Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

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Japanese Diary 3:
On Friday I visited The Japanese Kitchen. I've bought from them online in the past, but seeing they had a physical shop only thirty miles away I was curious to visit. It's actually just a small unit on an industrial estate outside Stroud, where I bought matcha tea, okonomiyaki flour (flavoured with shrimp and scallop) to go with the sauce I bought a while ago and some Japanese mayonnaise, which apparently is as different from Hellman's as okonomiyaki sauce turned out to be from Lea & Perrins. I only met the male half of the couple that runs it, who also happens to be the British half. (I've met and heard of quite a few couples comprising Western men and Japanese women: so far, none the other way round. Is it a very different story in Japan itself?)

Yesterday I watched Seven Samurai - not least because it figures so large in The Last Samurai, which I read recently on nightspore's recommendation (and much enjoyed). Having seen The Magnificent Seven before, I had to keep reminding myself which film had priority. Mostly, though, whenever I looked at Takashi Shimura I saw not Yul Brynner but Lee Van Cleef. They have the same kind of steady, quarter-amused gaze, except that van Cleef looks if anything more oriental:

samurai


I also took delivery of Remembering the Kanji, which I already had on order by the time lnhammer made his alternative recommendation. I've not had a chance to do more than read the introduction, but I like Mr Heisig's disciplined way of writing, which gives me confidence that he if anyone can herd 2,000 kanji cats. Any book that has a section entitled "Admonitions" inspires confidence.

And this afternoon it was off to the first ever Yume Japanese culture event, comprising a film, a meal, and a lesson on chopstick etiquette, all for £8. The film, chosen by a Bristol Uni classics student, was Thermae Romae - a culture-clash comedy connecting modern Japan and ancient Rome through their shared interest in bathhouse culture, to a musical backdrop of Verdi and Puccini. It's based on a manga, but live-action - the main character being the architect of the baths of Hadrian. An excellent choice, and I expect to hear of a sequel set in Manhattan any day now.

Coincidental vocabulary similarity of the day: the verb for buy is kau - cf the German, kaufen.

Thermae Romae - a culture-clash comedy connecting modern Japan and ancient Rome

Well, that explains the borrowing of miru. Now the only question is whether Japanese took it from Latin or the other way around.

True - I'd forgotten to allow for aquatic wormholes!

I can think of one case. I was just reading about Gordon Hirabayashi, a conscientious objector Japanese-American who refused to submit to the infamous west coast internment order during WW2, for which act he was imprisoned. Much later he was pardoned and honored. He was entirely of Japanese ancestry; his wife, whom I believe was the daughter of one of his college professors, was of European.

Thanks for the data point!

I'm so glad you liked it. I was just wondering.

Very much! It's out of print and therefore no good for my first-year course, but for me it was ideal.

I had a teacher in seventh grade who was Japanese-American (born in an internment camp during WWII) and whose wife was white. They encountered a certain amount of harassment, though not as much as black/white couples of the day typically got.

Edited to add that I just remembered that a white girl I went to high school with married a Japanese-American guy. Her brother's wife/partner (not sure whether they're technically married, but I heard him refer to her as "my wife" the other day) is African American.

Edited at 2013-06-03 02:00 am (UTC)

Thanks! There are probably lots out there - it just suddenly struck me that of 7 or 8 couples I'd met or known about (starting with John and Yoko), it had always been that way around.

Edited at 2013-06-03 08:29 am (UTC)

A classmate in elementary school had an European-descent mother and Japanese-born father.

---L.

Clearly I've been misled by the limited nature of my experience!

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