of it.

There were about 20 colorful whole cakes lined up in a huge row.

And most of them were new.

I took out my cell phone and started snapping pictures.

The sandwiches and salads that were always there were moved to the case next to them.

 

The bus arrived while I was gazing at it, and I heard that there are only a few buses during the year, so it would be a disaster if I missed it.

I hurriedly jumped on the bus and forgot about the cake.

Even though it's not even December yet, Paris seems to be in a rush these days.

I asked my friends about this, and they agreed with me.

Just when I thought I had been restricted from going out for a long time and was feeling anxious about what would happen in the future, I suddenly felt as if I was being pushed back by a big economic recovery plan.

 

More than half of the whole cakes were sold the next day.

I really wonder if the economy has always been this good.

But it's okay, it's people's business, and it's a good thing.

I can't stop thinking about how the Beaujolais Nouveau went, how the Hospice de Beaune wine auction went, and so on.

But these are all things that are essential every year at this time.

 

I had some time before noon, so I dropped by the Christmas market in the Tuileries Park near the Place de la Concorde.

This year, while some places in Europe have already decided to cancel their Christmas markets, so far the markets in France have started in many places.

 

The combination of the atmosphere of the Tuileries Park, the mobile amusement park, and the Christmas market stands all have their own unique atmosphere.

The famous Ferris wheel, ice skating rink, and merry-go-round are eye-catching, while the hot wine, champagne, raclette, barbecue, and Santa merchandise stands are sure to please people of all ages.

 

One thing that bothered me, however, was that there were so few people wearing masks.

In the Alsace region, I heard that in many places like Strasbourg and Colmar, where congestion is expected, the requirement for entry is to present a hygiene pass and wear a mask.

In Paris, there was no sign at the venue regarding the hygiene pass, but masks are compulsory.

Nevertheless, the fact that less than half of the visitors wear masks is worrying.

 

The other day, the biannual regional producers' market was held near my house, where producers from all over France (mostly from the southwest region, I think) gather to sell fresh fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, wine, and other items.

The small, white onions here are so sweet and delicious.

I would like to buy a lot of them someday and make soup or jam myself.

In the meantime, I'm going to try their onion beignets (in this case, a kind of fried fish. I look forward to getting their onion beignets (in this case, they use chickpeas for the flour) every time, so I was quite disappointed when they didn't show up.

 

The marché as a whole was also more successful this time, and although there had been a few people at the marché since the Corona disaster, especially on the second day, it might have been more crowded than the first day.

And even though the weather was not good this time, everyone came from far away, and we were all thrilled to see all the regulars.

I hope it will continue to thrive in the future.

 

Other than that, the recovery in the cultural and entertainment sector has been a bit slow.

I don't go to the cinema much anymore, but according to a friend of mine who often goes, it's getting better.

The museums are gradually getting better.

The number of visitors to the Louvre has been increasing.

 

Now it's time to start looking for Christmas gifts for the end of the year.

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At the moment, I am most interested in the advent calendar of Samaritaine, a popular department store this year.

When you open the fancy box with a picture of a building on it, you will find dates randomly lined up inside, and when you open each date on the same day, you will find miniature cosmetics and accessories inside, just like a small daily treat.

I really wanted to buy this for my female army, but I gave up when I saw the price.

It was 129 euros.

Impossible.

Last year, I got an Advent calendar from L'Occitane as a Christmas present, and I was quite happy.

I'll look around.

Anyway, it's fun to think about this and that, but I think I forgot how I felt last year.

It also brought back the feeling that it is important to always think about the health of everyone around you, especially your own health as well.

 

It seems that France is planning to manage this winter without restricting people from going out, but at the same time, there are still a lot of things that are expected to happen.

It has been more than 20 years since I came to live in this country, and I feel that the days are steadily passing by, with all the good things and the things that need to be done.

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11.5.2021

DAYS /  Yoko Kaise Column

The greatest joy

Recently Impressed Exhibitions

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Louis Vuitton Foundation Museum

The Morozov Collection

September 22, 2021 - February 22, 2022

As a French government-approved guide, I frequently visit museums.

Most of the time, I visit the Louvre museum, the Orsay museum, and the Palace of Versailles, but recently, when time permits, I try to visit museums in Paris that I don't usually have a chance to visit, if there is an interesting exhibition or event.

I rarely find anything that is not good.

rather, they are all wonderful, so naturally I end up with a lot of photos and documents at home.

I'm now busy organizing them, but I'm also making an effort to preserve each memory in its own way before I forget it.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

I arrived at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe at around 09:00 in the morning.

There is a shuttle bus that leaves from nearby Friedland Street directly in front of the entrance to the Louis Vuitton Foundation Museum.

I got in line (there were already about 15 people waiting at that time).

The bus is very small, so if you don't buy the bus when you book your ticket on the Internet, you will be put off when you get on.

