Monday, 22 November 2010

Japanese music and fine home cooking


Went to a performance of koto, shamisen and shakuhachi, featuring my mother-in-law's koto teacher. She's 81 years old, though you would not believe it to look at her, or to hear her play with such incredible speed and delicacy of touch.
We then went to a very tempting antique fair, but with the Yen so strong, there was nothing I could really afford this time. Perhaps when I am a wealthy minister...
This evening, my mother-in-law as usual cooked up a feast. This is the season for crab, for which Fukui is rightly renowned. We ate it in the Japanese style, with rice and vinegar. Alongside the crab, we ate Japanese vegetables stewed in sake, two different kinds of fish cooked in soy and sugar (saba and buri), daikon radish cooked in mirin and grated tororo with raw egg and soy sauce. Japanese home cooking is quite different from restaurant food, utilising soy, mirin and sake to create a subtle palette. You have to taste it to know what I mean.

Autumn leaves in Fukui

Friday, 19 November 2010

BBC News: "Why would a straight couple want a civil partnership?"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11625835
Psalm 116:16-17
I will fulfil my vows to the Lord •
in the presence of all his people,

In the courts of the house of the Lord, •
in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
A key element of marriage has not been addressed in the news article linked above, namely that marriage is not only about two people's private commitment to each other.  It is an expressly public sign and celebration of that commitment: hence the importance of the 'dresses and cakes' that some people here disparage. 

Sunday, 14 November 2010

St Stephen´s Anglican Church, Tokyo, Hatanodai: 聖三光教会



Another beautiful High Mass at this lively church. Having been to the consecration of the new church building some weeks ago, I was surprised to find myself at the 90th anniversary celebration of the church´s original foundation, for which Tom Foreman and I were invited to eat an excellent curry with the congregation.

This afternoon, we went to an intimate chamber concert in which the organist of the church, who is a professional pianist, and her husband, a cellist in the Tokyo Philharmonic, performed works ranging from Mozart through Rachmaninov to Brahms. The venue was the house of an academic whose late father was a celebrated architect. The house has a performance venue, replete with Yamaha grand piano and original modern art, where some twenty or so of us gathered for the performance. Afterwards, we were treated to wine and a buffet in the garden, which unusually for Tokyo featured a full swimming pool. All this was at the kind behest of the Kurogawas, the musicians, who invited us without charge. This is only one of many examples of Japanese kindness and interest in meeting foreign people. If only English people extended the same kindness to Asian visitors.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Autumn leaves on Mount Takao

A day trip to Mount Takao to look at the Autumn leaves.  Click to see the gallery. 

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Saturday in Kyoto

Kyoto
Nao and I met on Friday night and stayed, we think, in the first hotel we ever stayed in together, some eight years ago.  The location was not romantic in a conventional sense, being bang in the middle of Osaka´s extensive red light district, but for us it held fond memories. 

Friday, 5 November 2010

Otani University


Friday took me to Otani University, the college of Higashi Honganji, the other large sect of Jodo Shinshu.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Ryukoku University


Kyoto's Ryokoku University is affiliated to the Nishi Honganji sect of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, and has a beautiful Meiji-period campus within the grounds of the synonymous temple.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

BBC E-mail: Convicted prisoners to get vote

Thousands of convicted UK prisoners are to get the right to vote following a European ruling that the present ban, dating from 1870, is unlawful.

So, Europe has the final say in matters of English jurisprudence.  Better still:

Lawyers have said a failure to comply could cost hundreds of millions of pounds in legal costs and compensation.
I see.  And that'd be on top of the £12-14bn we already pay, not to mention the speculative cost of the CAP to the British economy?

Our continued membership of the EU makes replacing Trident look like pocket money.  

 < http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/uk-11671164 >