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Created by a bullied teacherA happy ballet school where you can feel the forest and the sea
My relationship with ballet is actually much more complicated.
There was a time when I was teased by the boys in my class just for taking ballet lessons, and even adults who did not know anything about ballet looked at me as somewhat different, saying, "She's taking ballet... .......
In those days, I was the only girl in my school who took ballet lessons.
This year marks the fourth year since I opened a ballet school overlooking the sea on Katase Beach in Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture.
Ballet Art Theatre in Shonan was born just before the Corona disaster in July 2019.
In our second year of establishment, we had a second location in West Kamakura, and we are still running through this Corona Disaster, even though we are on the verge of faltering.
At the beginning of our establishment, we had only one student.
It was just me and a first grade elementary school girl, and our lessons began with a view of the sea at Enoshima.
At that time, I had made up my mind that I would convey the joy of ballet to her so that she would someday find it to be a source of emotional support.
Four years have passed since then.
I now run a happy ballet school with about 40 students.
The word "ballet" means something special to many people.
I think most people have the impression that "ballet" is something special, a world with a high threshold that only a select few can enter.
When I was a ballet girl, I had this impression, and I was often looked at with prejudice by boys and adults in my class, which made me feel sad.
For example, ......
I was often prejudiced by the boys and adults in my class, which made me feel sad.
"You must be a little strange because you take ballet."
"I bet you don't eat sweets because you take ballet lessons, do you?"
Ballet sounds so ......, ballet sounds so ......, ballet sounds so sad to me.
My ballet teacher at that time was very strict, and we could not go to the beach during summer vacation in order not to get sunburned.
I couldn't participate in excursions or athletic meets if they overlapped with competition dates.
I was always thinking about dancing and could not communicate well with my friends.
Such was my childhood.
Indeed, I may have looked different from the people around me.
I was very frail as a child, and my mother took me to the hospital every week.
I had bronchitis, asthma, and other ailments, and the doctor recommended ballet for my health.
She wanted to strengthen her body, but sports might be too strenuous for her.
Ballet, which involves breathing deeply to music, would surely be a good fit for him. ......
From the time I was a little girl, my parents had told me about it.
Ballet was a gift from my parents to my frail body.
As a result of cherishing and treasuring that gift, I became a ballet teacher.
Nowadays, there are so many children learning ballet at school, and more and more adults are learning ballet for beauty, health, and as a hobby.
I believe that these people also improve and support the ballet culture in Japan.
Now, in such an era. What is the current state of Japanese ballet culture? ......
In fact, ballet dancers in Japanese ballet companies are not in a situation where they can make a living only by working on the stage.
This is because there is no culture in Japan that encourages people to see the art of ballet on a daily basis.
Since I started teaching ballet, I have been able to glimpse the shadows and lights of professional dancers on stage from a more familiar perspective.
At that time, I kept thinking about "something" that I had felt as a child that made it difficult for ballet to penetrate into people's lives.
Even if you have been learning ballet since childhood, only about 1 in 100 people can become a professional ballet dancer.
If you aim to join a ballet company overseas, it may be even less.
It is not difficult to imagine, for example, soccer or baseball players making extraordinary efforts to become active overseas.
They get sponsorships, are featured in the media, and their influence permeates widely into people's lives.
Actually, in the world of ballet, dancers' eggs follow a similar process from their teenage years, but even if they are featured in the media, the whole family goes to see the ballet! Let's go cheer them on! But, even if they are featured in the media, it doesn't make people say, "Let's go see ballet with our family!
Why is this?
The day Ballet Arts became a ballet school specializing in emotional education.
One day, a girl and her mother came to visit my class.
She was a very cute and energetic little girl with an adorable pigtailed head and dark eyes.
She said, "I'm going to be a ballerina when I grow up! She danced and twirled around the classroom.
Her mother told me, "She is a little behind in language development.
I came here because I wanted to learn something that would help me communicate better with my friends and express myself.
I remember my parents who gave me ballet lessons because of my physical weakness.
The girl had ASD (autism spectrum disorder), a developmental trait.
It is very shocking, but it is difficult for ballet schools to accept children with developmental characteristics.
The process of ballet practice is very complex, with an elaborate curriculum, and there are many areas that require self-control from childhood.
Certainly, there are challenges that come early in the process that only selected children with these qualities can advance.
In addition, caring for children with developmental characteristics requires expertise and experience. Ignorance and easy acceptance of children with developmental characteristics can cause serious emotional trauma.
To begin with, ballet was not optimized to be easily accessible to all children. For a long time ......
However, I happened to have experience doing research on child psychology and developmental disabilities in college.
In fact, I learned how to work with children with developmental disabilities under the supervision of experts and had experience teaching them to study and do simple physical exercises.
This may be the only class where this girl in front of me can treasure ballet for the rest of her life.
I thought to myself at this time.
It was at this time that I realized why ballet had such a hard time penetrating people's lives and why I heard so many people say, "Oh, no, not ballet" as a child.
Ballet Art Theatre in Shonan, organizer
There is no small amount of discrimination in ballet.
In fact, this notion that "only this kind of child can do ballet" is more prevalent in foreign countries, the home of ballet, than in Japan.
It is interesting that cultural characteristics are somehow conveyed through feelings, even if they are not explicitly stated or verbalized.
It is a wonder.
