A Japanese living in London writes anything about everyday life in UK – cafe, restaurant, design, stores, politics, news, events, art/museums, films, food, fashion, travel etc. イギリス暮らしもかれこれ10年。カフェ、レストラン、デザイン、お店、政治、ニュース、イベント、アート／美術館、映画、食、ファッション、旅行等々、ロンドンでの日常生活や、英国に関する情報を思いつくままに綴ります。
誰かが掲示板に書いていたのを見たのだが、3月19日付のタイムズ紙に「Feel pity, but no need to give（同情するけれど、援助する必要は無い」という記事が出ていたそうだ。オンラインでは有料メンバーしか紙面を読む事ができないのでリンクは貼れないのだが、Disaster Emergency Committee（DEC：海外における主要な災害に対して効果的な人道支援を実施するための、独立した人道支援機関間のネットワーク）が、ハイチ地震の際のようなキャンペーンはしない、そして「イギリス赤十字はこれまで200万ポンドの義援金を集めたけれど、日本赤十字から海外からの援助は必要はないと言われた」とコメントした。
There was upsetting article on the Times last Saturday with the headline, ’Feel pity, but no need to give.’ In the article, Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) comments that they don’t do a campaign like they did for Haiti, because the British Red Cross has raised £2 million for the Japanese Red Cross, which has a leading role in the disaster response, but, the Japanese charity itself said: “External assistance is not required.” I can’t link to the article, as only the paid member can read the Times online .
In response to the article, someone on the British Democracy Forum wrote “The Japanese have never liked aid from foreign countries, indeed if Japan had its own way it would cut itself off from the world. The Japanese are a proud nation of people (albeit a very sick one) and will never accept outside interference or help. Busy bodies should mind their own business and get on with it.” It is quite depressing to read such a negative (and stereotypical) comment about Japan.
However, the Japanese Red Cross insists that what the article says is not true. They contacted foreign Red Cross and informed that they accept any fund raised by Red Cross in each country. Japanese Red Cross also promised that they would be going to use all the money raised by the British Red Cross for victims suffered by the Tohoku earthquake and Tsunami in Japan.
Some people say that there is no help necessary as Japan is one of the richest countries in the world. But I belive that helping people, no matter rich or poor, who are going through great hardship is universal, and it is the virtue of human being. Financial Times (FT.com) raise the issue why poor countries such as Afghanistan and Vietnam are sending cash to the rich country like Japan. And it concludes that acts of generosity and solidarity that will not be forgotten – it is not the money, it’s the principle. I completely agree. The thoughts count, and the sympathy and compassion are great encourage for the people suffering. It doesn’t have to be money, that’s why many Japanese were moved by the Independent’s “Don’t Give Up Japan, Don’t Give Up Tohoku” cover, but money is one of a way to show your compassion. Japanese have a word “on-gaeshi,” which means “paying back to the kindness received”– they appreciate your help and will never forget what you do for them, and surely will return the favor you give them when you need help. Of course this is not only Japanese value but also universal, and goodwill will circulate itself – isn’t it beautiful? I will never forget the help Japan has received from so many people abroad, and I will help someone somewhere when it is necessary, as much as I can.
去年、コッツウォルズ旅行の際に使った、Mr & Mrs Smithのキャンペーン（参照エントリー）、今年はタイムズ紙とタイアップ、イギリス国内とヨーロッパを中心にした70のスタイリッシュなホテルに、2泊で1泊分の値段で泊まれる、お得な「Times 2 for 1」キャンペーンをやっている。このキャンペーンを利用するには、日曜を除く先週土曜日から今日までのタイムズ紙に掲載されたパスワード6つの中から3つを集めないといけないのだけれど、お許しをもらって、ここにパスワードを書かせてもらえた。ウェブサイトの中程にあるパスワード欄に、boutique/luxury/seductionの3つのパスワードをインプットして「submit codes」をクリック。そうすると、リストにある希望のホテルをオンラインで予約することができる。また、電話でも予約を受け付け可能。予約は11月30日が締め切り、1月9日までに宿泊を終える事が条件なので、予約はお早めに。
Mr & Mrs Smith‘s “2 for 1 nights” campaign that we used for last year’s Cotswolds trip comes back this year (see related post), teamed up with the Times this time as “Times 2 for 1“. With this great two-for-one offer, you can stay at one of the 70 stylish hotels listed, mainly in the UK and Europe, for two nights with the price of one night. The rule is to collect three of six passwords printed in the Times from the last Saturday till today, except Sunday. But here, with a permission, I can tell you the passwords – hurray! Go to Mr & Mrs Smith’s web page and type boutique/luxury/seduction in the password sections, and click “submit code” – and you are able to book a hotel of your choice online. Alternatively you can book online if you prefer. Just don’t forget that bookings must be made by 30 November 3o, 2010 for stays up to January 9, 2010.
