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October 14, 2006

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Hello. This website is not dead — it’s only sleeping. As a travel journal and account of life on a tiny Okinawan island it’s really served its original function, and since I’m now back in the UK and don’t really want to be writing one of these ‘what-I-had-for-breakfast-today’ web logs I did consider putting a last full stop to it all, but actually it’s quite nice to have a little place on the web so that increasingly widely-scattered friends and acquaintances around the world can, if they want to, periodically get at least an approximate idea of where I am now and what I’m doing.

And besides, occasionally I do go somewhere and do something other than have breakfast. A couple of weeks ago, for example, I went to Paris: a city that is notable for many things, including — perhaps most famously — being the capital of France.

Getting off the bus (the bus from London is extremely reasonable (£35 return) and takes a mere eight hours or so including the ninety minute ferry journey, during which you can get off the bus and walk around, have a coffee and a sandwich and a look at the sea), getting off the bus I realised that it has probably been about 15 years since I was last in Paris, despite the fact that Paris is brilliant and getting there and back from London costs less than it used to cost to get from my little island to Naha on mainland Okinawa.

I went to visit Alex, who was briefly back from Hokkaido. While there we finally got to go to Dans Le Noir — a restaurant where you eat in total darkness, and where all the waiters and waitresses are blind. It was a very interesting experience — for me the complete darkness oscillated unpredictably between relaxing and oppressive, so it’s very hard to say overall how much I liked it, but the food was excellent and it was certainly an exercise in empathy as well: I’d never considered the practical difficulties of eating things you can’t see. How do you make sure a forkful of salad goes into your mouth neatly? How do you pour yourself a glass of wine? And how do you know when you’ve finished? I’m sure in all cases there are more elegant solutions than the ones I found (I was careful to wipe all traces of sauce off my face before returning to the light).

We also watched an almost entirely deranged 1970s Japanese B-movie with the superb title of Terrifying Girls High School: Lynch Law Classroom. The title pretty much sums it up: a sort-of Japanese Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (surely the greatest film title of all time…?)

Eiffel Tower, Paris

posted in France5 comments


  1. Posted by tom grundy — October 25, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    why, that IS reasonable at £35 – who’d you book thru? & more importantly, it’s more ethical =o)

  2. Posted by lva — October 25, 2006 at 4:35 pm

    Hello Mr. Grundy. I went on a Eurolines bus. National Express‘s website has all the info.

    Reasonable and ethical. Yes. Those are both good things.

  3. Posted by mayee — November 1, 2006 at 9:55 am

    i am so envious… paris is utterly mesmerising. =C)

  4. Posted by sekkusu chekku — November 5, 2006 at 7:10 am

    Wow, that’s the nicest picture taken from my kitchen window…ever!
    Btw, I rented Suicide Club on your reccommendation, and it is indeed completely mental. Good job.


  5. Posted by lva — November 10, 2006 at 3:03 pm

    Oho! Was it fully mental? I must watch it myself, then, and stop passing on second-hand recommendations. Actually, the BFI is having a ‘Wild Japan’ season at the moment. Unfortunately this week I was flat-hunting, so I am rather gutted that I missed Female Convict Scorpion