As I am working towards my goals of reading a French and a Chinese book this year, I read a few articles on how to
study languages. (I hoped some reader would share their study tips in my last post but I guess this blog has so few readers no one answered. So I had to look for study ideas elsewhere.)
One article pointed out the difference between having a vague idea of studying some language and having more measurable goals as to what one wants to do with that language. I gave this a lot of thought.
Turns out I have definite ideas of what I want to do with the languages I am studying or want to study. Maybe I did need to write them out. Thus, for my future reference, here are the reasons for learning my target languages:
Romanian: to read one Romanian book every year, for ease in travelling and for less laborious reading. Basically, Romanian is a jokey and warm language that boosts my self-esteem; I just want to have more of it in my life.
Chinese: to read at least one Chinese book every year, for ease when travelling in Taiwan. I also want to read more comic books from Taiwan and Hong Kong. As well, I want to write more beautifully in Chinese, maybe hiring a tutor to help me with Chinese calligraphy. I want to write a lot of letters in Chinese to my friends in Taiwan.
Japanese: to read the occasional Japanese book or article on cultural topics that interest me (mostly onsens, food, games, arts, crafts and literature). To be able to understand my favourite Japanese tv shows and movies without subtitles. To be able to research new onsens for subsequent trips.
French: to read one French book every year and to read a few nineteenth and twentieth century novels or other books in the original. I also found French very useful when travelling in Tunisia, so I want to be able to use it in other Francophone African countries like Senegal and Rwanda. I want to read more French and Belgian comics. Of course there’s also the extensive travelling in France I want to do and possibly living there.
Spanish: so much great Spanish literature to read in the world! Plus, Spanish is just a fun language to speak. One of my goals is to spend the Mexican Days of the Dead in Oaxaca with a family there. Then there is a personal research project I want to do in South America.
Italian: for reading more Italian comic books, some literature and mostly for ease of travelling and of travel research. I also want to rent apartments there for month-long trips. It would be nice to have long conversations about Italy with my future neighbours.
German: because I want to live and work in Austria. I also want to read some German literature in the original language and I want to play boardgames in the original languages.
Russian: for speaking and some reading. I suspect there’s a whole world of cool, wacky children’s literature I need to read in Russian. I want to watch Cheburashka without making up my own dialogue (my Cheburashka DVD set only has Japanese subtitles).
Swedish: I want to read all of Tove Jansson’s books in the original language, as well as any biographies. Also, I want to travel to Sweden. Hopefully I’ll find more reasons to study Swedish once I start learning about the culture.
Inuktitut: mostly I want to learn to write in their cool alphabet. I don’t know any Inuit people, but it would be cool to try some out when I visit Iqaluit. Plus, I believe that one should speak the language of the country one is in. Canada has a lot of aboriginal languages yet all the annoying white people here snarl “Speak English!” to poor immigrants trying their best to speak English, when really English is not the original local language. Ideally, Halq’eméylem would be better for my needs but I like the Inuktitut alphabet so much.
Taiwanese: for speaking when I visit Taiwan. I also want to learn at least one Chinese dialect to see if it’s really a dialect or if it is a separate language. Plus, Taiwanese sounds so bad-ass.
Cantonese: to order dim sum in Richmond for starters. Also, to watch Hong Kong movies in the original, to chat more when I visit Hong Kong or when I meet grandmothers at friends’ houses here in Vancouver. Chinese grandparent types have lived through an amazing and dramatic century – they must have incredible stories.
Hungarian: like with Swedish, I hope that I’ll find more reasons to study when I start studying Hungarian. Mostly, I want to be able to have conversations when I travel to Romania and Hungary (Hungarians are such nice people), and especially to be able to do research on Romanian history.
Kinyarwanda: for travel when I go to Rwanda. I want to ask questions and be a good enough listener so I can understand the stories about life in Rwanda and the genocide. I bet too that there are some great etiquette lessons the Rwandans have, which, once I learn what they are, I’ll write about.
Amharic: also for travel. Plus, I want to learn the Ge’ez alphabet. Again, I want to be able to listen better to conversations and to meet the people who don’t just speak English. We’re also lucky in this part of Canada because we have a lot of Ethiopians. It would be nice to understand Ethiopian songs too. I can’t sing but I have a secret fantasy of going into an Ethiopian karaoke bar and wowing everyone. If there are karaoke bars for Ethiopians.
