《錢湯 — 日本嘅公眾澡堂》

Japanese Sento Bath House

京都梅湯錢湯 Plum Bath House, Kyoto

Please scroll down for the English translation!

郭少鳳著

香港人對日本嘅錢湯文化都有或多或少嘅認識,香港人喜愛嘅日本電影劇、卡通、漫畫間唔中都會將錢湯呢種日本特有嘅文化元素加入去。記得睇小丸子卡通時,佢哋會一家大細,一人拎住一個藤藍,開開心心咁行去錢湯泡湯!

今次去京都旅行,由於住喺一間浴缸好細嘅日本連鎖式酒店,於是試試上網揾揾酒店附近有冇錢湯。一揾就喺附近揾到兩間,步程都唔超過 5 分鐘,第一晚揀咗一間叫「梅湯」試試。

喺日本浸湯係有特定嘅程序,為尊重自己及當地文化,一定要先做足功課。一入門口,就要除鞋,放入專放鞋子嘅儲物櫃,然後到番台(收費前台)俾錢,之後男女分開進入男湯或女湯。首先會到達更衣室,喺呢度,我哋要將自己所有衣服(包括內衣褲)脫光,然後進入浴場。浴場分開兩區:洗淨區和浸泡區。我哋一定要先到洗淨區將自己身體洗得乾乾淨淨,然後先去浸泡區浸,如果未冲涼就直接去浸,係超級冇禮貌,另外,毛巾同埋頭髮都唔可以浸落水。

聽落去,好似好多規矩咁。有人會講都係冲個涼啫,點解要攪咁多嘢?!咁就不能不提錢湯嘅起源同日本嘅泡浸文化。據聞澡堂文化早在 6 世紀時跟佛教傳入日本有關,澡堂主要讓佛寺嘅僧侶使用,喺潔淨身體嘅同時洗滌心靈,亦有讓窮苦大眾使用,為佢哋帶來好運。之後慢慢澡堂開始收費讓普羅大眾使用,演變成今日嘅錢湯。喺全盛時期,全日本有大約 2 萬間錢湯,但隨著戰後日本經濟發達,好多日本人屋企都有自己嘅浴室,而家錢湯數量下降至 4 千間左右。

「梅湯」係一間百年老店,但老闆卻是一個年輕人,好奇怪,印象中錢湯嘅掌櫃多數都係上咗年紀嘅老人家。原來呢位 90 後老闆同好多日本嘅年輕一代一樣,細蚊仔時都未去過錢湯,直到20歲先第一次去,仲一去就愛上錢湯文化,好鐘意見到街坊用京都腔熱情傾計,覺得赤裸相見,拉近人與人之間嘅關係。據稱,佢用咗8年時間,走訪全日本 700 多間錢湯,發現錢湯嘅經營者大多數都係上咗年紀嘅老年人,見到唔少錢湯都面臨倒閉結業嘅危機,激發起佢想保留及推廣澡堂文化嘅理想。

梅湯經營嘅模式同其他澡堂最大嘅分別係,梅湯會喺星期四定休日,將場地租借出嚟擧行音樂會或其他文化活動,藉此讓參加嘅年輕人同時認識澡堂文化。

當晚大約9點鐘嚟到梅湯,女湯內使用人數唔算太多,得 6、7 個人左右,多數都係 50 歲以上,但都有兩、三個年輕人。我一坐低打算冲涼,就聽到其中一個上咗年紀嘅老人家用日文同我講嘢,慢慢我就了解到,我用錯咗佢個啲工具。原來喺浸錢湯時,冲涼時用嘅櫈仔同面盆仔,係要一進入女湯時喺門口自己拎,同去日式温泉旅館浸溫泉唔同㗎。

