2005年 02月 28日
この教科書に沿っていくと最初から猛烈に飛ばしてると思われます｡普通の語学の教科書はせいぜい"Hello! My name is ～" くらいのことから始めると思うのだけど、この教科書の第１課の最初の一文は"This is a table"(いきなりフルセンテンス)で1課の終わりにはすでに名詞が格変化をおこしています(汗)｡単語も毎回新語が２０語位出て来て教科書を読みながら、スウェ－デン語に口頭で翻訳。今回が2回目なのに文法も名詞と形容詞の性別と数詞の一致が出て来て、ぶっつけ本番で順番に皆(生徒5人に先生一人)で解いてみたり。でも、みんな何とかなっている所がすごい...
2005年 02月 22日
2005年 02月 20日
For hundreds of years Lithuania and Poland have been indispensable to each other in the history. The primary religion of Lithuania is Roman Catholic and the people are very religious. But actually it was the last country in Europe which converted to Christianity and that was finally led by the marriage of the Lithuanian grand duke Jogaila and the Polish crown princess Jadvyga in 1385. Once the Lithuanian-Polish allies extended from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, but Lithuania became weakened gradually and that resulted in entering the Commonwealth with Poland. It’s just an aside but I read a story that Lithuanian people tend to boast to foreigners about the fact that once their country owned land from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. That was not a lie. I heard that, too!
In 1795 the Commonwealth was cut up by a partitioning between Russia, Austria and Prussia, and Lithuania became a part of Russia in the end. Tsarist rule brought censorship and Russification, and public use of Lithuanian was banned. National uprising occurred in 1863 and then thousands of Lithuanians began to emigrate to escape tsarist persecution. Among them was the father of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
The Lithuanian Council proclaimed the Republic of Lithuania on February 16, 1918. But on October 9, 1920 Poland annexed Vilnius and the capital was moved to Kaunas, the second biggest city of Lithuania, where it remained for almost 20 years. That’s why there are still lots of Polish people, like my former landlady whom I mentioned in the first chapter, living in Vilnius.
When we talk about the history of Lithuania we cannot avoid mentioning Jews, because until the Second World War there was the biggest Jewish community of the Eastern Europe Region in Vilnius. The date when Jews began to settle in Lithuania goes back to the 14th century and Vilnius became the center of Jewish culture and scholarship in due course. But after the Soviet Union brought Vilnius back to Lithuania from Poland in 1939, German Nazis occupied the country between 1941 and 1944 and 240,000 Jews were killed during the period. It was as much as 94% of the pre-war Lithuanian Jewish population. No other Jewish community in Nazi-occupied Europe was so comprehensively destroyed and presently only 5,000 Jews remain in Lithuania.
Vilnius was once called “Jerusalem of Lithuania”. In the old town of Vilnius there were Jewish blocks and they were changed into notorious ghettos where all the Jews were packed in to be carried away and killed later. In the next chapter I’ll write about Jewish Vilnius.
2005年 02月 15日
リトアニアの伝統料理ってどんなもの？という質問にはこの本が最適です。レシピのみならずリトアニアの伝統的な食卓マナ－のお話や、クリスマスやイ－スタ－などの伝統行事の際の料理の話などリトアニアの食習慣にさらっと目を通せるちょっとした読み物としても面白いです。Lithuanian Traditional Foods Baltos Lankos社刊
2005年 02月 10日
Lithuania has changed a lot in these 5 years. I walked around the center of Vilnius with my friends. They took me to a big shopping mall, kind of Åhléns type of department store, whose name is Europa which didn’t exist while I was staying in Lithuania. Then we went to the old town. I was expecting to visit my old favorite café near Vilnius University where I studied the Lithuanian language. The café had an historical court yard and the history goes back to the 16th century. I used to go to the café and in the summer I had a tea break there nearly every day. But I found that the café had disappeared and a new Italian restaurant was open there instead. Furthermore the supermarket I used to buy daily food went out of business.
Like that many of the shops which were familiar to me have gone. On the other hand I noticed that there were new coffee franchise shops and pizza chains expanded. The number of tourists has increased incredibly. The streets were flooded with tourists from Russia, Poland and other European countries. No wonder I couldn’t find any vacancy in hotels in Vilnius during the New Year holiday when I searched on the internet, though there would be no problem because I ordered a private room in my good friend’s place. Surprisingly I could even find guidebooks in Japanese in ordinary bookshops and tourist spots. It was not difficult at all that I found just after a half-day walk on the town that Lithuania was developing so quickly and the capital inflow into Lithuania from the West increased quite much. Five years of absence made the differences more clear to my eyes.
Six years ago I rented a room of an apartment in the old town which was owned by an old Polish woman. She had been staying in Vilnius since Vilnius was only one of the towns of Poland during World War Tow. She spoke only Polish and Russian and understood a tiny little Lithuanian. It was a little difficult to communicate with her. At the beginning I told her that I didn’t understand Polish and Russian at all then she responded to me with an angry tone “Why can’t you speak Russian! You are in Lithuania now!” Once she asked me where Japan was on the map. She had only an atlas of Europe and asked me to point to Japan. She was a person of a good example from the Soviet era. She was a little too old to adjust herself to the new era and lagged behind the current of the times. Her world was limited within Europe and she was still living in USSR in her mind. This time I visited this old apartment but a new lock which wasn’t there before was installed to the entrance door and I couldn’t go in. So I never knew if my old landlady was still living there or not.
2005年 02月 03日
At that time the world was at the end of the so called Cold War between the Soviet Union and the USA, and the whole Eastern world was still behind the iron curtain, though it had been becoming open little by little by glasnost policy which was started by the then Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev during the1980s. The information of those countries behind the curtain was so scarce and it was hard to know how ordinary people were living. It is in my nature to be curious more about something especially when it’s hidden. I thought I would read Russian at university, but my teacher advised me that there would be no job afterwards even if I study it. I was so realistic and followed his word to change my way to study English and economics instead.
After my studies I started working in Tokyo as a sales representative. My life was nothing related to Russia or it was rather very domestic. Everyday I visited my customers for sales and was out on the town for market research. My only international activities were to travel in the Asian region both privately and on business and exchange letters with friends living in other countries. While I was spending days like this I happened to start exchange letters with two Lithuanian persons. That was the start of my Lithuanian fever. I visited them at the end of 1997 and I totally gave myself up to the Lithuanian people and the country. In September 1998 I was in Vilnius the capital of Lithuania to start studying the Lithuanian language and the culture at Vilnius University for one year.
I would love to write about the past and the present of Lithuania by tying up with my experience in the following chapters.