Friday, 30 April 2010
I have been asking my students who work in sushi bars if there has been any downturn in tuna consumption recently. "No", they have all replied, "Why should there be?" No-one in Japan seems in the least aware that we are facing a global tuna shortage due to overfishing. We are in Golden Week here, seven days of holidays, and the weather after a couple of weeks of constant heavy rain, is warm and sunny. Sushi is the perfect meal for this weather but it is impossible to buy a sushi obento that does not contain maguro (raw tuna) (see pics above). So I have switched to shrimp. (I have a child`s taste in sushi. Tuna and shrimp are the least sophisticated tastes.)
If the Japanese don`t care about the shortage of tuna then they might be persuaded to consider their health. A recent report by the US Environmental Agency found that all the tuna they tested (in the USA) contained higher concentrations of mercury than was considered safe to eat in one day. Their recommendation is to eat no more than 7-8 pieces of tuna per month. Japanese mercury limits are lower than the US but aren`t they both fishing the same sea? I eat A LOT of raw fish. No wonder the fridge magnets keep sticking to me.
*Child`s Taste: Last week I read an article in a British Sunday newspaper in which a restaurant critic tried to get his children to enjoy sophisticated dishes at an elegant restaurant. They would only eat pasta or pizza and he couldn`t understand why. The Japanese know why. They believe that children`s taste buds must grow and develop so they start their children off with simple tastes such as rice, tuna and shrimp and as they grow older offer sea urchin and eel. As a Brit I believe `bland` is a very palatable flavour and I`m sticking with it ...and avoiding the new season pizza, the Mini Dog.
Sunday, 18 April 2010
Saturday, 17 April 2010
Thursday, 8 April 2010
Good news for poor spellers! You know how I tell you that English is not a language but a constantly evolving animal? Well, it now seems that the email generation (that`s me) and the texting generation (that`s you) have prompted an evolutionary leap in (or the total extinction of, depending on how you choose to look at it) English spelling. On my recent trip, wherever I went in the UK, I spotted howling spelling errors and no-one seemed that bothered about them.
I can`t say I`m totally happy about it though. I LOVE good English and recently added the word gelid to my lexicon. (It was in a crime thriller.) And as I have told you before, the better your English, the more educated you sound, and the better your chances of getting that dream job and/or dream date. So keep bringing your electronic dictionaries to class. + sav the texts 4 ur fone.
And Writing 2 and 3 students, the weekly spelling test STAYS.
SPELLING QUIZ: There are 7 spelling errors in the coffee shop sign above. Can you spot them all?
Friday, 2 April 2010
It`s official. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency Tokyo cherry trees are in full bloom right now. And to prove it, here`s the tree outside my office.
This week companies will be sending their junior employees out mid-afternoon to spread plastic sheeting in the parks and sit on it in order to bagsy the best spots for the evening company party which will involve singing songs, drinking beer and getting completely bladdered in the name of cherry blossom viewing. Except so far this week the weather has been really strange. On Monday there was a snow storm. Today it was 20 degrees. And much of the Tokyo transport network was disrupted due to `wind`. Which may have blown most of the blossoms away already.