When I was a kid, summer heat was not as severe as today. It used to be 30 Celsius, or just a little above of it. But because of global warming, it often becomes 35 Celsius or higher in the height of the summer season in recent years. Today, too, the weather forecast is saying the temperature in my place will reach 35 Celsius. Heat is severe and sunlight looks harmful.
I remember it was the end of May when I got a message from the university which was saying that I had to teach Japanese literature reading class in the coming fall semester. Since I had heard of it, I had read a lot of books about Japanese literature. Because I wanted to teach the best of the Japanese literature that has 1300 years of history. Perhaps a foreign people may say that 1300 years are short, saying that other world major civilizations have longer histories also for literature. Yes, in ancient times, Japanese didn’t have letters/characters to write down and record our own language. But once Japanese learned how to write Japanese sentences, a lot of literary works were made and handed down to the late generations.
I designed how to teach and schedules of my Japanese literature class so that I could teach the whole history with the best articles. One of those articles that I really wanted to introduce was “Sarashina Diary” by a daughter of Sugawara-no- Takasue. It is not a lengthy book but a short and concise one. The diary is a memoir of a lady’s life in 11th century. It lively describes fun things and sad things that happened to her from when she was a girl to when she lost her husband in her later life. The interesting thing is that although it was written in almost one thousand years ago, there are a lot of things that can be shared with us living in modern times. I expect that many of my female students would like it.
In order to get a whole picture (though it’s literature), I borrowed a lot of books from the city library. I searched books on the city library’s website, reserved some books, and went to the library to get them. I also bought a scanner to take copies of books to make a textbook by myself. But last week, I got a message from a student (not from the university), saying that the class would not be held in the coming semester because very few students wanted to take it. I think what she said is right, although the chief of the Japanese department said to me he was not 100% sure. By that time I had already spent a lot of time to prepare for the class, but that was not enough. I still had to prepare for the level of teaching in the real situation. If the class would not be held, it would make my work easier. So basically I have to be happy for cancellation of my Japanese literature reading class.
As of today’s morning, I was borrowing 9 books from the library. Some were interesting even if I wouldn’t use them for the class, but I decided returning them to the library. Today “Heat Stroke Alart” is being issued to my area by the Ministry of Environment of Japan. So going outside is not good. To avoid the hottest hours, I decided to go there before noon with a parasol. A lady often uses a parasol under the sun, but it is rare for a man to do so. Yes, this was the first time for me to go outside with parasol.
I have a garden (a vegetable field? I don’t know how to call it) and grow many kinds of vegetables. I have to work at least one hour on the ground every day. These days I do it after breakfast; it is from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Although it is just an hour in the morning, I have got sunburn on my left elbow because of strong sunlight. Skin got red. So I wouldn’t like to expose my left elbow to sunlight. A long sleeve shirt cannot be a solution because of the temperature. I decided using a parasol of my mom.
Getting out of my house to go to the library and opening the parasol, I realized that one connection between the cloth and the tip of a beam was broken. But the biggest problem was that it is too SMALL to me. Yes I borrowed my mom’s parasol. It would be big enough for her, but not for me. If I stretched my elbow down, my sunburned elbow would get sunlight. So I should be folding my left hand with my right hand holding the parasol. It should have looked weird; A guy in 50 was walking holding a small parasol with both hands. Anyway, I went to the library and returned nine books two days before a deadline. Now I am typing this in a cool, air-conditioned room.
These are vegetables that I grew.
But I cannot grow watermelon. It is too difficult for a beginner like me. This watermelon was bought in a supermarket. A little past the best timing.
I don’t remember if I had bought a bulb of white lily. Neither do I remember to have planted such kind in my garden. I prefer red, pink, orange, and yellow flowers with color. I hardly plant white flowers in my garden. Last year I found one white lily leaning, or lying down to the ground. The place was a mount of weeds that were pulled and gathered. I always pile up weeds at one place to make them compost. That simply means that I have never plant a white lily in my garden and that one came from somewhere. This year I dug that lily and planted in flower bed so that the lily could grow up well.
And then the lily has grown up high. It is taller than I am.