Arabic: mostly I want to conduct some history research in Syria. Maybe once I know a little Arabic, I would find some good literature to read in the original language.
Finnish: for ease of travelling and it is the language of the country where Tove Jansson was born and where she lived. Now that I have started studying it, it turns out Finnish is incredibly beautiful and melodic. No wonder they and their Baltic neighbours are such good singers. I want to trill like those Finns. There are also more and more Finnish comic books I am discovering that I want to read. Another reason I want to study it is because, like Hungarian and Estonian, it is not in the Indo-European language group.
Norwegian: I want to travel there. I also had a Norwegian penpal who sent me a book on his country and in the book it said that by law every library in the country must own a copy of every Norwegian book. With a government that supportive of Norwegian writers, they must have a few good ones. I want to read these authors in the original.
Dutch: I love travelling to the Netherlands and I loved Flanders. I want to chitchat more in Dutch/Flemish with the people there. I also want to research a WWI topic.
Estonian: because it’s another beautiful, trilling language. Mostly my goal is to learn from cover to cover the one Estonian textbook I started. I have no hope of speaking Estonian when I am not travelling there. But I can read and master this one book.
Monday April 04th 2011, 5:32 pm
Filed under: Japan,News
…for a while at least. I have noticed that there is less and less about Japan in the foreign media. While I am still looking up stories, I probably won’t have a chance to update for a while. Here are the stories that focus on the people involved in the disasters. (And Ban is the dog rescued after three weeks on his roof. As everyone knows, Ban is now reunited with his owner.)
The BBC reports that Kazuhiko Kokubo, 24, and Yoshiki Terashima, 21, were two workers who died at the plant.
Some refugees were going from shelter to shelter as the evacuation expanded, according to the Mainichi newspaper.
An 84-year-old geisha Tsuyako Ito (stage name Chikano Fujima) was planning to celebrate her retirement at 88 with a final party, but lost her kimonos and shamisen, along with her house, in the tsunami. She’s still confident she will be ready for the party.
Another senior, 83-year-old Tami Akanuma recounts how she escaped with her shih tzu, Babu.
Some more incredible footage of the tsunami from the BBC.
This Asahi story is a little grisly, but shows how the search for the missing started (it’s a few weeks old now).
This other Asahi article looks at one town that was isolated and without food after the disaster. Students were washing canned food they scavenged for something to eat.
Town official Jinichi Sasaki, after closing a floodgate, had so many near-death experiences on the day of the tsunami that he will hopefully win a lottery soon to make up for what he went through.
Unfortunately, this other Japan Times article points out that there has been looting. City official Yoshihisa Sasaki says “The city…has heard reports of looting of smashed cars and properties and of fraudsters posing as bank officials offering to help distressed locals ‘manage their funds and lost credit cards.’” Plus “around ¥40 million was reportedly stolen from a bank in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture.” There have also been stabbings and a rape.
A sad story about 9-year-old Toshihito Aisawa who couldn’t find his family: he escaped from the car his family raced to outrun the tsunami. A few days later, he at least found some relatives including a cousin who was with him in the car when the tsunami hit.
Yet one of the best stories comes from Miyagi, where super-cool Hideaki Akaiwa put on his scuba gear, jumped into the waters and swam to save his wife. After rescuers couldn’t find his mother later, he again donned his wet suit and plunged into the water to go rescue her next. Then he went out to look for more people.
Monday March 21st 2011, 5:33 pm
Filed under: Japan,News
Some photos and general news from Japan:
This set from the New York Times mostly has photos of Yamada, Kessennuma and Rikuzentakata towns. Photos #10, #37 and #45 show just what an impact a disaster can have on food distribution. Here in Vancouver, we’re quite reliant on food that comes to us from far away; we also have fewer roads than Japan, so I wonder how we’ll do when the big earthquake happens here.
Meanwhile, on Miyatojima Island in Miyagi, the Japan Times reports that the islanders, though trapped on their island, were ready for the tsunami and are surviving by helping each other. They also apparently have famous seaweed.
Another Japan Times article examines the plight of the elderly during the tsunami and at local evacuation centres.
The US and Russian governments express some frustration as they try to help Japan. Also, a good round-up of the extent of different countries’ evacuation zones in this Daily Yomiuri article.