After arriving at the venue, I have no  time to take some photos, because reservations are made every 30 minutes, but even at the 10:00 slot, for example, there seemed to be more than 30 people, so I ended up at the back of the line.

After all, the venue is incredibly large.

As soon as I got in line, the "hygiene pass" control came up.

Then, at 10:00, the luggage inspection started. All you have to do is put your luggage through the machine.

I didn't think it was that strict.

Then, we went inside for ticket control.

It was vaguely spacious, so most people wandered around here wondering what to do.

The correct answer is "get a pamphlet at the reception desk and go to the back," but if you don't know this, you will still get lost in some way.

There are almost no signs to guide you, and it's unusual to take the escalator down and start from the basement.

But once you get into the flow, you're on your own.

Let's forget our daily lives and immerse ourselves in the world of French Impressionism and Russian Avant-garde first.

What is the Morozov Collection?

Most japanese people may wonder what "Morozov" is, whether it is a sweets  or something else.

Well, I am one of those people.

(because, there is a sweets maker called “Morozov”in Japan.)

Actually, it is a person's name.

In this case, it is the name of two Russian art collecting brothers, Mikhail (1870-1903) and Ivan (1871-1921).

About 200 of the 600 modern artworks from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century collected by these two men are on display.

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I couldn't help but be drawn to the impressionist paintings.

I've always seen so many of them, but....

However, it was refreshing to see something from outside France.

At first, there were many Renoirs and Monets on display, but anyway, the quantity and quality were amazing.

First among them was Renoir's "The Dreamer" or "Portrait of Jeanne Samary," (french actrice)which was printed on my admission ticket. This painting of a young woman with a twinkle in her eye, imagining her bright future, made me happy.

The colors and touch of the painting are very Renoir-like.

 

I decided to keep the ticket as a bookmark.

 

After that, it was back to the parade of French Impressionist works, and the level of excitement was not half bad.

Even Monet's works were rich in variety.

I was reminded of Monet's technique as well as the beauty of his colors.

 

There were relatively few works by Manet and Degas this time, but I was thrilled to find a painting of Notre Dame de Paris (cathedral) that Albert Marquet, a well-known friend of Matisse, painted when he lived in the same apartment along the Seine River as Matisse.

The tour of the exhibition then took us up escalators or stairs.

The exhibition continued with the Impressionists, then the Post-Impressionists, and so on.

 

Throughout the exhibition, I personally, and I think most of the visitors, had high expectations for the painting "Prison Courtyard," which depicts Van Gogh in a mental hospital in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in the south of France, staring at a circle of prisoners in a courtyard while fighting with himself inside.

We can feel Van Gogh's inner thoughts as he looks at each person through the barred window.

 

The prisoners in the courtyard all looked listless and exhausted.

Among them, a blond-haired man was looking at us.

He was not wearing a hat.

It seems to be Van Gogh himself.

The man's gaze is so cold that I can't even sense his hope for life.

 

Although Van Gogh imitates Gustave Doré's work quite faithfully, he still cannot hide his own unique style.

The use of colors such as blue, for example, is exactly what he would have done.

 

This work was exhibited in a private room with a limited number of visitors.

There is a watchman standing guard and giving instructions.

You can't get close to it because they are watching you.

It was like the Mona Lisa in the Louvre museum.

 

However, this work is usually in the collection of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Russia, so it is more distant than the Mona Lisa to me.

Perhaps that's why I was so moved by it.

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Cézanne and Picasso were wonderful, but I was also impressed by Matisse's portrait of Ivan, the younger of the Morozov brothers, with his own work in the background.

Most of the works in this exhibition are also from Ivan's collection, so his importance becomes apparent again here.

 

The exhibition will run until February 22, 2022, so it is unlikely that many people from Japan will visit the museum in the future, but so far I have not heard of any plans to extend the exhibition.

I hope as many painting fans as possible will come to this exhibition, as it is clearly one of the most interesting and richest of the Louis Vuitton Foundation Museum's projects.

 

10.5.2021

DAYS /  Yoko Kaise Column

The greatest joy

Eiffel Tower Again

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The Eiffel Tower is loved by all Parisians.

It used to take three hours to get to the top of the tower using the elevator, you had to waste a lot of time waiting in line to buy tickets.

Now that we can make reservations online, things have changed, but you never know when it will happen again.

That's how popular they are.

In 2024, the Olympics will be held in Paris.

Various events have already been decided to be held around the Eiffel Tower.

In fact, even before Paris was chosen as the host city after Tokyo, there was a lot of excitement in the inner circles about the fact that this was the candidate site for the athletes' village, just between the two of us, so I was worried that the people involved, Parisians, and Parisiennes would be very depressed if another country was chosen.

In fact, the current projects in Paris seems to be tremendous, reflecting the enthusiasm to make the Olympics a spectacular success.

At any rate, the current mayor of Paris is running for the presidential election in 2022, and mayer says that she will complete her duties until the next election, so I have a newfound respect for this motivation.

