Nice Story

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Nice Story

Kato, I read your Cleopatra story.

Oh, did you? How did you like it?

It is an entertaining and yet thought-provoking story, which I did really enjoy reading to the end. You’re using the following homily in such an enlightening way that I’ve been quite impressed.

The pain of our neighbours is our pain too. When neighbours suffer, neighbours must respond. In this way we build a better world. We dignify humanity. We overcome what we have not caused. Even now as we in Canada breathe the air flowing to us from Fukushima (in Japan), we are reminded we are connected to each other. Our lives are interwined on the same planet, the same ecosystems, the same humanity. Perhaps God has created such a world in order to perfect our humanity. With the promise that death is not the end of life.


I see. So, the death of Cleopatra is not the end of her life, is it?

No, it isn’t. The pain of Cleopatra is our pain too. Our loves and lives are interwined on the same planet at present as well as in the past. Cleopatra indeed lived and will live to the future, not poisoning Antony but saving his life, to tell us to perfect our humanity.

Amazing!… so, Kato, you actually attended the service at the church with me on March 20, 2011, didn’t you?

Yes, I did as an invisible man. He, he, he,…

“Love & Death of Cleopatra”
(Tuesday, April 5, 2011)

I really love it, though I don’t believe that you attended the service at the church as an invisible man. But you certainly understand the nitty-gritty of the Bishop’s homily, don’t you, Kato?

Yes, I suppose so.

And one more thing… the following photo in the above story is so much like the promenade in Nice.

The Mediterranean coast

in Alexandria

Oh, yes. Come to think of it, Alexsandria’s waterfront looks like the promenade in Nice of France.

The Promenade des Anglais in Nice

The Côte d’Azur (French Riviera)

Have you been there, Diane?

Oh, yes… As a matter of fact, my older brother lives in Nice, and I visited him some time ago, and had a marvellous time over there, basking in the Mediterranean sunshine.

I’m pretty sure you did.

How about you, Kato?

I visited Nice a decade ago, and visited historical places and remains such as the Grande Corniche and Villa Carolina.

Villa Carolina? I’ve never heard of that name. Is it famous in Nice?

It used to be. But, now, people seem to have long forgotten. It’s a historically interesting villa. Actually, it was the residence of La Bella Otero.

La Bella Otero? Who on earth is it?

Her real name was Carolina Augustina Carasson. La Bella Otero was her nickname.

Was she famous?

Oh, yes, she was. Most Europeans knew her name during the time of the so-called “Belle Époque”.

Really? If I remember correctly, La Bella Otero doesn’t show up in the list of your women.

So, Diane, you remember the following list, don’t you?

“Famous or infamous women in the history”

(Click the above link for the main menu)

If La Bella Otero was so famous, how come her name isn’t in the above list?

Good question, Diane. When I posted the above menu, I didn’t know her name. When I started to write a story about Mata Hari, however, I came across the story of La Bella Otero.

Mata Hari

Like Mata Hari, La Bella Otero was such an amazing and fascinating character that her unique charm and charisma gave me a shuddering shock, and instantly I became one of her fans.

Why was she so famous?

Well…, she was born in a poor Spanish family, but with her luck and talent, she became a highly-respected and admired courtesan among European noblemen. Here’s a brief biography about La Bella Otero.

La Belle Otero

Born on November 4, 1868
Died on April 12, 1965 (aged 96)
Occupation: dancer, actress, courtesan

Born Agustina Otero Iglesias in Valga, Pontevedra, Galicia (Spain), her family was impoverished, and as a child she moved to Santiago de Compostela working as a maid.
At ten she was raped, which left her sterile, and at fourteen she left home with her boyfriend and dancing partner, Paco, and began working as a singer/dancer in Lisbon.

She reportedly married an Italian nobleman, Count Guglielmo, when she was 14.
Her second husband, whom she married in 1906, was René Webb, an English cotton spinner.

In 1888 she found a sponsor in Barcelona who moved with her to Marseille in order to promote her dancing career in France.
She soon left him and created the character of La Belle Otero, fancying herself an Andalusian gypsy.
She wound up as the star of Les Folies Bèrgere productions in Paris.

Career as courtesan

Within a short number of years, Otero grew to be the most sought after woman in all of Europe.
She was serving, by this time, as a courtesan to wealthy and powerful men of the day, and she chose her lovers carefully.
She associated herself with the likes of Prince Albert I of Monaco, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, Kings of Serbia, and Kings of Spain as well as Russian Grand Dukes Peter and Nicholas, the Duke of Westminster and writer Gabriele D’Annunzio.
Her love affairs made her infamous, and the envy of many other notable female personalities of the day.