That lovely girl with the big hair is an angel trying to cross the barrier and come to us! That's what it seemed to me.
From there, I began a solitary research to optimize the method of teaching ballet for emotional education by matching the current method of teaching ballet with pedagogy in order to follow the development of each child.
This was the day that Ballet Art became a ballet school specializing in emotional education.
In the course of my research, I realized that I had been thinking of ballet as if "children are there for ballet," and that the sensibility of "ballet is there for children" was missing.
This may be the cause of my childhood feeling of "ballet is nothing.
When I thought of this, somehow it all made sense.
Shift to the idea that ballet is there for children
I wondered what the world would be like if children enjoyed ballet and treasure it for the rest of their lives.
When the students grow up and have families of their own, we'll all go to the ballet together! I want our ballet school to be one of those places where they can think that way.
This has become Ballet Art's greatest wish.
For the viewer, ballet is a kind of study of emotion that does not use words and is based on the theme of love.
Please come and see the depth of history that makes it a comprehensive art form and the ultimate form of human heart expression.
Ballet Art Theatre in Shonan is currently working on a collaboration between ballet and theater with the members of Yamato City's citizen's theater company, Drama Yamato Juku, which is led by senior citizens.
We want people to feel that they can enjoy together, regardless of generation, region, or genre, and that they can join forces to create a wonderful art form.
We want people to feel that ballet is something that is close to them.
We are currently working on our second collaboration with a theater company that has graciously lent us their support in this endeavor.
The original story was conceived by the students of Ballet Art.
It is a fantastical story set in space and Arabia called "Sarju Emira: Snow Falling in the Desert," and it is a magnificent tale that is hard to believe that it was conceived by children.
This piece will be performed in the form of a grand ballet musical, which is one of the features of ballet art, and will be performed by professional ballerinas, dancers, and theater troupes working together.
It will be performed on August 5, 2023 at Fujisawa Shimin Kaikan Grand Hall.
Ballet was a gift from my parents that gave me the passion to live, even though I was physically weak.
It was a gift from my parents.
I have met many parents who want to give ballet to their children in the same way.
When their students grow up one day, come on, let's all go see ballet! Let's support ballet dancers! I want to be a catalyst for them to think that way.
With this thought in my heart, I will continue to run through the windy times today.
text and photo - Yuko Fujita
Ballet Art Theatre in Shonan, organizer
Born in Kanagawa, 1975
She began studying ballet at the age of three.
Entered Ballet Art Theatre of Carnegie Hall in Tokyo under the direction of Aiko Otaki.
Studied under Aiko Otaki, Kayoko Takazawa, Atsuko Goto (Kaiya Ballet Company), Leonid Kozlov (Bolshoi Ballet Company), and others.
Selected for the Saitama Prefecture Dance Competition. Received a prize at the National Dance Contest sponsored by Tokyo Shimbun.
Tamagawa University, Faculty of Letters, Department of Education, Elementary School Teacher Training Course
Worked at YMCA for 4 years teaching and researching children with learning disabilities.
1995 Cincinnati Ballet, Ohio Short-term study abroad and took local lessons on Broadway in New York.
After becoming an independent freelance dancer, taught basic ballet classes for children and adults at Broadway Dance Center.
Taught basic ballet classes to professional dancers Takarazuka Music School candidates and Takarazuka Music School research students.
In 2019, she established Ballet Art Theater in Shonan in Enoshima.
Presented a contemporary dance piece "Amatsukaze Tadiruri Namami ni Umigami wa Kurareri" (The Sea God Came Between the Waves), inspired by the Enoshima auspiciousness.
Planned and presented "Enoshima Nyanko Musical," a charity performance to support disaster recovery, and sent relief supplies for a total of 200 people to the disaster area.
2020: Established Ballet Art School Nishi-Kamakura in Nishi-Kamakura.
2021: Produced, planned, and comprehensively directed "The Nutcracker and Clara's Dream," a ballet musical adaptation of "The Nutcracker. Constructed the stage in collaboration with tap dancers, actors, and a citizen's theater company.
In 2022, produced a ballet musical for children, "The Two Little Rabbits: Pique and Sotte". Presented at Fujisawa Industrial Festa.
2023 Plans to present "Sarju Emira: Snow Falling in the Desert," a ballet musical based on an original story by Ballet Art students. (August 5, 2023 at Fujisawa Civic Hall, Main Hall)
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Life itself is a story
Have you ever heard of calligraphy?
It means "beautiful writing" in Greek.
The technique of making letters look beautiful has something in common with Japanese calligraphy, and is also called Western calligraphy.
I am currently living in Paris, France.
I started learning calligraphy in Paris in September 2014, and now I give lessons mainly online, but I never dreamed when I first came to France that I would be doing this activity in the land of my dreams.
First of all, I would like to write about my journey to France and my encounter with calligraphy... I would like to write about it as I remember it.
It must have been around the end of my teenage years.
Whenever I saw the scenery of Paris in magazines or on TV, I always felt excitement and thrill from somewhere deep inside my heart.
I have always felt a sense of excitement and thrill.
The cityscape, the language, the people's fashion, the way of thinking, it was completely different from the Japanese culture I had seen until then, and it seemed to open up my heart every time I learned about it. I felt as if my heart would open up and start dancing every time I got to know it.
I was fascinated by the world of French confectionery, and after graduating from junior college, I decided to enroll in a confectionery school.
