steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

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.
Tags: nippon notes, real life
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