Rob Gilhooly reports on the Japan Times website on Sunday about his visits to the communities in the disaster’s aftermath. Also check out his blog.
Comfort woman activist Song Shin Do in Onagawa, Miyagi, survived the disaster.
In Kessennuma, Eriko Ohara, a young mother gets a final gift from her husband – a present he was saving for White Day on March 8. There are also some details about life in the evacuation centre, things like babies sharing bottles and lack of diapers for young children.
News on the situation in Minamisoma:
Minamisoma is a city of 70,000 roughly about 26 km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station; as reported in this New York Times article. most people are trying to evacuate with some moving to Gunma (near where I used to live) or Yokohoma and some just trapped there, because they are elderly or they have no means of escaping or they are caring for those who cannot escape.
Another story from Minamisoma is on the BBC site: reader Dai Saito tells his story and how hard it is to evacuate, with no gas available for civiians’ cars.
News on the situation in Rikuzentakata:
Both the Mainichi Daily News and the Yomiuri reported on Chiba University professor Hirotaro Iwase initial autopsies in Rikuzentakata that many people had managed to reach what they thought were safe spots or were caught by the tsunami as they tried to escape. Many of the victims had seven or eight layers of clothing on tehm, bags health insurance papers, their hanko seals (people in Japan use these instead of signatures), jewelry photo albums, and emergency food like chocolate.
Two children and their mother search for the father in Rikuzentakata in the BBC video. The surviving family members find a photograph of themselves together in happier times.
There are now more stories about the heroic workers inside the Daiichi plant:
An Asahi Shimbun article says that the workers are on a biscuit and rice diet, and going without sleep. On March 11, after the earthquake, they even tried to jump-start the plant’s emergency core cooling system with a car battery.
One of the Fukushima 50 still in the plant was Michiko Otsuki, a 22-year-old who blogged about what was happening. The blog has since been taken down and Otsuki issued an apology.
Evacuees are streaming into the Kanto area of Japan (the part of Japan around Tokyo):
Miyagi Governor Yoshihiro Murai urged residents to move to other parts of Japan for 6-12 months as there is not enough temporary shelter for them, as reported in a Japan Times article.
Refugees are arriving in Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Kanagawa prefectures. A Japan Times article focuses on the Saitama Super Arena: “The arena can accommodate up to 5,000 people through the end of March. The prefecture is providing blankets, towels and facial masks, but evacuees have to figure out on their own where to buy food and bathe”
Friday March 18th 2011, 10:05 pm
Filed under: Japan,News
Here are more stories I’ve been following.
First, some of the general news stories:
These BBC photos include some terrible news, such as the evacuation of Minamisanriku Hospital failed when some of the patients couldn’t move fast enough to escape the tsunami.
The Boston Globe also has some photos: luckily the four-month-old baby in photo #2 survived with her family and photo #13 presents an interesting solution against panicked food buying with a Sendai supermarkets limiting purchases to five items (I don’t think Canadians would be this understanding).
And a video from the BBC showing the tsunami’s power. It’s shocking and makes me worried as we are in an earthquake area here and close to the water.
In this BBC article about the situation in Tokyo, Austria is reported as having moved its consulate to Osaka.
Interesting LA Times article about trusting the Japanese government. When I lived in Japan, the government’s responses to the mad cow disease epidemic were misleading. The last paragraphs about contradictory NHK radio announcements reminds me of 1984.
Not Japan specific, this US Geological Survey website my friend K. recommended documents earthquakes around the world. K. says she checks this whenever she feels a tremor.
In another BBC article, the fifty brave workers who remained at the Fukushima Daiichi plant were evacuated (I need to find some articles on these people). The article has a map of evacuation and no-fly zones around the plant.
Tokyo governor, the ever-tactful Shintaro Ishihara, apologized for his remarks that the disaster was divine retribution.
Now Akita, Aomori, Yamagata and Niigata prefectures will start rationing electricity, according to the Japan Times.
Some sad stories:
One of the saddest stories is about poor Yoshikatsu Hiratsuka in Onagawacho in Miyagi, who survived while his mother and his wife died nearby and his son was swept away. Hiratsuku visits their bodies each day for tearful reunions.