I was impressed by the sophisticated designs and combinations of ingredients, and the tools and other things I saw for the first time. I remember that I enjoyed the French classes for reading recipes and the unique pronunciation of the French language, which was uplifting every time.
The first time I landed in Paris was in 2005.
I participated in a graduation study tour.
I visited patisseries in Paris, took lessons, and went to marchés and flea markets.
I secretly dreamed of a life like this, and I remember that my stay in Paris brought me much closer to France.
After that, I got a job at a local pastry store. It was a small store with a good reputation and supported by many regular customers.
It was physically demanding, but I enjoyed my days there because I could immediately put into practice what I had learned at confectionery school.
When I was getting used to the work, I was able to resume calligraphy, which I had practiced from the age of three until junior high school, at a class taught by a friend of my mother's. I had always loved writing letters.
I had always loved writing.
The reason I was able to maintain a good mental balance while working as a pastry chef, a job that is not all fun and games, was because I had the time to face myself through calligraphy. It was more than anything else a source of emotional support.
It was around the end of 2008 that I went back to France on a working holiday.
My desire to try and experience this wonderful system of living in Paris while working grew day by day, and I decided to leave my job of three years to obtain a visa.
However, the road to Paris for the second time, which seemed to be going smoothly, was interrupted by the "bankruptcy of the study abroad agency.
However, my second journey to Paris, which seemed to be going so well, had a difficult beginning with the bankruptcy of my study abroad agency.
The accommodation, language school, etc. that I had applied for all went up in smoke.
I had only a few weeks to go before my departure when I experienced the despair of being right back where I started, with no time or money to return to where I left off.
It was as if I had been hit with a blunt instrument, and I couldn't move for a while.
I couldn't move for a while, as if I had been hit by a blunt instrument.
I realized for the first time that when a dream is cut off in an instant, a person's train of thought stops.
However, standing still would not change the situation.
My heart was already in Paris, so there was no choice but to abandon the study abroad program, and I was sure that the "Paris life" ahead, which I had to change after such an experience, would be wonderful.
I was sure that the "Paris life" that I had to change after going through this experience would be wonderful.
I took a positive view of the situation, and thinking only of the fact that I would be able to go to France, I hurriedly began preparations for my re-departure.
I entered France safely and studied French at a newly registered language school.
After that, he started working in a restaurant for about 5 years, including training.
Finally, my dream of being able to work and live abroad doing what I love had come true.
I was blessed with the opportunity to put to use the knowledge and skills I acquired at confectionery school and the French I learned at language school, and I was able to see many sights that I would not have been able to see without this job. Needless to say, I was intoxicated by the reality that was much more dazzling and glittering than what I had seen in magazines and on TV.
However, it wasn't all fun and games.
Although patissier was the career path I had chosen for myself, at some point I realized that I had no sense of taste, and I began to feel mentally and physically limited, as if I might not be suited for the job.
It was commonplace for me to take a cab home after the last metro train ran out, and after a few hours of sleep, I went to work in the morning hours, far from what one would call the commuter rush hour. The city of Paris in my eyes was always dark, and at the time it seemed monochrome.
But I thought it was because I was weak and wanted to escape from the hard days.
I spent every day desperately without listening to the voice in my heart that said, "If I keep going forward, I will surely reach my goal.
Once you have made up your mind, you must not give up. If I kept going, I might succeed and become someone else.
When people said to me, "It's nice that you can live in Paris," or "I envy you," I couldn't help but feel frustrated by the reality that this was very much not the case.
I always lacked self-confidence, never felt comfortable anywhere, and was troubled by the fact that I knew I was causing everything.
I had no goals as a pastry chef.
As I continued to run with no goal in sight, the owner gave me the chance to acquire qualifications in tea ceremony and sake, not only to learn how to do my job, but also to broaden my horizons and how to live in France.
I am convinced that I am the person I am today because of this experience.
It was also during this agonizing time that I began to think about trying calligraphy.
Then I left my job as a pastry chef and entered a major turning point in my life, such as getting married.
I asked myself how I was going to live without a title or anything else.
The word "setback" weighed heavily on me.
"You quit your job, didn't you?
I have nothing left.
"You came all the way to Paris, didn't you?
I was almost swallowed up by the devil I had created on my own.
But, on the contrary, with the freedom to do whatever I wanted, I suddenly decided to do what I wanted to do without thinking about the cost.
I studied under Bruno Gigarel for two and a half years before moving on to Buly, a cosmetics brand founded in Paris in 1803. He then studied under Laurent Revenat until the present day.
In the class, we started with the Antica (a typeface that originated in Italy in the 15th century) and the Chancelliere (called italic in Japan), which is a typeface written with a wide nib. The French word for nib is primes.
The nib is called a "plume" in French, and the action of writing with the tip dipped in ink, the sound of the tip crunching as you write, and the way the ink glistens as it glides onto the paper are always exciting.
Nowadays, it is commonplace to type letters on a computer, but it is also true that more and more people are finding value in handwritten letters, which goes against the trend.
Calligraphy brings joy and healing to both the viewer and the writer.
I believe it has such an effect on both the viewer and the writer.
Around 2016, I started teaching a little bit more.
After steadily posting articles on my blog, I started getting requests to teach.
From there, I held workshops twice a year when I temporarily returned to Japan.
I have been doing correspondence lessons since 2017, but with the Corona Disaster, online lessons became the standard, and my work has accelerated along with that trend.
