My journals in Austria 2nd March 2010-28th March 2010
1st host family (Stichling) 2nd host family (Wiedlack)
Heike-host mother Johann-host father
Julia-host sister (17) Christine-host mother
Katharina-host sister (16) Simon-host brother (19)
Lukas-host brother (13)
(Stephan-exchange student who came to Kurashiki last year)
2 March 2010
I got up before six, and my father took me to Itami Airport. My mother also came with us to see me off. First, I flew to Narita International Airport, and I had about two hours in a lounge. I completed three scrap books for two host families and the mayor of St.Poelten. I have cut and pasted photos in the middle of night, so I just copied sentences from the first scrap book. Then I flew to Frankfurt, which took about 11 hours. I had two in-flight meals, and watched a film. In the rest of time, I enjoyed audio programs. The aircraft did not land on a scheduled place, so we got out of it by directly descending the stairs from the exit, and took a bus to the terminal. I was exhausted at Frankfurt Airport because it was already midnight in Japan. I slept whole way through the third flight to Vienna. At the airport my host family came to pick me up soon after I have arrived. After an hour of driving, I got to my host family’s house. I showed my scrap book to them, and I knew that they lived in Japan (Tokyo) for six years when Julia was 6-12. I could even find some Japanese food, and a rice cooker, a refrigerator of Hitachi, ornaments, talismans. I gave them souvenirs, and luckily the mechanical pencil I gave Lukas was the one his sisters have and he did not have because he was not of an age to have a mechanical pencil when they were in Japan.
3 March 2010
I had some pieces of bread with different kinds of ham and cheese for breakfast. In the morning, I went to school with Julia. I was very surprised to know that the first class begins at 7.40. For lunch, I had sandwiches though ingredients were taken from what I had for breakfast. After school, I went to music school with Katharina, and arranged my lessons. After dinner, I went to the city with Stephan, Julia, and Philippe, and drank apple juice and banana shake. It is common in Austria to thin juice with water or soda water if you want to have it less sweet.
4 March 2010
In the morning, I went to school with Julia. I could not understand anything in Latin and Russian classes, but an art class was comprehensible, in which we watched a clip of Saturday night fever, and drew abstract images of it. Those pictures we drew were colorful, lively, and intense. At half past three, I met the mayor of St. Poelten, and we gave short speeches and souvenirs each other. Mr. Yamazaki helped me to translate German into Japanese when the mayor was giving welcome to me. I have got a set of handbooks and a printed bag of St. Polten. Then we drank champagne with/without orange juice. At quarter past seven, Stephan picked up me and my host sisters, and we went to a cinema to watch Alice in Wonderland. It was a 3D film, and played by Johnny Depp. We ate nachos with cheese while watching. Nachos are popular snacks among the young, and they are eaten either with spicy sauce or cheese.
5 March 2010
In the morning, I practiced playing the piano. I had my first piano lesson at 11.35. The teacher emphasized the form of hands which were compared to dogs’ hands. My wriest needed to be more flexible so that I could start playing with the form, and end playing with it. It does not necessarily mean the start and the end of the whole piece, but it is also applied to shorter phrases. There was a piano competition going on in the hall downstairs, and my teacher recommended me to go and listen to know the standard of piano playing in Austria. At 5 o clock, I had my first flute lesson. I started a new book for basics, and I was advised to play every note with the same air pressure. I tried to play every note forte, but my breath did not last to the end of the phrase because the way of practice was what I have not done before.
6 March 2010
I was taken to Stephan’s house because my host family participated in the dogs’ competition, and cared that I would be alone at home. I heard late that Trixi (Katharina’s dog) won the first prize, and Haruko (Julia’s dog) won the second prize. I watched a film Austin Powers, and went to the city. First, I just made it to a music store before being closed, and bought a book for basics. It cost 10.90 euro, but the shop owner discounted 0.9 so that I could pay with the exact amount. Then I went into a church, and I was impressed by ornaments. Stephan told me that the church looks better inside than outside because it was made within budget which the city could spend, and the construction started from the inside. The tourist office was closed today, so I will go there another day. After I developed some photos, I went to a cinema cafe, and had a cup of cherry tea. In the back of the cafe, there was a small cinema where you can take your drink into.
