Friday, 26 November 2010

Baumkuchen Germans' favourite, too? (Translation of the Post on 16th Nov)


"Baumkuchen' is the first song in the 4th album 'Chronicle'.
It was recorded in Sweden.
Compared to previous albums, which seem to be filled with an atmosphere of Fujiyoshida City in Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan (the hometown of lead vocalist and guitarist, Masahiko Shimura), 'Chronicle' is the album in which we feel anguish, grief, loneliness, and desolation arisen from Mr. Shimura's musician life in Tokyo.

Many of Fujifabric fans claim this album cannot be listened without tears.
Baumkuchen is placed as the first song implying a message which is sung throughout the album.

Mr. Shimura is known as a sweets lover.
When some sweets were brought into the studio, he was the one who leapt on it.
There are several Fujifabric's songs named after sweets, such as 'Mizuame candy and cotton candy', 'Chocolate Panic', 'Strawberry Shortcakes'.

Baumkuchen is a traditional German cake, which was originated in about 1680.  At the beginning, the batter was put on the wooden spit and baked.
Traditionally, Baumkuchen is made on a spit by brushing on even layers of batter and then rotating the spit around a heat source. Each layer is allowed to brown before a new layer of batter is poured. When the cake is removed and sliced, each layer is divided from the next by a golden line, resembling the growth rings on a crosscut tree. A typical Baumkuchen is made up of 15 to 20 layers of batter. (according to Wikipedia)

It is a 'tree cake' born in the country of forests.


Karl Joseph Wilhelm Juchheim (December 25, 1886 - August 14, 1945) was a German confectioner who first introduced baumkuchen to Japan.  In 1919, Karl Juchheim began baking and selling baumkuchen in a German exhibition in Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition (later known as Atomic Bomb Dome).  Thanks to Juchheim's hard work, baumkuchen is now recognized as one of the most well-known German snack and dessert in Japan.

When the cake is sliced, each layer is divided from the next by a golden line, resembling the growth rings on a cross cut tree.  Baumkuchen is a popular return gift in Japan for wedding guests because of its growth ring pattern which symbolizes a long life and prosperity.  Baumkuchen does not carry such a special meaning though.  In fact, people are not really familiar with this snack, and it is just little known.
It is obvious how much curiosity and enthusiasm Japanese people have for eating!


Mr. Shimura was also moved by the peculiar growth ring pattern on a slice of baumukuchen, and he looked back his own life through it.
"Baumkuchen can be made by baking many layers one after one like growth rings of a tree.  Me,too.  I am formed here as a result of having received many things from many people, events and staff.  That is a message I am singing in this song.", he said in Fujifabric's book, FAB BOOK.

He also said that the 4th album, 'Chronicle' is started since the moment he was born.
The album can be said to be full of Mr. Shimura's 28-year-old life in a sense.

A discord of inner-self between "me" people think of and "me" I think of.
Also embarrassment towards existence of many aspects in "me".
A human always possesses two extremes of a character.
There is a discord of accepting myself as it is me including all extreme aspects, and have to keep going with myself for the rest of my life.
The surroundings start changing me without realising, and we sometimes get very scared that we will transform ourselves into someone who we dislike...

'Baumkuchen' is the song singing an inner-self suffering so well.

'If I cry easily     feel like losing   I don't show to anyone'
'If tell a lie   will get punished   so try not to do so as much as possible'

These are phrases showing typical Japanese worldviews, but I will write on it some other time.

Enjoy listening to 'Baumkuchen' in a different version to the one in the album.

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