Six men reportedly committed suicide after their love affairs with Otero ended, although this has never been substantiated beyond a doubt.
It is a fact, however, that two men did fight a duel over her.
She was pretty, confident, intelligent, with an attractive figure, and was famed for her voluptuous breasts, and one of her most famous costumes featured her breasts partially covered with glued-on precious gems, and the twin cupolas of the Hotel Carlton built in 1912 in Cannes were said to have been modeled after her breasts.

It was once said of her that her extraordinarily dark black eyes were so captivating that they were “of such intensity that it was impossible not to be detained before them”.

World’s first film star

In August 1898, in St-Petersburg, the French film operator Félix Mesguich (an employee of the Lumière company) shot a one-minute reel of Otero performing the famous “Valse Brillante”, making her possibly the first movie star in history.
The screening of the film at the Aquarium music-hall provoked such a scandal (because an officer of the Tsar’s army appeared in this frivolous scene) that Mesguich was expelled from Russia.

Later life

Otero retired after World War I, purchasing a mansion and property at a cost of the equivalent of US$15 million.
She had accumulated a massive fortune over the years, about US$25 million, but she gambled much of it away over the remainder of her lifetime, enjoying a lavish lifestyle, and visiting the casinos of Monte Carlo often.
She lived out her life in a more and more pronounced state of poverty until she died of a heart attack in 1965 in her one-room apartment at the Hotel Novelty in Nice, France.
As a neighbor said of Otéro’s last days, “She was constantly talking about her past, and I was not listening any more. It was always the same: feasts, princes, champagne.”

Of her heyday and career, Otéro once said, “Women have one mission in life: to be beautiful. When one gets old, one must learn how to break mirrors. I am very gently expecting to die.”

SOURCE: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

PICTURES: From the Denman Library

The above bio says, she was born Agustina Otero Iglesias.

Yes, it does.

But, Kato, you said, her name was Carolina Augustina Carasson, didn’t you?

Yes, I did. I was puzzled myself.

Then the above record in Wikipedia is wrong, isn’t it?

Well…, yes, probably, but people sometimes change their names, you know. La Bella Otero disliked her original name, and later she might have changed her name into Carolina Augustina Carasson. Anyway, La Bella Orero called herself Carolina Augustina Carasson. Therefore, she named her residence “Villa Carolina” after her first name.

Where is the villa?

It was on the Grande Corniche shown in the following map:

Kato, you say it was… that means, it’s gone now?

No, not really. When I visited the place, the name and the owner have been changed. The new owner changed it into a hotel, which is currently called “Hermitage du Col d’Eze”, I assume. I asked the maids and the bell boy about the previous owners, but none of them seemed to know about La Bella Otero. So, I didn’t really know what Villa Carolina had turned into.

La Bella Otero purchased the villa in 1913, and decided to make it the place of her retirement. It was a magnificent 15-room mansion, and she hired three servants, a cook and a gardener.

And when did she sell it?

In 1924. She lost money in the casino, and was forced to sell it.

Was she a gambler?

Yes, she was. She won a million and lost a million. La Bella Otero was a born gambler.

So, she was infamous for gambling, wasn’t she?

Yes, she was.

And she was also infamous for the love affairs with European kings, princes and dukes, wasn’t she?

You’re absolutely right.

Tsu, tsu, tsu…what an indecent woman! Kato, how come you’re interested in such an unseemly woman?

Well…, in a sense, she was like a self-made Cinderella.

What made you think so?

Here is an interesting episode. Diane, why don’t you read the following story?

Maxim’s in Paris

On November 4, 1898, at the renowned restaurant, Maxim’s in Paris, a reunion took place at a grand round table.

Around the sumpteously prepared and reserved table were a vast number of the powerful men of the world: King Leopold II of Belgium, gigantic King Nikita of Montenegro, Grand Duke of Russia Nicholas Nicolaevich, Prince of Wales, and Prince Albert of Monaco.

King Leopold II of Belgium

King Nikita of Montenegro

Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolaevich

Prince of Wales, Edward VII

Prince Albert of Monaco

These gentlemen chatting to each other seemed awaiting one person, because everyone looked to the entrance.

As a matter of fact, about half an hour later, a splendid woman appeared in a jeweled, low-necked black dress, escorted by the headwaiter and her assistants as the red curatin trimmed by gilt braids raised at the end of the hall.