7 March 2010
My host family took me to some tourist attractions. While I was on the car, I saw a field spreading along the road. My host mother told me that the field would be all yellow in summer. I also saw some windmills. We went into some churches, but most of them were closed in the winter season. What was most impressive was the river Donau. At night, we went to an Austrian restaurant. Lukas was sullen because he wanted to eat pizza, but as soon as he heard that his favorite dish was there he got in a good mood. The dishes were pasta with ham and cheese, spareribs served with a cup corn, and cutlets with sliced salmon on top of them.
8 March 2010
In the morning, I had my breakfast at 6.40. When I looked at the thermometer, it was -6 degrees Celsius. My host mother took Lukas to the hospital to see a doctor, and Julia and Katharina went to school, so I was alone at home. I played the piano, and then I was going to take a rest for a while. I was not sure of the time of my lesson, so I opened my pocket diary. I thought my lesson would start at 11, but actually it was 10. It was already half past nine, so I left home shortly afterward. On the way to music school, I got lost. I asked a man who was walking his dog the way in English, but he answered in German. I just said Danke, and guessed the way by his gesture, and I arrived to school on time. I had a lesson of basics and etudes today. For dinner, I had instant noodles which were too spicy to eat without drinking water.
9 March 2010
On the way to music school, I met a man whom I asked the way yesterday, and he talked to me. At 11 o’clock, I had my first singing lesson. The teacher was from Korea. She taught me some tips for warming up. I liked the way she uses a big piece of paper and colored pencils to draw images of the tune while singing. A crescendo cannot be performed by a line, but by a swirl. Using this method, I could sing more easily, and reach high pitches. At 3.10, I had my first flute ensemble lesson with Katharina. My teacher also played with us, so we were three. We enjoyed playing trio sonatas composed by Quantz and a gavotte composed by Dvorak. I learned a rule in Baroque music that quarter notes or eighth notes are shortened except the case in which shorter notes come after them.
10 March 2010
Today, I joined Katharina’s class. Some of the teachers gave lessons in English so that I could understand. At 1 o’clock, I had my second piano lesson. Mrs.Ott brought me a photocopy of a nocturne composed by Chopin. At First, I wondered if I could play this piece perfectly in a month though I like it very much. After I got back to home, I started to read music of the piece. I ate curry and rice for dinner. It was rather similar to the one I had in England. A grain of rice is longer than Japanese rice, and curry contains sliced paprika and chicken.
11 March 2010
Today, I joined Katharina’s class again. In the 3rd lesson (German), the teacher asked me how to say Good morning in Japanese, and he was trying to pronounce several times, but it seemed very difficult for him. Moreover, in the 5th lesson (Religion), the teacher used the whole time for asking me questions like why I am here, what I want to be in the future, or what I normally eat. Katharina does not usually attend this class, but she was asked to take me to this class today. Especially, the teacher was interested in the difference of education between Austria and Japan. I was a little bit shocked to hear that I do not look 19 years old in 16-year-old class. After school, I walked to the city with Katharina to buy souvenirs for the mayor of Kurashiki and officers of the international department. Then I practiced playing the flute for an hour, and played a duet piece with Katharina. At 5 o’clock, I had my flute lesson. Although it is no wonder that music sound faster when note value gets smaller, I did not notice in my practice, so my teacher pointed it out. He asked me if I eat properly everyday, and I said that I had enough food, but most of the time I had bread with ham and cheese. Everyone eats when they are hungry, and takes what they want from the fridge. I knew that it is common for Austrian people to make do with whatever is in the fridge at any time. And I knew the reason why we did not eat vegetables so far. My host mother told me it was because Julia does not like vegetables.
