Monthly Archives: June 2010

Summer Break


I will be out of town for a while soon and am busy preparing for the trip (but I went to see today’s World Cup match Japan vs Denmark at a sports pub today – it was a great game for Japan!!), therefore, I will take a break from this blog until late July. It may be too early to say, but hope everyone will have a great summer holidays!!

Debrett’s Guide for the Modern Gentleman


Guide for the Modern Gentleman」は、1769年創業の出版社、Debrett社が発行。20世紀の中頃から、伝統的なイギリスのエチケットを著した本の数々を出版している。時代錯誤のマナーではなく、仕事、身だしなみ、家まわり、シティ・ライフ、余暇、車、旅行、グルメ、現代の騎士道など、現代生活に必要な情報やアドバイスを、微に入り細に入り、ウィットとユーモアを交えて掲載している。クラシックでエレガントなフォント、可愛いカラーの挿絵や古い本に出てくるような白黒の木版画のイラスト、そして手触りのいいマットな紙と、本の装丁も素敵。

この本は男性をターゲットにしているけれど、Debrettは女性向けに「Etiquette for Girls」、そして一般向けに「A-Z of Modern Manners」も出版している。またウェブサイトでも、日常生活のエチケットや結婚式など、いろいろな情報やアドバイスが無料で見られる。

This is the book M bought recently and it is quite interesting. Many foreigners may still believe that UK is a country of ‘gentlemen’, but I often encounter a person stunningly without basic manner or common sense. I just let it go because there are always obnoxious people in any society and I may have misunderstood something as a foreigner. But this is the kind of book I really want them to read. Also this book is useful for foreigners who live here to learn how to behave here in UK.

Guide for the Modern Gentleman” is published by Debrett, a specialist publisher founded in 1769. Dating from the mid 1900s, Debrett’s has published a range of guides on traditional British etiquette. This book doesn’t teach you old-fashioned manners, but it covers all aspects of life for the modern man such as work, maintenance including tailoring and grooming, home, city life, time off, sports, motoring, travel, food & drinks, and new ‘chivalry‘, and gives us all kinds of information and advice in details, with wits and humors. The book itself is nicely done, with a classic elegant typeface and cute color illustrations and black & white woodcut prints published on a nice soft matt paper.

This book targets men, but also women can get a lot of general knowledge from it and learn what men care. “Etiquette for Girls” is also available for women and “A-Z of Modern Manners” for general audience. Debrett’s website offers a variety of information as well on all occasions of life such as everyday etiquette and wedding, and it is free ;-).

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Benugo Sandwich Café @ Great Portland Street

オックスフォード・サーカスの近くにある、ロンドンのサンドイッチ・チェーンBenugoGreat Portland Street店。今の家に引っ越してきた頃は、近所にあるClerkenwell店やCity Road店に度々行っていたが、最近はお気に入りのランチ場所も増え、系列レストランのRiverfront Café & BarSerpentine Bar & Kitchenには行ったりしたけれど、Benugo自体はご無沙汰していた。先日、Great Portland Streetを通りかかったとき、フランスの田舎街の古い食堂を思わせる店のインテリアがなかなか素敵だったので、久しぶりに立ち寄ってみた。


I had lunch at London based sandwich chain, Benugo on Great Portland Street near Oxford Circus. Just after we moved in our current apartment, we often went to nearby Benugo in Clerkenwell and on City Road, but now the list of our favorite lunch places is getting longer and we haven’t been to Benugo for a long time, though we went to the Riverfront Café & Bar and Serpentine Bar & Kitchen owned by Benugo. We passed by Great Portland Street the other day and decided to stop by as its rusty old French country canteen-like interior was quite nice.

I remember their freshly made sandwich on order was pretty good, but I had a huge disappointment this time. Panino was not properly toasted, and fell apart with every bite. The taste was kind of blunt and was not as tasty as before. Was the problem just the worker who made it, or all Benugo shops have been deteriorated??

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Cardboard Birdhouse by Kikkerland

だいぶ前にヴィクトリア&アルバート博物館のミュージアムショップで買ってすっかり忘れていた、段ボール製の巣箱が出てきたので、早速組み立ててみた。ニューヨークを拠点とするKikkerlandの「Foldable Birdhouse(折り畳める巣箱)」、防水加工された段ボールで出来ていて、組み立ても簡単。止まり木もついている。自分でも作れそうなシンプルな巣箱だけれど、可愛いパッケージ・デザインにつられて買った。このブログを書くにあたってネットを色々調べてたら、kikkerland online shopのアメリカでの値段は$4。私は£7払ったから、約2倍以上した計算になる。ミュージアムショップだから、常設展は入場無料の博物館の経営を助けるために、定価かそれより高めに値段設定をしているんだろうけれど。


Today I found this cardboard birdhouse that I bought a while ago at the Victoria and Albert Museum and forgot about, and finally made it. The “Foldable Birdhouse” by New York based Kikkerland is made of water resistant coated cardboard and is easy to put together. It comes with a wooden dowel for the front perch as well. This birdhouse is just simple and ordinary looking, but I bought this for its cute package design. I was searching the information about the product and found out that it cost only $4 on kikkerland online shop in US, while I paid £7 at V&A – it means it cost more than double here. The museum shop probably sell at RRP or even higher, to help funding the museum which is free admission for permanent collection.

