I wanted to take an artistic photograph. Is it like that?
November 11, 2005: Kyushu - Latvia Snow Club
(No.8) Poem recitation
The late Dr. Ukichiro Nakaya was a Japanese snow and ice researcher who created artificial snow crystals for the first time in the world. Mr. Kentarou Nakaya, a nephew of Ukichiro, one day introduced us of a very good tour to Latvia to join an official meeting called "The dialogue of ice and snow exhibition" to be held at National Museum of Natural History in Riga City in November.
The last morning in Riga opened in the rain. We headed to Old Riga by exclusive bus.
Car is prohibited in Old Riga, a world heritage. We got off the bus at the square. The rain stopped luckily.
We had free time in the morning. I visited central railroad station of Riga. The railroad network extends to every direction. We were lured to take one of the train.
We returned back to Old Riga district on foot. I found a handsome gentleman statue on the road.
Latvian flags were everywhere to cerebrate the independence day on November 18.
In the back is the National Opera House we visited the day before yesterday.
I was advised to look up when I walked around Riga. This was because art nouveau decoration of the buildings were very good.
The stone-paved square was just like Europe.
All the members got together at lunch. The dish was unusual Chinese, but it wasn't so good, unfortunately.
We saw blue sky for the first time in this trip. We got excited and took many pictures.
In the afternoon, we visited Picture Museum and enjoyed old Latvian pictures and cameras.
I was surprised to find my long shade even it was still before two in the afternoon.
We visited Japanese embassy public residence. There are many embassies around here.
This is the building in which the public residence is located.
An Ukiyoe picture and Japanese flag were decorated at the entrance.
We were guided to the room. The table was beautifully decorated with flowers and cakes.
Mr. Tanaka, Japanese ambassador to Latvia, explained about the history and relationship with Latvia in detail. We forgot the time passes.

(Before the World War 2, Japan set the largest embassy here in Latvia. Just before its close,Chiune Sugihara, then vice consular, helped more than 6,000 Jewish by issue the entry visas to Japan. Latvia is a country having more than 2,500 years history facing Baltic Sea. Latvia is a part of "Amber Trail" as well. Through seventh and 15th century, Viking had roared the area. Latvian loves nature very much and its famous folk song "One million rose" appeals very much in Japan. The young country wants close tie between Japan in industry invitation, culture, and sightseeing.)
Time passed so quickly.

We got on the bus and returned to Old Town. I found a Japanese flag hoisted on a nearby building.
The poet recitation started at six in the evening. Mr. Takahashi gave a few words in the beginning together with his recitation.
Kazuko Shiraishi recited a poem that expressed her impression by seeing ice core of 250 thousands years ago taken from the South Pole.
Then three Latvian poets read the poem about snow and ice. Even in a country locked in snow for a half year, people may get delighted by seeing the first snowfall.

In a well-honed poem world, I felt anew the beauty of Japanese language in the intellectual world.
We exchanged each other over good wine. Now all our official events were over.
Now, let's relax. We arrived at a huge suburban restaurant to take dinner.
Many big Christmas decorations were already set here and there.
We expressed thanks to pretty Ms. Ieva who attended us for four days in Riga.
The dinner was of buffet-type. We enjoyed good live music as well by dancing pleasantly.
Do Latvians spend long winter in this way? I want to visit Riga again in the fresh green season.
BACK: (No.7) Dinner NEXT: (No9) Back to Helsinki again