Mr & Mrs Smith also publishes hotel guides, as well as hotel reservation service. This is Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection: France, published in July this year. You can find 32 fabulous accommodations carefully selected in 12 destinations, from Paris’ contemporary hotels to gorgeous châteaux and cosy country side villas, together with beautiful photos and useful local information. The layout of the book is quite sophisticated, and I love the touch and smell of its uncoated papers. When I look at those pretty hotels, I feel an urge to pack my suitcase right now and go on vacation tomorrow!
Recently, M switched his Saturday paper to Financial Times (FT)’s Saturday version, FT WEEKEND. British newspapers’ Saturday and Sunday versions are thicker than weekdays, divided in several categories such as news, arts & entertainments, sports, real estate, travel etc, and usually comes with magazines and TV guides. Therefore, the price is also higher than weekdays. FT WEEKEND cost £2.80, which is more expensive than other Saturday papers. Since FT has more affluent readers, I can smell money and poshness here and there in the paper, and ads and featured fashions & products are of expensive brands – I feel a bit fish out of water when I read it.
In the past, we thought that FT is a financial paper, as its name suggests, and is for the City bankers and financial workers, and never thought about buying it. But M started to buy FT WEEKEND because he heard that Arts section on FT Saturday version is quite good. I also believe that one of the reason he buys FT WEEKEND because his archenemy Tyler Brûlé, an editor-in-chief of the Monocle magazine, has a column. M denies it, but he checks Monocle magazine every month while complaining, and listens Tyler’s podcast every week!
Though he buys FT on Saturday, he still sticks to the Times / the Sunday Times on other days. Since we moved to London, the newspapers he reads has shifted from leftish the Guardian / the Observer and the Independent to the more central right the Times and FT. Since many readers of the left papers are young, it means that M got older and became a middle aged man (sorry for the young readers of the Times and FT) ?? But still self-endorsed ‘cosmopolitan city boy’ M insists not to buy the Daily Telegraph, which he believes that it’s for suburban and countryside conservatives and elders (sorry again for the young Telegraph readers!). →See past entry for details about British papers.
But its dirty pink / beige color is not cool – blunt and boring. Color photos don’t look well with the background color. I understand that they want to use the color to stand out, but the choice seems to be wrong, to me…
I read an interesting article on today’s the Times – there are more musicians and singers from posh families emerging in Pop and Rock music industry. Rock has been historically resistant to the upper classes, and during 1960s and the 1990s when working-class pop stars dominated hit charts, rock and pop stars were the dream and hope of the poor boys and girls, while it was disdain and derision for the privileged kids who already has many options in their futures. Therefore, pop stars from good families once tried to hide their background. But now the time has changed.
The article mentions several reasons for a rise of posh pop stars. One of the reasons is that posh kids are brought up with good manners to make through the stardom: they are polite, friendly, likeable, and this help them become popular also in the world-biggest music market America, where good manners are judges as well as talent and attitude. That’s the reason why Oasis and Arctic Monkeys, top working-class stars with a bad-boy attitude, couldn’t succeed big in the USA, according to the article. Public schools‘ value in strong work ethic is another key to success in America, where hard working is very important. Confidence that public schools students internalize through the elitist education is crucial factor for success on stage.
Another reason is that public schools have great facilities, and there is a tradition that new boys have choral tests. Old public school teachers once considered rock music as silly and childish folly, but younger teachers who grew up with rock and pop music now see it as one of the valid career option and encourage students to go for music.
Now Tory, traditionally supported by middle/upper class, won the last election and Etonian and Oxford grad elite David Cameron became a prime minister. Public School graduates, about only 7% of the population, occupy over 50% of prestigious jobs such as lawyers, medics, journalists and CEOs (reference site) , and the result still shows UK is still strong class society. If the posh kids even monopoly music industry, where poor kids can find their goals and dreams?
