Diary in Google Translate Retrospect 1995 Budapest (2) Chain bridge illuminated

The chain bridge, which symbolizes the Hungarian capital of Budapest called the Pearl of the Danube, was completed in the mid-19th century as the first permanent bridge between the Buda side and the Pest side of the Danube.


The length of the bridge is 375 m, the width is 16 m, and the structure that corresponds to the rope hung on a pair of arch-shaped main towers near both banks of the bridge has come to be called a chain bridge because it resembles a chain of bicycle.

Even more entertaining to us was the four giant lion statues placed on the sides of the bridge.


Our stay in Budapest was at the Marriott Hotel on the banks of the Danube, but I didn't expect to see the chain bridge illuminated from my room, so I stood on the balcony as soon as I entered the room. I looked at the chain bridge without getting tired.


The light-up of the Chain Bridge does not illuminate everything like the Tokyo Tower, but it connects light and light like a pearl necklace to make it stand out in the darkness, a contrast of brightness and shadow. It was a poetic beauty that made full use of the elegance of the chain bridge.

According to what I heard, this lighting was done by Philips.


Fortunately, with the arrangement of a male Hungarian tour conductor living in Japan, the next night we tour members took three taxis, ran through the illuminated chain bridge, and we were thrilled. After that, we toasted at the restaurant. 

















Diary in Google Translate Retrospect 1995 Budapest (1) Chain bridge of my heart

The reason why I came to Budapest is because I was longing for a chain bridge over the Danube.


For a long story, about 35 years ago, when Japan was in a bubble economy, I set foot on an exhibition and sale event held at a city hotel by a gallery.


Ever since I bought an oil painting by a French contemporary painter there, I had been offered a two-month calendar for about three years featuring a Japanese painter who specializes in European landscape paintings sponsored by the gallery. However, the picture on that calendar always included the Chain Bridge of Budapest. Although he was a painter who used various European landscapes such as Holland, France and Switzerland as his motif, he probably liked Chain Bridge.


In the meantime, I was fascinated by the bridge, which was too elegant, and one day I ordered the gallery owner to ask the artist to draw a picture of the chain bridge. However, I was an ordinary female office worker at the time, so I paid in installments.


I decorated the "Budapest Chain Bridge" in my room and watched the painting every day, while I became captivated by the chain bridge and wanted to walk on it with my own feet.


Yes, for me, the Chain Bridge in Budapest has been a long-awaited destination for 10 years.
















Diary in Google Translate Retrospect 1995 Prague (4) Hotel Don Giovanni

The hotel in Prague was the four-star Hotel Don Giovanni, a little far from the city center.

So, I thought it was silly to use the luxurious living space of a hotel just for sleeping, so I decided to get out of group activities because of fatigue and enjoy the hotel life alone.


First, decide to sleep in a luxurious and spacious bed, then bring a book to the rich cafe room, enjoy a cup of delicious coffee and cake aside, read a book, and have a relaxing lunch at the hotel's restaurant without being overwhelmed by time. After that, I took a walk around the hotel.


For me, on this occasion, not far from the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, I took the opportunity to enjoy the scenery of an ordinary city that was not a tourist attraction before the waves of liberal economics, westernization and globalism. Wanted to see people's lives.


When I left the hotel, I could see the mosque a little further away, so I thought that Islam pervaded the Czech Republic. The sound of the brooks flowing through the green grove, the beautiful burial ground, the spacious one-story houses in the countryside, the people who walk slowly, and I took a leisurely stroll in them.


The reason why I remember the name of this hotel was because it was a familiar name in the opera "Don Giovanni". Furthermore, it was a waste to stay just to sleep even though it was a four-star hotel, and I couldn't forget the experience of dropping out from a tour and enjoying the hotel life.


However, 25 years ago, I checked on the web if this hotel still existed, and I found that it opened in 1995 and renovated in 2008 and is still open.


This means that when we stayed, it was a brand new time, shortly after the hotel opened.


In addition, the opening of this hotel was one of the signs that Prague was embarking on a liberal economy, westernization and globalism.





















Diary in Google Translate (Extra)Water capital Edo Bridge (2) Bridges over the Sumida River

The Sumida River, which symbolizes Edo (Tokyo) with a total length of 23.5 kilometers that pours into Tokyo Bay, is currently called the “Sumi River Bridge Group” with more than 30 bridges currently built.


Each of these bridge blends into the daily lives of the people who live there, and brings peace and moisture to those who come from far or near.


Therefore, from among the Ukiyo-e paintings that were prosperous in the Edo period, Ukiyo-e artist: Hiroshige Utagawa (1797-1858) drew a picture of the three bridges over the Sumida River, showing how the Sumida River and bridges relate to people's lives at that time. I decided to see what it was.


