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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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A Walk Around the Floating World
Well, that was a very Japanese and yet quite Bristolian day. It began with my walking to a disused church near my children's former primary school, the site of many a school disco and bouncy-castle party in those days, but today home to the "Bristol Japan Cultural Showcase 2018" - an opportunity to load up on Umaibou (the chicken curry flavour, if somewhat caricatured in design, lives up to its name in taste)...

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... and other snacks; to have people doing kendo shout Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: to try my clumsy hand at calligraphy (can you guess which is mine and which the actual calligrapher's?...


... of course you can); and have a go at ikebana, which was rather more successful:

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I also got to talk Japanese to a lot of new people, of course, which is always fun. I don't think I embarrassed myself.

The plan was to walk from there to the city museum, about a mile away, where there's currently an exhibition of Hokusai and Hiroshige prints. However, the ikebana people kindly wrapped my effort in cellophane and gave it me, which (considering I was also carrying a couple of bags, including a PhD thesis) was a little cumbersome. I couldn't simply dump it in a bin en route, though, after they'd been so nice, and besides, I was genuinely quite pleased with my effort. Before long I walked past a shop called Kimonokimono, which turned out to sell... well, yes, kimonos and lots of other Japanoiserie, all very good quality. On impulse I offered the shopkeeper my ikebana, which he accepted and quickly put in place among his stock (arranging it rather better than I had), which seemed an elegant and appropriate solution to the problem:


Unencumbered, I made a quick detour to the Bristol Porridge Project for lunch - something I'd been intending to do when opportunity arose. I went for the "Crazy Clifton Combo", with toppings of cacao nibs, cinnamon spiced apple, dates and cranberries. Not half bad for £3, and I'm definitely going back.

The Hokusai and Hiroshige were as good as one might expect: the Tokaido trail and the views of Fuji in all seasons and weathers. I was just as intrigued, though, by the museum's collection of late-seventeenth-century Japanese pottery, imported at a time when the supply from China had been interrupted by civil war. I don't think I'd been aware of the sakoku-era fashion for this ware:


Then to Coffee #1 to drink tea and read the PhD thesis (on Irish children's literature) before a walk home in high winds that made the plane trees on Welsh Back gong the sea's sound through puffed cheeks, and drove white horses across the floating harbour.

Calligraphy is really hard to do left-handed, since the letters just aren't supposed to go that way! And trying to make pretty things right-handed is, well, not generally effective. For me, anyway. ;)

Yeah, tell me about it! I've always been fairly clumsy, but I can't say it bothers me much except when people insist that I could be otherwise if I only tried.

Amen to that!