喺日本,泡浸池叫風呂。梅湯設備都好齊全,有深風呂、淺風呂、草藥風呂、電氣風呂、冷水風呂同埋芬蘭浴。貪新鮮嘅我當然每一個池都要試試。電氣風呂係一試難忘嘅:電氣風呂係透過水,將微弱嘅電流帶到你嘅身上,等你有觸電嘅感覺,藉此令你覺得身心得到鬆弛。一踏入電氣風呂,我慢慢感到全身好似被好多枝細細幼幼嘅針好温柔咁拮緊,感覺好酥麻。我估呢種怪異嘅感覺未必人人都鐘意…

我最鐘意嘅係最簡單嘅淺風呂,一個人安靜坐喺淺風呂泡浸,啲水淹過身體嘅同時,好似可以將平時嘅煩惱都淹蓋,所有事情都變得唔再重要,肉身嘅疲累都散發到水裏,真係何其舒服!

有人好似我一樣,鐘意獨個兒享受,但有人鐘意相約知己一齊前往泡湯。我就聽到剛才指導我嘅婆婆同另一位啱啱嚟到嘅「街坊」傾計,我估佢哋兩個都係梅湯嘅熟客。記得睇過一段 YouTube 短片,訪問咗一個錢湯老闆,佢問點解日本人咁鐘意去澡堂浸湯,大家都赤祼祼,仲會同人交流唔會覺得尷尬咩?佢話,無論你係富貴或貧窮,做咩職業,喺沖涼泡湯時,都係赤裸裸嘅,同你出身時一模一樣,呢種赤身嘅交流,好容易使人忘記高低貴賤,大家都係平等嘅,交流更為真誠!

最鐘意係冬天浸湯,浸完之後,全身都十分暖和,到收費前枱買一樽可愛嘅玻璃樽牛奶,一啖飲曬,為呢次「初嚐錢湯」劃上一個完美嘅句號。

“Sento, the Japanese Public Bath House”

by Evette Kwok

People in Hong Kong tend to have some knowledge of the culture of the sento or Japanese bath house, and the Japanese films, TV cartoons and manga they enjoy occasionally feature this element, one that is particular to the Japanese way of life. I remember watching an episode of a cartoon about Chibi Maruko-cha and how she went off with her whole family to a sento for a bath, each person carrying a basket loaded with all the things they needed!

Continue reading “《錢湯 — 日本嘅公眾澡堂》”

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Housewarning

Old House, Tung Ping Chau

The house withdrew, leaving me
homelessnessless. I could no longer inhabit
any of its accustomed atmospheres.
All my furniture was in the wrong place;
pictures hung out of focus, unbalancing
walls; either the light was too dark
or too bright or too somewhere in between,
playing havoc with my mood. Had I
stopped giving out my personal climate?
Why could I not extract familiarity
from the utterly familiar? Was it
my turn to turn inexplicably alien?
Then, without fanfare, the house
switched back on, returning, reclaiming,
recalmed — until next time my powers failed.

Patton’s Paper Road to Ham Tin 鹹田

Ham Tin Plank Bridge

Ham Tim Beach (Photograph from frankshiking.blogspot.com)

 

This is the beach that wipes more than just a mile or so off my face,
legs once again learning through blunt muscle
how to speak at length
haltingly the language of fatigue. I need
now all the balance I can muster
to get across Ham Tin’s ramshackle prank plank-bridge stilted over
a deep tidal creek
out to the pristine-deserted foreshore, sparkling
like a salt-crystal mirage of itself. Those two islands ― Tai Chau  大洲
and Tsim Chau  尖洲 ―
intimate in their hundreds or thousands of millions of years
together, mean across the clear bay-water what they’ve always ever meant
to my dumb way of seeing: a thin gate or a slot
for imagination to glide through
and a realization that the grand total of a lifetime’s stock knowledge
can bring me back
full of fresh feeling to a place like this
without even slightly telling me the answer
to my whims.

