Saturday, August 06, 2005

Masterpieces of the Museum Island, Berlin

My copy of Edouard Manet's "In the Conservatory" based on a post card and the leaflet of the exhibition mentioned in the main text. The lady in the copy looks younger than that in the original, and I like the former more, though it is, needless to say, artistically much inferior to the latter.

Last Friday the final road repairs after drainage works was going on in front of my house. My wife and I could not bear the noise of repair works and the smell of tar. We just had two tickets of the exhibition "Masterpieces of the Museum Island, Berlin: Visions of the Divine in the Sanctuary of Art" being held at Kobe City Museum. So, we went to see the exihibition.

The exhibition is one of the highlight cultural events of the "Germany in Japan 2005/2006" celebrations. The Museum Island (Museumsinsel) is a complex of buildings composed of individual museums located in the heart of Berlin, and was designated as a World Heritage site in 1999 [2]. The complex consists of five museum buildings: Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Altenationalgalerie, Bode Museum and the Pergamon Museum. The reconstruction of the complex is in progress to be completed in 2015.

The exhibition shows approximately 150 select artworks, many of which have come for the first time out of Germany, to convey the essence of the cultural landmark's future image. We can see works from prehistoric and ancient ages to the modern era. I especially liked "Altar Relief: Sun God Aten and Akhenaten's Family (New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, Amarna Period, ca. 1345 BC)," "Head of Cleopatra VII (ca. 40 BC)," "Venus (Sandro Botticelli, ca. 1485)" and "In the Conservatory (Edouard Manet, 1878-1879)" to name a few.

In front of "Head of Cleopatra VII" I remembered Blaise Pascal's words I had learned in a French grammar course of a university: "Si le nez de Cléopâtre avait été plus court, toute la face de la terre eût été changée. (If Cleopatra's nose had been shorter, all the surface of the earth would have been different.)"

  1. Museumsinsel (Museum Island), Berlin (UNESCO World Heritage Web site).

Monday, August 01, 2005

Great People of Kanazawa Memorial Museum

From the leaflet of Great People of Kanazawa Memorial Museum.

After looking at two exhibitions and having lunch at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, on July 22, my wife and I visited Great People of Kanazawa Memorial Museum [1] nearby. The Memorial Museum displays the materials of the following persons born or grown up in Kanazawa: (from left to right in the upper row of the photos in the image) Yoshiro Taniguchi, architect (1904-1979); Jokichi Takamine (1854-1922), chemist; Setsurei Miyake, critic (1860-1945); (in the middle row) Godo Nakanishi, conservationist and poet (1895-1984); Toho Fujioka, scholar on Japanese literature (1870-1910); (in the bottom row) Yoichi Hatta, civil engineer (1886-1942); Daisetsu Suzuki, scholar on Buddhism (1870-1966); Hisashi Kimura, astronomer (1870-1943).

The building of the museum consists of three floors. On the first floor, materials of Taniguchi, Nakanishi and Hatta are shown; and on the second floor, those of the other five persons. The third floor has a hall and a lecture room. I was especially interested in the materials of Takamine, because I was one of the recipients of the third Takamine Prize for high school students [2] (now personal recipients are chosen from junior high school students, and a group prize is provided for junior high schools).

Though it was one of summer holidays, there were no other visitors while we were in the Memorial Museum. It would be highly desirable to let children visit such a place in order to know the life and work of the great people and have dream and ambition, as written in the leaflet of the museum.

There are respective memorial museums at other sites for the three writers born in Kanazawa: Izumi Kyoka (1873-1939), Tokuda Shusei (1871-1943) and Murou Saisei (1889-1962) [3-5].

  1. Web site, Great People of Kanazawa Memorial Museum (in Japanese).
  2. Web site, Dr. Takamine Jokichi Memorial Foundation (in Japanese).
  3. Web site, Izumi Kyoka Kinenkan Museum (in Japanese).
  4. Web site, Tokuda Shusei Kinenkan Museum (in Japanese).
  5. Web site, Murou Saisei Kinenkan Museum (in Japanese).

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa.

I first visited the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, (see the above photo) just after a week of its opening on October 9, 2004. Last Friday (July 22, 2005) I made the second visit there with my wife. The outermost walls of the first floor of this museum form a circle with a diameter of 112.5 m. This form makes it possible to explore the museum from all directions [1].

