Terror

Today, I thought I’d whine a bit about the weather – it’s that time of the year again after all! And then I woke up to something else yesterday…

On Monday evening, at around 20:00, there was a terrorist attack in Vienna. Four people were murdered by open fire on the streets of the inner city, 25 were injured, among them one policeman. One attacker, a 20 year old member (?) of ISIS was killed. Whether there are any more is subject of investigations. 

I’m happy to tell that all my friends who live in Vienna are safe and accounted for. But somehow, I don’t feel like writing about the weather today. Or anything else much, really.

You too, my beloved Austria?

Getting Old…

This year I’m turning 45! Even if you wouldn’t know it, my body certainly does, and it is hitting me with all sorts of ailments. A little one is that I’m getting gray. I have dark hair, and although my hair dresser says it’s not bad at all, I have days when I feel that I can see every single one of the white whiskers and I need to start dyeing rightaway.

A much bigger one has been causing me problems since last Christmas: I have pains in my left hip when walking. As such that’s nothing new, I had that pain already back when I was at university, although not as badly. The pain is such that it pulls “inside” into my groin; it gets worse over time, and I need to stand still and take the weight of my left leg for a while before I can walk further again.

I have never seen a doctor for the pain, it just seemed normal to me. Some 10 years ago, a Korean friend took me to her “bone-setter” and he performed a miracle and fixed it within 10 minutes or so. I had been completely pain-free all that time – right up until last Christmas, when I could almost feel my muscles cramp up and the pain came back within a minute – and with a vengeance.

But now, of course, I’m a proper adult, so it took me only a few weeks until I went to a specialised orthopedic clinic nearby my home. After a total of 13 x-rays (made in 2 parts), 1 MRI (made in 50 minutes) and some 10 visits to physiotherapy (where I burned through 4 therapists so far), I finally had an appointment with a hip specialist at that same clinic last Saturday.

The diagnosis comes in several parts:

1) I have hip dysplasia, where the hip bone does not cover the head of the femur as much as it should. I have it on both sides, but it’s more pronounced on the left, it’s congenital by the way.

2) I have a tear in the left acetabular labrum, which is a cartilage and part of the joint capsule of the hip, and essentially keeps it all together. How this came to be, we don’t know, but it looks spectacular on the MRI, as if something had burst right out of my hip bone (think Alien)!

3) I have osteoarthritis in my left hip, a degenerative disease where the cartilage inside the joint that cushions the friction between the two bones is slowly wearing down. It’s probably caused by 1) and 2) together, and this is what actually hurts.

While the doctor was polite and explained everything to me in great detail, he also said there’s nothing he can do, really. Technically, the tear in the joint capsule could be repaired with arthroscopic surgery, but he says that the long-term outcome is generally poor, so there’s not much point in doing it.

What he suggests is a conservative treatment with physiotherapy. The idea is to strengthen and stretch the muscles in the hip so that they keep everything in place – hopefully in one that doesn’t hurt quite as much. So far, therapy has indeed been successful, in that the pain has diminished. What pain is left is also not focused in the groin area but more in the center of the leg, which is more bearable for some reason.

The doctor also prescribed some pain killers for the time being, I am not sure how much they are helping though. In the long run, the very long run, we’ll be looking at a hip replacement, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon, thankfully.

So yes, I’m getting old. We all do. Although the pain will probably stay with me, I’m not worried too much about it. In the worst case, I’ll just try to find another miracle bone-setter…

Return Stamp

As I have mentioned in a post last year, the Austrian-Japanese relations are now 150 years old. Which, usually, sparks all sorts of commemorative events and speeches and celebrations…

And stamps. Japan has come up with a set of 10 stamps showcasing the beauties of Austria (you can see it in the post linked above). Of course, relationships go both ways, so Austria also has created a commemorative stamp. It shows the ship that sailed to Japan bearing Austrian presents and an Archduke if I remember correctly…

Thanks you a friend who always sends letters with beautiful stamps, I can finally show it off. What do you think of it?

150  years Austria-Japan Relationship Stamp; the Austrian one.

Cold

It’s getting really cold now and I have caught some virus or other. I’m feeling tired and slow and not up for much at the moment, not even writing blog posts, let alone work…

I hope I’ll do better by the end of the week. After all, I have some bonenkai coming up. And the German Christmas Market in Osaka is beckoning too. 😉

Peter Handke

By now, you should have heard of Peter Handke, an author from Austria: He has just won the Nobel Prize in Literature today. Congratulations!

