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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

Never Mind the Lollards
Christ's wounds! What the hell is up with the Sunday programme? First they make Martin Luther a personal friend of J. S. Bach, and this morning they claim that William Tyndale was the first man to translate the Bible into English! [32 minutes in] This is meant to be a specialist programme on religious affairs, for God's sake!

Since I'm talking about Radio 4, though, let me (by way of BBC balance) recommend a really excellent two-handed drama from yesterday afternoon, David Greig's The Letter of Last Resort. It's like a mixture of Yes Prime Minister and Pirandello (as one of the characters ruefully acknowledges), and it's also the cleverest exposition of the madness of MAD that I've heard. Thirty-five minutes of quality drama - and I don't often say that about Radio 4.

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:


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.