As soon as they saw her, the five gentlemen of royal blood stood up in union, like a sole event of a scene prepared for a long time, they said as all others raising their glasses, “Best wishes to you, Señorita!”

When the crystal cups clinked on all sides of the hall, the new comer thanked and took her seat. Like a queen, indeed, an empress, Caroline Augustina Carasson, nicknamed as La Bella Otero, celebrated, surrounded by princes and sovereigns, her 30th birthday.

PHOTOS: from the Denman Library

Kato…, is this a fiction?

Oh, no, it isn’t. This was indeed a historical event.

Are you sure?

Yes, of course, I am.

So, you want to tell me about the indecent, infamous woman, don’t you?

No, not really. Actually, I wanna tell you another story about the Grande Corniche, which you might be interested in.

Tell me, then.

Well, do you remember Grace Kelly?

Yes, of coutrse, I do. She gave us a real Cinderella story.

The movie called “To Catch a Thief”, in which Grace Kelly played a heroine, was filmed on the Grande Corniche.

To Catch a Thief

It is a 1955 romantic thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis and John Williams.
The movie is set on the French Riviera, and was based on the 1952 novel of the same name by David F. Dodge.
The screenplay was written by John Michael Hayes.


John Robie (Cary Grant) is a notorious but retired jewel thief or “cat burglar,” nicknamed “The Cat,” who now tends to his vineyards in the French Riviera.
A series of robberies that closely resemble his in style leads the police to believe that the Cat is up to his old tricks again.
They come to arrest him, and he adeptly gives them the slip.

He immediately seeks refuge with his old gang from his days in the French Resistance, a group of ex-cons whose patriotic work led to grants of parole that depend on them keeping their noses clean.
Bertani, Foussard, and the others are all under a cloud while the Cat is at large, and they blame Robie.
Still, when the police arrive at Bertani’s restaurant, Foussard’s daughter Danielle (Brigitte Auber) spirits her old flame to safety.

Robie’s plan is to prove his innocence by catching the new cat burglar in the act, so he enlists the aid of an insurance man of Bertani’s acquaintance, H. H. Hughson (John Williams), who reluctantly obtains a list of the most expensive jewels currently on the Riviera.

The first owners listed are Jessie Stevens (Jessie Royce Landis) and her daughter Francie (Grace Kelly).
Robie strikes up an acquaintance with them — delighting Jessie even as Francie offers a pretense of modesty, while Danielle bares her jealous claws.

Francie is not afraid of a little fun.
Although she sees through Robie’s cover as an American industrialist, the considerable charms of this thief are worth catching.
She dangles before him her jewels, teases him with steamy tales of rooftop escapades, exposes herself as a feline of a special breed: an accomplice who might share his passion and be available to his sordid desires.
Fireworks fill the night and can even be seen in the sky.

The next day, Jessie discovers her jewels are stolen, and Francie suddenly feels that Robie has taken advantage of her.
The police are called and he must go back on the lam.
To catch the new burglar he stakes out a rooftop at night and finds himself struggling with an attacker who loses his footing and tumbles over the side.
It is Foussard, and he does not survive the fall.

The police chief is satisfied that Foussard was the jewel thief, but, as Robie points out to him in the presence of the abashed Hughson, this would have been impossible: Foussard had a prosthetic leg and could not possibly climb on rooftops.

Robie’s attendance at Foussard’s funeral is marred by Danielle’s accusation that he is responsible for the man’s death, after which Francie apologizes and confesses her love for him.
They agree to attend a masquerade ball the coming weekend.

At the ball, Francie is resplendent in a gold gown, Robie unrecognizable behind the mask of a Moor.
The police hover nearby, ready to arrest Robie at the drop of a hat.
When Jessie asks the Moor to go get her “heart pills,” Robie’s voice tips off his identity to the authorities.
Upon his return the police wait out Francie and the Moor as they dance the night away.
Upstairs, the cat burglar strikes, cleaning out many a jewel box.
Finally, Francie and the Moor go to her room, and the mask is removed: it is Hughson, switched in to conceal Robie’s exit.

On the rooftop Robie lurks.
His patience is finally rewarded when he is joined by another figure in black.
But just as his pursuit begins, the police throw a spotlight on him.
Again he flees and shots ring out, but he manages to corner his foe with jewels in hand.
Unmasked, his nemesis turns out not to be a man after all.
Danielle is “The Cat,” and she confesses that she has been working for her father and Bertani.

