ON THE BLUE LINE Inspired by Alessandra Simmons “St. Pachomiun of the Unemployed” fom St. Peter's B-List. In the blue line from O’Hare Airport, St. Pachomius wiped windows and scraped chewing gum. He sprayed seats; the hibiscus ocean scent filled the dark and musty inside. Nobody kneeled down toward the saint, but they said, “Now, the saint is taking over our jobs.” They gazed at him—murderous in a way—eyes upon eyes. Their fists beat the rims of their seats. “Where is my job,” the banging gets louder. “How can I feed my family,” they kicked the backs of the seats. They marched around the Saint and kept screaming, “Where is my miracle, where is my miracle?” The hibiscus scent was gone, but human sweat remained. Seconds later, they already forget St.Pachomius was here. They quickly left from the train to where they belong.
The Seventeenth Poem: ちはやぶる 神代も聞かず 竜田川 からくれなゐに 水くくるとは --在原業平朝臣 Even heaven doesn’t have this beauty, the River Tatsuta in ancient-Chinese-red leaves on the floating water. --Ariwarano Narihira Ason --Translated by Naoko Fujimoto A poem written in response from me to Ariwarano Narihira Ashon The Japanese maple leaves float down the river, to the ocean under the moon, decaying into a piece— a part of the big blue waves.
The sixteenth poem: 立ち別れ いなばの山の 峰に生ふる 松とし聞かば 今かへり来む --中納言行平 I must leave now to Mt. Inaba, its pine trees wait for me but if I hear from you, I will come back to you. --Chunagon Yukihira --Translated by Naoko Fujimoto A poem written in response from me to Chunagon Yukihira Over the mountains, your friends wait for you with whipped cream in the midnight coffee, just like your college days.
The Fifteenth Poem: 君がため 春の野に出でて 若菜つむ 我が衣でに 雪は降りつつ --光孝天皇 For you, I go to the spring field to pick young green even on my sleeves snow is falling. --Emperor Kouko --Translated by Naoko Fujimoto A poem written in response from me to Emperor Kouko My grandmother picks seven herbs and cook them with rice; it tastes like salty and spring bitterness.
My hubby said, "I want to eat good fish and chips."
We walked about one hour and finally found a British pub called, Churchill's.
"Can I order fish and chips?"
The owner at Churchill's said with an authentic British accent, "We do not serve fish and chips." (I love international English, maybe because I have a heavy Japanese accent.) The owner's assistant suggested we visit Six Nations around the corner of Grand Place.
Often restaurants in the middle of very famous sightseeing spots do not taste good or have bad service because their location ensures customers will keep coming anyway; however, Six Nations was an exception.
They had the best fish and chips ever! And I loved my Caesar salad wraps.
So, we wanted to eat their fish and chips again before leaving Belgium. But the restaurant was packed because people were gathering to watch a live succor game in England. Everyone held a bottle of beer and cheered so hard. We could literally not fit through the doorway and the people were spilling out into the street to watch the outside screen. Therefore we could not get seats for the night.
Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) is a classical Japanese anthology of one hundred waka-poems by one hundred poets in the thirteenth century. My challenge is to translate the poems and write a return poem (返歌) in English. The Fourteenth Poem: 陸奥の しのぶもぢずり 誰ゆゑに みだれそめにし われならなくに --河原左大臣 In the end of the northernmost street, like tangled ivy patterns on a kimono, you make my heart twist and lose; I am forgetting myself. 返歌 A poem written in response from me to Kwarano Sadaijin I hate when my heart is twisted and needs tweezers and pliers to unravel it, un-reciprocal love is only good for a young poet.
La Brouette is the perfect location to have Belgian beer. The restaurant and pub is located in Grand Place. There are many local beers available and the waiters are very witty and knowledgeable about the breweries.
My hubby and I ordered a simple meal (baguette sandwich and french fries) along with a variety of beers. It was fun to share glasses of beer with random people at the bar. We shared beer with two men from London and Chicago.
"Omer" gave me a rash (the ingredients might be too strong and heavy for me). However, I really liked a peach flavored beer called "Pecheresse." The British man bought "Chimay" for us. All the beer tasted fantastic. With new friends, good beer, and nice service at the beautiful Grand Place, several great evenings in Belgium. Grand Place 2, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium +32 2 511 54 94
Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) is a classical Japanese anthology of one hundred waka-poems by one hundred poets in the thirteenth century. My challenge is to translate the poems and write a return poem (返歌) in English. The Thirteenth Poem: 筑波嶺の 峰より落つる みなの川 恋ぞつもりて 淵となりぬる --陽成院 From Mt. Tsukubane, its highest peak, a small stream called Minano becomes wider and deeper like my “koi” feeling toward you. --You Zei In --Translated by Naoko Fujimoto 返歌 A poem written in response from me to You Zei In. “Koi” is one step before being in love like thinking of you from the edge of the pacific ocean; I wish I could say it aloud— only seawater keeps flooding between us.
