I used to hang out at the Bio Ojiyan Cafe in Harajuku, and I've found two branches in Shimokitazawa. I used to go there for coffee, but they have great food as well. I had avocado kimichi soboru donburi (minced chicken rice bowl).
I was surprised by how much I liked the film version of My Darling Is A Foreigner. It is based on a popular manga by Saori Ogura about her life with husband, American Tony Lazslo. Some of the acting was poor by the support characters that played Tony's friends enunciating and talking loud as if the Japanese were deaf and dumb. Some of the acting by the lead Mao Inonue was over the top Japanese TV style emoting. But there were some poignant scenes that reflected the nature of the characters as well as some cultural differences between the two as well some things that were of a distinct personal nature that reflects the personalities of the characters rather than values of their races. I've only read a few panels from the magna series but it seems to have been a successful interpretation and could have been much worse.
The Osh Bazaar is the most accessible market in Bishkek. We visited the larger Dordoy Bazaar later in the week but my battery for my camera had gone out-however, I think these pictures will you give you an idea of what is for sale at the bazaar.
We were invited by one of our seminar attendees to visit a Kyrgyzstan school in Bishkek. It seems education is underfunded, the building was built pre-WWII but is well-maintained. The students were friendly and seemingly well-behaved and eager to learn. They asked us pointed questions about our observations of their rituals, economy, and cuisine. Teachers are mostly poorly paid women and they have meager resources for text books and other learning materials.
Like schools in the west, local people cast their votes at the school. Kyrgyzstan is trying to establish a democracy and there will be an election in October.
Here is the poorly stocked library-we need to get Room To Read involved here.
Students in one of the lower forms.
An impromptu English lesson in one of the higher forms.
An English poem recited for our entertainment.
Another student performance with a traditional instrument.
I started reading Gary Shteyngart’s second novel Absurdistan as background for my trip to Kyrgyzstan. It filled the bill with a very funny satirical novel about Central Asia, Russia, emigrates in America, academia, and more. It is a novel about Russian Misha Vainberg’s exploits in the imaginary “Absurdistan” (a country near Iran and the Caspian Sea) with the long-standing ethnic tensions between the Sevos and Svanis. This imaginary country is ready to implode due to the greed of meddling foreign capitalist enterprises interested in its oil, corruption, ethnic tensions, and government mismanagement. Misha in particular is a grand creation, “a melancholic and intellectual,” who is grossly overweight and a former graduate of the uproarious liberal “Accidental College after majoring in Multiculturalism. Mish aka “Snack Daddy” has a fondness for gangster rap and a certain streetwise Puerto Rica gal. I also like his clever and postmodern usage of the dastardly foil Professor Gary Shteyngart who is Misha’s romantic rival. Overall, it is an inventive, clever and accurate satire of modern society and post Soviet Central Asia in particular.
Bishkek was surprisingly sophisticated for the variety of restaurants available. There are restaurants specializing in Turkish, Lebanese, Chinese, Uighur, and the Georgian restaurant pictured above. It is a another former Russian state like Kyrgyzstan.
This is a sort of lamb pie cooked in a hot pot ordered by fellow delegate Richard.
There was a mix up on the order and I got lamb sausages instead of my original order, but they were good enough.
This is the whoel THT delegation at a Lebanese restaurant where the Japanese department of Bishkek Humanities University hosted a dinner for us.(There were three vegetarians in our group) L to R: Marian, Greg, Eric, Richard, Steve, Brent, myself, and Roger.
It was a great spread complete with beer and vodka.
Me with the Japanese department staff.
Marian and Damiayr at a European restaurant.
We tried to order local food, but they didn't have any of the food we ordered so we settled on beef and vegetables.
Bishkek Humanitites University was the instatution hosting THT while in Kygryzstan. It seems that it was set up jointly through the Japanese and the English departments. There is a huge ediface in front of the modest sized university, very communist era in design.