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。
ホームレスの方々を助ける事は素晴らしいことであるし、£1余分に払うのも嫌ではない。ただ、へそ曲がりの私が気になるのは、寄付が自動的に付け加えられること。カードには、寄付は「voluntary（任意）」なので、もし寄付をしたくなければ「just say so!（ただそう言えばいい）」と太字で書いてあるけれど、誰がそんなことできる？誰だってケチに見られたくないし、弱者救済の寄付にノーと言える勇気がある人なんて、ほとんどいない。そもそも£1お勘定に上乗せされていたとしても、その事に気付く人も少ない。その辺を考慮しての上手い戦略だ。また、この寄付はホームレスのチャリティ限定なので、ホリデーシーズンに寄付を必要としている他の慈善団体に対して不公平な気もする。私としては、誰に、どうやって、いくら寄付するかは自分で決めたいというのが本音。表立って言えないけれど、同じような考えの人はたくさんいる。
Every year during November and December, you may see a small card of StreetSmart, a charity for the homeless, on your table at many restaurants or it comes together with your bill. The card explains the idea of the charity and a £1 donation is added by the participating restaurants to your bill. In 2012, £805,000 was raised to help fight homelessness across the UK.
Great cause – I know it and I don’t mind to pay extra £1 to my bill. However, I don’t really fancy the idea that £1 is automatically added without asking you. In the card, it is said that it is voluntary and you just say so! in bold if you don’t want to contribute, but who has a courage to say no to a waiter? Nobody want to look cheap or dares to go against the great charity. Some wouldn’t even notice the extra charge if you don’t have a habit to scrutinize the bill. Also all the money goes to homeless charity, so you can’t choose where the donation goes to, and this system is unfair for other charities that also desperately need money for the holiday season. I prefer to choose to whom I donate, and how and how much I give on my own, instead of this little card tell me to do so… Please don’t blame on me about this, as many others think the same but just don’t say so publicly.
In addition I don’t like the fact that some restaurants join this scheme just to look good that they care about people in need, without contributing anything themselves rather than just sending off the money collected from their customers. I would feel more comfortable to donate if restaurants, who earn more money during this season, also add up like 50p or £1 on top of the donation from the customers, as my donation would contribute to raise more money to the charity.
£1.5 billion funded by Qatari investors and designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the tallest building in Europe (309.6m / 1016ft), the Shard was inaugurated yesterday. A light and laser show to celebrate the opening started at 10:15pm yesterday night, but they failed to illuminate the skyline as planned and it didn’t seem to impress spectators (independent). We can see a tip of the Shard from our balcony, and I saw some laser light and also the footage on TV, but it was just ordinary and boring, not spectacular as they claimed… →more photo
The Shard houses residences, Shangri-la hotel, restaurants and offices (from the top to the bottom). From the View from The Shard observation platform in the 68th-72nd floors which some 244m (800ft) high, guests are able to see up to 64km (40 miles) away, and even France when is a clear day, according to the Mayor Boris Johnson.
The View from The Shard will be open to the public from February 1 next year, and from today pre-booking tickets are available through the Shard website or via the box office hotline (0844 499 7111). The tickets cost £24.95 for adults and £18.95 for children, which is much more expensive than London Eye (Standard Ticket £15), the Eiffel Tower (€14 = about £11), and even the tallest tower in the world, new TOKYO SKY TREE Tembo Galleria at 400m higher from the ground (¥3000 = about £24.15)! Over 17,500 people had already registered to secure tickets in advance of their release today. Wow. If you are a budget traveller or think this is a rip-off, check here for alternative ideas to enjoy London’s skyline.
To check a daily newsletter from DailyCandy is one of the first thing I do every morning and what is new in town (see my past entry). However, just the day before yesterday on a leap day, I received the last one, saying good-bye from DailyCandy without a reason or explanation, all of a sudden. I have no clue what happened to DailyCandy – no information I found on the internet. However, the website of DailyCandy London edition is still working, and there are some up-to-date online articles of March 1 & 2, though these are not London-specific info, but about a film and US online shops.
DailyCandy gave me a lot of useful information about London, such as opening of chic restaurants and cool shops, fun events and some cute stuffs to buy. Very sad. Thank you DailyCandy, you helped me a lot to know London better, and made me adore this city!
It’s been freezing cold from the beginning of February, after mild winter weather in UK. However, (some) people are in party mood, beating freeze, with celebrations of Queen’s Diamond Jubilee yesterday, and today, 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth.
The photo above is nothing to do with either celebration, but is the sticker showing the hygiene standards of restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, hotels as well as supermarkets and food shops, rated by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in partnership with local authorities under the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS. Food Hygiene Information scheme or FHIS for Scotland). The business is rated under a 6-tier system: from 0 (urgent improvement necessary) to 5 (very good). As it is called “Scores on the Doors“, you can see the rating on a sticker in the window or on the door or a certificate on display (businesses are encouraged to display these stickers and certificates at their premises), but you can also search online at the FSA website, launched in October 2010. I’ve never noticed this, but for the first time, I paid attention to the sticker on the door of the café we had lunch today.
It is not mandatory for local authorities to take part, so this is not practiced in all the areas and some local authorities choose to run their own ‘local schemes’. But by summer 2012, it is expected that approximately 95% of UK authorities will use the FHRS (FHIS in Scotland).
I saw this sort of sanitary ratings first when I visited Los Angeles about 10 years ago (more information here). New York City also introduced similar system (NY Times) in 2010. American system is rated with alphabet, from A to C (LA scheme / NYC scheme), and display with color-coded big letter, so that I can see it even from far (photos: NYC / LA). That’s why I have never noticed in London, with these small numbers!
We tried new Foxcroft & Ginger, a second branch of SOHO’s popular café (see my old entry). Its rusty & woody atmosphere with secondhand (?) tables & chairs as well as un-waxed floors, resembles with its sister. Hand-made sandwiches and sweets on the smaller counter also maintain the same quality and freshness. And of course, its reputed coffee and the friendly service as well.