There we looked at two exhibitions: "Drawing Restraint: Matthew Barney" and "Another Story: Selected Works from the Collection." Barney's exhibition was the sum of his rather strange drawings (for example, a self-portrait drawn on the ceiling by jumping on a trampoline), sculptures, photographs and a film (expressing an abstract story suggesting a repeated rebirth and collapse by the use of images of whaling and the tea ceremony).

The purpose of "Another Story" was to show part of the diversity of the event, pattern of human perception and sense value in the world. I found Carsten Nicolai's work entitled "Milk" interesting. It consisted of 10 monochromatic photographs, which captured the surface patterns of milk in a tray shaken by different frequencies from 10 to 110 Hz. Soft hemispheres constituting the patterns singly or in aggregate made me think of the source of milk, i.e., breasts.

  1. Web site "21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa".

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Oldest Fountain in Japan

Japan's first fountain built in 1861.

The fountain in Kenroku Park (see the photo) is associated with a special memory of mine. One of my brothers, who was senior to me by six years and died at the age of 9, left an unfinished drawing of that fountain. I kept it until I was of the same age as he had been at his death. So, every time when I visit Kenroku Park these years, I go to see this fountain.

Last Friday, my wife and I passed through Kenroku Park to go to the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, and saw that fountain on our way. I did not remember what was written on the bulletin board at the side of the fountain, but it reads as follows ("Kasumiga-ike" in the quotation is a large pond in Kenroku Park).
Fountain: Having been built in 1861, this is the oldest fountain in Japan. Its water source is Kasumiga-ike, and a head of water makes the height of jet about 3.5 m.
The above is my translation from Japanese words on the bulletin board; English words there simply read: "Funsui (Fountain); Japan's first fountain built in 1861."

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Ishikawa Gate

Ishikawa Gate.

I made a small trip to Kanazawa and Yamashiro Spa from the 21st to 23rd of July with my wife. On the first day in Kanazawa we visited our ancestors' graves on Mt. Noda and at temples in Tera-machi and No-machi.
Across just the inside of one of entrances, which we have been using, to the graveyard of Mt. Noda, the construction works of a wide car road were in progress. What will be the method of pedestrians' crossing over the road? At least some of the visitors to the graveyard would suffer much inconvenience.

In the morning of the second day we took a loop bus from the JR Kanazawa Station to an entrance of Kenroku Park. The entrance is near Ishikawa Gate (the photo) of Kanazawa Castle. We walked Kenroku Park a little and went to the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa.

The site of Kanazawa Castle was used by the army from 1871 to the end of the 2nd World War, and then by Kanazawa University from 1949. Ishikawa Gate, which was both the symbol of the destroyed castle and the entrance of the university, was designated as an important national cultural asset in 1950. However, the university campus moved out of the castle site during 1978 to 1995. After the completion of the relocation of the university, the castle site was rearranged to become the Kanazawa Castle Park [1]. Thus the bridge (Ishikawa-bashi) seen in the photo in front of Ishikawa Gate now connects the two parks, Kenroku Park and Kanazawa Castle Park.

Some more story of our trip will be described later.

  1. Kanazawa Castle Park.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Oldest Photo I Have

The image of the oldest photo I have is hsown here. It was taken in the spring of 1908 (the 41st year of Meiji) to send to the father (my grandfather) of the children in this photo on the occasion that three of the children entered new schools. My grandfather was on a long business trip of inspecting education systems in European countries.

From left in the front row: Misu (my grandmother, 39 years old), Chiyoko (my mother who was 6 years old and just entered the Elementary School Affiliated to Kanazawa Women's Normal School) and Fumiko (one of my aunts, 8 years old and in the 3rd year class at the same school as Chiyoko's). From left in the rear row: Toshibumi (my uncle who was 13 years old and just entered Kanazawa 2nd Middle School) and Yuki (one of my aunts who was 15 years old and just entered Kanazawa Women's Normal School). I have never met Yuki, because she died young. My mother used to call her Okinesan (big sister).

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I Was the Only Male Visitor!

The ticket of the exhibition "Japanese Imagery in One Hundred Quilts."

