Laike Tekkin Bread Up Top O World

So I cycle to school this morning, through the road (which frankly reminds me of a Zelda Game in that it is straight and has crossroads with roads that seem to go off into the middle of nowhere, I know there`s a shield hidden in that field, if only I could find the sword to cut down the long grass and find it…) that goes past orchards and paddy fields. I was even lucky enough for Fuji to make a brief appearence this morning through the clouds. Mountains in the distance and paddy fields up close and I cycle around the bend to be greeted by familiar strains of music slipping over the farmhouses and the Beauty Parlour..’da da da daaaa da’…sudden familiarity drops in…’Da..daaa.da..da.da.daaa…da…’ and The New World Symphony welcomes my bycicle past the school field where the marching band are practising again (last night I left to Holst, I can’t remember whether it was Jupiter Bringer of Jollity or Mars Bringer of War as they were practisinmg both all day in the baking heat!) And then the sudden jolt as I really place the music in a specifically cultural way, I swing myself off the bike as the music’s playing and into my head pops ‘laike tekkin bread up top o world’…no one’s going to say that today about the music. No one would understand if I said it, in England it would at least get an eye roll. In this country I cycle past a MacDonalds and a KFC everyday but there is no Hovis.

My adult class only seem to want to talk to me about America, Bill Clinton, George Bush, John Kerry. No one’s heard of Tony Blair (should I breathe a sigh of relief?) I even tried the lady from Grantham and no one knew who she was either.

English culture? Oh you mean American. You’re an America? No English! Ahhh so you been to New York?
Part of my remit is supposedly internationalisation…but all the Japanese people I meet seem to want to know about is America, and it’s really not my forte.
I even took a blasting for being American from a Phillipino lady I walking around the five lakes with on SUnday. Eventually I gave up protesting ‘But I’m not American’ and ‘Not all American’s are like that’ when she deigned to explain she was from the Phillipines, and gave me a list as long as Schwarzenegger’s arm of the many and varied atrocities and breaches of humanity that America and Americans have perpetrated on and in the Phillipines. (I briefly wondered about asking about Arroya and Iraq and decided not to!) It occurred to me during her rant about child rape, molestation, American soldiers and wartime occupation (all separate as well as linked subjects, it was a rant that spanned about seventy years!) that had it been a hundred years in the past and another of several countries throughought the world then it would have been Britain she was ranting about and me she was ranting to, not the American that she thought I was.

So my rice fields are dotted with vending machines that sell Coca~Cola and MacDonalds are so numerous I use them to navigate by. On the other hand I cycle past Mount Fuji everyday (even if he is mostly covered in kumori) and there is no Hovis!

12 thoughts on “Laike Tekkin Bread Up Top O World

  1. Fun(?) fact that Tom’s always throwing around:

    The Colt 1911 automatic handgun (the first with the hefty .45 calibre bullet) was designed specifically so that the US Marines could shoot Filipinos. Apparently the Filipinos were too tough for the normal weapons to take them down.

    How to get them into British culture… Have you thought about some of the very British sitcoms (Blackadder?), films (Withnail & I, perhaps), and so on?

    I’d forget about politics and Tony Blair for now: on the international stage, the only impact we make in the Asia-Pacific region seems to be alongside the US, as a junior partner. Plus, of course, Japan still has US garrisons left over from WWII and the Korean War. US politics matters to the Japanese.

  2. I’m an American, I’d love to field some questions from your adult class anytime. Better yet, if you have any questions about Americans, feel free.

    Actually, that bit of history of the Colt 1911 is a bit of a modern myth. There was a great amount of pressure to design a semi-automatic weapon to replace the service revolvers.

  3. Ah, right. Should have guessed by the way Tom’s always quoting it as historical fact…


    (Hmm, I’m still going to nick the story for the RPG I’m writing.)

  4. i have no suggestions as to how to introduce them to british culture – just what ever you do , DON’T introduce them to stereotyped american-movie britain. Stay away from crumpets, scones, cricket, bowler hats and the beatles.

    Describe your home, your friends, your experiences. It’ll highlight similarites, plus it will give you a solid ground of fact from which to speak.

  5. Archangel: don’t worry about it, as I said, its a modern myth. A nice idea, but not really the real reasons. Funny tidbit, I use Nesuphyn as a handle because Archangel Nesuphyn is an anagram of my full name (don’t bother, unless you know alot of Vietnamese names, just ask Mich)

    Yellow Dart: You wouldn’t happen to be a homestarrunner fan would you?

  6. Mish, I wouldn’t impune the Man of Tastes knowledge of historical facts in the slightest.

    Just his knowledge of historical myths… 🙂

    (Don’t have a conversation with him about swords and how sharp they are, I mean it…)

  7. Dear nesufyn,

    I am writting on behalf of my client, jason snelling, ordering you to cease calling him *a* homestarrunner fan forthwith.
    He is *the* homestarrunner fan. The definitive article. So much so that a Strongsad action figure adorns the top of Lal’s monitor and a the cheat sits bluetacked precariously upon the mouse.

    Yours faithfully

    Sue Denim and Ann Nonimous
    Genuine Lawyers

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