この番組に先立ち、タイムズ紙でも、ロイヤルメールに関する面白い記事を見つけた。タイムズのチームは、宝くじ入り（£1相当）の100通のバースデーカードを全国の宛先に送り、どのぐらいの確率で配達され、配達までにどのぐらい時間がかかるか、そして宝くじはちゃんと封筒に入ったままかを調べる実験を行った。半分はファーストクラスで、そして半分はセカンドクラスで発送（郵便に関する詳細は過去エントリー参照）。そして半分は糊付して、半分は開封したまま封入口を中にたくし込んである。その結果は、宝くじ入りで届いたのが93通、3通は未達だった。92％のファーストクラス扱いは翌日着、98％セカンドクラス扱いは2日以内に配達先に到着した。私は、イギリスでこの数字は上出来だと思うのだが、タイムズ紙の記者は「Royal Mail can no longer be trusted（ロイヤルメールはもはや信用できない）」と手厳しい。ロイヤルメールには、1日5000件の苦情が届くそうだ。私も過去に数回行方不明になった手紙・小包がある。ロイヤルメールの経営陣も、組合との対決が怖くて（イギリスでは組合は非常に力を持っている）、事態改善には及び腰だと言う。
I saw Channel 4‘s “Dispatches: Post Office Undercover” today. Dispatches is the current affairs documentary series, started in 1987. The program covers issues such as British society, politics, health, religion, environment, and international current affairs, usually featuring an undercover journalist in an organisation. BBC‘s Panorama is the same kind of documentary series, but the running time of Panorama is just 30 minutes, and Dispatches can dig an issue deeper as it is an one-hour program.
Though I don’t go to a post office as often recently, I go there quite often and am quite interested in the post office related topic. Dispatches went undercover to investigate the Royal Mail, to reveal some problems such as stealing of mails etc in 2004 and 2005, resulting in an enquiry by the postal regulator, followed by a fine of almost £10 million. The program sent two reporters go undercover again to find out if the Royal Mail has delivered on claims that it is modernising and improving its service. The result is… no improvement from 5 years ago; poorly trained agency workers, damaged and defective equipment, inadequate ID check and security, theft from the letters and packages, angry members of the public who have experienced damaged mail, delays and poor service, lack of modernization like automated sorting system, workers’ frustration against pay and working times and the management, sabotage of work as a result, and the Royal Mail’s same old excuse and criticism against Channel 4 . The claimed modernization costing £1.3 billion is nowhere to be seen, and postal experts raise the alarm against the Royal Mail.
I found an interesting article on the Times few days ago, related to this program. The Times Money team sent 100 birthday cards with a National Lottery scratchcard worth £1 to the addresses across the country, to discover how many of them would arrive, how long they would take, and if any of the scratchcards would go missing: half of the cards 1st-class, and the rest 2nd-second class (see more details in my past entry about the mail service), and half of the envelopes were sealed and half were left unsealed but with the sleeve firmly tucked in. The result is: 93 arrived with their scratchcards and 3 letters did not arrive. 92% 1st class mails arrived the next day, and 98% 2nd class arrived within 2 days. I thought the number is not bad at all as of UK service, but the Times journalist harshly conclude as “Royal Mail can no longer be trusted.” The Royal mail receives 5,000 complaints everyday, according to the Times, and I have experienced missing mails several times in the past.Insiders at Royal Mail say that management’s failure to act is in part rooted in a fear of implementing any measures that might be perceived as unfairly targeting the innocent majority of staff.
Of course, most of the posties do their job seriously with sense of responsibility, but there is no way that few bad apple comes into the large corporation like the Royal Mail (especially in big cities like London). But the most striking issue I find in the program is the strong mistrust among workers against the management, and their lack of motivation. There is no sense of pride to be a postal worker or loyalty to the Royal Mail. Although the postal strike threat before the Christmas was avoided by the agreement between the management and the unions, the frustrated workers failed to met up their job and caused major delays in delivery during the busy season. The post offices where the two journalists went undercover are in Brixton and Tooting, where are not the best areas of London, but I think the biggest problem is the Royal Mail’s lack of leadership to raise the motivation among the workers. Where is the good old proud postmen, like Postman Pat??