The birdhouse is enclosed in the brown envelope and you can post it out, just removing the plastic package. You can make your original birdhouse by painting or putting some stickers on outside, but unfortunately I don’t have an artistic talent and just keep it as it is. I have to buy bird food, but I put popcorn maize for now (too big?!). Looking to see if some birds come to visit their new house :-)

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Banh Mi Bay Vietnamese Baguettes and Pho Café @ Clerkenwell

先日バスに乗ってる時に見かけた、クラーケンウェルに最近オープンしたベトナム・カフェ、Banh Mi Bay(バンミー・ベイ)に行ってみた。インテリアが素敵でカジュアルなベトナム・カフェは、ロンドンではあまり見かけないので、バンミー・ベイのオープンは嬉しい。その名の通り、バゲットに肉、キュウリやチリ、ハーブなどを挟んだベトナム風サンドイッチ、バインミーもあるるけれど、それ以外にもフォーBánh canhの麺類、Bún(ブン)と呼ばれる麺を使ったサラダ、ご飯の上に串焼きの肉類などをのせたCom Dia、生春巻きや春巻き、そしてデザートなど、他のメニューも豊富。

ベトナム・レストランに行った時はいつもフォーを頼むんだけれど、今日は初めてBánh canh Thit Heo(£6。写真手前)にトライしてみた。豚からとったスープに、米粉やタピオカ粉、または小麦粉を混ぜて作った、半透明でモチモチした食感の太麺と、トッピングの豚肉とカニ肉が入っている。正直、この太麺はあんまり好みではないけれど、スープはコクがあるけれどもさっぱりしていて美味しい。サイドディッシュの生春巻き(£3.50)は、通常の材料以外にスライスした豚肉が入っていて、その塩味が隠し味となって、なかなかいける。でも個人的には、ピーナッツの入った海鮮醤(HOISIN SAUCE。中国の甘味噌)のたれより、魚醤のほうがさっぱりしていて好きなんだけれども。食後は、コンデンスミルクのたっぷり入ったベトナム風アイスコーヒー。カロリー高そうだけれど、やっぱり美味しい。

Banh Mi Bay * 4-6 Theobalds Road, Holborn, London WC1X 8PN * tel 020 7831 4079 * nearest Tube: Holborn | Chancery Lane

We went to Banh Mi Bay, newly opened Vietnamese café in Clerkenwell. I found the café when I was looking outside in the bus. It is hard to find a cute and casual Vietnamese in London, and the opening of Banh Mi Bay is welcome for us. As the name suggests, Bánh mì, a Vietnamese baguette sandwich, is their specialty, but also a variety of dishes like Phở and Bánh canh noodle soup, Bún rice vermicelli noodle salad, Com Dia (steamed rice served with meat of your choice or tofu), and a selection of appetizers such as summer rolls and spring rolls are also available, as well as deserts.

I always order Phở every time I go to a Vietnamese, but today I tried Bánh canh Thit Heo (£6, left in the photo below) for the first time. Bánh canh is half-transparent thick Vietnamese noodle that can be made from a mixture of purified rice and tapioca powder or wheat flour, and their Bánh canh is in light pork broth, with pork shoulder and some crab meat on the top (front in the photo below). I am not a big fan of the glutinous noodle, but the soup had good flavor and was quite nice. We got summer rolls as a side, and their summer rolls are made of sliced pork as well as usual ingredients inside, and it adds extra nice savory taste to the dish. But I don’t fancy thick and sweet Hoisin sauce, and I wish I had the summer rolls with fish sauce instead. The Vietnamese iced coffee with plenty of condensed milk after the meal was tasty (of course because it was sweet!), though probably very high in calories.

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World Cup Football Fans VS Royal Ascot Attendees

サッカーファンがワールドカップで盛り上がる中、中・上流階級のお方々が熱狂するのが、昨日15日から始まったRoyal Ascotロイヤル・アスコット)。バークシャーにあるアスコット競馬場でイギリス王室が主催する、1711年から続く歴史ある競馬レースで、The Royal Meeting(ロイヤル・ミーティング)とも呼ばれる。世界で最も有名な競馬レースの一つで、毎年30万人以上がロイヤル・アスコット・ウィークに訪れる。ウィンザー城に程近く、5日間の会期中、エリザベス女王や王室メンバーが城から馬車でレース観戦にいらっしゃる(噂によると女王は競馬が非常にお好きだそうだ)。

このレースがイギリス社交界のメインイベントで、毎年メディアがレース自体よりも注目するのが、観戦する王室メンバーや有名人たち、そして観戦者たちのファッション。王室関連の伝統あるレースだけあって、ドレスコード服装規定)があり、Grandstandと呼ばれる高級席では、男性は正装が求められる。きちんとしたシャツとネクタイは必須、スーツやジャケットがあればなお可。気合いの入った英国紳士たちは黒またはグレーのモーニングにベストとシルクハットできめている。スポーツ着やジーンズ、短パンは厳禁。女性はスマートな装いに、強制ではないけれども帽子があればなお良い。特に木曜日のレディースデー(Ladies Day)では、色とりどりに華やかに着飾った女性たちが、こぞってユニークで変わったデザインの帽子を披露する(写真はこちらから:Daily MailThe Guardian)。