12 March 2010
In the morning, I practiced playing the flute and piano. After Julia came back from school, my host mother took us to the train station. It took about 40 minutes to go to Vienna by train. First, we visited a football shop to buy something related to a popular football team of Austria called Rapid for my brother, but the shop was closed for lunchtime, so we passed our time having a cup of tea. Then I bought a uniform-shaped key ring and a pen. We met Stephan, and took the underground and the tram. We dropped in some souvenir shops, and I bought G clef-shaped pencils printed as Mozart for my university friends. While I was browsing, Stephan and Julia were amused to find funny souvenirs like memo pads called Chopin Liszt meaning shopping list or key rings of signs that show No kangaroos in Austria. Lastly, we went to the Ferris wheel though we did not ride it because of the fee. At Stephan’s flat, we ate pasta for dinner, and then left for the place where the semester opening party was held. I showed my student ID, so I paid only 1 euro to enter. Everyone seemed to be having fun by dancing, chatting, getting to know other people in a hall with an illuminant ball. Most of the people had alcoholic drink in one hand. Stephan told me that this is what happens if the drinking age is 16 unlike Japanese school festival in which he could not get any alcoholic drink. The music was so loud that I could feel vibration all over my body. We went back to Stephan’s flat at 1 o’clock in the morning, and went straight to bed.
13 March 2010
We got up at 9 o’clock, and took a shower in turn. We ate Viennese breakfast which is a set meal of 2 loaves, butter, jam, marmalade, and a boiled egg. We could also choose drink from coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Then I went into House of Music (Music museum), and spent 2 hours there. I looked around the displays, listening to explanation of history of music with a phone-shaped device. Not only histories of music, but there were also areas in which you can hear noises of everyday life such as tooth brushing or yawning, and experience what unborn babies hear. While I was there, Stephan and Julia went to another place because they were not interested in it. After that, we bought a piece of pizza at a kebab shop, and took a train back to home. After that, I went to my second host family’s house to get to know each other before the move. They served me a cup of tea and a piece of chocolate cake made by Simon (their son). I gave them my scrap book and some Japanese souvenirs. Their son, Simon, practices vault. I have never heard about it, but they explained it as similar to gymnastics but on a horse. We made a plan to go to a concert on Friday in Vienna.
14 March 2010
In the morning, I played the flute, and did my washing. At half past twelve, I started cooking Japanese dishes. I n Austria, we cannot get pork sliced as thin as we have in Japan. I tried to slice it for Okonomiyaki, but it was impossible to make it thinner, so I just cut it into small pieces, and mixed it with cabbage and paste. When I started to cook Shiratama Dango, I called Lukas because I thought he would enjoy rounding rice cakes. As I expected, he enjoyed it, and he put them into hot water, and scooped them up when they came to the surface. Stephan and Philippe also joined us, and everyone ate one and a half pieces of Okonomiyaki and 5-10 rice cakes. First, I served 5 each, but everyone wanted a second helping. They also liked the syrup so much that they were licking it afterwards.
15 March 2010
In the morning, I had my flute lesson, and I mainly practiced basics and etudes. He gave me a very understandable allegory of how my mouth and stomach function. If I want to send water further, I have to either narrow a hose or turn on the tap. In brief, a hose corresponds to a mouth, and a tap corresponds to a stomach. After the lesson, he asked me whether I want to go to a concert tonight because one of his pupils is a member of the orchestra. Of course, I said yes, but I did not know who else would come with me, so he phoned my host family. When I got home Katharina was fermenting paste of Knodels. She went back to school to have afternoon classes, and finished the rest later. She put jam, chocolate cream, marmalade, and cheese (for Lukas) in the Knodels. We sifted poppy powder and powder sugar on them. I was surprised to hear that poppy could become morphine when the fruit is unripe. My host mother remembered that Knodel is very similar to Nikuman she had in a Chinese restaurant. At night, I went to a concert with Julia and her friend.
16 March 2010
In the morning, I went to the theater in the city as a part of of-campus activities. The play was Macbeth written by Shakespeare, and performed by only 4 people. I was surprised at how fast they changed their clothes and atmosphere. At half past one, I had my singing lesson. Today I used a ball and an unstable stool while singing. At ten to five, I had my flute ensemble lesson with Katharina, and played some trio pieces as last week.
