French in France for the first time

French in France for the first time

Today, I woke up this morning after 10:00 am. I had told Jelena that I only sleep about 6 hours a day, but in fact I have slept a lot lol. I wonder if she is thinking Umm? After all, I am the last one to get up lol.

The morning shower is really great. It feels very French. I shower from the top of the bathtub, which has no curtains. It can be very cold because the upper window is open, but I feel very refreshed. There is one window in my room, and when I open that window, it opens an additional wooden window. Opening that wooden window is really great.



Another calm morning ahead


Because the view is really French style and very beautiful. A window that feels very, very French somehow. So I was going to wear a VOGUE shirt, but I didn’t have a shirt, and now I was doing laundry, so I had no choice but to put on a T-shirt that I didn’t have to wear a shirt.

After that, I go downstairs. I am always nervous. Downstairs, there was Jelena and her mother. But I don’t know what to say. Should I just say “Good morning” as usual? I always smile in order not to make them feel uncomfortable. So maybe that’s hard for me. But I do take care of themselves. I guess that’s normal.

But Jelena’s mother is always very positive, very simple, and very cheerful. I feel that she always acts in a positive way because she has gone through a lot of hardships. I felt like there was a lot of hardship and experience mixed in there.



Eat a French breakfast. Baguettes are the finest in France.

Jelena’s mom asked me what I wanted for breakfast. I said I wanted a French breakfast. So I said, “I want a baguette!



French breakfast


So her mom prepared baguettes for me. One baguette was to be left as it was, and one was to be baked in the oven. Then she prepared butter, honey, and jam. She made me a cup of black coffee using an Italian coffee machine. It was really a French-Italian breakfast, and it was really, really good. The baguette was really crispy and the butter was very special. The taste was really deep and I was very impressed with the taste of this butter. You can’t taste this butter in Japan. It was very delicious. My face was melting, and her mother and Jelena were looking at me very happily.

French food is really delicious. The first real French baguette in my life. It was the best.



We love and enjoy music very much.

Then, on the way, Jelena played the piano and there were some notes from Howl’s Moving Castle, so I decided to touch the piano a little too. We talked about how I can’t read the notes. But she told me that if I learned a little, I would be able to understand them. But that was really hard for me. I told her that I like to arrange things freely.
After that, I decided to play my favorite Studio Ghibli songs like Howl’s Moving Castle, Country Road, and Laputa. Jelena watched me the whole time and applauded after I played Howl’s Moving Castle. I was very embarrassed, but happy. She and I like the same Ghibli films, so when I play my favorite music, it naturally becomes her favorite music. So I thought it was nice. My mother also praised me. She used to make her own music at one time, and she performed it for us. It was very rhythmic, classical, and beautiful. I closed my eyes and listened intently.

Then she showed me some jazz and classical CDs. She had so many CDs and introduced them to me one by one. I told her that I liked Chopin, and she played music for me.

She also played some blues music, which was always really uplifting and very nice. After that, we decided to have lunch.



Her mom makes my favorite Genovese! It goes great with wine! It was the most delicious.

Today was the day my dream finally came true. My dream was to eat her mother’s genovese, which I had jokingly told Jelena about this summer. Because she is Italian, she wanted to eat the authentic Italian Genovese. So she was making Genovese, and it smelled really delicious. In fact, it was the most delicious.



Genovese and red wine made by her mom


It really took a lot of time to prepare, so a huge thank you to her. She also told me about the differences about pasta. There are so many different kinds of pasta, I didn’t know which one to choose. I asked her when she eat my favorite pasta, and she told me that she uses it to make white cream or cream pasta.

Genovese is the color of meat pasta. Japanese genovese is green, but her mother’s genovese looked like meat sauce. But I thought to myself, “This is the real deal. And the cheese is pecorino and parmesan. It was really French, too, because it was prepared like a block of cheese from Italy, the original home.

I was thinking that it would be impossible to eat like this in Japan. Using a slicing machine, I sliced the parmesan. Then I used a knife to cut the pecorino. It was really delicious. I could faintly smell the aroma of the cheese and savored it, comparing the difference between the two. Besides, her mom decided to have a glass of wine at lunchtime, so she and I opened a bottle of Syrah regional wine. It was really easy to drink, not too heavy, and matched the pasta very well. It was great.
I had two glasses of wine and I was very red. We ate at a small table. It is supposed to be for two people, but since we had lunch for three, it was very small, but it was very cute.



Jelena’s mother’s work is astounding.