English National Opera（イングリッシュ・ナショナル・オペラ／ENO）で、ヘンデルのメサイア（Messiah）を観た。イエス・キリストの生涯を描いたオラトリオの名作・メサイアは、もともとオペラの楽曲ではないのだが、気鋭の演出家・Deborah Warner（デボラ・ワーナー）によって、現代社会を舞台に、ダンスを取り入れたユニークなオペラ作品に仕上がった。衣装も小物も現代風、時折舞台後方のスクリーンに宗教画が映されたり、キリスト教の儀式に使われる小道具が劇中に出てくる程度で、キリストの物語にも関わらず宗教色は強くない。ティーンエイジャーの妊娠はマリアの処女懐胎、天使が羊飼いにキリスト降誕を告げる場面は、お遊戯会で子供たちがその場面を演じる形に、キリストの磔刑シーンは、若者の喧嘩に変えるなど、原作と繋がりを持たせようとしているが、ちょっと無理があるかも。キリスト教の学校に行っていたので、ある程度の知識はあるのだが、舞台上で起こってることと音楽とどう繋がりがあるのか分からず、後でタイムズ紙のレビューを読んで、ああそういうことだったのかと得心した。
We saw Handel‘s Messiah at the English National Opera (ENO). Messiah was not written for opera, but the director Deborah Warner transforms this oratorio masterpiece into an unique opera work, setting in modern urban life and taking in dance elements. The opera seems to reduce religion to a minimum – costumes and stage sets are modern, except the religious arts occasionally projected on screens and some ceremonial objects used in some scenes. The director tries to make a connection between the original story and this opera, but the attempt unfortunately doesn’t not really work well and quite cheesy: the Virgin Birth becomes teenage pregnancy, the meeting of shepherds and angels is turned into a school nativity play, and Christ’s scourging and Crucifixion translate into a fight among youths. I went to a Protestant school and know a bit about the life of Jesus Christ, but I barely understood the relationship between the music and what was going on on the stage. I figured out the meaning of some scenes after I came back home and read the review by the Times.
The biggest problem for me was the kids in the opera – I know it is not their fault but it was just annoying. A 6 year-old boy was almost always on the stage, walking around, running or sitting down, and it was very distracting. The scene of school play was really irritating as well, except a song by a boy with beautiful clear voice: the kids jumped up and down and the parents took a pictures or filmed with camcorders. It is reported that the opera uses 44 extras other than singers, including dancers. Some people just stand up or lie down – is it really necessary to put useless people on the stage??
However I I like Handel and Baroque music and enjoyed the music a lot: the Handel specialist conductor Laurence Cummings led the orchestra beautifully and voices of the two female soprano and alto singers were truly graceful. The modern and simple stage sets designed by Tom Pye were interesting, such as video footage of modern society (people going up and down on an elevator, or silhouettes of moving cranes) and transparent coffins placed all over the stage at the final part. We got a ticket, original price of £71 for only £10 with Evening Standardpromotion – so it was really worth going. But I would be upset if I paid £71 for the opera…
今日、地下鉄の駅で見た、The Times（タイムズ）紙のポスター。Mが愛読しているイギリスの新聞で、写真を効果的に使った広告キャンペーンを行っている。2008年9月、ダウニング街10番地の黒いドアの前で笑顔で手を振っている当時民主党候補だったオバマや水着姿の少年等、写真のみで広告主の名前が入っていないミステリアスなポスターが、70のロンドンの地下鉄の駅に出現。色々な憶測を生んだ。その翌週、同じ写真だが今度は「The Times」の名前入りのポスターが張り出され、その謎が明かされた。という鳴り物入りで始まったこの広告、その後も次々と写真を変えながら続いており、新しい広告を見つけるのが楽しみになっている。最近、読者に現在の社会問題を考えるきっかけを作る、新しい広告キャンペーン”Be part of the times‘の第2段階が始まった。
The photo above is a British newspaper ‘The Times‘ poster I saw at the London Tube station. The Times, M’s favorite paper, has been doing this striking ad campaigns since last year. In September 2008, several variety of mysterious posters with no brand name but only images, such as then Democratic presidential candidate Obama standing in front of number 10 Downing Street and boy in bathing suits, appeared at 70 London underground stations. These posters without any message or explanation stirred speculations among Londoners. Then on the following week, the same images with ‘The Times’ reappeared across the images and the mystery was solved. This ad campaigns are still going on with new images, and it gives me an additional joy to look for a new version of the ads. Recently the Times has launched the second phase of a poster initiative that invites consumers to think again about current issues as it invites them to “Be part of the times‘.
Reflecting British class system, UK national newspapers could be split into serious-minded newspapers, usually referred to as quality press or broadsheets, and less serious newspapers, known for their small size as tabloids or the popular press. The readers of quality press are typically middle/upper class and intellectuals, and normally working class readers choose tabloids. The circulation of popular press are much higher than quality press – The Sun, the biggest newspaper in UK, boasts around 3 million circulation in compare to the top quality press The Daily Telegraph with less than 0.9 million readers. In compare to quality press with serious topics, tabloids are full of gossips, sports and half-naked women. However, recently quality press start to catch up with popular press and talk more casual articles, trying to keep their readers.
The quality press are known as broadsheets due to their traditionally large size, but considerations of convenience of reading, The Independent and The Times switched to a compact format, and The Guardian adapted a Berliner format, slightly larger than a compact. These are five quality press in UK. Their political stances are conservative/right → left from the top. The circulations: The Daily Telegraph > The Times > The Guardian > The Independent > Financial Times.