The Anatomy

I am the thin, long vein that runs almost to the tip of a hare’s right ear,
keeping the blood-flow going night or day ―
whatever the animal happens to feel in itself.
I enjoy
the ever so gentle physical tumble of corpuscles in circulation
and currents along the river of transparent serum
for which I am both the funnel and bed.
Dew means nothing
to me, nor jaune morning sunlight
on the mown, low hills, nor scents of the latest fox
smeared across stone. Simply, I am a single story of work
done well, an open extended invitation
to life’s micro-vital throb, to all red’s
obvious-unknowable venturous middle names.

《蛙文》/ Frogscript 16 • 郭少鳳 Evette Kwok

Japanese Frog for Frogscript_Thumbnail_2 FEB 2018

Please scroll down for the English translation!

《蛙文:臭屁勒》

郭少鳳著

我曾經聽到一個好難回答嘅問題:「我哋成日叫人愛護大自然,保護動植物,記得曾經有人問我,當啲蚊咬佢時,佢應唔應該拍死啲蚊呢?定應該要愛護佢,俾佢吸血呢?」我哋平時會即時消滅啲蚊。對於曱甴都會咁樣。噉,臭屁勒呢?我哋對臭屁勒會用點樣嘅方法先至啱?

唔知有幾多人聽過臭屁勒呢種昆蟲?住喺村屋嘅人一定唔會陌生,佢哋經常會喺屋企出現,亦會喺啲衫褲内產卵。好幾年前,我喺屋企窗邊嘅蚊網上見過佢哋啲蛋:淺粉綠色嘅,一粒貼著另一粒,整整齊齊分成兩、三行,都算幾靚,所以由得佢哋。過了大概兩個星期,記得有朝返工經過見到啲蛋終於孵化成蟲,一次過見到十幾隻BB幼蟲,都覺得幾得意!當日放工返到屋企,打算第一時間再同佢哋打招呼,點知全部走晒。

我將呢個經驗同同樣住喺村屋嘅好友講,佢話啲臭屁勒一啲都唔可愛,仲話如果我家嘅貓貓同佢哋玩,我就會知「味道」。當時心諗,齋聽個名,覺得佢哋會放臭屁,咁最多咪俾佢哋臭下啫。

直到最近,繼細細個同曱甴有肌膚之親後,我同臭屁勒又有親密關係:當時啱啱沖完涼,坐咗喺客廳嘅櫈上,突然聞到一陣怪味,陣味唔係好難聞,起碼唔係會令我作嘔嘅味道,但真係好怪,係帶有杏仁味嘅一種強烈怪味,不過我好肯定唔係我嘅淋浴露嘅味道!

嗰陣味實在太強啦,我掀起我件衫聞下嗦下,想確定係唔係件衫洗得唔乾淨,一嗦,我就聞到陣味係從我身上發出,再嗦再望,啊!救命呀!見到一隻手指公咁大、棕黃色嘅臭屁勒,企咗喺我肚皮上,喺肚臍上小小嘅位置,好驚,本能反應係將佢捉住,隨手扔出,然後我即刻衝入冲涼房冲洗被臭屁勒踩過嘅肚皮,肚皮有小小痛,開始痕癢同紅腫了。途中隱若見到我家貓貓即刻想去捉隻臭屁勒,最終應該係我老公將隻臭屁勒捉走並放生。

由於同臭屁勒有咗肌膚之親,一定要認識清楚佢,於是上網揾揾資料,臭屁勒嘅學名係荔枝椿象,原來寄居喺荔枝樹、龍眼樹上,吸食佢哋嫩枝、花、果嘅汁液,怪唔之得,成日喺種左好多果樹嘅村莊出現。再睇睇資料,嗰隻臭屁勒當時一定係受驚,所以向我噴出臭液想嚇退我呢個敵人,輕微焯傷咗我嘅肚皮,攪到痕癢紅腫咗一個多月。

