Gathering with neighbors

It was such a peaceful and enjoyable afternoon to attend a gathering of my neighborhood, which my landlord family initiated. More than thirty people got together at a beautiful common place, which is surrounded by their gardens and houses, and chatted over a plenty of dishes and drinks. There were so many moments that I enjoyed and wanted to remember, but what amazed me most was the fact that people from different generations, backgrounds, even nationalities, got together and discuss how to cope each other and make their community in a better shape. Well, I am afraid that we cannot find somewhere like this in Tokyo. There may be some areas in downtown Tokyo, where you can find local communities, which individuals can keep their own privacies as well as share their family histories, for example my current neighbors in Leiden have known my landlord family’s daughters since they were born and taken a good care of them for long years. But I would say there are almost no places in Japan where people from different generations and backgrounds could communicate each other with at least more than one language, namely Japanese. I truly hope our future society in Japan will have numerous local communities which should go beyond their backgrounds, languages, nationalities, races, sexualities, which will eventually make me feel at home.

Scheveningen beach

This kind of calm and peaceful beach always reminds me of John Irving’s “Hotel New Hampshire”!



Yeah! Leiden University Institute for Asian Studies has extended my status as a visiting scholar for another year! I am celebrating it with some nice wine and dishes!!
Well, the next step is to apply for extension of my residence permit. When the immigration office of the Netherlands allows me to extend my residence permit, I will able to stay in Leiden until the beginning of September, 2021! I really love my life in the Netherlands and I enjoy my stay at Leiden University. Hope everything will go well.

Translation work

I’ve been working on translating an English book on the European intellectual history from ancient to early modern. Well, I must confess that I know nothing about it, and I have been struggling unfamiliar terms and concepts which I got stuck at every line…
There is some moments, however, when I feel excited, for example, when I encounter the names of medieval intellectuals who were based in the Netherlands. I was so happy to find the name, Justus Lipsius, who taught at Leiden University in 1580’s.
Yes, it’s so great that I can trace paths of those who developed their idea on philosophy in Leiden and translate their words into Japanese while I staying here in Leiden!
And I admit that some glasses of wine taste really nice after the hard work for a whole day!

“Japanese Banana”

芭蕉の群れを見つける。英語で”Japanese Banana”と呼ぶだけあって、花や実は私たちがよく知るバナナとよく似ている。
だから、初めて能の芭蕉を見たとき、その植物がJapanese bananaというのだと知っていたからこそ、頭の中ではその舞台が中国ではなく、フィリピンの蒸し暑い夜にどうしても置き換わってしまうのだった。

Went to Hortus Botanicus Leiden and found some trees of Basho, Japanese banana in English, leaves, flowers and fruits of which are similar to what we call “banana”.
When I lived in the Philippines in my childhood, there were some tall banana trees in the garden of my house. Michael, a driver of my father, who often climbed up one of the trees and grabbed a bunch of banana, called me and kindly threw the best part of the fruit into my mouth.
This is something that I heard from my parents when we moved in Japan, and I am not sure I still remember what I experienced or I might have made up this story.
Yet, every time I encounter bunches of banana, even when I see them put on the shelf of a supermarket in my neighborhood,I always feel like I am staying in the hot and humid garden of my house in Manilla and stuffing my mouth with the tasty banana Michael fed me.
This might be the reason why I somehow misunderstood that a Noh play “Basho”, one of famous Japanese traditional theatrical plays, had its site in Philippines, which was actually ancient China.
When I watched the play for the first time in my 20’s, I couldn’t stop wondering if the protagonist, a spirit of Basho, did like banana fruits, and ended up imagining myself as a sprit of banana standing in middle of the garden of my house in Manilla in the hot and humid evening and waiting for Michael to give me the mysteriously delicious fruit.

Pierre Bourdieu’s “La distinction”

I believe I deserve some glasses of Vihno Verde for the 4-hour intensive discussion with my brilliant students from Meiji U. on Pierre Bourdieu’s “La distinction”!
It’s so refreshing to have bubbles of this Portuguese wine especially because we had a heavy rain in the afternoon and it’s still a bit humid, which is not typical for early summer in Europe, I suppose.

Hortus Botanicus Leiden

I’ve learned that these trees came all the way from Japan, but they don’t look like that, because they are way more energetic and beautiful than they used to be in Japan, where plants and trees are usually tamed and cut neatly… I always receive positive energy from those trees whenever I visit the garden. I love this place.


Dulce de Leche

I got a beautiful  from my landlord lady in exchange for a small portion of a Japanese pork dish, which I made yesterday. A small gift brings me a great reward!
Well, I had it for breakfast this morning. Wow, it smoothly melted in my mouth! I really like how it tastes: a great combination of bitterness and sweetness. I should definitely buy some ice cream so that I can put some scoops on top of the ice cream. It should take me to heaven!
“Wait, are you OK with getting more weigh? You’ve already got xx kilos since you came to the Netherlands…” Some stoic Mariko whispered… Yes, I am OK! My current plan is that I will enjoy the Dulce de Leche with ice cream every day and end up having a beautiful and strong body like Dutch women. I then will be able to ride a Dutch bike, which looks like a huge horse!