Monthly Archives: October 2009

Long Waiting for GP appointment and NHS Service

GP clinicGP clinic

昨日、1年ぶりぐらいにGP(General Practitioner、家庭医/一般医)に行ってきた。こちらの国営医療サービス(NHS: National Health Service)は無料で有り難いんだけれど、何事にも忍耐が必要だ。私のGPの予約は通常、約1週間先。今回は女医の方をとお願いしたら、なんと2週間待ち。ちなみに2008年10月の調査によると、誰もが2営業日以内にGPの診療を受けられるという目標を達成したGPは、たったの31%だったそうだ。1週間以内にたいてい快復するので、今はよっぽどのことでない限りGPには行かない。軽い症状の場合は、NHS Directの電話サービスに電話したりするのだが、これもあまり使えない。電話でこちらの容態を伝えた後、看護婦が電話をかけ直してくるシステムなのだが、すぐにはかかってこない。先日電話した際は、豚インフルエンザの影響からか、かかって来たのは4時間後だった。しかも、アドバイスは大したことはなく、蜂蜜をお湯に溶かして飲みなさいとか、咳がひどい時は横向きに寝なさいとか、おばあちゃんの知恵袋以上のことは言ってくれない。これなら自分でネットサーチした方が、よっぽど有益だわ。緊急の場合は、A&E(Accident & Emergency、救急病棟)かWalk-in Clinic(軽い怪我、軽症を治療する予約不要の診療所)、Minor Injuries units(MIUs、軽傷を治療する診療所)に行くというチョイスもある。しかし数が少なく近所にないので、はるばる出かけないといけない。したがって、私たちにとっては、これもよっぽどの際の選択肢だ。しかも、A&Eの待ち時間は、悪名高い日本の大学病院の待ち時間以上に長いこともある。A&Eの達成目標は待ち時間4時間以内。2004年の記事ではイングランドの96%のA&Eが達成したそうけれど、4時間待ちって、健康な人でもかなり辛いのでは??



I went to see my GP (General Practitioner) yesterday, one year after my last visit. It is great that UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is free, but you need a great patience for everything. Normally I have to wait about a week to see my GP with my surgery. As I requested a female doctor this time, it took even longer for 2 weeks!! According to the Guardian, in 2008 only 31% of practices met the target that every patient should be able to see a GP within two working days. I usually recover before the appointment day, so I rarely go to the surgery because it is no point to go. If my problem is not serious, I call up NHS Direct telephone service sometimes, but it is not much help either. The system is that you call and leave your details, and the nurse in charge call us back later, but they don’t ring you right away. Last time I called them few weeks ago, I got a phone call after 4 hours, due to the swine flu chaos. Their advise is not so much better than the grandmother’s wisdom, such as drinking hot water with honey or lie down on your side when you have a cough, sort of thing. It’s much faster to search myself online!! If it is an emergency, there are three choices: A&E (Accident & Emergency), Walk-in Clinic or Minor Injuries units (MIUs). However, there are not many of those around us and we have to go all the way there when we are sick/injured – therefore only for a special occasion for us as well. The target waiting time for A&E is within 4 hours. 96% of A&E in England achieved the target in 2004, according to BBC, but isn’t it exhausting even for healthy person to sit on your butt for 4 hours??

In UK, you cannot go any doctors or specialists of your choice, unless you see the GP you registered first. GPs usually know only basics (less than basic sometimes), and you need to obtain a referral letter from your GP to take tests or to receive a treatment – but this process also takes time. First a GP has to fill out the form, to send a fax to the hospital, to receive a correspondence within 2 weeks, and then to set up the appointment. It took 3 months since the phone call to make the appointment, when I took allergy tests (waiting time varies based your problem and the area you live).  I was told take a certain test this time – I am wondering when it will be. Let’s see. According to NHS website, NHS had met its “18 weeks” waiting time target, whereby patients referred from a GP for further treatment start that treatment within 18 weeks. The average wait for treatment for patients admitted to hospital is 8.6 weeks, and 4.6 weeks for out-patients, as of January 2009. It is supposed to be the shortest in their record, but is it the number they can proud of??