咁我當時應唔應該拍死焯傷我肚皮嘅臭屁勒呢?我哋同大自然相處時,究竟應該如何取得平衡?!其實,蚊子、曱甴同埋臭屁勒都有同一個特徵:身體脆弱,冇乜辦法保護自己。不過,佢哋都被迫創造一套零舍與眾不同嘅方式,嚟維持自己嘅生命。我哋雖然好難接受呢啲昆蟲所帶嚟嘅麻煩,但係起碼可以佩服自然界有咁豐富嘅創造力。

frogscript stink bugs

“Stink Bugs”

by Evette Kwok

I once overheard a tricky question that wasn’t easy to answer: “We are always telling people to protect the natural world and to take care of plants and animals, but I remember someone asking me whether she should kill a mosquito if it bit her. Shouldn’t we let it suck our blood if we want to look after it?” In most cases, we kill the mosquito. The same goes for cockroaches. But what about stink bugs? What is the right way to go about dealing with stink bugs?

Continue reading “《蛙文》/ Frogscript 16 • 郭少鳳 Evette Kwok”

Event • Death of a Christmas Tree 2013 (Festival Walk 又一城, Kowloon Tong 九龍塘)

festival walk christma tree

In January they finally dismantled the giant Christmas tree,
its Bethlehem Star a cyclops eye that stared at the denudedness.
Its absence loomed through the shopping centre for days,
a huge spruce vacancy over-shadowing polished granite floors.
For weeks in November I was all eyes to its myriad bud-lights:
they’d twinkle in my moods blinking non-stop
through all the stations of an artificial electric spectrum.
The shift from blue to deep purple — an indefinable-perplexing
blue/purple in-between-ness — was a favourite transition;
perhaps it matched the glow of my eclipsed, home-sick aura.
There was nothing in that place I ever wanted to buy,
apart from a decent cup of coffee. I used to stand staring in
at the windows of the florists for the sake of orchids and irises
and lilies, too beautiful for money or for words.
They put the whole business of novelty to shame, really —
the novelty leaking inevitably out of luxury everywhere
like air from a slow balloon or the portion of charge
in a battery — or like the life out of all of us hypnotized
by the behind-the-tall-plate-glass-windows. I felt my moods
swing too through the muzak: one track was a sudden door
into a vivid bloodstream; the rest were the same door
softly slammed in my face with a faint lipstuck smile
and a curt gestured “no!” or an ingenious piece of window-dressing,
trompe-l’œil that only pretended to open into any place remotely different.
Uniformed women skilled in minimum visibility patrolled the levels
carrying rustic twin-lidded baskets for the discreet removal of litter.
I saw them panic, once, when a customer smashed a paper bag
containing two bottles of French red wine on the ground —
its stain was a vomit of glass and blood on their pristine work.
To say hello to one of them, just once, from the heart,
would have been my crowning achievement,
but I never managed, never even managed to catch an eye
with some badly pronounced trite Cantonese phrase.
You can’t make light of people like that, too real for words.
You can’t possibly do anything to light up the christmasless heights
of that multi-storey pain.

《文化途徑之外嘅「小文化」》/ Off the Beaten Heritage Trail in Fanling

2017-12-04 Fanleng Yellow Flowers 1 RESIZED

香港粉嶺崇謙堂嘅「野花王國」Field of yellow flowers, Shung Him Tong, Fanleng.

Simon Patton 著

因為每次嚟香港都住沙田一間酒店,所以香港朋友已經出於攪笑,鐘意用「沙田友」呢嘅名稱稱呼我。不過,我心裏有嘅秘密,好少同其他人講:其實,我同時亦都可以算係「粉嶺友」。
Whenever I go to Hong Kong, I stay in the same hotel in Sha Tin, and so friends of mine there take pleasure in jokingly referring to me as a Saa Tin yau or “Sha Tin friend”, a term used in Cantonese for residents of that town. However, I have a hidden secret that I rarely tell anyone: actually, I could also be considered to be a bit of a “Fanling friend” as well.