When the number of tourists to France has been zero since the spring of 2020, I feel that it is not good if things continue as they are, and I am sure that everyone will be surprised at how much Paris in particular has changed.

Furthermore, by the time the Olympics are held, many things will have changed, and even those of us who live in the city will be surprised and astonished, so we need to keep our ears and antennas open, or we will be left behind.

At present, the area around the Arc de Triomphe is the subject of a "wrapping" installation by the artist couple Christo and Jeanne-Claude, which is both good and bad.

The Notre Dame Cathedral has also been in the news for restoration work after a fire, but just recently it was said that the cathedral will not collapse as feared.

The current president has said that he wants the restoration to be completed by 2024, but I wonder how things will unfold from now on.

 

However, it is clear that the Eiffel Tower and its surroundings will be the main attraction in the summer of 2024. We need them to do their best to help Paris prosper. like they did at that time (World Exposition).

 

However, good things are not always easily approved unanimously.

In fact, even the Eiffel Tower had a difficult time at first.

In 1887, when the time had come to concentrate on building the strangely shaped steel tower, which had never been seen before in Paris or anywhere else in the world, based on a design proposal by Gustave Eiffel's office, an article appeared in a newspaper called Le Temps.

It was a letter of protest signed by about 50 artists.

The artists included the painter William Bouguereau, the composer Charles Gounod, the architect Charles Garnier, the writer Alexandre Dumas Fiss (son of Alexandre Dumas), and the writer Guy de Maupassant.

The Eiffel Tower was surrounded by a dense cluster of elegantly styled buildings, including the Osmanian building made of stone, which looked like a castle, and they said it would be shameful to have that lump of steel towering over it.

In response, Gustave Eiffel explained the necessity of the Eiffel Tower from two perspectives: usefulness (for research in astronomy, meteorology, and physical observation) and esthetics (to develop new shapes, colors, etc. using steel).

In the end, the construction of the Eiffel Tower began with a stopgap contract, so to speak, to demolish the tower after 20 years.

But now it is a star, and you never know how the world will turn out.

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If you've just arrived in Paris for the first time and are planning to go on a tour of the city, I recommend that you climb the Eiffel Tower first.

If your schedule permits, or if you can get a reservation, you should definitely go up there. You will be impressed by the view of the whole Paris.

Afterwards, I highly recommend taking pictures of the Eiffel Tower from outside.

You can take pictures of the Eiffel Tower morning, noon, and night, sunny days, rainy days, snowy days... and even in different seasons.

I would like to take my own memorable photos, avoiding the usual ones as much as possible.

For an amateur like me, I think I need a little ingenuity to add something satisfying to my album.

In order to do this, I need to gather information, and I know I can rely on my Parisian drivers.

I often accompany newlyweds on their sightseeing tours of Paris, so I know them well!

 

I can't tell you about the best spots, but for example, when it comes to taking pictures of the Eiffel Tower, I used to take most of my pictures from the Trocadero square or the Champ de Mars park on the other side of the Seine.

However, this area has already been heavily altered due to the Olympics.

"Don't be saddened, "Oh, the place where I shot the Eiffel Tower in my honeymoon memories. Don't be saddened.

Your photos will no longer be copied by other people who are coming to Paris.

In any case, this area will undergo a major transformation in a few years, so what will happen is what will happen.

We will have to wait a little longer to find out what will happen to this zone.

I even heard that the Seine River area is going to be the venue for the beach volleyball competition during the Olympics.

I'm excited for 2024, but also have mixed feelings about it.

I heard that the color of the tower itself, which is repainted every seven years, will be different in 2024.

There may be a big dispute again.

Finally, I would like to mention two of the Eiffel Tower photo spots recommended by the driver.

One is from the center of the bridge near the metro station of Bir-Hakeim, where you can see the Eiffel Tower from the equestrian statue of Jeanne d'Arc.

The other is from the Alexandre III Bridge.

In this one, I think it would be good to have the subject stand in the middle of the stairs at the end of the bridge.

In both cases, the Seine River can be included in the composition, so you are guaranteed to get a good memory.

I've attached photos of these two spots for your reference.

 

9.5.2021

DAYS /  Yoko Kaise Column

The greatest joy

Summer Aperitifs

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"When it's hot in summer, draft beer is the way to go. Or, "Red wine goes well with steak or stew, doesn't it?

Or, "Red wine goes well with steak and stew, so I guess I should drink it in winter. Or, "Japanese food should be accompanied by sake. "No, white wine is also good.  I often hear people say these things.

 

All of these are true.

However, I strongly believe that the key to enjoying a meal is to say that the marriage of food and drink depends on the occasion.

 

This is not the same as saying that anything goes.

It is something that can only be understood after thinking about it and trying it out.

You have to drink and enjoy alcohol widely.