While foootball fans are crazy about the England games during this World Cup, another group of people are fascinated by Royal Ascot, started yesterday on June 15. Also known as the Royal Meeting, Royal Ascot is one of the world’s most famous race meetings dating back to 1711, and is held at the Ascot Racecourse in AscotBerkshire. Every year over 300,000 people visit to the racecourse during Royal Ascot week. It is only six miles from Windsor Castle, and Queen Elizabeth II and various members of the British Royal Family attend the race, arriving each day in a horse-drawn carriage (it is known that the Queen loves a horse race).

It is a major event in the British social calendar, and usually press coverage of the celebs and rich and famous attendees and their fashions exceed actual racing. Dress code of this prestigious races sounds a bit old fashioned. ‘Gentlemen’ in the more expensive Grandstand Admission area must wear a shirt and tie, preferably with a suit or jacket. Sports attire, jeans and shorts are strictly forbidden. True British gentlemen wear more formal, a black or grey morning dress with top hat. ‘Ladies’ are required to dress in a manner appropriate to a smart occasion, and many wear hats although this is not compulsory. Especially on Ladies Day usually held on Thursdays, smartly dressed women compete each other with their unique, or eccentric sometimes, hats with all sorts of design and colors (see more photos: Daily MailThe Guardian


Though happening at the same time, Royal Ascot is totally different planet from Word Cup 2010. Generally football (soccer) is considered as a sport for working class, while rugby and cricket are for middle class and upper class. These two completely different worlds covering sports section of the news make me realize that UK is still a firm class society at large.

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The Truth about Bloody Sunday Revealed

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1972年に北アイルランドのDerry(デリー)起こった「血の日曜日事件」の報告書「Saville Report(サヴィル白書)」が今日発表されたのを受け、デービッド・キャメロン首相は、下院において、英政府として正式に謝罪を行った。U2の1982年のヒット曲、ブラディ・サンデー(Sunday Bloody Sunday)でも歌われたこの事件は、1972年1月12日に、少数派のカトリック教徒が行った北アイルランド公民権運動のデモ行進中に、英軍が市民27人に発砲、14人が死亡したもの(そのうち7人はティーンエイジャーだった)。事件後すぐ行われたWidgery Tribunal(ウィッジェリー裁判)では、政府は発砲の正当性を主張、関与した兵士たちは無罪判決を受けたが、この裁判は事実を隠蔽するものだとの批判を浴びていた。その後、1998年にLord Saville of Newdigate(サヴィル卿)を委員長とする調査委員会が設置され、12年の歳月と1億9200万ポンドをかけて、5,000ページに及ぶ報告書が作成された。報告書は、挑発や何らかの脅威に対して発砲行為が行われたわけではなく、犠牲者のうち何人かは逃げるか負傷者を助けようとしていた、そして発砲は事前の警告なしになされたと断定。被害者の潔白を証明した。またこの件では、多くの兵士が嘘をついていたと非難した。キャメロン首相は、「軍の行為は正当化されず、また正当化も出来ない(unjustified and unjustifiable)」として、38年後の今日、軍の過ちを認めた。



After 38 years of Bloody Sunday happened in 1972 in Derry, Northern Ireland, today the Saville Report was published and the Prime Minister David Cameron officially apologized in the House of Commons for the British army’s actions. As sung in U2’s 1982 hit “Sunday Bloody Sunday, this incident took place on January 30, 1972, and  twenty-six unarmed civil rights protesters or bystanders were shot by the British Army during a Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association march; 14 of them, 7 of them were teenagers, lost their lives as a result. Widgery Tribunal held just after the event, but it largely cleared the soldiers and British government and was criticized as a whitewash. In 1998, the Saville Inquiry chaired by Lord Saville of Newdigate established to review the events, and after spending 12 years and £192 million, the 5000-page report was finally made public today on June 15. The report determines that the unarmed protesters who died were innocent: there was no warning before the shooting and none of the casualties was posing a threat or doing anything that would justify the firing; some of those killed or injured were clearly fleeing or going to help those injured or dying; and many of the soldiers lied about their actions. The prime minister called that the actions of the Army were “unjustifiable and unjustified”, and said he was “deeply sorry” on behalf of the Government and the country.

Why it took so long to reveal the truth? It is also criticized that huge sum of public money has been spent for the investigation (British media tend to be very sensitive about public spending).

As the name of the country “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” suggests, UK consists of four ‘countries’; EnglandNorthern IrelandScotland and Wales. It is considered that England is the Anglo-Saxons, while other three countries are Celtic with their own languages and strong cultural identities. Things may not be so straightforward and is more complicated, but as EU becomes border-less and more united, why don’t these ‘countries’ become literally independent – so that they won’t fight nor talk bad about each other anymore!

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