2005/06/08

Relief from `castanet season' is finally here

 僕は英辞郎を使って英語を読みまくり、インターネットラジオのNHKのラジオジャパン英語ニュースで時事英語を聞きまくってます。(^^;また、VOAでヴォイスレコーダーにDLしたMP3音声とテキストも楽しんでます。
参考「こんな感じで英辞郎を使ってます

Relief from `castanet season' is finally here

06/07/2005

The "castanet season" is here again. As if brought on by summery weather, the stairs and down-escalators at train stations now resound with that rhythmical clickety-click-clack racket made by women, not with their hands but with their feet. That's right, I am talking about those very audible footsteps, not the hand-held musical instrument of that name.

2005年06月06日(月曜日)付
【天声人語】

 ことしも「カスタネットの季節」がやってきた。カッカッ、カッカッ。陽気に誘われるように、駅の階段や下りエスカレーターで、よく聞こえてくる。手のひらでなく、女性たちが足元で鳴らす。そう、あのわざと響かせているような靴音だ。

The noise is generated by women's decorative hot-weather slides known as mules. As this type of footwear does not support the feet snugly in place, the pounding of the heels on the ground results in that distinctive click-clack that varies in pitch and decibel according to the wearer's posture, gait, body weight and the height and shape of the mules' heels.

 涼しくて、デザインもかわいい、ミュールという突っかけが音源である。歩くたびに、いったん浮いたかかとが、着地する際にヒール部分を地面に打ちつけて鳴る。歩く姿勢や速さ、体重、ヒールの高さ、細さによって、音は高くも低くもなる。

I guess women wear them because they are comfortable, but how they stand that clatter is beyond me. And don't they ever have the decency to wonder if people around them might appreciate not having to hear them?

When I complained like a true curmudgeon to a colleague, I was told that these mule-shod women are nicknamed "castanet girls" or "can-can women."

 いかに履きやすくても、本人もうるさかろう。あまりに傍若無人ではないのか。こんなオヤジの小言を口にしたら、同僚が教えてくれた。彼女たちは「カスタネット娘」とか「カンカン女」と呼ばれているのだ、と。

Perhaps because this footwear fashion is effectively a national phenomenon now, a product that mutes those noises has become a huge market success. It is a two-sided adhesive patch that keeps one's heel firmly "glued" to the shoe sole. Call it a devise that keeps the castanet locked, if you will.

 名前がつくほど広がったからだろう、あの音を防ぐ商品がよく売れている。かかとの部分に張る両面テープ状の敷物で、足の裏が靴底から離れない。いわば、カスタネットを閉じておく仕掛けだ。

In the case of the Shizuoka-based maker who started marketing it two years ago, the product is the brainchild of a 27-year-old female employee who wanted to be able to run in her mules. She developed a prototype, which substantially muted the noise. The company has already applied for a patent.

Another maker joined the market this spring, and our deliverance from this form of noise pollution may not be far off.

 2年前から売り出した静岡市のメーカーの場合、27歳の女性社員のアイデアだった。ミュールでも走りたいと考案したら、防音効果も大きかった。いま特許出願中だ。今春から別の会社も参入している。靴の騒音は改善されるかもしれない。

With such thoughts milling in my mind, I was observing my fellow passengers on the train the other day. I had the impression the population had shrunk of such once-ubiquitous pests as men yapping loudly into their mobile phones and youngsters with Walkman headsets leaking annoying noises.

Relieved and pleased, I got ready to leave the train. But blocking the door was a man, standing stock-still like an immobile stone statue of Jizo. He was silent for sure, but a royal pain nonetheless.

 そう思って列車内を見渡すと、大声で話す「ケータイ君」もヘッドホンをつけた「シャカシャカ虫」も減った気がした。ほっとした気分で降りようとしたら、ドアの前で動かない男性がいた。まるで「お地蔵さん」だ。静かでも、乗り降りの邪魔だってば。

-The Asahi Shimbun, June 6(IHT/Asahi: June 7,2005)

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2005/06/07

Is not wearing a tie part of the Kyoto Protocol?