17 March 2010
Julia and I took a train to Salzburg at 8. It took about two hours from St.Poelten. First, we bought a discount ticket to go into houses of Mozart both where he was born and grown up. Julia bought some postcards to send her grandparents and aunt in Germany. We walked through a market, and saw carriages and pair at the square. On the platform, we met Julia’s friend from the dogs training school. They were watching a film on his laptop while I was sleeping on the train. His mother picked us up at St.Poelten station. I ate dinner from the remains of yesterday, and waited for Mr.Wieldluck to pick me up. I could move with no problem.
18 March 2010
I got up before 9 o’clock, and had some pieces of chocolate cake. I played the flute in the morning, and had lunch with my host mother when she came back to home for her lunchtime break. I met a cleaning woman who comes to this house every Thursday. It was my first time I saw a cleaning woman in a house. I think they engage her because they both work at school all day. When my host mother went back to school, she took me to music school in her car because music school is on part of the way to her school. I borrowed a room to practice playing the piano, and practiced for 2 hours. I played the flute in my room until my host mother called me to have a cup of tea. Then we ate our dinner, and watched some DVDs of Simons vault. My host mother told me that she sometimes makes the dress for him and his sister who also practices vault. In the compulsory section, everyone does the same to show their skills, and in the free-style section, they perform uniquely with the music they remixed by themselves.
19 March 2010
At 10 o’clock, I had my flute lesson. I was glad to hear that the teacher was pleased that I was swift to respond. Between my flute lesson and piano lesson, I had 15 minutes to practice, so the teacher opened a room for me. At 11.35, I had my piano lesson. The teacher did not think that the next week would be the last week of my stay in Austria, so she told my to complete the piece as best I can. I was going to go back soon after my piano lesson, but I changed my mind. I went to the office, and asked if there was a room which was not being used. Luckily, there was an unused room in the same building, so I practiced playing the piano until 2 o’clock. After I came back, I ate my lunch with my host mother. She cooked me tomato soup and sweet Knodels. We heard the bell from the church at 3 o’clock. She told me that normally we hear the bell at 7 o’clock in the morning and in the evening, but only on Friday, we hear it at 3 o’clock as well. Then I typed journals, and had a cup of tea and chocolate. At half past five, my host father came back, and we got ready to go to the concert in Vienna. He drove to Vienna, and we took the underground to the nearest station to the hall. We first got tickets, and then went around the district. I took a photo in front of a statue of Strauss. We got back to the hall earlier to reserve our seats. We had drink at the lobby, and the concert started at quarter past eight. It was full of amusement with the elements of ballet, operas, and music from Austrian composers as Mozart and Strauss. I especially liked the ballet of which two ballerinas pretended to be drunk. My host father bought me a brochure of the hall and a program of the concert. After that, we went to a cafe, and I drank cafe au lait. It was just midnight when we got back to home.
20 March 2010
We left home to Gratz at 8 o’clock, and we arrived there at quarter to eleven. My host father drove on the way where you find nobody except people who commute or people who earn a living by wood. We first took a cable car to the top of the hill, and went down as we saw the clock tower, and enjoyed the landscape. In the middle of the hill, there was a cafe, so we had drink there. Then we went to an Austrian restaurant, and we had a set meal of soup, roasted and smoked pork, and cabbage. I drank blackcurrant juice which is said to be as healthy as living until 100 years old if you drink it everyday. After lunch, we visited an octopus-like museum, a floating island, and so on. The center of the city was a pedestrian precinct, and was alive with street performers. Simon had a vault competition, and he told me about his compulsory performance today.
21 March 2010
In the morning, I practiced playing the flute. My host father went to the church because he is Catholic. He also visited his friend who had an accident years ago, and became paralyzed a pair of his body. He can talk, but my host mother cannot understand him. He lives in an institution where he is taken care of because he has no relatives, and my host father pays the charge for it. I was greatly touched by his kindness and friendship. My host mother made Schnitzel for lunch. It was quite similar to Japanese Tonkatsu, and usually made with pork though today she cooked it with turkey because she had it in the freezer. Then we went to Krams, and met one of my host mother’s friends (Maria). She has been to Japan twice, and she is interested in Japan. She guided us to churches and main streets. Finally, we went to a cafe, and I had a piece of Mozart chocolate cake and a cup of tea. While I was in the toilet, Maria bought me an Easter chocolate. My host father took the way where we can enjoy the scene of Donau on our left-hand side. Although we were detained by the police because he drove at over 70 kilometers an hour in the area the speed limit is 60 kilometers an hour, the police overlooked it this time. Simon had the second day of a vault competition, and told me about his free-style performance. Although he could perform perfectly outside the hall, his horse got nervous inside the hall because of the audience, and he fell down from the horse. It was his first competition this year, so he thinks he can put his experience to good account.