I really believe that British are very patient. Queueing is one of their national hobby. ATM, supermarket, post office, train ticket machines etc. – patiently and orderly waiting on a line without complaining is one of the typical British traits. Or is it a NHS conspiracy to irritate people so that more people get private medical insurance and therefore suppress the NHS medical cost (12.5% of the UK population has private medical insurance policies in 2007) ??

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Remembering Jan Kaplický – Architect of the Future @ Design Museum

Remembering Jan Kaplický @ Design Museum

今年1月15日に71歳で亡くなった建築家、Jan Kaplickýヤン・カプリツキー)の追悼展「Remembering Jan Kaplický – Architect of the Future」(デザイン・ミュージアム)が、昨日のエントリーの「Mariscal: Drawing Life」とともに、今週末11月1日で終わる。プラハ生まれのカプリツキー氏は、、1968年のプラハの春(旧ソ連のチェコスロヴァキアへの軍事介入)後、祖国を脱出し、イギリスに亡命。パリのポンピドゥー・センターCentre Georges Pompidou)を共に手がけた、レンゾ・ピアノRenzo Piano)とリチャード・ロジャース卿(Richard Rogers)の建築事務所、ノーマン・フォスター卿のFoster and Partnersを経て、建築シンクタンクFuture Systems(フューチャー・システムズ)を主宰。生物的なフォルムと未来派ハイテクを組み合わせた、常識を覆すユニークな建築物で世界的に有名になった。代表作には、数々の賞を受賞し、バーミンガムのシンボルにもなったSelfridgesセルフリッジズ)や、宇宙船を彷彿させるロンドンのLord’s Cricket Ground(ローズ・クリケット場)のメディアセンター等がある。亡くなる前は、チェコ共和国での仕事に力を入れていた。彼の母国での最初の重要な建築物となるはずだった、国立図書館の新しい建物の国際コンペに通ったが、「Octopus(たこ)」とあだ名された、紫と緑のしみにも見える奇抜なデザインに反対意見が相次ぎ、残念ながらプロジェクトはキャンセルされた。カプリツキーは、彼がデザインした、České Budějovice(チェスケー・ブディヨヴィツェ)に建築予定だった議会とコンサートホールの完成を見届けることなく、故郷のプラハで、娘の誕生を見届けた直後、急性心不全で亡くなった。

追悼展では代表作の他にも、世に出なかった作品、彼の太陽発電の乗り物、電気自動車、ジュエリー、2階建てバス、果てはビキニデザインまで、カプリツキーの想像力と才能を余すことなく展示。SF映画に出てきそうな、彼のユニークで未来的なデザインは、模型を見ているだけでも楽しい。下の階で開催中の、建築家の「David Chipperfield: Form Matters」に比べると規模が小さいのが残念だ。

Remembering Jan Kaplický – Architect of the Future” at Design Museum will end at the end of this week on November 1, as well as yesterday’s entry “Mariscal: Drawing Life.”

World-renowned Czech-born architect Jan Kaplický, who died on January 15 this year, escaped to London in September 1968 in the wake of the Prague Spring, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. He worked at the office of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, with whom he developed the design for the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and then joined Foster Associates, now Foster and Partners. In 1979 Kaplický set up his own architectural think tank Future Systems with David Nixon, and had created innovative and unusual architectures style that combined organic forms with high tech futurism. His major works include awards-winning Selfridges Building which became an icon of Birmingham, and spaceship look-like media center at Lord’s Cricket Ground. Kaplický began to spend more time in the Czech Republic toward the end of his life. He won the international architectural competition for the new Czech National Library building, which was to have been his first major building in his home country, but his design plan resembling a green and purple blob and nicknamed “the Octopus,” was cancelled due to the strong objections as it would “ruin Prague’s panorama.” Kaplický died with heart failure in his native Prague, just after observing his daughter’s birth, without seeing the completion of another of his project, the Congress and Concert Hall Centre in České Budějovice (Budweis), with his own eyes.