 僕は英辞郎を使って英語を読みまくり、インターネットラジオのNHKのラジオジャパン英語ニュースで時事英語を聞きまくってます。(^^;また、VOAでヴォイスレコーダーにDLしたMP3音声とテキストも楽しんでます。
参考「こんな感じで英辞郎を使ってます

Is not wearing a tie part of the Kyoto Protocol?

06/06/2005

In the early summer of 1871, Tomomi Iwakura and other top officials of the Meiji government-then in its fourth year-engaged in heated debate over the nation's official dress code. Purists insisted on maintaining traditional kimono, arguing it was silly to ape the West even on how to dress. But those in favor of adopting Western attire countered that the change in attire was indispensable if Japan was to join the international community.

Their argument prevailed.

2005年05月29日(日曜日)付
【天声人語】

 明治4年の初夏、岩倉具視ら高官が集まり、開国日本の服装はどうあるべきか激しく論じた。和服派は「衣服まで外国をまねるのは愚か」と訴えたが、洋服派が「外国との交際に欠かせない」と説き伏せた。世にいう「洋服大評定」である。

I sometimes fantasize what would have happened if the pro-kimono camp had won. Even if it did, I don't imagine we would have remained so stuck in tradition as to be still wearing full court kimono or half-length Japanese coats in our daily business.

However, I feel pretty certain there would be far fewer men wearing neckties at the height of the sweltering summer.

 あの時もし洋服派が敗れていたら、と夢想してみる。よもや衣冠束帯や羽織はかまが現代まで続くようなことはあるまい。だが亜熱帯に近いこの国で、真夏にネクタイを締める人口は今よりはるかに少なかったはずだ。

In the more than 130 years since that early summer of 1871, Diet members and bureaucrats have made it a rule to wear a tie to work-with the exception of the years during World War II. But on June 1, Cabinet ministers and civil servants ended this tradition to ``help ease global warming.''

 大評定から130余年、戦時下を除くと国会や省庁ではずっとネクタイ着用が基本とされた。だが、来月からは閣僚や官僚たちがネクタイなしの勤務を始める。地球温暖化対策の一つという。

According to Environment Minister Yuriko Koike, who came up with the idea, ``Japanese men are overpackaged. They have been testing their limits of endurance to heat by wearing a tie in summer.'' There should be different opinions from men who do not have any choice to wear ties.

 音頭を取る小池百合子環境相は「日本の男性は過剰包装。ネクタイで暑さに耐える我慢大会をやってきた」と言う。必要に迫られてネクタイを着けてきた身には、あれこれ異論もあるだろう。

Throughout this, the necktie industry has been surprisingly quiet.

Takeshi Kobori, the 70-year-old head of a Tokyo association of necktie makers, said: ``Of course we are not happy. But our industry hasn't got the luxury to complain to politicians because we are too busy just struggling for survival.''

That was in stark contrast to the oil embargo days of the early 1970s, when the former Ministry of International Trade and Industry told the nation's men to stop wearing ties. Kobori said his association then complained to the ministry at once.

But times have since changed.

Not only are Japanese men wearing ties less frequently, but cheap imports from China have driven established tie makers, some of which have been around since before the war, into bankruptcy.

 それにしてもネクタイ業界は音なしの構えだ。「不満はあるが、業界にはいま政治にもの申す余力がない。どう生き残るかで精いっぱいですから」と東京ネクタイ協同組合理事長の小堀剛さん(70)は話す。石油危機ではノーネクタイを勧めた通産省にすかさず抗議したが、それも今はむかし。ネクタイ離れが進み、格安の中国産が流れ込んで、戦前から続いた老舗(しにせ)が次々倒れた。

The Environment Ministry even was to hold a summer fashion show June 5 using the nation's business leaders as models.

I have nothing against Koike's zeal to let the public sector lead the private sector in men's fashion. However, when it is so obvious that it is really the government telling men in Japan to shed their neckties, I am sure there are some who want to do just the opposite of what the government tells them-and wear one.