But the season and the occasion are decisive factors, so I'd like to talk about summer aperitifs.

In the summer, the days in France become very long.

For a while, it is light until around 10:30pm.

In France, we don't do overtime service ( because we don't get paid for it). Depending on the type of work, I usually finish work by 5 or 6pm, depending on the type of work I do, and then I enjoy an aperitif with my workmates, friends, and family (or alone, of course).

 

Of course in winter, but in summer, when it's still light outside (in France, it's light until 10:30 p.m.), it's great to have a drink on the terrace and chat.

Of course, you can have coffee or juice, and the kids can join you. In this case, you can bring snacks or mini viennoiserie (mini croissants, mini pain au chocolat, etc.).

 

In France, dinner time is after 8:00 p.m., so it's customary to have a little bit of a drink before dinner time, rather than chatting to whet your appetite and motivate you for dinner.

However, when I saw the happy faces of the children saying, "Wow, Apello! However, when I see the happy faces of my children....

"It's hard to say, "Okay, that's it. However, when I see the happy faces of the children, I find it hard to say, "Okay, that's enough.

 

Cafes are naturally crowded after work or in student areas.

When I was a student, my friends and I used to rush to the café five minutes before happy hour and order right on time.

You have to check with the serving staff.

 

Most of them offer 50% discount on drinks, but even if it's not happy hour, many places offer potato chips or popcorn when you order an alcoholic drink.

Some places are generous enough to include dry sausage, but you'll have to wait for it to come out.

Of course, most of them don't come with anything, so I don't have high expectations.

 

When I was in Barcelona once, I gave up on the tapas.

I went there to visit a friend, and since dinner time in Spain is even later than in France, we naturally had sangria or beer before dinner and went to eat many tapas such as tortillas, pan con tomate, and patatas bravas, which are hearty but simple to make.

Everyone ate well, talked a lot, and laughed a lot.

I thought that was why everyone in Barcelona was so cheerful and energetic.

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Returning to France, what kind of food do people drink most often?

I see a lot of wine as well, but I think most of it is casual.

When I was in Japan, I think I drank more expensive things.

Here in Japan, especially in the rural areas, there is a "porte ouverte" where wine producers who don't normally sell directly to the public welcome visitors for a whole day twice a year on weekends.

In short, they open their doors to the public for tastings and carve tours, and most of the time people come by car and buy cases.

 

This is surprisingly fun.

 

For example, the village of Pomerol on the right bank of the river from Bordeaux in the southwestern region of France also holds a Portouvert, so even if Petrus is never open to the public, it is possible that neighbors will open their doors to the public.

It's a small village with the same climate and soil... It's natural to be excited.

 

Back to the topic at hand, that's how you can enjoy French wine.

Even when I was living in Bordeaux, I had surprisingly few opportunities to drink expensive and rare wines, except when I visited the office of a négociant (wine merchant or wholesaler) I knew, or when I visited a château (wine producer) on business or on a private basis.

 

Even in Japanese restaurants, you may be offered a glass of Champagne before your meal, but it is not common for French families to drink it on a daily basis.

Some people drink Champagne before the opening of the opera or during the intermission (which is about 20 minutes, so there is plenty of time), but although Champagne has a strong image of being an aperitif, it can actually be drunk at any time.

Champagne is often thought of as an aperitif, but in fact it can be drunk at any time.

Champagne is an excellent product that can add a touch of glamour to a meal.

 

Champagne refers to the Champagne region of France, but there are many lesser-known but delicious Champagnes at lower prices in the Côte des Bar in the southern part of the Champagne region.

There are also sparkling wines that have other names because they are not made in Champagne.

 

In France, it's called Crémant, and it's made all over the place, including Crémant d'Alsace, Crémant de Bordeaux, and so on.

It's great after summer work, when you've had a good day, or when you just want to forget about the bad days, or blow off some steam.

 

When I used to live in Bordeaux, many of my friends used to drink Pastis for some reason.

I was temporarily addicted to Suze.

Both are French liqueurs, but each has its own unique flavor.

Lillet, an aperitif from Bordeaux, is now often found in Japan, so feel free to try it if it catches your eye.

I also have good memories of drinking kir (a small amount of blackcurrant liqueur poured over white wine) in the past.

 

Beer-based drinks such as "Monaco" and "Panache" are also good once in a while.

In the past few years, Aperol and Prosecco-based "spirits" from Italy have become popular.

Before that, there were "mojitos"...the list goes on and on.

It seems that we are trying to take in as many good things as we can.

 

There are still countless ways to enjoy an aperitif.

However, aperitifs are literally just for chatting before dinner with a light drink, and are not the main attraction of the evening.

 

We haven't had a very hot summer in Paris this year, but I hope to hear more people enjoying aperitifs on the terrace...or in the garden, or anywhere in September, to keep everyone healthy and laughing.