Reference: "Tokyo people, July 2020"


① Ryogokubashi Bridge



② Eitaibashi Bridge 



③ Azumabashi Bridge 











引用文献:『東京人 2020年 7月』


Diary in Google Translate (Extra)Water capital Edo Bridge (1) Nihonbashi Bridge

I thought of the bridge of the water capital Edo as Prague became an important trading route between Western and Eastern Europe due to the construction of the Charles Bridge.


Edo (Tokyo) in the Edo era was built by the first shogun who opened the Edo Shogunate: Tokugawa Ieyasu, and by means of a waterway network, rivers and waterways travel deep into the land like meshes, and various ships carry people and goods. It was a bustling city suitable for being called the “water capital”.


In addition, the place where goods are unloaded at each wharf is called "Kashi", and a warehouse district, wholesale district, and market were built, and many people worked there.


In this way, the town of Edo prospers around the waterways and develops into a lively and vibrant city where more than one million residents and workers work, and Nihonbashi, which is the center of the city, has developed into a commercial city. There was a lively fish market on the banks of the Nihonbashi River flowing through the center.


There is a picture scroll called "The Kidai Shoran Scroll" that depicts the vibrant neighborhood of Nihonbashi.


This picture scroll was discovered in Germany in 1999 and is attracting attention as a valuable source of information on Edo culture, but it is now owned by the Berlin Asian Art Museum.


Fortunately for us, however, we can know the situation at that time in the recently published English version of "The Kidai Shoran Scroll--TOKYO STREET LIFE IN THE EDO PERIOD".


So, here, from the picture scroll, I would like to recall the vitality of the water capital Edo from the scene of the Nihonbashi Bridge over the Nihonbashi River. 


References:“The Kidai Shoran Scrollk--TOKYO STREET LIFE IN THE EDO PERIOD”

      Authors: Ozawa Hiromu   Kobayashi Tadashi

               Publishing Foundation for Culture and Industry Promotion
















そんな活き活きとした日本橋界隈を描いた『熈代勝覧』(The Kidai Shoran Scroll)という絵巻があります。




が、私たちには幸いなことに、最近刊行された英語版『熈代勝覧』“The Kidai Shoran Scroll ~TOKYO STREET LIFE IN THE EDO PERIOD”で当時の状況を知ることがが出来ます。





引用文献:“The Kidai Shoran Scrollk~ TOKYO STREET LIFE IN THE EDO PERIOD”

      Authors: Ozawa Hiromu   Kobayashi Tadashi

             一般財団法人 出版文化産業振興財団    

Diary in Google Translate Retrospect 1995 Prague (3) Charles Bridge

The Charles Bridge over the Vltava River in Prague began its construction in 1357 under the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV (also Charles I of Bohemia) and was completed in 1402 under the reign of Wenceslas IV. It is a huge bridge with a length of 515.7 meters and a width of 9.5 meters.


Even though building a mighty bridge for a long period of time is a difficult project, in addition, from the 17th century to the 20th century, a total of 30 statues including "crucifix statues" and "saints" were installed on the parapet of the bridge. , Is it because of the strong governing power or the strong religion that they have achieved these things?


It's been a quarter of a century since I visited Charles Bridge, but during that time, globalism has spread to every corner of the world, and cheap air carriers have made it easy for people to travel around the world.


I imagine that until just before the Corona Pandemic, the Charles Bridge would have been a fascinating tourist spot filled with people holding up their smartphones to send out on SNS and tourists led by tour conductors.


The photo shows Charles Bridge in the days when tourists were not so crowded













Diary in Google Translate Retrospect 1995 Prague (2) Bohemian glass shop

After touring the various Gothic and Baroque buildings on Prague's Old Town Square, we were given 30 minutes of free time by the tour conductor gathering in front of the astronomical clock. 

Unlike western cities such as Paris and London, which are crowded with rushing tourists, walking through a medieval preserved city with locals at a leisurely pace makes me feel free.


And I stopped at the storefront of a big Bohemian glass shop that seems to be a long-established store. The Czech Republic is well known in Japan as a bohemian grass producing area. 

If possible, I wanted to take this opportunity to buy a small authentic Bohemian glass vase and display it in my room.


When I looked inside the store from the storefront, a wide range of products such as furniture and interior decorations, glasses and other tableware, and stationery were lined up in a large glass case. 

And at the tip of my eyes, there was a tall Western man who was walking around the store and checking products. 

Considering the number of items collected around him and the expected purchase price, the man seems to be a wholesaler or Bohemian glass shopkeeper.


By the way, if I came to this store to buy Bohemian glasses before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, would I have been able to buy it at a much lower price than that time?

No, I don't think I, as a general Japanese, could easily enter the Czech Republic before the fall of the Berlin Wall. 

I thought then, perhaps, that the Bohemian glass shopkeeper would probably become richer due to the fall of the Berlin Wall.


After all, the price was so high that I couldn't even buy a small vase.