Yesterday (Monday), water supply was supposed to be stopped in the afternoon because of waterworks around here. So, my wife and I did not want to stay home, and went, together with our first daughter Yuko, to see the exhibition, "Japanese Imagery in One Hundred Quilts," being held at Museum "EKi" KYOTO in the building of the JR Kyoto Station. Quilting is one of Yuko's hobbies.

On the back of the ticket (see the image above) it is written that these years Japanese quilt works, especially "the quilts of Japonism," are giving big influence to the quilt community world over. The exhibition displays new works on the theme of Japan's beauty made by 75 representative Japanese quilt artists as well as the works of Japanese imagery by 25 invited overseas artists. All the quilts seem to be of the size from F100 to F200 or more by the term of painting, and show both fine technique and power. I found the works entitled "Cherry blossoms in mandala" (partly shown on the ticket), "Kaleidoscopes" and "Nothingness" impressive. While we were looking at the exhibition, there were many women, but I was the only male visitor!

Coming back home, we were informed of the postponing of the waterworks to Wednesday due to rainfall. Where shall we go next?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Physics Class in My Senior High School Days

In 1952 I was a second year student of a senior high school in Kanazawa. One day the teacher of our physics class took us out to a nearby transformer substation to look at equipment there. Then the teacher took a photo of us. I am the third person from left in the second row. The rightmost person in the front row is probably the head of the substation. Note that the ratio of the number of boys to that of girls in the physics class was 9 to 1, although the total number of boys in the school was nearly the same as that of girls.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

One-Day Trip to Chihaya-akasaka Village

A sketch from the restaurant Santoka in Chihaya-akasaka Village. The building at the upper left is the residence of the owner of the restaurant. On the right, the side of the roofed, white gate of the residence is seen.
Yesterday (July 2, Saturday) my wife and I joined the one-day group trip organized by a travel agency. We got on a bus in front of the JR Ten'noji Station. The number of the group members was 35. We first visited Enmeiji Temple in Kawachi-nagano. There is a lotus pond in the garden of the temple, where we saw no flowers but some buds. It is a good place to visit in autumn, because there are many maple trees, among which the largest is about one thousand years old. That one has the name yubae-no-kaede (maple beautiful in the evening sun).

Then we went to Chihaya-akasaka Village. This is an only single village in Osaka Prefecture. The destination of our trip was the restaurant Santoka [1] at the foot of a mountain. The owner of the restaurant and his families has been living there since the days of their ancestors, who made a living by forestry. Now the part of the land around the restaurant is one of the most famous spots to see rhododendrons and hydrangeas. After having a fancy dish for lunch, we walked along the mountain roads to look at flowers of hydrangeas and other plants.

It had been raining rather hard until we finished lunch. In the afternoon, the rain became less hard, so that we could enjoy walking rather comfortably by breathing cool air of a forest. I did not brought with me tools for sketching. However, I made the sketch shown above after lunch by the use of a pencil and a sheet of pocket paper, on which sweet stuff had been served together with a cup of Japanese tea. I completed the sketch with a pen and color pencils after coming back home.

  1. Web site, Santoka (in Japanese).

Friday, July 01, 2005

"Van Gogh in Context"

The image shows my poor copy from Van Gogh's
"Road with Cypress and Star."

On June 21 (Tue.), 2005, I went to the National Museum of Art, Osaka, (NMAO) to look at the exhibition "Van Gogh in Context" together with my wife.

The NMAO was opened in 1977 by the use of the Expo Museum of Fine Arts, which had been built for Expo '70. In 2004 the NMAO was relocated to the western section of Osaka's Nakanoshima district. This was our first visit to the new NMAO building. The building has a structure in the form of a completely underground facility and an exterior design "inspired by the life force of bamboo and the development and cultivation of contemporary art" [1].

The present exhibition was realized with special cooperation from the Van Gogh Museum and the Kröller-Müller Museum, both located in Van Gogh's homeland of Holland. Just as written in the leaflet of the exhibition, we could trace the changes in Van Gogh's paintings from the dark hues of his early naturalistic paintings to the dazzling colors of his later works.

Another feature of the exhibition was its attempt to provide cultural context for Van Gogh's artistic activities. For this purpose the works of artists such as Millet, Cézanne and Monet, whom Van Gogh knew and was influenced by, as well as Japanese ukiyo-e and books and magazines of Van Gogh's era were also shown (thus the exhibition is entitled "Van Gogh in Context").