In this exhibition, you can see gifted architect and designer Kaplický’s major works as well as his stream of ideas for solar powered vehicles, electric cars, jewellery, bikinis and double-decker buses. His futuristic design, perfect for Science Fiction movies, is fun and exciting. It is a shame that the space is much smaller than another architect’s less entertaining exhibition “David Chipperfield: Form Matters” downstairs.

Remembering Jan Kaplický @ Design Museum

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Mariscal: Drawing Life @ Design Museum

Mariscal: Drawing Life @ Design MuseumMariscal: Drawing Life @ Design Museum

デザイン・ミュージアムで開催中の、スペイン人デザイナー・アーティスト、ハビエル・マリスカルJavier Mariscal)の回顧展「Mariscal: Drawing Life」が11月1日で終了する。1992年のバルセロナ・オリンピック公式マスコットコビー(Cobi)」のデザインで世界的に有名になったマリスカルの、30年以上に渡る多彩な創作活動が一堂に集められた、スペイン人らしい、実にカラフルで楽しい展覧会だ。1950年にバレンシアに生まれ、1970年以来バルセロナにベースを置くマリスカルの活動範囲は実に幅広く、創作活動なら何でも来い状態。「Mariscal: Drawing Life」では、マルチタレントであるマリスカルの、デザインベースであるドローイングやイラストレーションの他、絵画や彫刻、漫画のキャラクター、家具、照明、グラフィック・デザイン、コーポレート・アイデンティティ、家具などのインテリアデザイン、テキスタイル、造園、映像、写真等々、さまざまな作品が展示されている。

マリスカルは、1989年にEstudio Mariscalを設立、世界に名だたるデザイナーや建築家等とのプロジェクトを手がけてきた。著名建築家、設計者19名が各フロアをデザインして話題を呼んだ、2005年オープンのマドリッドの高級ホテル「ホテル・プエルタ・アメリカ」では、フェルナンド・サラス(Fernando Salas)とともに11階を担当。スペインの靴ブランド、Camper(カンペール)のバッグコレクション「Camper For Hands(カンペール・フォー・ハンズ)」のロゴタイプやグラフィックも手がけ、2003年9月に開店したカンペール表参道店も設計・デザインした。また、1991年から94年まで発行されていた日本のタウン誌・apo(アポ、S.S.コミュニケーションズ)のマリスカルの表紙デザインも見ることができる。


The first UK retrospective of Spanish designer and artist Javier Mariscal, “Mariscal: Drawing Life” at Design Museum will finish soon in November 1. This exhibition put Mariscal’s works over 30 years together on the same floor, and is extremely colorful and fun. Born in 1950 in Valencia and based in Barcelona since 1970, multi-talented Mariscal have produced a wide variety of works – anything creative. ‘Cobi‘, the official Olympic mascot he designed for the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, made his name worldly recognized.  Mariscal: Drawing Life presents his major works in all kinds of medium, raging from drawing and illustration which are the basis for his designs, to painting, sculpture, cartoon characters, interior design such as furniture and lighting, graphic design including corporate identity and typography, textiles, landscaping, films, photographs and so on.

He opened the Estudio Mariscal in 1989 and has collaborated in several projects with famous designers and architects. His most notable works include Hotel Puerta América in Madrid (opened in 2005), a project in which the best architecture and design studios of the moment participated. Estudio Mariscal and Fernando Salas were responsible for the interior design of the eleventh floor. He is in charge of the logotype and graphic for the new brand of bags for Camper, “Camper For Hands, ” and designed a Camper shop in Omotesando, Tokyo in September 2003.

