Peter’s New House

 

Belladonna Lilies_27 FEB 2019

Every single room has you still moving in.
Is that old life there the new life here?
Boxes half block out a whole passage to invention.

The door to the cellar gapes open at our feet.
It provides a glimpse into one man’s underworld,
largely empty at present but warning

of thwarted life. At ground level, details of the “you”
you chose/choose to be: a computer screen like a TV
stacked with topical icons; a monumental drum-kit —

this occupies the living room, and inhabits a rhythm
that can never let go, rapping out questions
in search of a sound track, exactly

shaped like the hook you wield to ease down neatly
out of the ceiling the ingenious wooden step-way
up to the attic — inspired afterthought

straight off the top of your head. Gingerly we climb aboard,
neighbours to the clouds, the room egg-whitened with light.
Through the windows, yellowing dense phalaris

and belladonna lilies — February’s pink “naked ladies”.
On one wide wall, our motto’s inscribed in essential black letters:
I’VE NEVER DONE THIS MOMENT BEFORE.

《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》”

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.