I liked the following three paintings best among Van Gogh's works shown: "Self-portrait as an Artist," 1888, Paris, Oil on canvas, 65.2×50.2 cm, Van Gogh Museum; "Café Terrace at Night," 1888, Arles, Oil on canvas, 80.7×65.3 cm, Kröller-Müller Museum; and "Road with Cypress and Star," 1890, Saint-Rémy, Oil on canvas, 90.6×72 cm, Kröller-Müller Museum. (It was quite lucky that just these three paintings are shown at the Web site of the NMAO with their titles in English!)

I paid special attention to "Café Terrace at Night," because a friend of mine, M.Y., wrote me that he had chosen the best kind of copy of this work at the same exhibition held in Tokyo to buy it as a birthday gift to his wife. Only it was a pity that the museum was too much crowded.

  1. Web site, The National Museum of Art, Osaka.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Trip to the North of Kyoto Prefecture

Maizuru Bay seen from the window of a hotel
at the top of Mt. Goro, Maizuru, Kyoto.

From June 12 (Sun.) to 14 (Tue.), my wife and I made a trip to the northern cities of Kyoto Prefecture: Fukuchiyama, Ayabe and Maizuru. (Cricking blue characters below, you can see the the photo of each place in a new window, though explanations are in Japanese.)

On Sunday, we arrived at the JR Fukuchiyama Station in the early afternoon, and visited Fukuchiyama Castle. The castle was originally built by Mitsuhide Akechi around 1580, but was destroyed in Meiji Era except for stonewalls. The present castle tower was reconstructed in 1986.

Then we walked on Otonase Bridge over the Yura river to go to Sandan-ike Park. We were surprised to see that there was no water in Sandan Pond. Leveling of the ground was proceeding to make a playground there. I wonder if it is a good plan to destroy a big pond and accordingly the ecological system of Sandan-ike Park filled with many plants and creatures.

The place of our stay at two nights was located at the top of Mt. Goro in Maizuru. From the window of our room, we had a fine view of Maizuru Bay, and I made a sketch of it. The sketch of the next morning and that of the morning after next show views further to left (west). The mountain at the center of the last sketch is Mt. Tatebe, which is also called Tango-Fuji because of its shape similar to Mt. Fuji.

On Monday, we arrived at the JR Maizuru Station rather late in the morning. So we hurried to Ayabe Friendly Ranch to have lunch at a restaurant there. We saw Yura River again on our way there.

Walking for 40 minutes or so in the foot of Mt. Takashiro, we lost a way and asked a countryman the way to the ranch. He told us that there was no ranch there any more and that it was being converted to a site of a riding club. Alas! Anyway, we had to go to the old ranch. Leveling of the ground was also in progress there. Luckily, there remained a restaurant, so that we were able to have lunch there.

Coming back from the old ranch along a path through rice fields, we saw a small scoop wheel and a field of irises in full bloom. The scoop wheel seems to have been constructed for sightseers by drawing its model from those that actually helped agricultural laborers in old days.

In the morning of Tuesday, we walked near the JR Higashi-maizuru Station to see Kitasui Railway Tunnel, the Maizuru City Commemoration Hall and the World Brick Museum. All these brick constructions, now preserved as cultural heritages, were originally built for the former Japan Navy. Looking at them, I thought that we should never make such buildings for war again.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Then We Couldn’t Have Been Your Pupils!

The reunion of our class at the former Ishibiki Elementary School in Kanazawa was held at the Japanese style hotel Takitei in Kanazawa Saikawakyo Spa from the evening of June 2 to the morning of June 3, 2005. Participants were our teacher Mr. A and his wife, 16 class OGs including Prof. H.I. from USA and her younger sister to help her travel, and nine OBs including myself; a total of 27 people. The number of pupils in our class was 61. Among them six OBs died already.

The party of the reunion took place from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. We were seated along the three lines of tables put in the shape of the Greek capital pi, with Mr. A at the center of the shorter line. Mrs. A who has a problem at her knees took a seat at the corner of one of the two long sides. The other particiants' seats were determined by drawing.

The organizer in chief, Y.T., presided the party. He explained that this reunion celebrated Mr. A's age of 80 (actually he is now 83 years old) and ours of 70, and then asked Mr. A to give a short talk. Mr. A began saying, "I came to Ishibiki Elementary School just after you finished it." Some OGs and OBs said, "Oh, no! Then we couldn't have been your pupils!" "It's wrong!" "Let's say for his honor, 'Mr. A is quite right.' " and so on.