Mariscal’s superb combinations of colors, innovative designs, and his very original style of “out-of-shape” illustrations, often noisy but at the same quite relaxing as well – it is like a bright Spanish sun in a clear blue sky.

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Vincere (Win) @ BFI 53rd London Film Festival

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ロンドン国際映画祭で観た、もう一つの映画、伊・仏合作の「Vincere(勝つ)」。今年のカンヌ映画祭にイタリアから唯一出品された作品で、イタリアの独裁者、ベニート・ムッソリーニの最初の「妻」で、近年その存在が明らかになった、Ida Dalser(イーダ・ダルセル)の悲劇の人生を描いた映画。イタリア人ジャーナリスト、マルコ・ゼニの「la moglie di Mussolini(ムッソリーニの妻・2005年)」原作で、Giovanna Mezzogiornoジョヴァンナ・メッツォジョルノ)が主役のイーダを、そしてFilippo Timi(フィリッポ・ティーミ)がムッソリーニとイーダの息子・Benito Albino(ベニート・アルビーノ)の二役を演じている。

イーダは、第一次世界大戦勃発前、「ドゥーチェ(Duce,、統帥)」の呼び名で知られるムッソリーニが、イタリア北部国境沿いの街・トレントでイタリア社会党の日刊紙『アヴァンティ!』(前進)の編集長をしていた頃に知り合い、結婚。経営していた美容院を含む全財産を売り払って、ムッソリーニが設立した日刊紙「ポポロ=ディタリア(Il Popolo d’Italia/イタリアの人民)」に出資する等、献身的に彼を支えた。しかし、ムッソリーニの子を妊娠していることが分かったある日、1915年にムッソリーニと結婚したラケーレ・グイディ(Rachele Guidi)とその娘が彼に会いに来たのを目撃。その後ムッソリーニのイーダへの愛は冷めるが、イーダは彼をストーカーまがいに追い続け、疎ましがられた末にトレントの妹の家に強制的に追いやられ、地元警察の厳しい監視下に置かれた。それでも執拗に諦めないイーダは、とうとう精神病院に強制収容され、1937年に57歳で亡くなるまで病院生活を余儀なくされた。彼女の息子も、伯父・叔母の家から連れ去られ、ファシスト党員の養子になり、寄宿舎で教育を受けた後に海軍入隊、常にファシスト政府の監視下に置かれていた。彼も、最後までムッソリーニが父親だと公言していたため、精神病院に入れられ、27歳の若さで死んだ。


This is another movie we saw at London Film Festival, an Italian–French movie “Vincere (Win).” Vincere, the only Italian movie shown at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, is about the tragic life of Ida Dalser, the “first wife” of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, based on a book “la moglie di Mussolini (wife of Mussolini, 2005)” by an Italian journalist Marco Zeni. The story of Mussolini’s first marriage was suppressed during fascist rule, and remained generally unknown for years afterwards. Vincere stars Giovanna Mezzogiorno as Ida, Ida Dalser and Filippo Timi as young Mussolini and Ida’s son Benito Albino Mussolini.

Ida met “Duce” (nickname for Mussolini) in the northern border city Trento, when he was working as an editor of the Socialist Party newspaper Avanti! before World War I. Ida financed him to set up his own newspaper “Il Popolo d’Italia (people of Italy)” by selling everything she had including her beauty salon, and later they married.  One day she came to tell Mussolini that she was pregnant, but soon she was kicked out from his office when another woman with her daughter showed up – Rachele Guidi whom Mussolini married on 1915. Mussolini’s love for Ida soon disappeared but Ida didn’t give up – she was chasing him all over the place, and she and her son were ordered to move in with her sister and her every move had been watched by the local police. Ida still tried to win back her love to the point of extreme, and was forcefully hospitalized in a mental institution. She had never allowed to leave the  hospital until when she died at the age of 57. Her son, Benito Albino was abducted from his uncle’s house by government agents, and was adopted as an orphan by the fascist ex-police chief. He was educated at a boarding school and later enrolled in the navy, and always remained under close surveillance by the fascist government. He also insisted that Mussolini was his father, and was eventually forcibly interned in an asylum, where he died in 1942, aged 27.

