21 januari 2008

Onigiri disaster

The downside of having enjoyed my Japanese hostmum and hostdad's cooking for some 18 months during my lifetime is that I have never felt the need to learn to cook Japanese style myself. This means disappointing many Dutch friends who want me to make sushi for them. It also means, and this I find somewhat more serious, that I am completely unable to make the Japanese food I crave whenever I am not in Japan.

This weekend the craving got worse and I decided to try to make some onigiri. Not the most difficult part of Japanese cuisine, I figured. But even at this, I failed miserably. The whole house reeked of destroyed salmon, the rice was more like gluey risotto, and the nori, well that was fine, but unable to do more than merely hide some of my failure.

Help, please, anyone...!

14 januari 2008

Love, hate, love, hate, love, hate, love, hate....... love?!

How the same tv program can consist of the big two opposites life has to offer.

Netwerk began today with an item on the two Dutch soldiers that were killed last Saturday by Dutch fire in Uruzgan, Afghanistan. A military specialist was interviewed and he explained some things about the phenomenon of killing your own men accidentally. Apparently it happens quite a lot. 24% of Dutch soldiers who get killed, get killed by our own fire. He said it's around 10% in UN missions too. To liven these numbers up a little for the audience, we were treated to some footage from the first Gulf War in which American soldiers are very happy to shoot down other soldiers, right until they are told by flight control that these men were probably on their side. Only then does the pilot say "Ow my god, I just killed two persons". As if the result had not been the same if he had killed two enemy soldiers (persons?).

Why are we in Afghanistan again?

Netwerk's second item was on the retirement of rabbi Awraham Soetendorp. A man that still gets teary eyes when he tells his interviewer about the Catholic couple that took him in during the War, and saved his life by losing the husband's life. All his life this man has fought against injustice, intolerance and ingnorance. He organised demonstrations against the Russian regime in the 70s and 80s when it was supressing Jews. And these days he is a bridge-builder between the different religious communities in the Netherlands which he deems necessary as he believes that a continuing of the trouble between these groups will only bring despair and misery. He is repulsed by our democratically chosen politician Geert Wilders who wants to take away the holy book, the Qur'an, that over a billion people in this world cherish deeply. When asked why at this age he is still making such effort he responds by saying that one day people had the courage to plant fruit trees of which he has been able to eat all his life even though the beginning was hard, and now he feels that he owes it to the next generation to leave this world behind a bit more beautiful, with plenty of fruit trees to eat from.


8 januari 2008


Katwijk aan Zee in winter. Cold, windy, but still wonderful..

7 januari 2008

Infantilised me

We of Maelstrom, as I still like to call our bookclub, are reading Benjamin Barber's 'Consumed - How markets corrupt children, infantilize adults, and swallow citizens whole' for our next session. Quite an interesting read I must say, and I just stumbled upon a sentence I cannot but share.

"All the small luxuries of our slow yesteryear's youth for which pace defined virtue - oatmeal, chess, mashed potatoes, love letters - are now available quicktime: not just fast, but, from instant to blitz chess and instant messaging. What is the message of instant messaging with its abbreviated happy-/ sad-face emoticons, its inventive contradictions, and its furious pace, other than the message of being in a hurry? Kids will instant message for hours as if they have but seconds; the mad seconds accumulate, leaving them plenty of time to compose sonnets: but they content themselves with sentence fragments. For the person on the other end is waiting, and probably multitasking and might go away any sec now, and time's a flying, so hurry up!"

Confronting? yes.. Not that I can say that I didn't know, but still.