Does Mr. A have Alzheimer's disease? No, that was a slip of the tongue. He wanted to say, "I left Ishibiki Elementary School soon after you finished it." Thus the reunion started with a big laughter, and merry mood continued all through the party and a party after party, which ended at 11:00 pm. It was an experience like a time slip into elementary school days.

At the party after party, H.I. told me that she had had the disaster of losing the memory of her lap-top computer by exposing it to X-ray inspection at an airport. On June 5, I called her at her mother's house in Takarazuka to ask if I could help her with her computer. However, it seemed that I could have nothing to do, because she had lost only document files and because she had back-up files back in USA. Wishing to get a copy of her publication some day, I sent her the book "Kagami-no Naka-no Hidarikiki (A Left-Hander in a Mirror)," in which I had written a comment of twenty pages.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Middle Name

The photo shows the entrance of the Hotel Takitei in Kanazawa Saikawakyo Spa, where the reunion of our elementary school class was held (taken June 3, 2005). Click on the image to see the real size one.

For some days after getting the announcement of the reunion of our class at the former Ishibiki Elementary School in Kanazawa, I was unable to decide whether I should attend it or not. It was because I saw some of my classmates on the occasion of the reunion of the same year classes of that elementary school held last autumn, and because I visited our teacher, Mr. A., last summer. So I sent an e-mail message to one of my classmates and good rival, Prof. H.I., who works at the University of California at Santa Barbara, to ask if she would attend the reunion this time.

But, alas, the next day I found that the message had not reached H.I. Then, I made the search of her name on the Internet and learned her new e-mail address from the home page of the university. Her name on the home page newly had the initial of the middle name "G." So, I wrote her not only the question about her possibility of participation in the reunion but also the guess that her middle name came from her nickname in elementary school days. Her nickname given by some boys in our class was Gacha, meaning an "unattractive look" in the dialect of Kanazawa, and she admitted it as her nickname. So I supposed she adopted it as her middle name from the sense of humor.

H.I. wrote me back promptly, "I am planning to attend the reunion with my sister. My middle name comes from my mother's maiden name!" Her planning of attending helped my decision to do the same, but I was ashamed to think that my guess might have been rude to her. For the sake of her honor, I have to write here that I do not think her look unattractive. Sure, she is not such a woman as is regarded as beautiful by men's average standard, but her look filled with strong will, high intelligence and good health is a different kind of excellent beauty.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Trip to Two Castle Towns

The Lake Biwa seen from a hotel in Hikone, Shiga. (You can see the real size image by clicking on the image above.)

On May 23 (Mon.) and 24 (Tue.), my wife and I made a trip to small cities of Nagahama and Hikone at the side of the Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture. Arriving at the JR Nagahama Station, we first walked through Ho Park to look at buildings of Nagahama Castle and the Old Nagahama Station. (Cricking orange characters below, you can see the image of each place.)

Nagahama Castle had originally been built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598) and was rebuilt in 1983 to be used as the Museum of History. The Old Nagahama Station was built in 1882, and is the oldest station building now preserved in Japan. We had lunch and beer at the fancy restaurant of the name " Nagahama Roman Beer" near Hokkoku Kaido Street. Then we visited Shanain Temple and Daitsuji Temple, and enjoyed looking at a number of glassware shops in Kurokabe (Black Walls) Square.

When we took a train at the Nagahama Station to go to Hikone, it suddenly began to rain cats and dogs. After our arriving at a hotel in Hikone, however, it stopped raining. From the window of the hotel room, we saw the Lake Biwa (see the sketch above). The members of the baseball club of a senior high school came to take exercise at the lakeside. I draw them in the sketch; they did not seem to be engaged in hard exercise.

On Tuesday we visited Hikone Castle to look at Genkyuen Garden and other historic spots. Then we walked through Yumekyobashi Castle Road, along which traditional houses of the castle town in Edo Era had been reconstructed as shops. After going down the road to Soanji Temple, which had a red gate, we made toward home. It was impressive that both the two cities well preserve or have reconstructed historic spots and streets.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Wedding Invitation from India

Yesterday I received a wedding invitation from India by e-mail. The e-mail message of invitation had an attachment of a PDF file, in which an announcement was written in English and Indian.