 

8.2.2021

DAYS /  Yoko Kaise Column

The greatest joy

The Great Paris Bargain Sale

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Bargain sales in France are basically held twice a year, in summer and winter.

 

This year, the bargain sales for the summer of 2021 are currently underway, but they are not as lively as in previous years.

This is inevitable given the current situation, but I realized that bargain sales are important for me and for creating an atmosphere in the city, since they can be a bit festive.

Normally, the bargain sales would have started on June 23, but this year they started a week later, on June 30.

Personally, I have a habit of meticulously planning for the first day of the bargain season every year. It's a part of my annual routine.

 

First of all, as a guide, my shoes get damaged very easily, so a week before the first day, I go to a department store or a familiar shoe store to try on a pair of shoes and select one.

My salary varies from month to month, so when I am rich, I buy a nice pair of shoes or another pair, but I always invest the most in shoes rather than clothes.

When I came to France, I was surprised to find that people don't spend a lot of money on clothes.

Especially when women are invited to weddings, they would rather coordinate their accessories, hats, bags, and shoes than their dresses.

If you think she looks nice, the dress may cost less than 50 euros.

This reminds me how important sense of dressing is in this country.

 

The second thing to check is cosmetics, especially perfume.

This is a little off topic, but let me tell you a little about the perfume culture in France.

By the way, French people do not bathe in the bathtub.

I think most of them take long showers.

I often hear stories about how King XX only took a few baths in his lifetime.

I have heard that perfumes are used not to hide body odor, but rather to create an original scent by mixing it with the person's body odor.

 

 

Now, let's get back to bargain shopping.

The good thing about bargaining is that you can get a discount of even 20% on expensive items that you normally can't afford.

Also, if you see a <soldes> sign, you can easily enter a place that is usually difficult to enter.

There are detailed rules for bargaining in France, and if the seller doesn't abide by them, there may even be a fine.

 

In addition to the start date of the bargain, the period of time is also set, and starting January 1, 2020, it will be four weeks.

I think it was a little longer before that.

 

At least a month before the first day, you have to decide what you want to sell as a bargain, and you have to clearly indicate whether it is a bargain or not.

In addition, you must not raise the price of the items you intend to bargain before the bargain.

These are just a few of the rules.

 

The rules are quite detailed.

 

This year, many stores started with 50% discount on the first day (if you look closely, you can see the word "maximum" added in small letters).

From the second week onwards, the discount rate was added to the 50% discount rate, and the last week was almost a slap on the wrist. After the second week, the discount rate is added to it, and it becomes almost a bargain in the last week.

 

However, in the latter half of the week, the sizes are already too big, so you have to be on the lookout for what you really want early on or it will go to waste.

The standard size here is a 36, but I think a 34 would be just right for a smart, slightly petite Japanese person.

But every time, I end up with a big size like 44 or 46.

 

I also like the pajamas and underwear from a supermarket called monoprix.

I think they are better made than the ones from the specialty stores.

However, the nice pajamas are rarely discounted.

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It is also fun to get groceries such as sweets.

One thing I've seen a lot in supermarkets is that if you buy two items, the second one is discounted by 50%.

For example, if you buy two boxes of cookies that cost 3 euros each, the price becomes 4.5 euros, which is 2.25 euros per box.

If it's a cookie you like, it's a good deal, but if it's not, you won't be able to finish it and it will be a nuisance.

 

I've never really appreciated this approach.

I would be happier if they gave me a direct 30% discount.

 

Also, it is not always possible to take advantage of this, but it is good to check frequently for luxury groceries.

In my case, I was lucky to find a set of Kusumi Tea brand tea at a very low price at monoprix, but it was the last box I had. In the food hall of a department store called Bon Marché, there was a miniature size box of gaufres (gaufres with vanilla cream) from a store called Méert for only one euro, so I bought a lot of them.

This gaufres may be a favorite of many people in Japan, but it doesn't last as long as it looks because of the cream inside.

 

In my case, it was no problem at all because I consumed it right away.

 

Lastly, I think the recent trend is to have more and more bribe sales.

For example, I have a Galeries Lafayette and Bon Marché card, which allows me to get discounts twice a year before the main bargain sales.

These cards are available to residents of France, and the benefits vary, but some of them increase as you accumulate points and move up the ladder.

However, it is quite expensive in some places (you need to do a lot of shopping or make expensive purchases for it to be of any use), so I feel that it is really only for select customers.

 

In addition, the Internet is becoming more and more popular these days, and even in department stores, Galeries Lafayette, for example, offers a 50% discount at first, but if you go online, you can get a 60% discount.

On the other hand, when you go to the store, the discount goes down to 70-80%, and finally, it becomes a knockdown sale.

I thought this was a good idea.

I thought this was a good idea, to start out by buying good stuff online at 60% discount, and then go around scavenging for bargains at the end of the day.

 

However, I personally enjoy going to bargains and having a good time, so I feel a little lonely online.

In any case, you can enjoy it in your own way.