This New York Times article focuses on the plight of the elderly and the increased fatalities in this age group. The beginning of the Yuriage Junior High School story reminds me of what I’ve heard about the Holocaust gas chambers. Hisako Tanno’s father had a great escape that was a relief to read (her description of the wave was as a “mountain of garbage”). From a practical standpoint, this article points out how survivor Yuta Saga “[measured] the wave’s advance by the clouds of dust created by collapsing buildings.” (Also, this is frivolous, but I much admire the furoshiki in the first photo.)
LA Times reporter Mark Magnier talks to the Otomo family from Natori as they try to find their belongings in the rubble. I wish more stories would focus on the individuals and I wish there was some way I could help them personally. It makes me sad that they have no insurance.
Here’s a Mainichi story on the conditions survivors face in one evacuation centre in Ofunato in Iwate. The photo taken from a helicopter of people washing their clothes in a river demonstrates how conditions are.
Another really sad story from the Asahi Shimbun, about a mother, Mika Sato, who finds her kindergartener’s body in the burned school bus in Ishinomaki. It’s especially sad because the kindergarten where little Airi was is on a hill and was spared in the tsunami.
In this other New York Times article, Akiko Sato – who compared the oncoming wave “like almost hundreds of thousands of horses running towards me” – was saved by her down jacket.
Yet another LA Times article by Mark Magnier, who tells some of the incredible survival stories from Minamisanriku (where about 10,000 people out of a pre-earthquake population of 16,000 are missing): Emiko Chiba surviving in her Subaru as it floated on the wave; how later Emiko and her husband Kazahiro managed to salvage their blue pail, a black thermos, an umbrella, a sun visor and a windshield scraper; the escape of two older women, Mitsuko Koshi and Shizuka Hoshi, stranded on a hill up to their waists in the water; and that Japan waived its animal quarantine laws to allow foreign rescue dogs to help with the rescue effort.
An unnamed woman, her child and the child’s classmate had a lucky escape, when the mom backed the car into a back alley in Yamadamachi in Iwate to when they couldn’t outrun the tsunami, as reported in the Daily Yomiuri.
It’s been a while since I read blogs, having had little free time in the last few years. Yet, with the Japan situation, this is when blogs really demonstrate their worth. I wanted something more substantial that Twitter feeds (which are far too repetitive anyhow) and more personal than what we’re getting from journalists who fly in with no knowledge of Japan, snap a couple photos, then board a plane for home. Look at all the amazed editorials about the Japanese not looting – obviously have no clue about Japanese behaviour. The blogs to which I subscribe are almost all by North American white people living in Japan (and specifically in Tokyo): this is when I regret not having been a better language student while in Japan.*
Here’s what the Tokyo residents have to say:
Amy Nakazawa of Blue Lotus reports how responsible stores like her 100 yen shop use only a third of their lights. There is a rumour that pachinko parlours are still guzzling all that electricity. Amy also explains the ubiquitous face masks as seen in all the photos – I thought it was because of fear of airborne pathogens from the dead or the smells or the usual East Asian common-cold/allergy prevention strategy – it’s because “earthquakes can kick up a lot of dust, and power outages can create quite a stink.” Also check out her shopping cart contents: iodine-rich seaweed protects against radiation sickness.
Mari Kanazawa of the Watashi to Tokyo blog wrote about some of the nice things businesses were doing to help stranded Tokyo commuters: vending machine companies made their drinks 0 yen, restaurants let people use their toilets and even gave away free onigiri and some electronic stores helped people charge their cell phones.
*For the record, I was exhausted. I’d just finished eight years of intense Chinese study. My brain needed a break and I moved to Japan right after Taiwan.
Monday March 14th 2011, 1:40 am
Filed under: Japan,News
According to the Japan Times, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has asked people to “be creative in protecting yourselves from this blackout,” as nine prefectures will begin having three-hour blackouts on Monday. According to Tepco President Masataka Shimizu, the blackouts will continue until the end of April.