I’m not really sure how I feel about this, partially because I have never (consciously) read any of his writings, and partially because he was more or less defending the Serbs in the Yugoslav war, which didn’t go down well at all at the time.

That leaves the interesting and quite difficult question whether an artist should be judged by his art alone (in particular when considered for an art prize), or if their personal views on society, politics, etc. should come into play as well. Clearly, the artist imbues his pieces with something of himself; that’s why we often want to know more about them, their inspirations, their life, their routines…

But is this truly important? Would the Nike of Samothrace be any less of a masterpiece had it been carved by a mass murderer?

Nike of Samothrace

Austrian Elections 2019

Last Sunday there were general elections in Austria – less than 2 years after the last one. I was ready to stay up all night to wait for a good projection of the final result. However, in the end, it was all very clear from the beginning, and now we have this here (Taken from wahl19.bmi.gv.at/ Note that we have a 4% hurdle to enter the parliament):

Result of Austrian General Elections 2019.

As expected, the old chancellor has won (turquoise), the green party is back in parliament and the small party JETZT, which essentially killed the green party at the last elections, did not survive this one. Rather unexpectedly, the (red) social democrats lost enough to make this the worst result in the party history.

Biggest surprise of the evening: The crash of the right-wingers (blue), who lost a whopping 10% and will probably not in the next government anymore. I am so thrilled! Because it means that we don’t have quite as many idiots in Austria as some people might want to believe. That’s definitely worth celebrating.

Preoccupied

Flags of Austria and JapanI had a great Saturday – I went to a small city near Nara to pick tea – right until the moment when I came home late at night and decided to check emails and news online. And what news there were!

Austria’s vice-chancellor had just resigned over what is now known as #ibizagate – just look it up. Finally there was something grave enough even he couldn’t just shrug it off (although he and his party definitely tried and keep trying!)

So, in light of the developments, I spent the night watching Austrian news and reading live tickers about the affair while drinking a bottle of my favourite Austrian wine. (Now that I think of it, I always drink that wine when there’s something political going on in Austria… hmmm…) Rinse and repeat on Sunday and Monday, and i would have done the same today had it not been for several appointments.

As you might guess, I’m a bit preoccupied with Austrian politics at the moment. It has already been decided that we’ll have new elections in September. It can only go uphill from there!

Embarrassment

As you know, I’m pretty busy, and I have not much time for things outside work, so much so that I’m behind on even my daily news. Not owning a TV or smartphone certainly contributes to that, but I’m always saying that if something is  important, the news will come to me because somebody will tell me about it.

And indeed, today, very first thing in my Japanese class, my teacher told me about Shinzo Abe nominating Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. I’m rarely ever speechless, but my jaw dropped on this one. How on earth… Apparently it’s because of the negotiations in Korea – where, I have to state, the Koreans have had an on-off relationship across the border for decades before Trump came along. And apparently, it’s because the American government “asked” the Japanese one for that “favour”.

Somebody is crazy in here, and I’m not entirely sure who it is. First of all: I didn’t know you can ask to be nominated for a Nobel Prize. Probably, since the Nobel Peace Prize is a farce anyway, this one doesn’t matter, but does that work for the Nobel Prizes in Science as well?

Second: How disturbed must somebody be to ask for such a “favour”? Assuming this is true (and Abe does not openly deny it), then is this another move of Trump to outdo Obama?

Third: Another disturbing thing is that now other (right-wing) politicians have come forward and also said they have nominated Trump. Don’t they see that he’s pissing off the rest of the world at the same time? Living in Japan, I can honestly say that what scares me about the Korea crisis is not so much Kim, but the big American brother. I think I mentioned this before somewhere.

It’s unbelievable! My teacher says he is greatly embarrassed by Abe, and he worries that Japan will be seen as the world’s laughing-stock. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but it does seem to make the headlines. What is it these days – the world seems to be full with politicians whose only goal is to embarrass themselves and their country (and yes, Austrian politicians do the same, just on a slightly smaller scale).

Pressure

Japan’s societal rules put a lot of pressure on individuals. On women more than on men. The country is still very patriarchal, and male-female equality is not something that comes easily to the guys in charge. One very recent incident is now stirring up the media as well as people in Japan, I’m simply posting a link here, so you can read the story of Yamaguchi Maho yourself.

https://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/113542530.html