Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

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Four Cities and a Market Town
Well gosh, it seems like days (because it is) since I went to Hyperjapan in London's glamorous Tobacco Dock. I was there last year, of course, and my return visit was strangely similar, with many of the same stalls in the same places - but stepping into the same river twice is no hardship if it's a pretty river. The highlight was perhaps my private photograph with Domo, the NHK mascot:

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But I was also struck by this Teddy Bear, who was having difficulty getting into the role:

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And by this texting angel:

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Given that my father was an art teacher, it's sad that I've never had any facility that way - but this was brought home afresh when I paid £5 for a chance to be a have-a-go hero with a calligraphy brush. I realised belatedly that being left handed was actually a grave disadvantage when it comes to drawing Chinese characters, which demand a certain stroke order drawn in a certain direction (usually left to right). Why I hadn't thought of this over the years of using a biro for the purpose I don't know, but it was only when I got a brush in my hand that I knew how much of a disadvantage my hidarikiki-ness would be. But I can't blame that alone. I also have a very bad visual memory, so that (for instance) my attempt to remember the kanji for "dream" turned into a bit of nightmare - not only infantile in execution but also missing two crucial strokes:

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Plus, I'm just very bad at drawing. They were nice enough to give me a version of my name, though - with the same "Fruit Poetry" kanji I have on my hanko:

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On Monday I was visited by kalimac, with whom I toured Bristol (especially the bookshops, but also of course the Suspension Bridge), and whom I accompanied to Oxford on Tuesday evening for the launch of Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgin's edition of Tolkien's essay on invented languages, A Secret Vice

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kalimac at the Clifton Suspension Bridge

I had to leave Oxford early because (like every week) my alarm was set for 5.45am on Wednesday morning, necessary if I'm to get to Cardiff in time for my first lecture - and it was the same story on Thursday. On Friday I went to Romsey to visit my mother, and returned yesterday. So, this is the first day I've had free to write about any of it, and now I'm too tired to make a good fist of it - but for the record, that was my week!

Talking of visits, do come over and see us some time! We're not a million miles away now!

Thank you, I'd love to! I generally find reasons to wander north a couple of times a year, so next time I'll let you know!

Grand and we're not as north as all that- huddled up to the Welsh border.

I was admiring the photos, then jumped when I recognized kalimac. Then remembered his recent UK trip.

It was very good to meet him at last!

I discovered the left-handed calligraphy problem last year in Japanese...my teacher gave us a brush at one point and I loved doing it, but man, is it hard to do backward. :p

In retrospect, I'm surprised it never occurred to me before I had the brush in my hand.

Hidarikiki! Thank you for that new word. :)

No problem! I like it too.

That bear looks so bereft! I like the little crouching texting angel too. Good to see you, although the Domo looks ready to bite you perhaps.

Going by his Wiki page, think I was fairly safe:

Domo ... is a brown, furry and oviparous monster with a large, sawtoothed mouth that is locked wide open. His favorite food is nikujaga, a Japanese meat and potato stew, and he strongly detests apples for an unknown genetic reason. ... Domo is known to pass gas repeatedly when nervous or upset. He also sweats when nervous.


Follow the link for further fascinating info on his cave-dwelling housemates, a wise old rabbit and an alcoholic bat.

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