The blackout schedule will be:
6:20 am – 10 am: Group 1: Utsunomiya, Saitama, Matsudo in Chiba Prefecture, Yokosuka in Kanagawa Prefecture and Nishitokyo
9:20 am – 1 pm: Group 2: Kunitachi and part of Yokohama
12:20 pm – 4 pm: Group 3: Kasukabe in Saitama Prefecture and Narita in Chiba Prefecture
1:50 pm – 5:30 pm: Group 4: Mito in Ibaraki Prefecture and Tokyo’s Arakawa Ward
3:20 – 7 pm: Group 5: Machida in Tokyo, Kawasaki, Ito in Shizuoka Prefecture
4:50 pm – 8:30 pm: Group 1: Utsunomiya, Saitama, Matsudo in Chiba Prefecture, Yokosuka in Kanagawa Prefecture and Nishitokyo
6:20 pm – 10 pm: Group 2: Kunitachi and part of Yokohama
Also on BBC, Minami-Soma resident 60-year-old Hiromitsu Shinkawa was rescued 15 km out at sea from the floating wreckage of his house. His wife was swept away.
Sendai resident Natsuko Komura tells how she lost her horse after the earthquake, while reporter Damian Grammaticas accompanies a rescue team. (BBC again.)
The LA Times has a series of photos of Natori (photos #68 and #69 are doubly frightening), Otsuchi in Iwate, Minamisanriku in Miyagi, Hachinohe (picture #26 is startling), Kisenuma in Miyago prefecture (picture #28 just makes me sad for everyone there), Rikuzentakata (photo #34 is depressing – if I didn’t know how resilient people and places are – having had a friend who survived the Kobe earthquake – I would despair in those circumstances), and other areas.
Saturday March 12th 2011, 9:29 pm
Filed under: Japan,News
This blog started in Japan, my home for a few years, and I have been very worried as I watch footage from Japan. Most of my friends are in the Tokyo and Saitama areas, and I hope they are ok (I’ve only heard back from one friend so far). I knew one woman from the affected prefectures so I am very sad for her and her family.
Someone posted a video from inside Sendai Airport just as the tsunami swept by.
I am relieved for those people as they seemed to be ok.
Has anyone else noticed the proliferation of Venices?
The Venice of the north could be Amsterdam, Saint Petersburg, Bruges or, as I just found out, Haapsalu in Estonia. There’s even a Wikipedia page on all the Venices of the North. I have been to three out of these seventeen Venices:
Borås in Sweden
Bornholm in Denmark
Bourton-on-the-Water (also known as the Venice of the Cotswolds)
Giethoorn (also known as the Venice of the Netherlands)
Maryhill in Scotland
Wroclaw (note to self: visit this place when you finally get to Poland)
Another page that inventoried the Venices adds Bydgoszcz from Poland to the list. Bydgoszcz’s Wikipedia page certainly has plenty of landscape photos with water to possibly merit its Venetian nickname. Dresden, the Florence of the Elbe, was also the Venice of the Elbe.
However, there are many other Venices around the world. In Africa, for example, there is Ganvie in Benin, called either the Venice of Africa or the Venice of West Africa. When I looked up Ganvie, I found references to other Venices of Africa: Zanzibar and, formerly, Cape Town. There’s also Mopti, the Venice of Mali, which has cleaned up some of its plastic bag choked waters with a recycling plant.
The Venices of the East also merit a Wikipedia page, with another seventeen contenders (so far I have been to Suzhou, Bangkok and Osaka). They are:
Alapuzzha in Kerala
Barisal City in Bangladesh (also called the Venice of Bengal)
Basra (possibly the location of the Garden of Eden and sister cities with Venice)
The Kampong Ayer neighbourhood of Brunei’s capital Bandar Seri Begawan, called the Venice of the East by a sixteenth century Venetian, Antonio Pigafetta
Lijiang City in China
Malacca in Malaysia
Osaka (is sister cities with Hamburg and Saint Petersburg, two other Venices)
Palembang in Indonesia (appropriately enough, Palembang’s sister cities are Den Haag and Venice – does Venice only ever sister city other Venices?)
Srinagar in Kashmir (not sure if there are any sources that call it the Udaipur of Kashmir)
Tongli in China
Udaipur (also known as the City of the Lakes and the Kashmir of Rajasthan, among other films Octopussy and Darjeeling Limited were filmed here)
Wuzhen (near Suzhou)
Zhouzhang (also near Suzhou)
Missing from the Wikipedia list is the Venice of Hong Kong, Tai O, or Da’ao in pinyin, on Lantau Island. Lantau is one of the really calm, pretty areas of Hong Kong as these photos attest.