I recently returned to Japan for the first time in three years, and the one-day lesson was a great success. I couldn't hide my excitement at the opportunity to meet face-to-face with other students who had previously only interacted with each other online.
There is an indescribable joy that comes from the moment people connect with each other in this way. I am sure that this is what I am working for.
I chose a career in pastry because I wanted to go to Paris, and this is how I ended up in calligraphy.
Looking back, I realize that my choice to quit my job as a pastry chef and the bankruptcy of my study abroad agency, which I had considered a despair and a setback, were only a blip in my life.
I am now in Paris, and I am now absorbed in calligraphy, because this is where I was led after all the events that have taken place.
The moment when an event that I thought was bad turned out to be a big turnaround, "Thanks to this event..." It truly showed me that the phrase "everything has meaning" is not a pretty word.
My French also grew when I had a slip-up at work. I was able to experience firsthand that the words I desperately pulled out of the dictionary to convey became my own.
The pinch was real, the opportunity was real.
A life with no variety, where everything is going well and nothing happens that you don't want, may not be as interesting as a movie or drama without an ending or a beginning and end.
The wider the range, the more memorable the scene will be and the more deeply it will be etched in your mind.
If I had given up on Paris at that time, I would definitely not be where I am today, and I met my husband at the language school I applied for afterwards.
I can't help but feel that each event is a valuable piece of the puzzle and an important component.
If even one piece is missing, the work is not complete, and it is impossible to judge anything as good or bad in a single scene.
When I see life itself as a story, I can love every experience and feel gratitude for all encounters and events.
I am now presenting my ideas in the form of calligraphy with a focus on French typefaces, and I hope that our encounter with each other through some chance will lead to a richer life.
I am very happy to receive requests from people who say, "I would like to work on this typeface," or "I would like to continue learning more about my current typeface.
I must continue to deepen my own learning, but I also want to be someone who is needed by others, someone who gives back.
If I am not afraid of anything that happens to me, and if I can be thankful for everything that happens to me, my life may unfold in a more interesting way...!
I can't help but believe that.
To the past, the future, and the present
With many "Thank yous".
text and photo - Sawa
Born in Aichi, Japan in 1983
Lives and works in Paris, France since 2008
Started calligraphy in 2014.
I am working to teach French style calligraphy.
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I got all my energy from Vietnam.
Opening of Vietnamese Restaurant
"Masamichi! What's wrong? Dinner is already ready. What time are you coming home?"
My mind went blank when my mother, who lives alone in Fukuoka, called me.
I was a company employee in Tokyo.
My elderly mother lived alone in Kokura, Kitakyushu City, my birthplace.
She had been showing symptoms of dementia for some time and I was concerned.
However, the time came suddenly.
(From my mother's point of view, it was not sudden...)
The next day, I went back to Kokura and met my mother, who was not the same mother I had seen before.
My mother's dementia was not such that she had to take a leave of absence to see how she was doing, and she immediately quit her job and returned to Kokura, her hometown.
Although I returned to Kokura, I had to work to survive.
However, it seemed impossible to work as a salaried worker while taking care of my mother.
I came up with the idea of going to Vietnam, a country I had known since my days as an office worker.
Vietnamese cuisine is recognized around the world, especially for its lack of habit.
And yet, at the time (10 years ago), there was not a single Vietnamese restaurant in Kitakyushu City, a government-designated city.
That meant there were no rivals!
I decided to start a Vietnamese restaurant with the money I had saved from my plan to emigrate overseas.
I thought it would be a good idea to have Vietnamese students, who were beginning to increase in number in Kitakyushu City at the time, take turns cooking for me.
We decided on the name "ChàoCafe," which was easy for both Vietnamese and Japanese to remember.
Chào means "hello" in Vietnamese.
Kitchen Car Ciao Cafe
Meeting Mr. Lien
My life in Vietnamese restaurants would not be complete without my cook, Ms. Lien.
She has supported me since the opening of Ciao Cafe.
She is very serious and hardworking.
She never gives up and is always cheerful.
She is as old as a parent and as young as a child, but I respect her and trust her.
In fact, Ms. Lien had failed before her first part-time job interview.
When she called me to apply for the part-time job, two part-time cooks had already been hired, so at that point, we were over capacity.
However, there was a problem with one of the part-timers!
In fact, he could barely speak Japanese.
Vietnamese people have a habit of saying "I can do it! even if he couldn't do something.
Yes! Yes! I understand! I was a fool for not believing that he would be okay.
When it came time to start practicing, he could not understand me at all.
At this point, it was one week before the opening of the business!
I was so impatient that I called Mr. Lien and said, "I still need a part-time job. I was so embarrassed that I asked him for a part-time job.
I said, "Okay, I understand. What should I do?
I was relieved to hear Ms. Lien's pleasant reply.
Please wait for me in front of the station and I will pick you up.
I hurriedly started the car.
At that time, Lien was just 20 years old and a first-year student at a Japanese language school.
Moreover, she had only been in Japan for five months.
I still remember the anxious look on Lien's face when I went to the station to pick her up.
One year has passed since the opening.
Ciao Cafe" managed to stay in the black in business.
However, in the second year, my mother, who I was caring for at home, suddenly became very ill, her mornings and evenings became reversed, and she began wandering the neighborhood late at night.
