Tag Archives: クリスマス

Christmas Eve 2010



It is cold today and current temperature is around 0º. Business, shops and restaurants are closed or close earlier on Christmas Eve. A supermarket was full of people for last minute’s shopping, but streets are deserted after people left for home.

Wishing all of you a very merry Christmas, Christians or non-Christians, with family and friends, or even alone!

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Cologne Christmas Market @ Southbank

今年で3回目となるCologne Christmas Marketが12月23日まで、テムズ川沿いのSouthbank Centre/Royal Festival Hall(サウス・バンク・センターロイヤル・フェスティバル・ホールとLondon Eye(ロンドン・アイ)の間で開催中。伝統的なドイツのクリスマス・マーケットをロンドンに再現したこのマーケットには、60近くの木造のシャレーが並び、ブラートヴルスト(ドイツのソーセージ)、グリューワイン、ハート形のジンジャーブレッド、ローストしたアーモンドやキャンディーなどのフード&ドリンク、そして手作りのおもちゃやジュエリー、レース、ろうそく、陶芸品や、クリスマスツリーのオーナメントなどの工芸品を売っている。また、メリーゴーランドや、子供向けの30分のショーが行われるSanta’s Secret Villageもある。


Cologne Christmas Market is taking place for the third time between the Southbank Centre/Royal Festival Hall and London Eye along the River Thames. Bringing a traditional German Christmas Market to London, around 60 traditionally decorated wooden chalets sell German specialty such as “Bratwurst”, a glass of “Glühwein” (German Mulled Wine), gingerbread hearts, roasted almonds and candies, as well as handcrafted gifts, toys, jewelry, hand tatted laces, candles, ceramics and glass ornaments for Christmas tree. There are also the carousel and Santa’s Secret Village that houses 30-minute children’s shows, to entertain small visitors.

These photos are of last year’s, but it is more or less the same this year. I went to Christmas markets in Vienna few years ago, and it was much more fun than the Southbank’s, which is rather sad and depressing. Christmas markets in Vienna was more glittering and lively that gave me true festive feelings. Visitors there looked far more happier than the ones in Southbank who looked bored or little interested. The organizer must work harder, instead of just making a bad copy of a festivity from foreign culture.

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Frozen Britain: the Country in Chaos…Again

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UK’s traffic has been paralyzed since Friday, due to the big freeze affecting Northern Europe (related article/past entry of my blog). It’s the busiest time of the year just before Christmas and the cold front came at the worst timing. The highest temperature in London has been just 1º, and there is no sign that the snow piled up on the street would melt away, at least until Christmas. London’s Heathrow airport, one of the busiest airport in the world, has been experiencing numerous flight cancellations and severe delays, and has been barely functioning. Thousands of desperate passengers have to bare with never-ending waiting on the floor of the airport, with a slightest hope of good news, that may not come for at least few more days.

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航空便だけじゃない。鉄道も遅れやキャンセルが目立ち、ユーロスターの発着駅であるセント・パンクラス駅は、行列を作る客約6,000人が構内に入りきらず駅をぐるっと半周、その長さは何と約2km。この寒空の中7時間待ちだとか(以下ビデオ/参考記事)。それでも、その日に運良く電車に乗れるという保証はない。そんな人たちを不憫に思ってか、Salvation Army(救世軍)のバンが駅にきて、紅茶やコーヒーの暖かい飲み物を人々に振る舞った(記事)。

Not only the air traffic, but rail networks have had severe disturbances such as delays and cancellations. Today at St Pancras International station, around 6,000 passengers of Eurostar have been waiting on a queue, stretching 1.2 miles/2km around the station, for seven hours under this freezing sky (video below/related article). There is no guarantee that they could get on the board today, though. For these poor passengers, Salvation Army‘s mobile canteen came on site, handing out hot tea and coffee for a little warmth (article).

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There is nothing I can say but sorry to these people in the chaos. The government insists that this is the extreme weather that country hadn’t experienced for decades, but UK has encountered this severe cold winter three years in a row. According to a meteorologist on BBC news yesterday, this trend may continue despite the global warming… I hate cold!!

↑トラックの横転により、混雑する高速道路/An overturned lorry caused traffic jam on the M25

↓ 金曜までのロンドンの天気予報/5-day weather forecast in London

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Christmas Cards by Victoria & Albert Museum

クリスマスまで、あと10日ほど。私達もようやく重い腰を上げ、嫌々ながらもクリスマスカードを書きはじめた。今年は、V&A(ヴィクトリア&アルバート博物館オリジナルの「Winter Trees」(£7.50)と「London Design Festival」(£7.50)を購入。

「Winter Trees」(写真上右)は、18世紀に活躍したイギリス人テキスタイル・デザイナーのAnna Maria Garthwaiteの切り絵(右端下)と、日系アメリカ人彫刻家のシンキチ・タジリの壁紙「Louisiana(1955)」をモチーフにした、各6枚・計12枚セット。クラシックな図案に、落ち着いた色調が素敵。年配の親戚向けに使った。

打って変わって「London Design Festival」(写真左)は、赤・白・黒の3色を使った、明るくてインパクトのあるカード4種各3枚入り。London Design FestivalとV&Aが行ったコンペティションで選ばれたデザインを採用している。友達向けに使用。タイトルとデザイナーは、以下の通り(左上から時計回り)。

  • 「12 Days of Christmas(クリスマスの12日間)」by Dave Burdon
  • 「Why Santa Got Stuck Up The Chimney(サンタは煙突の中で動けなくなってしまった訳)」by Maxine Stinton
  • 「St Paul’s(セント・ポール大聖堂)」by Metropolitan Mouse
  • 「Reindeer and Rabbit(トナカイとうさぎ)」by Kate McLelland

It’s only 10 days to go til Christmas, and we reluctantly started to write Christmas cards at last. This year, we bought two original V&A sets of cards; “Winter Trees” and “London Design Festival” (£7.50 each).

