Since I posted a first look at Yume Kitchen's menu back in January they have updated and improved it, so here is the latest version.
Yume Kitchen is at 9 Cotham Hill, Bristol BS6 6LD.
Mugenkyo, the UK's best-known and longest-established taiko drumming ensemble, rarely seem to play in the Bristol area. Their 10 year history of concerts throughout the UK, Europe and Japan, with tight playing and theatrical performances, makes them well worth going to see. There's no Bristol concert in their tour schedule at the moment but they will be performing at the Playhouse, Weston Super Mare on Friday 10 May 2013.
And if you want to compare them with a Japanese taiko group, who are guaranteed to put on a spectacular show, the Yamato Drummers from Nara will be playing at the Bristol Hippodrome next Wednesday 27 February 2013.
Learning Japanese Online: keeping the cost down
JapanesePod 101, Busuu, Nihongo Master... these and many other Japanese language learning web sites are jostling to take your hard-earned cash from you in return for the promise of an easy way to learn the language. I've never got as far as paying for any of these but I've given some of them a free trial run. What I've noticed about all of them is that if you decide to take the plunge and pay for their services, it's best to have a strategy. They all offer a short period of free use initially. With some of them you can continue with a free account but what's available will be very limited. To get the full service, you have to pay. This is where the strategy comes in. They may offer you a discount on the full price at the end of the free trial period, but if you hesitate to take it up they will almost always follow this up with the offer of an even cheaper deal. Wait even longer and they may reduce this again and again.
The only problem with this kind of brinkmanship is that eventually the special offers stop and you're left with only the full price option. So how do you know when they have offered you the best price? The answer is to check the site out with a different identity. Give yourself a new name, set up an email account in that name and use it to try out the site. To cover your tracks even more effectively, use a different computer so your IP address is different too. Once you've discovered their marketing strategy, you can secure the best deal using your true identity. It may be a little sneaky, but it will definitely save you some money. Or maybe, like me, you'll decide that the best option of all is to use some of the many good free sites online instead.
You wait forever then two come along at once: as it is with buses, so it is with "Japanese Kitchens" in Bristol. Only a month or so after the arrival of Yume, Bristol's first Japanese Kitchen, comes Nomu, a new cocktail bar/lounge and Japanese Kitchen in Whiteladies Road. Culinary nomenclature aside, Nomu is a very different proposition from Yume though. As the name suggests, Nomu will be concentrating more on drinking than eating and the owner, Ken Wong, describes it as a cocktail bar lounge with a Japanese twist. He also told me that they have "a wonderful kitchen team who can make some fantastic Japanese food", so I'm looking forward to trying it.
Nomu is due to open at 81 Whiteladies Road, Clifton officially on 1st March, after a "tester weekend" (invitation only) beginning this Friday.
What's your blood type? It's not a question British people expect to be asked. After all, a doctor will want to test that for himself rather than take your word for it and there's nobody else who is likely to be interested. Even vampires probably aren't that bothered.
But any Brit with a Japanese girlfriend or boyfriend will probably have faced that strange and slightly disturbing question and wondered for a moment whether they are being eyed up as a partner or a donor.
What lies behind this is the idea, popular in Japan, that people's blood type is indicative of their personality: so that Group O people, for example, might be creative, confident and optimistic, whilst Group A people might be shy, earnest and trustworthy. And what naturally follows on from this is the concept that certain blood types are more compatible with one group than another: so that O might be a good match for AB, but not for A. This kind of blood-type matchmaking is apparently very popular, especially amongst Japanese women.
As a result, pretty well everyone in Japan seems to know his or her blood type, much as most Westerners know their Zodiac sign, and I've found that some of my Japanese friends have been quite puzzled, or even shocked, when I tell them I don't know my own blood type.
How seriously this is taken obviously depends on the individual. In similar vein, I know people who believe every word of the horoscope they read in their daily newspaper. Japanese friends have sometimes asked me if I'm not just a bit curious about my blood group. Well, I suppose I could ask my doctor... but no, I'm quite content for him to keep that little secret to himself.