22 March 2010
I tried to work a slicer to have bread sliced for my breakfast, but I did not find a switch, so I just cut it with a knife. I had my flute lesson at 10 o’clock. I did basic practice and an etude. The problem I had today was that the start of playing sounded unnatural. To solve it, my teacher told me to blow in reaction to breathing, and move my body to relax while breathing. He compared breathing with throwing a racket or a golf club back in tennis or golf, and blowing with hitting a ball. He always reminds me to blow every note with the same pressure because we tend to be lazy and choose an easier way if we get tired. Then I practiced playing the piano for an hour in his room because his next lesson was at 2 o’clock, and got back to home. My host mother cooked me Knodels and sour cabbage for lunch, and we ate together. Then we walked along the river. There were people running, riding on their bikes, walking their dogs. We saw some bumps created by moles. We crossed a bridge, and we were going to have a cup of tea at a cafe, but it was closed today. We walked back on the other side of the river, and came back. We walked for an hour and a half. We had a cup of green tea and some pieces of chocolate cake. Then I practiced playing the flute, and went downstairs. As I was eating dinner with my host mother, my host father and host brother came back, and we watched an American sit-com.
23 March 2010
In the morning, I typed my journals. I slept from ten to twelve, and had my lunch. Then I went to music school, and had my last singing lesson. Today, I sang as I tore newspaper. It makes my chest open; therefore, I can keep my breath longer. She told me that Asians have difficulty in singing forte for a genetic reason compared to Europeans, so we need to train intensively. She passed me a bow, and told me to put it on my arm, and pull it outward. To help me pulling a bow, she pushed my elbow to the opposite direction. I tended to raise my elbow and shoulder, so I have to pay attention not to strain myself unconsciously. She also told me to point at the air when I jump from lower intervals to higher. With the movement bending down and up, I could make portamento easily. The final tip she taught me was to pretend to scratch all my body violently as if there are lice to get energy from the action. Between my singing lesson and flute ensemble lesson, I had two hours to practice playing the piano, so I borrowed a room. I was sorry to make Mr.Yamazaki and his pupil move another room because there was no room with piano available. At ten to five, I had my last flute ensemble lesson, and we played trio pieces. We finished earlier than usual, and went out to the garden to take some photos. I had no plan for Friday, but lunch with the officer of the city was arranged. I will also visit my former host family after lunch. For dinner, I had two sheets of small pizza, and practiced playing the flute in my room. I watched news with my host family. Although it was in German, I could understand the topics by the disastrous images of the flood in Australia and the hurricane.
24 March 2010
In the morning, I did my washing, and played the flute. Simon cooked me instant noodles for lunch, and I left to music school. At 1 o’clock, I had my last piano lesson. I asked my teacher if we could take a photo, and she suggested going outside because the weather was so nice with a cloudless sky. Then I played Czerny, a variation by Mozart, and a nocturne by Chopin. She gave me her CD which has a piece I have started practicing since I came here. I was very happy to see her signature and message on the cover of the CD. After the lesson, I walked to the city, and looked for a store which sells postcards and greeting cards. I dropped in a book store, and found postcards for Julia, Katharina, and Lukas, which were printed as I miss you with pictures of dogs. I also found cards printed as Danke with white roses. After I came back home, I started to write to host families and teachers at music school. Then I practiced playing the flute. I ate dinner with my host parents, and then Simon joined us after his work. We talked about our languages. He told me that he wants to imitate the way the Germans speak German because it sounds nobler for him. He also thinks how the Austrians speak German is relaxing and casual. He sometimes needs to speak in English when he talks to somebody from Sweden. I had difficulty in explaining the use of Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. My host mother had an old picture book in Japanese, and her daughter had a Japanese textbook for beginners. Simon was interested in how we see Chinese people or Asians in whole because learning history is very important for the Austrians as they have a sensitive topic about independence. They still tend to care, and find what they do not have in common with the Germans, he said.