My own life was in shambles, and I was no longer able to operate the restaurant.
Naturally, there was no way I could run the store with only Vietnamese part-timers, and our sales continued to decline.
Disappointed, the Vietnamese part-timers quit one after another, and in the end, Lien was left on his own.
Then Mr. Lien said, "Ciao Cafe is my home.
Ciao Cafe has become like my home. I love Japan and I want to live here forever. Manager, please make me an employee.
I was devastated by this one word, because I had been naive about everything.
A girl of a little over 20 years old was coming to Vietnam to work for her family in the name of studying abroad.
I was ashamed of myself for not having any idea that I was supporting the lives of these women.
I immediately worked hard to obtain a work visa for Ms. Lien and to improve the state of care for her mother.
Both were a series of hardships.
However, seeing Ms. Lien and the other Vietnamese students, I had no time for complaints.
We managed to obtain a work visa for Ms. Lien, and my mother was able to move into a facility with the support of a public institution.
Thanks to Lien's efforts, the restaurant became profitable in its third year of operation.
In the fifth year, the restaurant was ranked No. 1 among Vietnamese restaurants in Fukuoka Prefecture on the food log.
At the time of store opening
Chao café business was going well.
Ms. Lien had married a Vietnamese man living in Vietnam and was leading a stable life.
She and Mr. Lien had been talking about having children, "My baby will come a little later," she said. I'll have to find someone else to take my place then.
One day, however, I received a surprise phone call from Ms. Lien, who had gone for a routine checkup.
The doctor told her that I was pregnant. The doctor told me I'm pregnant!"
But she was still making excuses like, "I still have a year to go," and was still stuck there when Ms. Lien's husband, who was working for a company providing interpretation services for Vietnamese trainees, was suddenly transferred to Fukuoka City.
Fukuoka City and Kitakyushu City are in the same prefecture, but two hours apart by car.
With a newborn baby on the way, it was not an easy distance to commute.
Everything was too urgent to deal with, and after much thought, we decided to close the actual store in Kokura.
Ciao Cafe was popular for Lien's cooking.
Naturally, I thought about closing the business.
At that time, a scene from Vietnam came to my mind.
An old lady with a balance and a seven-wheeled stove on the side of the road.
This is also a respectable business.
What the heck! I can make my own food and sell it myself.
The haze in my head was cleaned up.
It was so easy.
Kitchen Car is here!
Kitchen Car Business Begins
I am ashamed to admit that I had never cooked anything before that time.
I did not even know the names of the seasonings used in Vietnamese cuisine.
However, I had been going to Vietnam for more than 20 years, including my time as a company employee.
I was confident that I could convey the winds and tastes of Vietnam.
Three months had passed since I had the idea.
I went to Mr. Lien's house to learn how to make Vietnamese pho.
At the same time, we changed the business format to a kitchen car, which is attracting attention as a new business format for Corona Disaster.
However, even after opening the kitchen car, we had a series of failures.
It is no wonder.
I had never even cooked until three months ago. Laughs.
Even so, we have managed to stay in business for a year with the support of our customers from the time of CiaoCafe's actual store.
Since starting the kitchen car business, I have been cooking and operating by myself, and the warmth of the customers has become very familiar to me.
Kitakyushu City is an industrial area.
Unlike the flashy Fukuoka City, Kitakyushu City does not have a good image.
The people who live here are also said to be craftsmen, shy, and hard to get along with.
However, once you become a fan of the city, you will stay with them for a long time.
Even though ChaoCafe is closed and Lien is no longer with us, most of our customers are still from the days when ChaoCafe was an actual restaurant.
I am so glad that Lien did not quit when she was no longer able to cook.
The spirit of never giving up!
This is what Mr. Lien, the Vietnamese people, and the country of Vietnam taught me.
I recommend that anyone who is suffering emotionally should go to Vietnam.
I am sure you will find a clue. LOL!
text and photo - Masamichi Kurimoto
Kitchen Car Ciao Cafe
We operate a Vietnamese kitchen car in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture.
We are proud of our pho soup, which is simmered for 5 hours, and our Vietnamese curry, which is made with lemongrass rhizome.
I am ashamed to say that I have never cooked until I started the kitchen car.
The kitchen car is almost entirely handmade and shabby.
Even so, we enjoy driving around the city every day, surrounded by warm customers.
Please email us with any questions you may have about our kitchen car business. Please ask anything.
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Sweat and Stubbornness
A moveable feast
'If you are fortunate enough to live in Paris as a young man.
Paris will follow you wherever you spend the rest of your life.
Paris is a moveable feast."
This opening epigraph was actually Hemingway's words to a young friend.
The short story was named "A Mobile Feast" and became his last work.
It is a short story that reads like a memoir from the 1920s, when he was living in a small Parisian apartment, hungry and passionate about writing.
I was fortunate enough to have spent some of my younger years living in Paris.
It was in the 1990s when I was studying floral design with a passion.
After returning to Japan, I came across this book, and the description of the city of Paris directly overlapped with my memories.
I felt as if I had been in Paris at the same time as Hemingway, and my mobile holidays began to shine.
I was sweaty, sticky, and always hungry.
I recall those days fondly.
The sun never rises
Paris, where I first landed, was a dreary, dusky gray in the dead of winter.
In winter in Europe, the sun never rises and the day begins in darkness.
Even while walking to the metro station, my heart was breaking.