 環境省は来月5日、財界人らをモデルに夏服ショーを開く。政官界から民間へ。意気込みはわかるが、あまり政府に宣伝されると逆にネクタイを着けたくなる天(あま)の邪鬼(じゃく)もいる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 29(IHT/Asahi: June 6,2005)

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2005/04/04

Japan's 'mask season' is a news item abroad

 僕は英辞郎を使って英語を読みまくり、インターネットラジオのNHKのラジオジャパン英語ニュースで時事英語を聞きまくってます。(^^;
参考「こんな感じで英辞郎を使ってます

Japan's 'mask season' is a news item abroad

04/04/2005
The Asahi Shimbun

Never before have I noticed so many people wearing masks as this year.

On one sunny, gusty day-the worst kind for pollen-allergy sufferers-I counted roughly one out of every four people on a commuter train wearing a mask.

2005年03月28日(月曜日)付
【天声人語】

今年ほどマスク着用率の高い年があっただろうか。花粉症の患者を泣かせる快晴で強風の日に、通勤電車の中で数えると、乗客のざっと4人に1人が着けていた。

Pollen allergy is not unique to Japan. But outside Asia, there are not many cities where you see so many mask-protected people in early spring.

"You hardly ever see anyone walking around like that here," said a Japanese man who works in Washington, D.C. Most pharmacies in the United States do not sell masks.

When he advised his allergic American colleague to try a mask, the colleague was horrified that it would make him look like a carrier of some serious contagious disease.

 外国にも花粉症はある。だがアジア諸国を除けば、春先にマスク姿が街にあふれる国は多くない。米ワシントンで働く日本人男性は「こちらではマスクで街を歩く人はついぞ見ない」と言う。米国では大半の薬局がマスクを扱わない。花粉症に悩む同僚の米国人にマスクを薦めたが、「重い伝染病の患者みたい」と嫌がられたという。

Another Japanese man, residing in Germany, noted: "In this country, people don't go to work if they are in a condition that requires wearing a mask. They just take the day off if they can't stop coughing or sneezing."

He added that he has never seen many people in masks in London or Paris.

 「マスクまでして出勤しない。この国ではせきやくしゃみが止まらない日は休む」。ドイツ在住の日本人男性も言う。ロンドンやパリでもマスク姿を大勢見かけることはないそうだ。

This makes Japan's "mask season" a news item in the Western world. A U.S. newspaper reporter described a horde of masked Japanese marching the streets and commented he thought he had run into a group of surgeons heading for the operating theater.

An Australian newspaper reported some years ago that such a sight could be taken for a mass anti-government rally by voters. The exaggerated tone seems to underscore the rarity of this phenomenon in Western culture.

 そのぶん欧米では、日本のマスクの季節が格好のニュースになる。歩道を行くマスクの群れを描写して米紙は「手術室に向かう外科医の集団かと思った」と伝えた。豪紙は数年前、「政府に抗議する有権者の一斉行動みたい」と報じた。大げさな書きぶりだが、よほど珍しいのだろう。

According to Hakujuji Co., a major sanitary goods maker established in 1896, masks became popular in Japan during the Spanish influenza epidemic from 1918 to 1919. Before that, masks were worn only by factory workers as a protection against dust inhalation.

The traditional mask is rectangular in shape and covers the nose and mouth, but the mainstream design today is oval-shaped for wider coverage from the nose to the chin.

 創業明治29年の衛生用品大手「白十字」によると、日本でマスクが普及したのは、スペインかぜが猛威をふるった大正半ば。それまでは工場労働者の粉じんよけだった。かつては口もとを覆う横長型が多かったが、いまは鼻からあごまですっぽり隠すカラス天狗(てんぐ)型が主流だ。

In Europe and America today, television and newspapers provide "pollen forecasts." But even though experts recommend wearing a mask to alleviate pollen-allergy symptoms, the custom has obviously not caught on yet.

 欧米でも近年は、テレビや新聞が「花粉予想」を伝える。専門家が「症状緩和にはマスクが効果的」と薦めてはいるが、普及の兆しはまだないようだ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 28(IHT/Asahi: April 4,2005)

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