There is nothing more useful than learning a few tricks.

 

7.2.2021

DAYS /  Yoko Kaise Column

The greatest joy

If you enjoy the Market in Paris

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The first time I came to France, I lived in the Lyon city for six months. It was more than 20 years ago, and at that time, I was mainly interested in gourmet topics.

 

I enjoyed visiting restaurants and wineries in the area, but on Sundays, instead of my language school classmates going on school-sponsored excursions, I would go shopping at the marché along the river, and I would cook with cookbook   especially those of Paul Bocuse (who has since passed away, but is one of the most famous grand chefs in French cuisine, If you don't know his name, you are a mugger). By the way, there is now an indoor market in Lyon called < Paul Bocuse market>, which sells good quality local groceries and is highly recommended.

 

Now I only cook in one pattern, but at that time I was crazy about making delicious food. Of course, I bought prepared foods at Marche and never missed a taste.

 

For this reason, the Marché has become a fundamental part of my life in France, so I would like to talk a little about the Marché.

In addition to Lyon's marché, I also love the local marché, for example, when I went to Morlaix in Brittany about two years ago, I happened to visit the morning market and was surprised to see a huge array of crabs. When I lived in Bordeaux, I went to a marché along the river every Sunday, and in the center of the marché, there was a counter where you could drink buvette wine (but it would be a mistake to expect a grand vin at such a place). Or you can just drink the wine and make friends (in that case, only old men will be there).

 

I appreciate the existence of marchés in France so much that I sometimes plan my trips to the countryside to coincide with the marchés.

 

However, there is no end to the number of things I could talk about, so I'll focus on Paris this time.

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There are many different types of marchés in Paris. First of all

(1) Outdoor marchés that are held twice a week in each district and sell food, clothing, and daily necessities at stands.

(2) Markets held once a week, once or twice a year, such as used book markets, junk markets, and BIO specialty markets.

I think they can be divided into two types.

Of the two types, (1) is undoubtedly the one that most tourists, and in most cases those who are staying in France for a short period of time, have the opportunity to visit.

There are two types of markets in France.

The first one is located in the vicinity of so-called tourist spots, such as near the Eiffel Tower, where the prices are much higher, but the goods sold include luxury foods and fashionable goods that can be used as souvenirs.

For example, there is a marché held on Wednesday and Saturday mornings in the Iena district.

They sell fruits and vegetables that are well-shaped, tasty, and fresh.

Honey, clothes, sundries, sweets, etc. are also good for souvenirs.

I once bought truffle cream from a truffle shop here, and made a delicious pasta sauce with it.

If you happen to be in the right place at the right time and want to take a peek, this is the marché for you.

A friend of mine who moved to the 15th arrondissement last year, just a two-minute walk from the Grenelle marché, lamented that it was more expensive than the marché in the suburb called Issy-les-Moulineaux.

But I've always loved the scarves I happened to find there the other day.

This place is only open on Wednesdays and Sundays.

 

Except for the indoor market, all the other markets are held twice a week, so it's helpful to keep the schedule in mind.

 

There is also a marché near my house every Tuesday and Friday.

If you want to feel like a local, this is a good place to go.

The prices are cheap on average, and I like the fact that there are a lot of grocery stores, especially rotisseries, so I can choose the one that best suits my budget, taking price and quality into consideration.

 

For example, the roast chicken at the butcher shop across the street from my house is sold by weight, so a chicken thigh once cost me something like 9 euros, even though I knew it was very good.

I can't help it because it's fermier (homemade by the farmer), but my favorite rotisserie in the Marche is 2.30 euros a piece, and even fermier can be bought there for 3 euros, so I tend to buy it at the Marche these days.

The marché here has two rows of stands across the road.

For some reason, the rotisseries are concentrated on one side.

There are a few delicatessens, cheese shops, and fish shops on that side.

Vegetables and fruits of BIO are also concentrated on this side.

The prepared foods include ratatouille, paella, falafel (chickpea croquettes), etc. are also.

The other day I bought a paella made by a rotisserie, and the mussels and prawns were fresh, and the rice was al dente and tasty, without being overcooked and dry, which is still common in France.

 

On the other side of the road, half of the shops were clothing and daily necessities, the other half were fruits and vegetables, and there was only one fish shop.

The fruits and vegetables on this side are all cheap.

Even though it is the same marché, the rows on the other side are quite different.

For example, there were many watermelons this season, and while they cost more than 2 euros per kilogram on the other side, the same kilogram here cost 1 to 1.5 euros.

The Moroccan ones are especially cheap and sweet.

However, in the past, if you didn't watch carefully, you might get the wrong change (I never got a lot of change, just the opposite), so you can't be too careful.

In short, they are watching you. At first I thought, "What? At first, I thought "Huh?", but now that I know that they are local residents, I don't feel cheated anymore.

On the contrary, they often give me a discount.