My French was not improving and my frustration with French society, where everything does not go according to time, was piling up, and I was not in a very good frame of mind.
I went to the flower school in the morning, finished my practical training in the afternoon, and went to the language school in the evening.
In both schools, I always had an inferiority complex and would constantly compare myself to those around me.
This is indeed a country of ard vivre (art of living).
The sensitivity of the French people was outstanding, and the language school in the evening was full of Europeans who worked during the day, so I had an advantage over my Japanese counterparts in learning French.
Floral artist / floral activist
Not bad is pretty good
Pas mal/not bad."
That's usually how my teachers described my work.
Not bad, not good.
I looked down and thought, "I don't care.
Expressions that start with a negative don't make a very good impression.
However, after studying French for a while, I came to know the deeper meaning of the word.
The meaning of "pas mal ~" is used in a positive way, such as "quite a lot" or "quite a lot.
Even Edo people seem to like it a lot when they say, "Not bad, isn't it?
Sometimes saying it in a roundabout way is a bit chic.
My work, it got pretty good reviews!
I can't believe I've been harboring an inferiority complex so dearly for so long...
I laughed at myself for being so stupid - I felt like there was a ray of light in the darkness.
Eventually, my teacher began to describe me as "Tre Jolie/very beautiful".
How happy I was.
By holding the darkness inside of you, an original aesthetic is born.
Rather than venting it outwardly, I hold it inside myself with gusto.
And not just to be silent and do as you are told, but to continue groping and trial and error in the darkness.
That's when you grasp something.
I had reached such a state of being.
I will not become a woman without love.
Comme quoi une femme sans amour ?
C'est comme un fleur sans soleil. Ca deperit.
A woman without love is like a flower without sun.
From the movie Amelie
A small ray of hope shines through the gray Paris, and the season turns to spring.
One Sunday afternoon, a school friend invites me to a home party.
I am happy to accept such an invitation because I want to get used to life in Paris as soon as possible and because it is a good way to learn the language.
However, there are no convenience stores in Paris, and there is no way that any thoughtful stores are open on Sundays.
The city is completely closed.
Now I was at a loss for a souvenir!
I was in the mindset of a Yamato Nadeshiko representing Japan at the time, and bringing a nice souvenir was not out of the question.
I had no choice...it was all I had.
It's a Japanese product and they might find it more interesting than going empty-handed.
I might as well bring some of the persimmon peas I had stocked up on.
Yamato Nadeshiko, a great compromise.
I have always been a big fan of kaki no tane, and I was so addicted to them that I was worried about not having enough in stock.
They are not the fancy ones that come in cans, but the so-called "kaki peas" that you can buy at convenience stores.
When asked, "Is there anything you want me to send you from Japan?
I would immediately request "Kaki peas," so I had a lot of them in stock in Paris.
So, here I was, a 20-something girl alone under the roof of Paris, enjoying a glass of wine (or beer, if you prefer...) with my friends.
But beer in France is expensive and bad...), eating persimmon peas with wine is not fashionable at all.
It's not fashionable at all.
It's not elegant, it's not healthy!
I know it, but I can't stop.
There was a certain darkness that was peculiar to such an elderly person.
There were many days when I was too tired to finish dinner with persimmon peas.
I am a Yamato Nadeshiko, wavering between ideals and reality.
So, I visited my friend's house with a handful of forbidden persimmon peas as a gift.
But, on the contrary.
As expected, my beloved Kaki-peas were of great quality.
Japanese snacks are of high quality! Everyone ate them up with gusto.
Even though it was before dinner, I did my best to finish my meal.
Umami" is now a hot topic in French cuisine, and these kaki peas must have been their first experience of umami.
The flavor of bonito extract is blended with soy sauce, and the peanuts again play a peacemaker role, making the taste far from junky even though it is a snack food.
Kaki-peas made me glad to death that they were delicious.
My backward heart gained confidence from having a sympathizer.
Furthermore, my French at that time was a mixture of the words I heard on TV and radio and the upstream language spoken by the principal of a flower school (like Zamasu language), which seemed weird and strange.
For example, "Would you like some tea? It's raining like horse piss outside," (I want to say it's pouring rain) he would say smilingly.
Since then, invitations to home parties have increased, and I have become a popular girl.
Suddenly, I became irresistible.
Life is fun because you never know what you will get.
I thought to myself.
Let's embrace our inferiority complex.
And if you like persimmon peas, eat them with love and relish them!
Let's expose our jittery hearts to the sun.
Before love withers and fades.
Amur city than economy
After about six months in Paris, I have gradually become able to hold a daily conversation.
Even if I used strange phrases, if the other person laughed, the communication was a great success.
Once I began to feel that way, my sense of inferiority naturally disappeared.
Japanese people are too concerned about whether or not their words are understood.
And they do it in the right way.
It would be a shame if they don't get a chance to venture out.
When I decided to go to Paris, the first thing everyone asked me was, "Do you speak French? They asked me, "Do you speak French?
All I know is bonjour and merci."
You don't need to be right to speak love.
It is the desire to communicate and the passion to know the other person.
Without that, no amount of language acquisition will produce true communication.
What is the purpose of my being here?
If you don't have a clear answer to this question, you will end up with a lot of tools that you will never use, and your life will be a big mess.
There was one reason I stayed in Paris back then.
Because I wanted to make bouquets that would make the people in front of me happy.