Robie speeds back to his vineyard and Francie races after to convince him that he does need her in his life.
He agrees, but seems less than thrilled about including her mother.


This was Grace Kelly’s final film for Hitchcock; she became Princess Grace of Monaco in 1956.
Edith Head designed Kelly’s clothes for the production, including a memorable golden ball gown.
Hitchcock later tried to cast Princess Grace in Marnie (1964), but the citizens of Monaco expressed disapproval in her acting in another film; she later served as a narrator for at least two films.

SOURCE: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
PICTURES: From the Denman Library

So, Kato, do you love this film?

Oh, yes. I love movies.

So, you’re a cinephile, eh?

huh? … cinephile?

Oh, yes. You’re crazy about movies, aren’t you? Cinephile means a film lover or enthusiast.

Have you coined the word, Diane?

Oh, no. It’s a new word. Not many Canadians know the word. As a matter of fact, you can’t find the word in many English dictionaries.

Interesting! … I’m certainly a cinephile.

Do you love the above film because of Grace Kelly?

Yes, besides, the view from the Grande Corniche is fabulous and fascinating.

But unfortunate and grieving was the accsident on September 13, 1982. While driving with her daughter Stéphanie to Monaco from their country home on the French side of the border, Grace Kelly took a bend too fast as she descended from La Turbie to the Moyenne Corniche.

Princess Grace suffered a stroke, which caused her to drive her Rover P6 off the serpentine road down a mountainside. The princess was pulled alive from the wreckage, but had suffered serious injuries and was unconscious. She died the following day at the Monaco Hospital.

How tragic and heart-breaking!

Yes, indeed. I’m an enthusiastic fan of Grace Kelly, you know.

Are you?… So, this is the reason you wanted to tell me the above story, isn’t it?

Oh, no.

Then how come you’ve told me the above story?

Well, the above photo of Grace Kelly reminds me of the following picture:

Oh, it’s me, isn’t it?

Yes, Diane, it’s you.

But how come you shows me this picture?

You’re so beautiful and charming, Diane.

Kato…, You’ve told me the roundabout story simply to tell me this?

Oh, no… oh, no. there’s something else.

What’s that?

Read this.

The pain of our neighbours is our pain too. When neighbours suffer, neighbours must respond. In this way we build a better world. We dignify humanity. We overcome what we have not caused. Even now as we in Canada breathe the air flowing to us from Fukushima (in Japan), we are reminded we are connected to each other. Our lives are interwined on the same planet, the same ecosystems, the same humanity. Perhaps God has created such a world in order to perfect our humanity. With the promise that death is not the end of life.

You see, the pain of Grace Kelly is our pain. So is the pain of her daughter Stéphanie. When neighbours suffer, neighbours must respond. In this way we build a better world. We dignify humanity. We overcome what we have not caused. We are connected to each other. Our lives are interwined on the same planet, the same ecosystems, the same humanity. Perhaps the Creator has created such a world in order to perfect our humanity at present as well as in the past and the future. With the promise that death is not the end of life. So, Diane, you and I could share the pain with the souls of Grace Kelly and Stéphanie.

Are you serious, Kato?

Yes, of course, besides, I wanna tell that you’re a kind-hearted, good-natured woman. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,…

Are you an apple-polisher or what?

Oh, well…, I’m an apple-eater. He, he, he, …

【Himiko’s Monologue】

I think, Kato is an apple-polisher.
He’s definitely apple-polishing so that he could somehow impress Diane.
It’s obvious, isn’t it?
Kato has never talked to me like that.

Anyway, that was a sad accident and the whole world mourned for the death of Grace Kelly.
Do you remember?
I wish her soul could rest in peace forever.

Peace is one thing; romance is another.
Well, come to think of it, I’ve never met a decent man in my life.
How come I’m always a loner?
I wish I could meet a nice gentleman at the library in my town as Kato met Diane.
Well, they say, there is a way where there is a will.

Have a nice day!
Bye bye …


“Queen Nefertiti”

“Catherine de Medici”

“Catherine the Great”

“Mata Hari”

“Sidonie Colette”

“Marilyn Monroe”




■ 『きれいになったと感じさせる


■ 『ちょっと変わった 新しい古代日本史』

■ 『面白くて楽しいレンゲ物語』

■ 『カナダのバーナビーと軽井沢に


■ 『今すぐに役立つホットな情報』

■ 『 ○ 笑う者には福が来る ○ 』





























You cannot make a crab walk straight.













■ 『愛とロマンのレンゲ物語』