At the Maison Dandoy Tea Room, I ordered a Belgian waffle with cherry & chocolate, and my hubby ordered a spinach and tomato quiche. Both dishes were very delicious.
We sat down at outside tables (the second floor was very crowded and kind of messy on the empty tables). I also realized that outside has the particular perfume of Brussels. (The famous piss boy statue is down the street along with many human imitators at night.)
There are two waffle styles -- the familiar square Belgian waffle and the liège waffle -- my first choice was Belgian style; however, the liège waffle is much cooler.
Liège waffle has a distinguished weight because it is like pancake batter baked with brown sugar and honey. The waffle is surprisingly heavy. Since it is baked with a lot of sugary syrup, it is also super sticky.
I should have asked for a paper plate rather than paper towels. The paper towels stick onto the waffle and participating fingers. I accidentally ate the paper and it stuck between teeth. Eventually my handbag and jacket became sticky -- I was a walking Liège waffle with a Japanese twist.
Maison Dandoy - TeaRoom Karel Bulsstraat 14 1000 Brussel Belgium
Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) is a classical Japanese anthology of one hundred waka-poems by one hundred poets in the thirteenth century. My challenge is to translate the poems and write a return poem (返歌) in English. The Twelfth Poem: 天つ風 雲の通い路 吹きとぢよ をとめの姿 しばしとどめむ --僧正遍昭 Blowing blue winds— close a path between clouds to heaven; let five celestial maidens dance one more time. --Soujyo Hensyo --Translated by Naoko Fujimoto 返歌 A poem written in response from me to Soujyo Hensyo When you read a love poem; I want Chopin’s waltz to dance; I take off my flat shoes and step up to the November cloud.
Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) is a classical Japanese anthology of one hundred waka-poems by one hundred poets in the thirteenth century. My challenge is to translate the poems and write a return poem (返歌) in English. The Eleventh Poem: わたの原 八十島かけて 漕ぎ出ぬと 人には告げよ 海人のつり舟 --参議 篁 In the endless sea, over many nameless islands, I’m heading to “Oki,” help me to spread these words, dear fisherman’s boat. --Sangi Takamura --Translated by Naoko Fujimoto Return Poem (返歌) to Sangi Takamura from me: Your dear, dear fisherman’s boat doesn’t talk, it’ll be a lonely time in “Oki,” where it’s cold with winter ocean winds, why don’t you rent some Chinese birds? *Note: Sangi Takamura was one of the Emperor Saga’s best friends about 1200 years ago. The Emperor wanted him to visit China as an exchange governor; however, Sangi Takamura refused to go there after he wrote satire poetry about the exchange programs. Therefore, the Emperor sent him to out of nowhere, “Oki” island as punishment.
I had a Dutch pancake for the first time at De Sneeker Pan in Amsterdam and I immediately became a fun of the Dutch style. There were also very pretty and kind waitresses working at the café. The kitchen counter was nicely organized with fresh baked chocolate cake—I wished that my stomach was slightly larger than now—cookies and pasty. Very cute plates and cups were decorated along with fruits in a bowl. The café welcomed us in a cozy morning moment.
I ordered an apple pancake, of course, Dutch style. When they brought my breakfast, I was really surprised. I said, “It is so huge!” The waitress said, “This is Dutch style, enjoy!” The pancake neatly folded over the plate. It was like a thicker style of crepe with many thin slices of apples and raisins. Apple sweet and sour flavors were matched with additional maple syrup and powdered sugar—later I learned that some local people added brown sugar on the top of the pancake. I enjoyed having the pancake along with green salad, French bread, and an omelet breakfast combo. I thought that I might have ordered too much, but my hubby and I ate everything. It was delicious.
When I came back to my apartment, I tried to make Dutch pancakes. So far I tried four times to get it right, but at least they’re getting better. The Dutch pancake needed patience because it was huge, so it is difficult to flip when cooking. In addition, when I searched for a recipe for Dutch pancake, there were many versions and cooking styles available. I used an iron frying pan on the stove when I made it. I stir fried slices of apples with unsalted butter first, and then I poured flour mix. I waited until the bottom became brown and flipped it with two spatulas. But there was another cooking style; put the iron pan into the oven after cooking the apples and pouring the flour mix. After twenty-some minutes, the pancake will become golden crisp on the top. I have not tried the new style yet. It will be a fun experiment for another weekend breakfast at home.
De Sneeker Pan Kerkstraat 48, 1017GM Binnenstad, Amsterdam Phone: +31 20 6223660
Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首) is a classical Japanese anthology of one hundred waka-poems by one hundred poets in the thirteenth century. My challenge is to translate the poems and write a return poem (返歌) in English. The Tenth Poem: これやこの 行くも帰るも 別れては 知るも知らぬも 逢坂の関 --蝉丸 This is the way to go east or back to Kyoto; farewell for a while, we’ll meet again here at “Ausaka no Seki.” Detroit is my airport to fly in from Nagoya, Japan; there is a tea cup shop where a bald guy used to work. After nine years, he is gone.