When we were eating, her mother tole me that she worked the first year in a kind of therapy helping abused children, but it was hard, so she was interested in space, so she studied space and worked in the field of aerospace in France, like the ISS or something. So now she quit that job she had for 20 years and is working for AIRBUS. Because she loves airplanes.

What a wonderful person she is, I thought. She also told me about the astronauts she had met during that time, and how she had seen two rocket launches at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which really overwhelmed me. I was really overwhelmed. I thought it is really wonderful. It was a moment that made me realize how important it is to do what you want to do.



I’m going to meet Jelena’s friend, Manon, and her friends! I’m a little nervous

After the meal was over, we got ready and headed to the train station to meet her friends. After arriving at the station, we took the train to the same station in Toulouse.



Toulouse is a great place to just walk around.


After arriving at the train station, I heard that I was supposed to meet a friend of Jelena’s named Manon, and Manon wanted to meet me, so we decided to head there first. Jelena and I took a walk in Toulouse and headed to Manon’s house. At that time, we walked around enjoying the scenery and talking about various things. Then we got close to Manon’s house and Manon and Jelena were on the phone. Finally, Manon came downstairs to pick me up. I was really nervous because I was going to enter someone’s house that I had never met before and I was really worried about what would happen. So I greeted Manon in French and went inside her house.

In France, as in other countries, the front door was locked by security, and you had to hold up some kind of card key to enter. I climbed the stairs to get in, and to my surprise, there were three French guy there. I was very nervous.



The French mindset is 180 degrees opposite to that of Japan.

I shook each person’s hand and said hello. Then suddenly they explained the card game to me. Manon’s boyfriend asked me if I wanted some tea. I chose tea. Manon’s boyfriend and a very strong-looking girl dressed in black explained the game to me.

In Japan, we introduce ourselves slowly, get to know each other, ask if I want to play a game, and then play the game.
The game is that you play two cards, kill the person next to you, and the last person left wins.
It was too difficult to explain and all the cards were written in French. Besides, they had writed an English translation on the paper for me, but it was all in writing, so I couldn’t understand it at all. So I decided to give it a try anyway, and played the game with the support of her boyfriend and a very strong-looking girl dressed in black.

The game was very simple once I understood the rules. But it was very difficult because it was all in French.

Jelena talked a lot with Manon. I thought they were friends. They seem to be very close. The other French person had bangs and looked like a Japanese person. I guess she must like Japan. I think her name was Maron.



The French personality, I think I like it… super quick to switch, black and white.

After that, I wondered if it was time to go, or if they had to go to the train station, so everyone quickly stopped playing the game and quickly got ready. I wondered if French people are really black and white. I was used to collective countries, and France was my first non-Collective country. In other words, a country that is independent and individualistic. So it will take some time for me to get used to it. But it showed me how French people are. And I am very grateful to Jelena for giving me this opportunity.

It’s not so easy to suddenly join a group of friends from my friend’s university and play games with them. I was really happy. As for whether I like French people or not, well, it depends on each person, some people like it, some people don’t fit in. Some people like them, some people don’t. It’s like that. But I like French people because they are very black and white, which is my ideal, and I can respect them.

I am still getting used to Japan, so I am sure my personality will change as time goes by. But still, I felt that I had a really good experience. Thank you so much, Jelena.


Me and Jelena are going to the museum in Toulouse.

Then we went downstairs to Manon’s apartment. Me and Jelena went to the museum. The rest of my friends went to the train station to drop them off.
After that, Jelena and I were talking about the French national character. I thought it was amazing that the French people are so free, so liberal, and so individualistic. We were talking about such things.



The museum was right up my alley.

We arrived at the museum. It was a nature museum, with specimens and stuffed animals of all kinds, including ancient animals and how earthquakes occur. We learned that Jelena hates spiders. The museum was fascinating.



This is what I found particularly appealing


I studied biology, so of course I love museums, and it was really great to be able to see and enjoy the specimens that were there. We would walk around sometimes, just the two of us, talking. I like to see museums and art galleries alone, but I think Jelena understood that, and we had time to look alone and sometimes together, which is a good balance for me, I like it. So I think I must be an individualist too.



The moon seen from the plant corner where we went for 5 minutes.


The museum is huge and has a botanical garden. We were about to go out to the botanical garden, but the closing announcement was made there, so we observed the garden for a while and then headed for the gate.



At the museum’s gift shop, Jelena buys her own dinosaur. Cute.

