Last semester's marking has just touched down in my in-tray, so I'm likely to be preoccupied over the next two or three weeks, but to keep my spirits up I've begun making arrangements for my research trip to Japan in May (which is, for the first half, a tour of resorts, malls, etc., inspired by Britain, and particularly the Cotswolds). First up, I've booked two nights in the B&B at Dreamton, near Kameoka (not far from Kyoto). There I will enjoy a full English breakfast in a country cottage with whitewashed walls, but also potentially be disturbed by the cry of frogs at night, according to the information I was sent on booking. This the kind of cognitive dissonance I particularly appreciate. (Of course, we have frogs in England too, but as I found last year Japanese ones sound quite different.) "京都の英国カントリーサイド、静かに流れる時間を存分にお楽しみください", says the booking form: "Enjoy time flowing quietly by in Kyoto's British countryside." I can't wait.
I've tried to contact British Hills, too, but so far no reply. Yufuin Floral Village is next on my list, where I hope to meet up with my good friend Chiho. Watch this space - or the next one.
I've often seen old anthropomorphic maps of England, Britain, or even the British Isles - stuff like this:
But check out the anime-style versions here (you need to scroll down some way). Are they not considerably more appealing than a sour-faced Britannia who has turned Wales into her chair-back?
In vocabulary news, I've long had difficulty remember the Japanese word for aquarium: suizokukan (水族館). I've seen it several times, but not often enough for it to stick. Now, I've just realised that kanji-by-kanji it can be translated as "hall of the watery tribe". Given that, I think I won't have any further difficulty. I'll just imagine it was coined by a minor eighteenth-century poet.