Tangentially, two days ago in Athens (where I was attending the IBBY conference) I chatted with an Italian teacher of Japanese and some of my Japanese friends. It was noticeable that, although her Japanese was really excellent, she continued to gesture with her hands as if she were speaking Italian. It was strange how incongruous this looked, at least to undemonstrative me.
Anyway, Athens was a lot of fun, even though I didn't get a chance to do any sightseeing at all. The Acropolis remains unvisited. On the other hand, I heard a lot of interesting papers, gave one that went pretty well, and met some old friends, including Ali Baker and the Tokyo Joshidai Crew, Mihoko, Satomi and Mikako. By the way, here's me hangin' out with Eiko Kadono, the author of Kiki's Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便) and winner of this year's Hans Christian Andersen award, which was given her at the conference dinner, where she gave a really excellent speech. That's two Ghibli-fied authors I've met. Are there any others still alive?