‘Winter Trees’ (right in the photo) contains 12 cards, 6 each in two designs: Papercut by 18-century English textile designer Anna Maria Garthwaite and ‘Louisiana (1955)’ wallpaper by Dutch-American sculptor Shinkichi Tajiri. Its classic designs with calm and serene colors are perfect for elder family and relatives.

“London Design Festival” on contrary is with four vivid and vibrant designs and simple tricolor of red, white and black. This pack of 12 cards (3 each) is the result of a competition organised by the V&A and London Design Festival. We used them for friends. Design titles and designers are as follows (clockwise from top left).
  • ’12 Days of Christmas’ by Dave Burdon.
  • ‘Why Santa Got Stuck Up The Chimney’ by Maxine Stinton.
  • ‘St Paul’s’ by Metropolitan Mouse.
  • ‘Reindeer and Rabbit’ by Kate McLelland.
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The East India Comapny @ Conduit Street

遠い昔、世界史で習った東インド会社が約135年ぶりに復活、2010年8月にロンドンのリージェント・ストリートに程近いConduit Street(コンデュイット・ストリート)に、初のストアをオープンさせた(BBC記事)。アジアとの貿易を目的に、エリザベス女王一世の勅命によって、1600に設立された東インド会社は、賛否両論はあれど、250年以上に渡って東方交易において勢力を誇り、軍事的にもインドの大半を牛耳ってきたが、1857年のインド大反乱により、その長い歴史を終えた。その後東インド会社は株式配当償還条例終了まで、イギリス政府の代理として細々と紅茶貿易などを続けたが、1874年に正式にその幕を閉じた。

復活とはいっても、2005年にインド人ビジネスマンがその名称を買い取り、高級食料品を売るブランドとして、再出発させたもの(→East India Company のウェブサイト。オンラインショッピングもできる)。先日書いたGrouponで、「期間限定ギフトボックス(£49.30)が£19.90」というdealを買ったので、そのピックアップと、クリスマス用ギフトの買い物をかねて、初めてそのお店に行ってみた。ロゴはオリジナルを使用、パッケージもインテリアもエキゾチックで高級感溢れ、なかなか洗練されている。扱う商品は、紅茶、チョコレート、コーヒー、ワイン、ジャム、マスタード、ビスケットなど。最高級の材料を使っているのが自慢だ。ギフトボックスやHamper(バスケットやカゴに入った詰め合わせ)などもあり、贈答やお土産にも喜ばれそう。トウガラシや胡椒、、マスタードなどのスパイスを加えてひねりを利かせた、チョコレートやビスケット、キャンディーも興味深い。試食もでき、「え、こんな組み合わせ?!」と思うものでも、意外と美味しかったりする。


Long time ago, I studied about the East India Company in my high school’s world history class. After 135 years, it is back – and opened its first store in August 2010, on Conduit Street near Regent Street in London.  This controversial Company was established in 1600 by the Royal Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I, for the purpose for pursuing trade with the East. The Company had been a global trading power for over 250 years and had  maintained a big military presence in India, until the Indian Rebellion of 1857 which led it loose all its administrative powers. The Company continued to manage the tea trade on behalf of the British government until the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act came into effect on 1 January 1874, and the Company was dissolved under the terms.

In 2005, the company was purchased by an Indian-born businessman and started its business, focused on luxury food products (→the East India Company store website. you can shop online as well). I purchased “£19.90 for a Limited Edition Festive Gift Box (£49.30)” deal at Groupon (I wrote few days ago) , so I visited the London store for the first time to pick up the box and to buy some Christmas gifts. Its interior and packages are exotic and gorgeous. The store sells tea, chocolate, coffee, wines, jams, mustard and biscuits, as well as a range of gift boxes, hampers and trunks. Their products use highest quality ingredients, and some of its unconventional use of exotic spices such as chilli, nutmeg, peppercorn and mustard for biscuits and chocolates, is quite intriguing. There are some sample, so no risk of regret your purchase after you come back home and have a bite. Some combination may sound quite strange, but be open-minded and try something different – some are surprisingly tasty.

One set-back, though, is the quality of its package. When I opened the £8-worth gift box, it made crunchy noise and the glue came off… There is not much stuffing and products inside displaced all over the box. Bands of two chocolate boxes are loose, and the boxes opened and all the chocolate came out, scattered inside the shopping bag. The design is very sophisticated, but the package must be improved to secure all the contents stay in its place!


Our purchase of the day: Limited Edition Festive Gift Box (biscuits, on the bottom left with blue and white package, sold separately) and two chocolate boxes (I put all the chocolates nicely, picking them up from the shopping bag). You may not see well, but the shopping bag has gold emblem with a lion motif.

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