你或者會即刻問到粉嶺究竟有乜吸引人嘅地方?當然,唔少外國遊客第一次去粉嶺正係因為嗰度設立嘅龍躍頭文化俓。其實,呢條文化俓經過嘅地方真係有意思,包括崇謙堂教堂,幾個圍村(麻笏圍,老圍,新圍),天后廟,鄧氏公祠等等名勝古跡。老實講,我自己初次去「發現」粉嶺亦都係因為呢個緣故。不過,而家去粉嶺另外仲有一種更加吸引我嘅因素:聯和墟熟食中心。
Your immediate response to this might be: What’s so interesting about Fanling? Many visitors to Hong Kong are naturally drawn to Fanling for the first time because of the Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail that has been established there. The sites of historical interest along the trail are in actual fact quite interesting, places such as the old Christian church of Shung Him Tong (sung him in Cantonese means “worshiping humility”), several walled villages (Ma Wat Wai, Lo Wai, San Wai, among others), a Tin Hau temple, as well as the big ancestral hall built for the Tang clan. To be perfectly truthful, my own original “discovery” of Fanling was because of this trail. Now, however, there is something even more enticing that keeps me coming back to Fanling: the Cooked Food Centre at Luen Wo Hui Market.

澳洲係一個講求方便嘅國家,超市因此早就打敗咗原有嘅街市。香港雖然亦都深受「方便主意」嘅消極影響,但係到目前為止,仍然可以揾到唔少熙熙攘攘嘅街市,而且其中大多數都設有熟食中心。
Australia is a country which makes a big song and dance about convenience, and the markets here were soundly defeated by supermarkets long ago. Although Hong Kong has also been adversely influenced by this “convenience-ism”, quite a number of bustling wet markets can still be found to this day, most of them with their own cooked food centres.

喺聯和墟嘅門口搭扶手電梯去熟食中心,第一間見到嘅舖頭就叫「添仔蝦餃」,特別鐘意食蝦餃嘅我就自然而然揀喺嗰度食早餐、食晏。除咗蝦餃之外,我仲好鐘意食「添仔蝦餃」嘅腸粉同埋粥,真係好好味,食嘢時亦可以順便欣賞周圍環境中嘅人間戲劇!
When you ride the escalator at the entrance to the Luen Wo Hui Market up to the Cooked Food Centre, the first shop you see is called “Tim’s Prawn Dumplings”, and for someone like me who is especially fond of eating haa gaau, it is perfectly natural that I should choose to go there for breakfast or lunch. Apart from the dumplings, I am also rather partial to the cheung fan and juk (congee) served at Tim’s Prawn Dumplings ― the food is really tasty, and while eating I can also enjoy the spectacle of the human comedy being played out all around me.

tin zai haa gaau

粉嶺聯和墟熟食中心「添仔蝦餃」Tim’s Prawn Dumplings, Luen Wo Hui Market Cooked Food Centre in Fanling, Hong Kong

記得有一次喺「添仔蝦餃」食蝦餃嘅時候,我同另外一位顧客搭檯,當我嘗試同佢講幾句唔鹹唔淡嘅廣東話時,佢就開始用一口流利嘅英文同我傾計。其實,佢係喺沙頭角長大嘅,但係好多年前決定離開香港,去英國定居。就係佢第一次介紹「喼汁」俾我知,從此之後,我每次喺「添仔蝦餃」嗰度食蝦餃都一定會加上少少喼汁,個人覺得咁樣食效果真係好好,同時我會諗起教識我「喼汁」呢個單詞嘅沙頭角人。其實,我學習廣東話嘅過程中有好多類似嘅例子,通常第一次學到一個嘅新單詞同一個具體嘅人物、一個具體嘅地點、一個具體嘅場所,都有密不可分嘅關係,令到香港好多地方已經變成活生生嘅獨特辭典喇!
I remember one time when I was enjoying some prawn dumplings at Tim’s, I shared a table with another customer. When I tried out a few phrases of my half-baked Cantonese on him, he replied in fluent English and we got talking. He told me that he had grown up in Sha Tau Kok but had left Hong Kong many years ago to settle in England. He was the man who gave me my first introduction to gip jap vinegar, and since that meeting, religiously I add a dash of it to my prawn dumplings whenever I eat at Tim’s. I think the flavours combine rather well and, at the same time, I recall the man from Sha Tau Kok who taught me this word. In actual fact, in the course of my study of Cantonese, there have been many examples of this sort of thing: it is often the case that my learning of a new piece of language is closely bound up with a specific person, a specific place, and/or a specific occasion, with the result that many parts of Hong Kong have become a kind of living dictionary for me!