The souvenir section had a fascinating variety of souvenirs. There was a counterfeit 0 euro being sold for 2 euros, which apparently is the museum’s limited edition euro bill. Then, Jelena bought a stuffed dinosaur. I thought the stuffed dinosaur was very cute, too. I wanted one, too, but it was not something I would go out of my way to buy, so I thought it was OK. So I ended up buying a pencil with a giraffe hugging it and a 0 euro bill. These two things were recommended to me by Jelena, and I felt that she knew exactly what I wanted, or rather, we resemble to be like.



We decided to go to a church in the center of Toulouse.

Then, since I had some time before our gastronomic appointment, we decided to go to the church.



Romantic street walk on the way home


The church there is very famous in Toulouse and seems to be a tourist attraction. We walked there, but it was quite a distance. On the way there, there were many places to buy souvenirs and many stores that I was interested in, so I wanted to go there so much that I stopped at all kinds of places.

I bought a wine lid with a pouring faucet, postcards, went to a tea store, and visited many other stores. I think I’m getting to know Jelena’s personality, so I was always wanting to go here, there, and everywhere, without thinking about her mind.



Marron glace. It looks so delicious.


As I was doing so, there was a nice smell of tea, so I told her it smelled good, and she said she would send me some tea next time. And when Jelena went shopping somewhere, she always bought gifts for her friends and loved ones, and never for herself. So I really felt that she is a warm person who really cares about others.

There was also a souvenir shop of “The Adventures of Tintin,” which I thought was really cool.
I’m traveling around France now, and I never thought that I would spend this new year with Jelena, whom I met 1.5 years ago, so I’m still surprised.

So we walked and walked, and as I expected, if I went into the church now, we would be 15 minutes late for dinner reservation time, and since the church is supposed to close at 19:00, I probably wouldn’t be able to get in. In Toulouse, it seems that “15 minutes late” is OK, and there is a saying that it is like a culture, so she said it is not a problem. So I said, “Let’s be 15 minutes late,” and she said, “I think 5 minutes is OK,” so I said, “Well, OK, then,” and we went to the church. What are you talking about lol?



Churches in Toulouse


The inside was closed, so I photographed the outside and walked around the circle with them. There, we also took some two-shots.



In front of the church with Jelena!


Jelena is not confident in her face and says she doesn’t like her face. But I don’t understand it at all. I think she is so beautiful that she could really be a model. I had imagined her to be fatter and to have a more shapely spine, but she is completely different from my image, with sharper eyebrows and very powerful eyes. So I felt that she must have her own opinions. I felt that the painful experiences she went through in her childhood made her what she is today. But still, she is very beautiful. That’s why I couldn’t understand what she was saying.



Finally, we went to a gastronomic restaurant! Eating French food in France for the first time in my life.

So, after circling the church, we headed to a restaurant with gastronomic offerings. That restaurant is where about two days before, I had been to a restaurant that I had wanted to go to. Jelena had made reservations in advance and we were able to enter the restaurant.

The interior was really beautiful, like a museum. It was like being in the Hermitage Museum. I was really nervous because I was going to eat gastronomique in France for the first time in my life, and I was going with a friend whom I had never met before and had only known for two days. She said there was nothing to be nervous about, but I couldn’t help but be nervous. So, Jelena took a seat in the back and I took a seat in the front. She told me that this was her second time to eat gastronomic food.
I was very surprised. I had expected her to have it more often on anniversaries, so it was very unexpected.

After that, I ordered the cod fish and she ordered the vegetarian one. So I ordered a bottle of wine as well.
Water and bread seemed to be free, and refills were good, so I thought that was great. I was so confused when ordering, and anyway, I had no idea whether to translate from French to English or Japanese, because I didn’t know the picture of it.



The cod fish.


It was really confusing for me because I had no idea what was in the gastronomic cuisine. So Jelena explained things to me and so on. I was expecting to pay 30 euros per person (4,188 yen at the current exchange rate), so we both went, but to my surprise, it was 38 euros for just one dish. I ordered a dish decorated with cod fish, which was 38 euros, and a glass of white wine, which was 8 euros. Then Jelena ordered a vegetarian meal for 24 euros.



Great atmosphere. Happiness.


When we were waiting together, I kept looking at the interior with my brilliant eyes. She also had a hard time making eye contact with me, and whenever we made eye contact, she always smiled. Her smile was so adorable. But we hardly ever talked.

She didn’t know what to say to me. I don’t know what to talk about at a fine dining restaurant like this lol. Usually when I go out to eat with my family, we don’t talk at all because most of my family members are very reserved. So I didn’t know what to say to her either lol. The only thing I did ask her was about graduate school, but that was it.