I don’t know why this lily is so high. Perhaps this is a kind of wild species that had not got improvement as an ornamental flowers. But I am not sure.
Now the season is turning because the rainy season has ended. One type of vegetable is growing fast in my garden. Well, don’t talk about weeds around, please.
And its flowers are actually beautiful.
But the flowers are not the purpose of this plant. It’s OKRA.
I boiled OKRA just a few minutes, cooled down with ice, and put mayonnaise on them. The slices of Tomato also came from my garden. This was one plate of tonight’s supper.
Gavotte I from Suite fur Laute Nr.3 BWV995, by J. S. Bach
I played this piece on piano as-is written on music sheet for a Lute. By playing so, the left hand part is actually very easy.
I took a walk on Thursday afternoon. Actually it was between two conversation classes on that day. I expected that I could take a photo of Iide Montain that had been “more white”.
The audio embedded below is my electric bass play. I usually play a bass with two fingers. I don’t like to use so-called “pick” which is a triangle plastic piece. Let alone “SLAP”. But I played this by slapping as a kind of practice for the technique that I am not good at. The piece is “Chorus of frogs (かえるの合唱)” which is a very famous song in Japan. It is said to be an old Deutsch traditional folk song, but I am not sure.
“SOEUR MONIQUE” F. Couperin, played by LQ Laoshi 3.26MB, 3min16sec
I actually connected two takes at 2:02. I tried playing as fast as I can from the connected point, but I could not catch up the speed. I regret using a piano recording of speed of 54 that was too fast for my finger picking style.
Hi, this is a blog that is a record of my career as a Japanese teacher.
Please visit my photo gallery “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery” (outside of wordpress)
I like playing music on my electric bass. Please visit “LQ Laoshi Plays Electric Bass.” and listen. The following is one of my bass playing.
J. S. Bach, Unaccompanied Cello Suite No.3, Prelude on Electric Bass (4.22MB)
My electric bass Ibanez SR500 has got a problem with its built-in amplifier. It doesn’t work to generate bass sounds but makes noise like the following audio recording. Probably you will regret hearing the sound. I bought this Ibanez bass in 2010, in Tokyo. It has been already ten years. Since 10 years are not short for a life of an electric circuit, I don’t think I can complain about this.
Noise sounds from pre-amplifier of SR500 (414kB)
Electric Bass Ibanez SR500 that I bought in Tokyo Ten Years Ago
So I changed my main bass from Ibanez to Bacchus. The big difference between Ibanez and Bacchus is with or without the amplifier inside. Ibanez basses always have an active circuit which is a built-in amplifier, but Bacchus basically doesn’t have an active circuit inside of bass. I had an experience of using Ibanez for three years in past, I was always worry about troubles on active circuit. The pre-amplifier used 9-volt battery which also had a problem for availability in store. I want to say that I like passive pick-up for my bass. It is simple, no need to worry about battery and electric circuit.
I played the most famous piece from J. S. Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suite, that is Prelude from Suite No.1. I am not a good bassist, but I hope you enjoy it. The original cello version uses the open string of A near the end. I guess that the A-string of a cello is the highest. I also use the open A string for that part on my bass. But the A string on bass is the second lowest. So what is being played in high in the original is played in low in my version. Please do not complain about this. Because I know that many bassists have made much effort to play this A notes in high for this Bach Piece. If you play in low, actually it would be very easy. I admit my technique is poor but I am expecting that J.S.Bach in heaven might allow me to do so.
J. S. Bach, Unaccompanied Cello Suite No.1, Prelude in G major (2.70MB)
Bass：WJB-330M YLW by Bacchus
Strings：D’Addario, Extra-Light of Balanced Tension
Amplifier: Not a Bass Amplifier, but a cheap audio Amp.
S. Bach, Unaccompanied Cello Suite No.3, Prelude on Electric Bass (4.22MB) More about this recording
M.T.v Paradis, “Sicilienne” on Electric Bass (heavily distorted sound) with Piano and metronome (3.68MB)
J. S. Bach, Unaccompanied Cello Suite No.1, Prelude in G major (2.70MB) More about this recording
F. Couperin, SOEUR MONIQUE (2.67MB) More about this recording