喺「添仔蝦餃」食完蝦餃之後,我就會漫步行向粉嶺東邊嘅麻笏河,即係文化俓開始嘅地方。如果有心機,我就鐘意去睇吓俓上嘅土地公社壇,麻笏圍大門口上面嘅門楣石匾(石匾係用一種特別搶眼嘅紅色岩石造成),加上嗰間天后廟——入邊嘅「千里眼」同「順風耳」兩神嘅雕像做得零舍精緻,栩栩如生。
After I’ve had my dumplings at Tim’s, I head off at a leisurely pace eastwards in the direction of the Ma Wat River, the location of the starting point of the heritage trail. If I am in the mood, I like to go and take a look at the Earth God shrine, the inscribed lintel stone at Ma Wat Wai Walled Village (this inscribed stone over the entrance-gate is made from a particularly eye-catching red stone), as well as the Tin Hau Temple there ― the statues of the two spirits Chin Lei Ngan (who has eyes to see a thousand Chinese miles) and Shun Fung Yi (who has ears to hear a pin drop in Heaven) inside the temple are wonderfully worked and extremely lifelike.

有時當呢幾樣嘢都冇法引起我嘅興趣,我就會喺文化途徑之外揾其他樂趣。第一,經過崇謙堂時,喺石盧附近,右邊有一條路仔可以一直行到一個基督教墳場,呢帶嘅氣氛非常安靜。第二,喺行往麻笏圍嗰段路時,左邊要經過一片荒地,呢度早就變成野花嘅王國,除咗我特別鐘意嘅薑花之外,開花季節平常亦會有好多好多不知名嘅大黃花!黃花盛放嘅花國真係會令到經常神經緊張嘅我瞬時獲得紓緩。
But sometimes, when I do not feel like seeing such things, I go in search of other pleasures off the beaten heritage track. First of all, after passing the Shung Him Tong Church, and not far from the derelict mansion known as Shek Lou, there’s a small road off to your right that goes all the way to a Christian cemetery, an area that I find very peaceful. Secondly, as you walk that section of the road that takes you to the walled village of Ma Wat, there is a deserted stretch of wilderness to your left, which has transformed into a kind of kingdom of the wild flowers. Apart from the ginger flowers which I am particularly fond of, enormous numbers of large yellow flowers the name of which I don’t know can be found here when things are in bloom. When I visit this kingdom of blooming yellow flowers, I get a moment of relief from the anxious self I normally am.

第三,行到俓尾時,即係龍躍頭嘅新圍嗰度,我有時會一直往前面繼續行,過咗梧桐河就向左邊轉彎,沿住河旁鋪有嘅馬路一路行到上水,一面白日發夢,一面欣賞行路本身嘅姿勢。到達上水,如果覺得肚餓,我都可以順便去一趟石湖墟,叫一碗雲吞麵慰勞自己。
Thirdly, at the end of the trail, at the walled village of San Wai in Lung Yeuk Tau, I sometimes press on straight ahead, cross the Indus River (the Cantonese name Ng Tung actually refers to the Chinese parasol tree), and turn left, following the road along the river all the way to Sheung Shui, day-dreaming and appreciating the movements of my own body in motion. If I happen to be feeling a bit peckish by the time I reach Sheung Shui, I make my way to Shek Wu Hui for a bowl of wonton noodles as a reward for all my efforts.