Monday, July 24, 2006

Our picnic on Saturday was a lovely relaxed affair, we ended spending over 6 hours just hanging around with our friends. Over the course of the afternoon about 20 friends came along, bringing loads of kids with them as well. Our Iranian friend Bij bought along his traditional Iranian 4 stringed mini sitar like thing, which was nice. We chatted, ate and drank and even managed to sneak in a bit football as well. Top afternoon, away from the heaving crowds of Ashton Court, same again next year I think.

We’ve just watched the excellent Lost In Translation, as we now have Film Four thanks to our lovely little Freeview box. I really love the way it captures the dislocation of being in a wonderful city, where everything almost works in the same way – yet doesn’t quite. Causing lots of unintentional confusion along the way.

We went to Tokyo in 1999 for an amazing holiday. I still think that visually it’s the most amazing place that I’ve been to. The film captures the wonder of the place perfectly, the amazing chaos and serenity which can be just a matter of yards apart. It’s a fantastic place to visit, even with our limited grasp of Japanese it was a relatively easy place to navigate your way around and of course the people were amazingly helpful and friendly.

Talking of Japanese things, I’m excited working my way through the latest collection of short storeys from Haruki Murakami – Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. I’d managed to track down a few of these over the years, thanks to the New Yorker and the web, it’s good to see them collected together with the additional bonus of many completely new ones as well.

For me Murakami captures the mood of Japan perfectly, whilst hardly ever writing explicitly about the place. It’s the air of detached understatement more than anything else, which works so well. Many of his pieces have wildly strange stories to tell; yet he tells them in such an undemonstrative way that they appear believable. When his deals with the straightforward events of like, he can do so in a heartbreakingly simple way, it’s fantastic stuff.

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