Wow! It’s so delicious. As soon as it entered my mouth, my cheeks melted!

Finally, our food arrived. In the center of a very large plate was a small piece of fish, green onions, and something crispy. They also gave us some butter sauce. The waitress had a big smile on her face, not a sincere smile, but a truly French one. It was tasteful, too. During the meal with her, I told her how delicious the food was and how happy I was because it was the first time for me to eat such French food.



Jelena and her first French meal


I was eating at an incredibly slow speed, so the hour really flew by. As the crowd grew, a singer came out and sang around the table where we were eating. One of the singers sang Frank Sinatra’s “Fly to the moon” (one of Jelena’s favorite songs), and I knew all the other songs, and so did Jelena.

So I was getting a smiley face every time I ate. Jelena was too full to eat after eating about half of the meal. Apparently, she is on medication and didn’t have much of an appetite.

When she was in Cyprus, she ate whatever she wanted and gained a lot of weight. However, she has lost a lot of weight in a week since she came back on the 17th. Indeed, Jelena’s face is really skinny. She doesn’t have any jowls on her face at all when she is normal, and besides, her cheeks are concave like a model’s.




I feel that French people are really expressive.

On an unrelated note, I noticed that French people are very expressive. When she is talking with her family, she spits and swooshes, and her mouth movements are very diverse. She also uses gestures with her hands when she speaks.

Japanese people only smile or make normal faces, which I feel is kind of boring. That’s why I thought French people are loud and expressive, and I thought it is really wonderful.

The tables are very close together, and the people next to each other are very close. On my right side was a man and a black African woman, and on my left side was two old women. They were all very fashionable, and even though they were old, they were all wearing really stylish clothes. So I thought it was really nice. And they all talk a lot, and they are all friendly. It is normal to talk with the person sitting next to you about something, and when the food arrives, everyone gets up from their seats and peeks in on your dish lol.

So, I really feel that this is also the French style. If they do that in Japan, I think people would think, “What’s with this guy, they are peeking at us so much, it’s really creepy.” That’s the cultural difference. Japan is very famous for building walls. Everyone knows that. Many foreigners have told me that it is very difficult to make long-term friends with Japanese people. Jelena also knows that.



Jelena puts the uneaten bread in her pocket and takes it home lol … funny!

Well, so we were at this restaurant for another two hours. The bread was so good that Jelena took the uneaten bread home in her own pocket lol. It was so great. Too funny. I thought this kind of innocence was very attractive.

As I was eating the food, I kept thinking that I wanted to treat Jelena because I would be very, very grateful to them and they would give me a wonderful experience. But I couldn’t bring myself to say so. I don’t know how to say it. I don’t know what to say. I wanted to show my appreciation, so I wanted to treat her.

So I finally got around to saying it when it came time to pay the bill, but Jelena said it was okay because she was paying for it herself. So I felt that she was really really independent. This is the kind of woman that is so cool. People who say, “No, I don’t want to, I want to pay for it myself,” when I say, “I’ll pay for it, it’s okay.” This is the kind of person who deserves respect. So, again, I was impressed. I think it’s wonderful.

So, in the end, when I looked at the receipt, of course, the price was almost 100 euros, and I paid with my card and wondered how much it would cost. I thought 9,100 yen for two people was not so expensive, but it was still the biggest restaurant payment in my life.



City Hall, which we passed on our way home. It’s quite beautiful.


But now I am independent, I am a sole proprietor, I came to France via Georgia and Latvia, I met her at the airport for the first time, and now we are eating gastronomique together. I really am independent, and the reason I am doing this now is because my will was very, very strong. But still, I want to congratulate myself. I worked really hard from April to July of 2022, studying 10 hours a day, and finally I was able to become independent and am now abroad. So I am really proud of myself.
Besides, it was thanks to Jelena that I was able to visit Gastronomic Cuisine this time. I would never have thought of going there alone, and I would never have been able to go there. So, I really thank her. Thank you.



After leaving the gastronomic restaurant, we went to her mom’s favorite cafe.

So we decided to have wiener coffee. It was super tasty. The cod we had at the gastronomic restaurant was very good, but going to a coffee shop at night is not so bad.



Wiener coffee at night.


Jelena and her mother are always laughing and talking and it never stops. I think it’s amazing. My mother doesn’t like to argue with me, or she shuts down when I say something strong. That’s why I wish my mom would be more open with me like this.