25 March 2010
In the morning, I typed my journal, and practiced playing the flute. I heard the cleaning lady came to this house, so I said hello to her. I ate bread for lunch, and went back to practicing. It got too hot in my room because of the sunshine, so I changed to a camisole. At 5 o’clock, I had my last flute lesson. I felt a sense of achievement when I finished playing the whole piece of Hamburger Sonata. I have got a certificate, and I was so happy to get a good mark and comment from my flute, piano, and singing teacher. I will probably put it into a frame, and hang it on the wall. After the lesson, I met the headmaster of music school, and gave him a souvenir, and said good-by to him. Then, Mr.Yamazaki took me to his home, and we had dinner. His wife, who also plays and teaches the cello at music school, cooked me lasagna, salad, and tiramisu. I enjoyed the meal very much. They had a cat, but I could touch it only once because it was so shy that it hid in the corner of the room. After dinner, we watched NHK World. There was a program about a ramen expo. Before going back, his wife gave me a recipe book of Austrian dishes written in English. He took me to home, and Simon and my host mother were watching TV when I got back. The program was called Germanys Top Models, and there was a lot of weeping going on both because they were happy to have passed the audition and sad to have failed. Simon will go to upper Austria directly after his work tomorrow for his vault camp until Sunday, so I said good-by to him.
26 March 2010
In the morning, we got up early because Simon was going up and down the stairs to ask his parents how to work his car whose light was on during the night. He drove his mother's car to his workplace, but fortunately, his father could fix it. My host mother took Simon's fixed car to take a physical therapy of her knee. I played the flute, and typed my journal, and I was picked up by my host father meanwhile. We had an appointment to have lunch with a city staff, Doris, at a Greek restaurant. We had enough time in the city, so he guided me his school. It was my first time to see the inside of technical school, and it was full of equipments. Sometimes pupils need to wear glasses or helmets to protect themselves from perils. Then we met my host mother, Mrs.Schmidt, Mr.Yamazaki, Mrs.Kogler, Julia, and Katharina. I ate bean soup as a starter and a fish plate as a main dish. I liked fried cuttlefish and crayfish though we don't have that kind of crayfish in Japan. After lunch, my host mother and I went for a walk in the city for a half an hour, and went back to home. My host parents gave me some Easter chocolate and two photo books of Austria. It was even kind of them that they wrote a message on the first page of the book. I also visited my former host family's house. Julia was baking a carrot cake for her mother's birthday tomorrow. We were talking on and on... The funniest thing was that Katharina has written some clues to her exams on her right arm, but she didn't admit it to be cheating. It is for being sure that the answer is correct, if you ask her. And she also said that she cannot take it away after the exam. When we were talking about my flight schedule, suggested my buying some souvenirs of Paris because I have four hours between the arrival from Vienna and the departure to Narita. It was also funny. I gave each member of the family a message card, and thanked them for being my host family. They also gave me Easter chocolate. Once they were in Japan, they hid chocolate eggs in the garden, but they couldn't find them all, I heard. Katharina had her football training, so she went part of the way with me. We talked a lot about flutes. I ate bread with cheese and ham, and watched a German film. Then I packed my suitcase, and went to bed.
27 March 2010
I got up at 7 o’clock, and took a shower. I washed bottles of shampoo and body soap, and put them into a collecting box. I gave my host family a letter, and we had last breakfast together. At first, I was fed up with bread, cheese, and ham, but I miss them now. Although I miss people I met here very much, I feel like we can meet again someday because everyone said I will go to Japan or Come back to Austria. I cannot possibly put my thanks into words. My host mother is also flying to Madrid with her coworker, Maria, so we left together at 9 o’clock. We left our suitcases at the check-in counter, and went to a cafe. My host father will be alone this week, so he seemed somewhat happy to be on his own. I said good-by to my host mother and Maria, and went to my gate. I flew to Paris, and I was a bit confused about which terminal to go and where to get the shuttle at the airport, so I kept asking the way to my gate.