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#26
December  2022
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PEOPLE

#41

STAY SALTY ...... people here

Sweat and Stubbornness

Flower Life

 

汗かきベソかき花人生

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."

                 Ernest Hemingway

 

****

 

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

Tamaki Kumagai

11.7 2022

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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.
They wilt.
               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.

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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?

I reply.

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.
Hemingway responded.
"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

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Flower Artist / Flower Activist

Tamaki Kumagai

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.

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#25
September  2022
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PEOPLE

#41

STAY SALTY ...... people here

I'm home. Welcome back.

ただいま、おかえり

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.

Kazue Takahashi

10.7 2022

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My Work

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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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Writer / President, Hagukumu Co.

Kazue Takahashi

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