Ida was dumped by Mussolini, who had no friend but tons of women, but had never given up her hope that Mussolini would come back to her one day, but finished her life at mental hospital, even  separated from her beloved son – such a heartbreaking story. The cinematography mixed with archival black & white footage and edited in Futurist style, which had strong tie with Italian fascism, is dramatic and atmospheric. I enjoyed the movie, but if I have to find a problem, it would be (1) Filippo Timi is too good-looking and I couldn’t connect him with real Mussolini in the archive films, and (2) 128 min screening time is unnecessarily too long (especially the sex scenes of Ida and Mussolini goes on and on!)  .

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Pizza East @ Shoreditch

Pizza East @ ShoreditchPizza East @ Shoreditch

最近、ヒップなお店やレストラン、バーが増えているトレンディーなショーディッチにできたピッツェリア、Pizza East。以前に書いたAlbion Cafeのすぐそば、Shoreditch High StreetとBethnal Green Roadの角にある、元はリプトンの倉庫であったTea Buildingを改装したビルの1階にある。巨大なフロアに最大座席数170席を誇り、コンクリートの壁やむき出しの梁やパイプ、柱など、倉庫であった建物を生かした店内は、レトロな雰囲気にモダンさを加えた、とても居心地の良い空間に仕上がっている。デリカウンターでは、総菜や食材、台所用品を販売。また、テイクアウトサービスも12月にオープンする予定だそうだ。定休日がなく、まともなレストランは11時に閉まってしまうロンドンにおいて、週7日夜12時まで(日曜は11時まで)休みなく開いてるのも嬉しい。

ピザは、底はカリッ、端はふっくらもちもち仕上がっていて、美味しい。タイムアウト紙によると、アサリののった典型的なニューイングランド風ピザなど、オーナー会社のSoho Houseが支店を持つニューヨークのイタリアンに影響を受けているとのこと。メインディッシュやアンティパスト(前菜)、サラダ、デザートと、ピザの気分じゃない時も大丈夫。Mのミックスリーフの上にセロリだのブロッコリーだのがのっているサラダは、£4という値段のわりにはデカくちょっとびっくりしたが、味は悪くなかったそうだ。デザートに頼んだ、温かいFig Cornmeal Cake(イチジク入りのコーンミールケーキのアイスクリーム添え)もなかなかのもの。


A new pizzeria Pizza East opened in a trendy Shoreditch area, at the corner of Shoreditch High Street and Bethnal Green Road – very close from Albion Cafe I wrote before. Pizza East is situated on the ground floor of Tea Building, former Lipton Tea Warehouse. The interior makes the most of  the features of the former industrial building, such as concrete walls and exposed beams, pipes and pillars, with contemporary touches and retro atmosphere. The pizzeria boasts the capacity of up to 170 guests on its vast space. There is also to-go (coming December 2009) and deli counter service where ingredients, accompaniments and accessories used in the restaurant are for sale. Opening all day from noon until midnight (Sunday until 11 pm) 7 days a week is a big plus in London, where most of the decent restaurants close at 11 pm.

Their pizza was fresh and crispy, while around the puffed-up edges was soft and chewy. According to the Time Out review, there’s some Italian-American influence on many of the dishes, such as New England specialty pizza with clams, because the owner of the pizzeria Soho House has a branch in New York. There are a loads of antipasti (appetizers), salads, mains, and deserts, so you will be fine even if you don’t feel for pizza. M’s green salad was rather big as the reasonable price of £4, with celery and broccoli on a mountain of mix leaves, but according to M, the taste was not bad. Warm Fig Cornmeal Cake with ice cream, our desert, was delicious as well.

Pizza East is the place where I want to go on a sunny day and relax with the sunshine coming through the large windows.

Pizza East @ Shoreditch

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