 

Overall, you can't be too careful in some stores.

For example, there was a time when I was almost put in a bag when I didn't ask for this. But this was my own fault for not looking at it properly.

Of course, you have to check the change you receive.

Sometimes there are coins from some other country that are not yet Euros mixed in, and even if you notice it later, it may be too late.

Nowadays, supermarkets have more and more automatic cash registers, so there is less of a need to worry about such things, but on the other hand, it is necessary to learn not to be careless at a marché (pickpockets do appear even at marchés in upscale residential areas) and to learn how to communicate smoothly with the people selling.

 

There are many things you can't experience at a marché anywhere else, and I hope they will continue to exist forever.

Last spring during the lockdown, Marche was suddenly banned, and of course it wasn't only because of Marche, but I'll never forget how the whole city turned dead.

 

6.2.2021

DAYS /  Yoko Kaise Column

The greatest joy

Please don't call me Mademoiselle.

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This is something I often thought about before I started living in France, but I wasn't sure if I could get along with the French people at all.

 

I came to France because I love it, but I was not sure if I would be able to integrate into the human society without any problems.

Here, I was alone, and I had to take care of my own affairs.

I was often told that if I couldn't speak my mind in front of others, I wouldn't be taken seriously.

I always thought that I had to be strong.

 

I was always thinking that I had to be strong, but I was sure that there were many parts of me that were just taking it easy, thinking that I could handle it.

 

There are a lot of things about French culture, society, and thinking that have been bothering me for a long time, and I don't agree with them, but I can't help it.

 

First of all, there is a surprisingly large number of gender distinctions in French, for example, in Japanese, you can't distinguish between men and women just by saying "~san". 

For example, in Japanese, the word "~san" does not distinguish between men and women. In French, however, the word "monsieur" refers to men, and is used regardless of age.

For women, it's a little more complicated.

However, this is a tricky situation, because it is considered rude to address a woman of a certain age as "mademoiselle," even if she is not married.

This is like calling a woman over 30 "Mademoiselle".

 

This is a complicated way of using the word.

In some administrative documents, for example, an unmarried woman of 50 may be addressed as <Mademoiselle>, and in other cases, only <Monsieur> or <Mademoiselle> can be chosen before the name.

 

Would <Mademoiselle> be considered as not having the right to decide anything?

Do you mean to say that they don't exist in society?

 

 

In addition, in my daily life in France, the only thing that made me think "Oh? In France, there are many female drivers of large cars.

Even city buses have a high rate of female drivers.

Also, there are many female police officers.

However, as I got used to it, I began to feel less and less unnatural about it.

I was surprised to see that women are not as active as they used to be, especially in physical work, but at the same time, I could see them shining brightly.

 

Now, let me introduce one of my few friends in France (all of whom have great charm, of course) who I think shines brightly.

 

Her name is Corinne.

What I find most impressive about her is that she is kind and cheerful at first glance, but has a strong core.

She never runs away from anything, even if she is in trouble.

 

We met in a classical ballet class.

We  were too old for ballet.

Corinne, however, had been doing it since she was a child, so she was able to continue even after a long break.

I pushed myself too hard and hurt myself in many places, so now I am quiet.

 

Corinne is a beautiful shoulder-length blonde with a curly perm.

She was an actress and is now an art therapist.

She sees patients in art, theater, dance, and also teaches simple stretching classes.

I can see from the side of her that she finds her work very rewarding.

 

We soon became friends, and after ballet class we would walk back to the nearest metro station together, chatting, and invite each other to concerts and lectures.

She was particularly interested in "outsider art" because of her work, and it was more interesting than going with someone who had no interest in it, so it was perfect.

 

Once, we went on a trip to a lecture by a psychology researcher.

I managed to understand the content of the lecture, but I was not able to express my own opinion.

Most of the participants, not just me, were completely absorbed in listening.

Corinne, however, was different.

She expressed her opinion in front of everyone (and with a smile) in a way that we could easily understand. Impressive! I was impressed as usual.

 

The researcher, however, rejected her opinion out of hand and refused to listen to her.

Even I, as a third party, could clearly sense that the researcher had a narrow sense of tolerance.

What would have happened if it had not been her, but an ordinary man?

There were almost only women in the room at that time.

He went on at his own pace until the end, and Corinne seemed like an afterthought.

 

She looked disappointed, and on the way home, we were both talking about it, but I didn't understand why the researcher didn't take any notice of her until the end.

Did we look too young? Did we seem like mademoiselles?

 

Of course, the two of us had our arguments, and we still had tea at least once a month to exchange information, but even then we sometimes talked as loudly as we wanted.

 

We haven't been able to have tea together for more than a year, especially because of the coronary heart disease, but she sends me a massage on weekends, and now we keep in touch with each other.

 

Things are getting better in France, and I've started making plans with friends I haven't seen in a while, and I'm looking forward to a drink on the terrace of a café.