It was my pleasure to rearrange the flowers I brought back from school and present them to the caretaker of my apartment.
I enjoyed buying flowers at the marché, making bouquets and taking them to my friends' houses.
Nothing has changed since I was a child when I made flower crowns from white clover and gave them to my mother.
Picking flowers in the field was a serious business, and it was as if I was using the extra energy to study for school.
For me, the value of my passion is in making the people in front of me smile.
For each person, that value will be different.
Because that is what makes originality.
Break down the walls.
We can be heroes, just for one day
Just for one day
Heroes/ David Bowie
People like to draw boundaries between the inside and the outside.
We need walls to keep the outside in or to keep the outside out.
We put up walls around ourselves without even knowing it.
It is an imaginary wall that separates the outside from the inside.
So, they are not real.
Because they are not real, we are often unaware of them.
Creation begins with breaking down.
Something new is born from breaking down the old.
The power to create clashes with the power to destroy.
Some great historical works have the power to shake the viewer's heart and break down the walls of the mind.
I realized that many of the masterpieces I had seen in school textbooks had their true meaning only when I appreciated the real thing with its atmosphere.
By coming into contact with a work of art, a new seed of creativity is sown in my mind.
The museum visits that I continued to make every weekend planted many seeds in my mind.
More than technical or design matters, the mission of art is what it can give to people.
Artwork is my healer, which is almost held back by walls.
And inspired by it, we go on to break down our own walls with small daily challenges.
And we can be heroes to those who see it close to them.
Riding the Merry-Go-Round
In 2020, when a state of emergency was declared.
I took a hiatus from in-person lessons for a while.
During that time, I wrote and sent out a weekly newsletter to those I couldn't meet.
That is this "Sweaty, Sticky, Flowery Life.
This time, I rewrote several issues from the first issue and posted them here.
After this, I was swept away by the torrent of life as I continued to take on the challenges of national examinations and international competitions....
I think the beginning of the story says it all.
I was supposed to start from zero, but my own assumptions sent me tumbling downhill in a negative direction.
Just a series of small stumbles can easily make a person feel inferior.
By swinging it back to the neutral zero point, things will finally get moving.
Now, I wonder what Hemingway's words at the beginning of this article were said at that time.
A young aspiring writer asked me for advice.
I would like to quit my job and live in Paris. And I want to see if I have the talent to become a writer.
"It is difficult to give proper advice, but there is one thing I have long felt certain of.
Hemingway prefaced his remarks by saying, "It is difficult to give proper advice, but one thing I have long held to be certain of.
If you are fortunate enough to live in Paris as a young man, it will follow you wherever you spend the rest of your life. Paris is a moveable feast.
This is a worldview that transcends whether or not you will succeed as a writer.
Once the circuit of the electric current flows, it is not so easy to get rid of it.
It is as if a numbing current flows through your entire body, establishing a circuit that will never disappear.
Thinking with your head is only effective for a small percentage of your life, but experiencing it, I believe, is so powerful that it can change your life in one shot.
Can you reach for it without fear?
It can be decided in just one moment.
I feel that Hemingway was saying, "Choose fun over righteousness.
And for everyone, each moving holiday comes in life.
Seventy years after Hemingway's time, I was in Paris and saw the same view.
The street names and street numbers have not changed.
The cafes and parks are still the same as they were then.
The Haussmann-style apartments.
It can be seen as the stubbornness of Parisians.
In just a few years, the city of Tokyo has turned me into Urashima Taro.
Streets change, new buildings change the streetscape, and I get lost in the rush of time.
Sometimes that is what I see as the good thing about Tokyo, which is flexible and tough.
I saw merry-go-rounds everywhere in Paris.
It is an appropriate playground equipment for a mobile holiday.
Wherever I live, I want to decorate people's mobile holidays with flowers.
For me, flowers are a merry-go-round.
text and photo - Tamaki Kumagai
Flower Artist / Flower Activist
In addition to running classes at her atelier in Tokyo, she is actively involved in flower education activities for children, space decoration, and collaborations with other industries, going beyond the boundaries of floristry.
She is also active in creative activities beyond floristry, such as flower education for children, space decoration, and collaboration with other industries.
He is also a master of words, producing a succession of quotations centered on flowers.
He is a floral artist and flower activist who has garnered support from people of all ages beyond the world of flowers.
STAY SALTY ...... people here
I'm home. Welcome back.
Our second son's routine
After 3:00 p.m., the sound of elementary school children talking after school approaches my house.
My second son, soon to be a third grader in elementary school, is coming home. I love the time when these children come home.
I love the time when they come home.
He throws his school bag in the doorway and immediately goes to the bathroom (he says he feels relieved when he comes home from school, and the bigger one comes out). (←He says he feels relieved when he comes home from school, and the bigger one comes out.
I can smell the soft, sweet smell of school lunch wafting from him, and no matter how busy I am, I can't help but want to smell it, so I hug him tight.
Recently, he has been disliking me more and more, and I feel sad to see the end of it, but it is a routine for my second son when he comes home.
I am sure that seeing each other like this, being able to say "I'm home" and "welcome home," and having time to do homework and work while feeling each other's presence, will be a "happy routine" that I will remember when I become a grandmother.
When I am busy with work, I sometimes think, "I just need a little more alone time to concentrate! But in a couple of years, I'm sure I'll miss the crescendo of my children's voices.
