Tuesday, February 14, 2006

So Dan has shuffled off this ancient soil and left, in his wake, a mighty cold. Currently with much to do to prepare for whatever awaits me in Tokyo, I am sat in bed feeling like a soggy bag of mucus and tofu with nowt but pot noodle to comfort me. If I, three months ago could see my current culinary exploits I would have wept. Last night I felt proud at having cooked a meal with a total of four ingredients which may have doubled my previous record. I have neither fridge nor pantry and because people seem to eat out almost every meal, there's not a great deal to buy on campus to sustain one with streptococcal relations. Fear not however as last night's meal included a fine helping of seaweed and I shall therefore be up and active in no time, apparently.

Anyway, still a couple of days of Dan's visit to report on.

Thursday evening we thought that a mixture of Kung Fu, Chinese opera, acrobatics, contortionism and classical Beijing cuisine would quell our cultural and gastronomic appetites, if not give us indigestion. So we headed with three friends to one of the performances where one can get a concentrated dose of each of the above art forms without having to sit through two hours of opera. I think of myself as reasonably open-minded when it comes to music but Beijing opera is really pretty offensive to most Western ears, mine included. A strange, strangulated, high-pitched, highly fluctuating tone which is clearly perfectly controlled but is genuinely akin to cats in pain does not set my heart afluttering. A few five minute bursts was interesting but quite enough for me. We also thought that we should show Dan some of the more exotic foods since he's been missing out a little on the weird and wonderful and cold chicken's feet seemed to go down OK. I still find 'stinky tofu' a little hard to swallow though it makes me understand a little better why some people have such a problem with smelly cheeses. I think I mentioned before that though it has a foul odour, it's supposed to taste divine, however I can't remove the smell as I'm eating unless my honker is muffled.

Dan's last evening was spent in the local bars with us chatting idly, me dancing badly and generally meeting some new people. The seven o'clock start the next day was not wholly welcomed having returned to the flat only four hours previously. Anyway, Dan was packed off in a taxi and I returned to bed to nurture my incoming germs. They are now fully in bloom, some pruning is needed.

Since then I've been attempting to read some of the papers produced by the researchers I will be working with in Japan, and thinking about what I should tell them in my seminars.


So, I'm intrigued, this is a general state of mind for me but this time it's a particular puzzlement. I mentioned a long time ago that I'd put a sitemeter on this site which means that I can see if anyone is reading any of this. It turns out they are, not in astronomical numbers but some are. Many of whom I know but I think that there are a few who must have stumbled across this by accident, possibly via some of the strange searches that bring people here (I met Von Trier, for example). Most of the people that I don't think I know, or at least I may do but can't work out who they are, are from the States, a few from France and a few others dotted around the world. Anyway, my intrigue is getting the better of me. If you feel so inclined and you think that I might not know who you are, please feel free to send an e-mail. This is purely for egotistical enlightenment to find out who knows a lot more about what is going on in my life than I do in their's, and if you feel further inclined, fill me in on who you are.

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