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Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2005


Smoking, Japanese and clothes

Still smoking

Bruce is being pestered by a friend back home who wants him to find a "heavy duty" pocket ashtray.

"He claims that Japanese newspapers and cigarette companies used to give them away; nowadays shops are glutted with flimsier ones that he says are nowhere near as durable.

"The one he wants has no foldover flap, but rather a tension snap that holds the top shut till it's squeezed; also the foil liner is much heavier than those of the aforementioned cheapies."

Since Bruce doesn't smoke, he's doubly at a loss. "I've asked some local smokers for advice, and toured the local tobacco shops, but with no luck at all. Can you help?"

Writer's Salon

Having completed an eight-week course in creative writing, set up a blog site and started her first novel, trailblazer salon leader Lauren throws out an invitation: "Come share some of your writing, talk with other aspiring writers . . . Let's get a new writer's group started!"

Shibuya Writers Salon is free, with a one drink minimum purchase to support the Pink Cow for providing meeting space on the first Tuesday evening of every month.

The first SWS takes place on Sept. 6, from 7-9 p.m. Queries can be sent to lauren.shannon@gmail.com. Also check out www.thepinkcow.com

Sounding it out

On the ongoing subject of pronunciation, Jeff Huffman in Seattle quotes B. Mc. in Lifelines of June 7: "I was surprised to find that this same apparent mistake existed in Japanese, and even more so that the Japanese employ the kanji for Beijing and read it as Pekin, rather than Hokkyou. I then went on to discover that the kanji for Shanghai is read as Shanhai, rather than Joukai and the kanji for Hong Kong is read as Honkon, rather than Kyoukou."

Jeff thinks Brian, didn't think long enough about this one.

He writes: "While anyone who lives in Japan long enough sees maps with either odd Romanji or katakana (surely the invention of the Devil) renderings of place names, Brian didn't make the obvious leap that the Japanese are perfectly capable in many instances of reading Chinese place names with a close approximation of the proper Chinese reading. Kanji is Chinese and retains the same or at least a similar pronunciation from the original Chinese for the on reading in Japanese, no?"

On the same subject, Philip Philipsen in Denmark, who has an MA in Japanese Studies and Chinese says: "Regarding the Peking/Beijing confusion , I'd like to add that we're simply dealing with Cantonese vs Mandarin. Peking is a Western approximation of Cantonese Bakging, whereas Beijing is an accurate rendition of the Mandarin."

Clothes swap

Another Clothing Swap event will take place on Sept. 11 at Cozmos Cafe in Shibuya.

Organiser Laura writes to let us know that the last event in April generated several bags of clothing for donation and all who attended left with something new for their wardrobes.

Anyone interested in attending the event should bring their clean clothes that they no longer want to the cafe, add them to the pile of fashion on the table and feel free to try on and take as many items there as they like.

Any remaining items will be donated to charity.

The event is not for the faint-hearted, warns Laura. Those attending have to jump in and dig for their treasure.

All season items will be accepted but should be in clean, functional condition. There will also be a maternity wear section.

The event takes place from 3-6 p.m. Entrance is 2,000, yen including one drink and a 500 yen bar list will be available. A map for Cozmos can be found at www.cozmoscafe.com/

Send your queries, questions, problems and posers to lifelines@japantimes.co.jp

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