November 16th, 2013


Reading Chinese - Star Wars in Bristol - No Real Connection Between the Two

I'd like to have posted this yesterday - if only to mention that it was the Japanese Festival of Shichigosan (Seven-five-three), which celebrates children aged seven, five and three. Is that not a charming idea? It hardly seemed worth posting just to mention it, though, and meanwhile my camera and computer were not on speaking terms, which thwarted me.

Their standoff continues, but today I'm relying on Google streetview to do the job instead. This is a Chinese restaurant and supermarket I walk past several times a week. The same three characters are also blazoned several feet high on the wall, taunting me with their illegibility as I come up the road. At this point I'm almost 1,500 characters into learning the kanji (albeit superficially), and with the trip to Taiwan looming I feel I ought at least to be able to get the gist of these few Chinese characters. Admittedly, my textbook has its own way of doing things and doesn't necessarily teach the characters in order of usefulness, so there are probably some really common ones in the pages yet to come, but so far I've been able to make of these three only "Something - Righteousness - Go". This conveys little to me. Perhaps it's just a proper name, in fact. (Wai Yee Hong?) Either way, I have a feeling I may be relying more than I'd really like on the English-language signs in Taiwan.

Meanwhile, on 8 Out of 10 Cats yesterday they were making a few jokes about the open audition for Star Wars that was held in Bristol this week (the first I'd heard about it). I was waiting for them to mention that Darth Vader is indeed a Bristolian, but if they knew it they didn't mention it. Instead, Jimmy Carr finished by quipping that it was appropriate that the auditions were held here, since the plot was about a boy who didn't know who his father was and then fell in love with his sister. This got a laugh, but which stereotype was he alluding to? The not knowing your father bit might be a reference to sink estates and Vicky Pollard, I suppose, but incest jokes are traditionally the lot of East Anglia, or at any rate sparsely populated rural areas, not cities of half a million.

Could it be that for Carr and Co. anywhere outside London counts as the sticks? Surely not.