 

I'm looking forward to having a drink on the terrace of a café with Corinne, of course.

 

We are both mademoiselles in the eyes of the law, but we are both independent madams in appearance and content.

 

5.2.2021

DAYS /  Yoko Kaise Column

The greatest joy

Dear Madame Seine.

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I've been living in France for more than 20 years now, and I've been living in my current place in the 12th arrondissement of Paris for six years already.

Basically, i lead a normal life, but I have to admit that my job as a guide is irregular and i have to be on my toes all the time, and needless to say, the city of Paris itself is a kind of tense place.

 

Until 2003, i lived in Bordeaux.  Although it was only for five years,  it was more relaxed than Paris, it was a good life.

I met many of my friends when i was attending a sports club, and i still keep in touch with a few of them from time to time.

In Bordeaux, i started to go to the beach a lot, which I had never done when i lived in Japan.

I was fascinated by the sea at Lacanau, which i had visited once after reading a guidebook, and i felt it suited me very well.

 

On weekends, when i was alone, i would take the early morning bus for an hour and spend the whole morning on the sandy beach of Lacanau, reading, gazing out at the sea, sometimes dozing off and half asleep, and always looking forward to a walk at the end of the day.

Lacanau was a small town with only a few restaurants, cafes, a mini-supermarket, and a few souvenir shops in the center, but it was fun to browse around and chat with the locals, who often called me "Sawadikar" because of my tan.

 

When I went out with my friends, it was usually by car, so that was fun too. We didn't have to get up early, and it was great to have a picnic with sandwiches and fruit, and sometimes  i tried my best to make California rolls and bring them with me. Eating them on the beach tasted even better than it was.

When i moved to Paris, my life became more stable and busy, but without the ocean.

There was one called "Paris Plage" which was an idea to turn a part of the Seine River into a beach with deck chairs, drink stands, etc. so that people who had to stay in Paris for the season due to work could enjoy the vacation atmosphere.

I had done a month-long internship at a tourist bureau in Montpellier in the south of France, and i had already enjoyed Palavas, the Grand Motte, and the sea in Collioure (a town loved by artists, and my personal favorite and recommended), so Paris-Plage was not enough for me.

This was my biggest complaint about living in Paris.

I began to seriously think, "If i want to feel like I'm on vacation, i'll have to escape Paris. I began to think seriously.

 

Nevertheless, my life in Paris gradually improved thanks to various discoveries, especially the presence of the Seine River, so that i didn't have to go far or spend much money to feel like i was on vacation.

I was starting to get stressed out, and just as I was starting to realize that I needed to think about enjoying life a little more without pushing myself too hard.

First of all, I rediscovered the municipal swimming pools. There are about 39 in Paris, but the ones I had been to were not very enjoyable.

For me, everyone seemed to be taking their swimming seriously.

But i founded nice swimming pool on the Seine river. It is called as <Josephine Becker>. It is a swimming pool in shape of ship. There are a lot of windows,and when the ceiling is open, you can swim directly in the sunshine or sunbathe on the deck.

There is also a sauna, hammam, jacuzzi, aqua gym, and fitness club, but it's run by the city, so it's very inexpensive.

I'm sorry to say, but if I can have so much fun for so little money, I can use it more than the free Paris Plage.

 

There is also a student cafeteria nearby, which i haven't used yet, but I think it's worth paying the service fee just to have a meal with a view of the Seine.

 

I can say that Paris is a place where you can spend a lot of money on luxury, or you can spend a little money to have the best time of your life.

The Seine River in particular is a wonderful place to just stand and watch, and i highly recommend that you experience it at least once.

 

 I also remembered a different way to enjoy the river.

There is a group of people called "bukinists" who use stands of dark green boxes along the river to sell used books, and this is one of the old Parisian specialties.

Although the number of these stands has dwindled, they still add to the atmosphere of Paris with the Seine in the background.

Even now, they sell some books, posters, postcards, etc. You can find a variety of things as souvenir. It is a good idea to look for your favorites while strolling around.

 

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When I think back on the first lockdown imposed on France last spring to prevent coronary infections, it was very painful, and when even the parks in my neighborhood were closed, i was in a state of despair.

However, in my case, i was just barely able to see the Seine River because it was only 1km away from my house, and i can't tell you how much that saved my life.

I went to see it day after day and never got tired of it.

 

I also heard from a friend that one day during the lockdown, she saw a middle-aged man sitting on a bench by the Seine drinking a glass of Champagne.

Although he was concerned about the time, he was still enjoying the scenery, and i guess the Seine River is irreplaceable for Parisians.

The fact that it was Champagne made me think that he was French.

 

The source of the Seine is the Burgundy region.

It crosses Paris and finally empties into the sea at the port town of the Havre in Normandy.

It is the third longest river in France.

For me, the Seine has become an indispensable part of my family.

It is a friendly and reliable river, and I will always be indebted to it.