The thought of not being able to smell the lingering aroma of school lunches soon makes the back of my throat burn.
Writer / President, Hagukumu Co.
Let me introduce myself a little here.
I have been creating content for companies since 2005, mainly as a writer.
Sometimes I just write, sometimes I act as an editor and create pamphlets, and sometimes I act as a director and work on videos when necessary.
In any case, I love production work.
Many people may think of magazines and books when they think of writers, but in my job, I do very little work for the kind of media that can be found in bookstores.
Since 90% of my work involves supporting the marketing and recruiting aspects of a company, at some point I started naming my work "marketing support content production.
I am often thought of as a "writer who doesn't really know what he is doing," but despite being told this, the number of my colleagues has increased, the range of content I can create has expanded, and in 2022, 17 years have passed since I started my own company.
Every year, I am on the edge of a cliff, and my work and private life are always in limbo (sweat), but now that I have been on this path for so long, I can say that "Life is nothing but the accumulation of one day, a series of 'nows'. Now that I have been on this path for a long time, the wise words of Mr. Kazuo Inamori have sunk in.
I am not there yet, but by continuing, I have finally come to affirm the value of my work and what I am good at after 15 years of independence.
Working from home, it's great!
Leaving aside the content of my work, looking back on my life as a worker, I would like to tell you one thing that I can say I would like to tell you one thing that I can say about my life as a worker.
That is that I have been working from home since 2005.
As of September 2022, working from home has become much more popular with the Corona Vortex, but as a "professional homeworker" who has been working from home for much longer than that, working from home is a very convenient way of working that I can fully recommend to those who are raising children. (I have raised three children.) I have been a professional homeworker for many years.
(I've raised three children, so there's no doubt about it!)
) Because with a single "I'm home" or "Welcome home," I can tell when my child is having a good day at school (from the tone of my voice today, I'm sure something fun happened at school), or when I'm not feeling well (oh, something happened?). ), or "I'm home" (I'm not feeling well today, something must have happened at school), and I can see how my child is doing, and I can watch over him or her during those precious few years of parenting.
If your child develops a fever at school, you can pick him up.
I can pick up my children from school if they have a fever, and I can take them to and from their lessons if I can manage it.
As for our second son, we can even check his health by seeing if he goes to the bathroom when he gets home.
Now that I am nearing the end of my busy child-rearing years, I truly feel glad that I was able to continue working from home despite the twists and turns.
I am not a mother who can do anything special, but I can proudly say, "Mom was always on the computer, but we were always together! I am not a mother who can do anything special, but it is not so bad to be able to say with pride, "Mom was all about computers, but we were always together!
Both a good job and a great place to work.
When we started a small "online assistant" job in 2021, we were surprised that the response was much stronger than expected.
The "response" here is from the mothers around me who have been working as online assistants.
Online assistants are asked by companies with which they already have a business relationship to perform small, day-to-day tasks related to the Web.
The main work is to manage the website and SNS on behalf of the client, and the client is very happy with the service, saying, "I can concentrate on my core business! I am very happy with the results.
First, I asked some of the mothers around me to do one or two hours of work a day, and they said, "I'm so glad I got this job. Thank you! I received a grateful response.
I was so happy to hear these unexpected words that I cried.
Incidentally, the work of the online assistants is based on the know-how I have gained from working from home while raising my children, and they work as a team to make my job "easy" and "rewarding" for me.
We are now considering teaming up so that we can support each other in case of emergencies, so that the workload on one person is not too heavy, the schedule is flexible, and as many similar tasks as possible can be performed in a routine manner.
Of course, it is wonderful to read articles about people who are working and raising children at the same time, but not everyone wants to do it, and they may be working while making peace with their feelings, just not showing it to others.
Even if it is a small amount of work, worth 10-20,000 yen a month, the security of being able to work from home, the confidence of being able to earn money, and the pride of continuing to work are of great value.
There is also the loneliness of being cut off from society while raising children, so having someone other than family say "thank you" to you will make life worth living.
This is still a small budding business, but I have just established a corporation as a kind of my fourth child.
I would like to promote homework so that more people can say "I'm home" and "Welcome home.
Reflections of a Professional Home Worker
Ah, things have gotten more serious than I expected...!
As a proponent of working from home, if there is one thing I regret while working from home, it is working too much.
Now that I am over 40 years old, I feel that working unreasonably will shorten my life, and I have started to search for operational efficiency so that I can make my work routine.
I'm honestly just trying to keep up with the work in front of me, but my next goal is to establish a system in which I can share my work with my online assistant mothers.
In child-rearing, the joy of growth and the loneliness of loneliness go hand in hand.
I know there are many ways to think about it, but my ideal is that the child-rearing period, which will eventually come to an end, should be spent in a relaxed atmosphere, close enough to smell the leftover aroma of school lunches, so that you can spend the limited time you have with your children.
Of course, we also need to say to ourselves, "I'm home.
Soon, the time for "I'm home" and "Welcome home" will come.
text and photo by Kazue Takahashi
Writer / President, Hagukumu Co.
Representative Director of Hagukumu Co. Born in Fujiyoshida City, Yamanashi Prefecture, at the foot of Mt. I am a content creator for companies, an online assistant for small companies by an IT mom, a line marketer, and a writer specializing in the housing industry. While creating synergy through parallel careers, I will do things my way♪
photo - Tomoko Osada