For details about my work have a look at my website,

I am currently working on large prints combining water based woodblock techniques with oil based linocut: nothing if not a challenge! I'm also doing some teaching and go back to school myself in the spring to qualify as an adult education tutor

Friday, 25 September 2009

Lost in Translation

With my departure day a couple of dozen hours away I am now revisiting every serious exam situation I have ever experienced: severe inertia combined with nagging confusion as to why I’ve failed to revise/prepare well in advance…

Part of the problem is trying to absorb enough Japanese etiquette in time to prevent my kind hosts from discovering that the freckled giant they’ve agreed to teach is not only hopeless at kneeling, but also a savage. I do know that I mustn’t blow my nose in public or leave chopsticks upright in rice, that my business card must be presented with both hands and that (this from an American site) I must never say ‘your mom is pretty’ which is a bit counter to the English reserve anyway.

I do know I have to give gifts and that they must be nicely wrapped. In my lengthy career as a Brownie (I lingered long enough for Brown Owl to tell me I’d outstayed my welcome) I only ever had two badges: fire starting (you can bet health and safety have outlawed that one) and present wrapping. So you’d think that a few tins of tea, a split of whisky and five pots of Gentleman’s Relish would present few problems to the former Sixer of the Sprites, but I’m not that happy. Especially now I’ve read that ‘pastel is the “safest” choice for presents’ – is my retro fifties colour scheme unsafe and if so, in what way? All this and I haven’t even started to pack yet.

I was distracted briefly by an amusing list of dos and don’ts for visiting Britain, again written by Americans. I learn that ‘the British generally avoid eye contact with each other’ and that when eating peas ‘you must first crush them under your fork’. Dead right we avoid eye contact with each other: how else will we keep straight faces while our extraordinary foreign visitor is carefully making their own transatlantic version of mushy peas?