Also missing from the list are other Japanese Venices. Nicknaming places seems like such a Japanese thing, I couldn’t imagine why there would only be Osaka. A quick search revealed the other Japanese Venices:
Kagoshima,or the Naples of the Eastern World, is in fact sister cities with Naples
Matsue in Shimane Prefecture has a medieval castle (other castles like Gyoda Castle, Osaka Castle and Shuri Castle in Naha were rebuilt after their destruction in WWII)
Otaru (Japan’s Venice of the North or the Wall Street of Hokkaido gets extra points for not just recreating a Venetian canal but also for being really into Venetian glass)
Sakai, which also has kofun burial mounds and was famous for its samurai swords, competes with Osaka for the title
Yanagawa down in Fukuoka has a walking tour map (PDF) for nitwits like me who didn’t learn Japanese, which includes the monument at a hand washing area (?), and a 1980s Studio Ghibli documentary, The Story of Yanagawa’s Canals, that has English subtitles.
In addition to these places, there’s another Venice of the East or South, depending on where your point of reference is: Tawi-Tawi in the Philippines (which also has a seaweed festival, more info on this area just off Malaysia’s coast here).
There are not many other Venices of the South. Zakynthos in Greece used to be one. Sete in France is also the Venice of Languedoc.
One of the so-called Venices of the South is Tarpon Springs on the west coast of Florida. Built around a Greek immigrant sponge industry, I am not really clear if this is merely a coastal town and not a city with canals and bridges like the original Venice. However, there is at least one photo of accurate gondolas in Tarpon Springs dated to 1927. Even cooler is that this photo comes from a gondola blogger called Greg Mohr who lives in California. The internet is awesome for that. I love living in a world where some dude thousands of miles from Italy can be an expert on gondolas and is making an online archival resource for the rest of us researching niche topics.
A better contender for the Venice of the South would be Nan Madol, which is on the list as a Venice of the East (and is also sometimes called the Venice of the Pacific). Nan Madol was a city of islands in Micronesia; the kingdom collapsed about 500 years ago leaving some photogenic ruins. Locals are wary of the place and superstition has it that you will die if you try to spend the night there.
On its own is Recife, the Venice of Brazil (sister cities with another two Venices, Amsterdam and Nantes – see below).
When it comes to the Venice of the West, there is Galway (blame Yeats for this), Nantes and San Antonio (also the Venice of America, the Venice of the Plains, the Venice of the Texas Plains, the Venice of the Southwest, and the Venice of the Drylands). Interestingly, it could be that San Antonio pushed for the Venice of Texas nickname when Waco threatened to take it in the 1890s. Speaking of the Venice of America, Fort Lauderdale and Venice, California also market themselves as the US Venice.
The Venice which became part of Los Angeles in 1925 was founded in 1905 and modelled on the original Venice, with even its own lagoon. Unfortunately Los Angeles paved most of the canals in 1929. The Venice Historical Society’s website sells postcards with what looks like the Doge’s Palace and plenty of gondolas.
So how many Venices are there? I counted 58. Are there any other Venices that need to go on the list?
Update: Oops. I forgot the real Venice. Make that 59.
Tuesday November 17th 2009, 8:50 pm
Filed under: Food,Japan
I never knew why MSG was bad. Someone once told me that it caused cancer. I filed that away with the intriguing idea that deodorant gave women breast cancer, a tip from a shrewish high school fundamentalist christian acquaintance. One day, I figured, I would investigate the truth in the MSG scare and make up my mind. For now, I had too much Chinese and Japanese food to eat.
Back when I lived in Taiwan, my then-boyfriend prepared a Japanese cucumber dish that tasted incredibly good. “It’s easy to make,” he said. And he showed me how after we ate the first batch: put sliced cucumber in a plastic bag with some salty looking flakes, and let sit for a while. I asked him what the salty stuff was. He told me it was Ajinomoto. Weird Japanese stuff, I thought. He was a relatively new boyfriend. I didn’t question much.
A few years later, when I moved with said boyfriend to Japan, I noticed him flavouring with this Ajinomoto stuff again. This time when I asked if Ajinomoto had an English translation, he admitted, reluctantly and in a whispering voice, that it was MSG. I filed this way next to the crazy christian virgin’s deodorant advice and said goodbye to the yummy cucumber slices.
An article from long ago in the Guardian has finally convinced me that I have nothing to fear. I still eat margarine and butter, after all. Reckless daredevil that I am. Japanese cucumbers are back on the menu.