This was the second time to get such an invitation from India, so that I was not surprised at all this time. Indians seem to have the habit of sending wedding invitation to all their friends and acquaintances.

The first time I received a wedding invitation from India was on the occasion of the marriage of a brother of a friend of mine, Indra, in April 2001. Indra lives in U.S.A., and the invitation was sent by a relative of his by postal mail from India. I told Indra about my getting the invitation, and he was rather surprised, too.

The invitation I got yesterday was from a young scientist, who now studies at a university in Korea. Formerly he had wanted to study in Japan, found my home page, and written me by e-mail some years ago. Then he and I became friends, and he got some samples of the experiment for his thesis irradiated by gamma rays at my former work place. However, we have never met yet. I sent him an e-mail letter of congratulations together with a photo I took of cherry blossoms just beginning to bloom.

Monday, March 28, 2005

I Like a Fine Day

I like a fine day.
Then I can
talk with you
during my walk,
though it's
only in my imagination.

I've told
so much
to you
having your image
over the sky,
among white clouds.

Let's begin
our real
and shy
of every vacation
in minus x years!

Monday, February 28, 2005

Scientific Love: Comic Poems

Relativistic Love

Two lines come close, go apart
come and united, go apart,
come and united, go apart,
almost come to be united, go apart,
go apart further and further,
come to a soft touch, and go apart...
What shapes do
your and my world lines
have beyond this?

Boolean Love

You OR I,
this is union.
You AND I,
this makes intersection.
Which do you like?
I like the latter,
'cause I love you so deeply.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Serenades Played with Erhu

A young friend of mine, Yoro, is running a small company to make and sell CDs in Ebetsu, Hokkaido. Last week I ordered him a CD [1] made in China and sold by his company. It is a collection of serenades played by Zhu Changyao with an erhu by the accompaniment of the Orchestra of the Music and Dance Troop of Jiangsu Province of China. Zhu Changyao is a popular Chinese erhu virtuoso and composer. The erhu is a traditional Chinese string instrument with two strings.

The CD arrived this afternoon. It includes "English Serenade," Schumann's "Traumerei," Dvorak's "Humoresque," Schubert's "Lullaby," De Curtis's "Come Back to Sorrento," Brahms's "Lullaby," etc. Listening to those well-known pieces of music played with an erhu in quiet and nostalgic tone, my heart, being hurt by dark pieces of news these days, was much soothed and warmed, though it was terribly cold today.
  1. "Zhu Changyao's Art of Erhu No. 4: Serenade" (Jiangsu Culture Audio and Video Publishing House, China; sold by Booxbox).

Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Model in Flamenco Costume

Last week a letter from Masami, a classmate of mine, arrived at my wife. My wife and I wondered why she wrote my wife, not me. Reading her letter, we learned this: She wrote me first, and after sealing the envelope she wanted also to write my wife reminding herself of the latter's voice when the former called me last year.

Masami enclosed a gift, to my wife, of postcards on which drawings of plants were printed. Those drawings are the works of a female botanical artist who lives in the same city as Masami and whom she likes.

Somehow Masami's letter to me arrived the next day. She wrote an excuse for not sending me a New Year card because of being in the mourning and thanked me for telling her about Takao's death at the reunion of our elementary school. Masami and Takao were friends in infancy, and the latter was one of my best friends. He died in Australia in July 2003 soon after moving there with his wife to live near his son's family's.

Masami enclosed a photo in the envelope to me. It was a snapshot of the private exhibition of pictures of the man by the name of Nakajima. In an oil painting at the center of the photo a beautiful lady dancing flamenco in a pink dress and a brown hat was drawn. Masami's letter explains that she was the model for this picture four years ago, that she wanted for me to keep this photo as a reminder of a girl classmate at an elementary school and that she had also wanted very much to show it to Takao.

When I told her about Takao's death, Masami put her hand on mine saying, "Oh, it's sad!" When we were about to part after the reunion, she shook my hand thanking me for my telling about Takao's death. Generally, Japanese women of our age do not show such a Western style of manner. I now understand the reason; she has been practicing flamenco as a hobby for about ten years.

In return to her letter I sent Masami a printed copy of Takao's last e-mail message to me and his wife's that told me about his death, as well as photos of two watercolors I made last year.