Izakaya in My Sights

We are off to Japan for about seven weeks. During this time, I may not be as busy with my blogs/posts as I would be when home. For this, I apologize.

With the exception of Australia, my home country, my favorite place in which to travel is Japan. And one of the reasons – and there are many – are the izakaya. They are peculiar to Japan. Put simply, they are places to eat, drink, and socialize. Perhaps the nearest equivalent is the pinxos bar in the Basque region of Europe.

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Working the Room

(from The Coalface, June 2023)

Bob Katter is an ebullient political animal. A journalist I have known has said that Bob can ‘work a room’ as adeptly as anybody in the game. He is the independent Member for Kennedy in the Australian Parliament. The Electoral Division of Kennedy is located in northern Queensland. Among other things, it is coal country through and through.

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What a revelatory experience it has been to read this 400 page compendium of ground-breaking vignettes.

Cosmicomics are an invention of Italo Calvino and, fortunately, they have been rendered into English by a suite of excellent translators, and compiled into a volume called The Complete Cosmicomics. There is nothing like them in modern literature.

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Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena australis) mother and calf in shallow protected waters.

A panel, set up for the purpose, has recently delivered its verdict on the best beach in the world. Is it somewhere in the Mediterranean? Hawaii, perhaps? Maybe Thailand? Or could it be on the east coast of Australia?

None of these. It is Lucky Bay, near Esperance, in Western Australia.

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Music? Why?

Music is the great perplexity of the ages. It seems not to serve any discernible purpose. It doesn’t put food on the table. It doesn’t build bridges. It doesn’t have wheels, or wings, or rudders. It doesn’t play any part in the daily hustle and bustle of the trade or barter of commonplace commodities. It doesn’t have words to describe it adequately. What is its place in the wider scheme of things? Why is it (except for those who are erroneously dubbed tone deaf) a cherished part of our life?

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How beautiful Australian rivers can be!

This exquisite picture is of the Thompson River in Western Queensland. It’s one of those rivers that empties its waters into the Lake Eyre basin in South Australia, the nearest thing we have in Australia to an inland sea.

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