Another week gone! And spring will soon be there, but for now, London is still quite chilly… So to warm up a little, on Monday we went to the pub, for a change! I was quite surprised by all the soft drinks that people ordered. Was last weekend a heavy one?? Anyway… I sat with a little group of Japanese students: Yuko, Shun, Masataka and Yu. We had a good chat about many things, but in particular, we talked about European greetings: how we say hello in this part of the world is quite different from how they say hello in the East! Kisses are OUT – shaking hands is not common, and the culture shock is quite big for the Asian crowd. They laughed at the idea that in some parts of France, people kiss each other 4 or five times on the cheek to say hello! What happens when you just pop in and out of a bar where 10 of your friends are? You just spend the whole time kissing people! We also had a chat about Japanese animated movies, in particular films produced by Studio Gibli – very famous in Europe too: Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, the Castle in the Sky, and of course, Totoro (my favourite).
Following the talk about Japan, I got the idea that, sitting with 4 Japanese students, this was a good time for me to learn a few more Japanese words… I gave up very quickly (was it actually me who gave up, or them!!?) it takes a very long time to say something as simple as: "My name is Jenny"! I couldn't get my head around it… On Tuesday, Julia met the 5 students who were interested in our Valentines Day film: Love, Actually, in LG9. She played the film with subtitles, but as the actors are all English, this isn't the most difficult film to understand. Favourite scenes were: the appearance of Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean) in the jewellery shop – when he just doesn't get the meaning of the sentence: "Please Hurry!!" – Other scenes: The love triange between 2 best friends and the new wife, and the christmas carols… aaaah romance! Even Enrique enjoyed this little film, eventhough he wasn't quite sure he wanted to see it, and hovered around the classroom door for a while before he decided… Overall they enjoyed the fact that almost the whole story takes place in London, and they even noticed the Gherkin in the background being built at the time of filming! On Wednesdays, Owen normally brings his lovely little poodle dog Jess on the walks, but this is her little sister Tilly. She belongs to Owen’s parents but is staying with Owen for her holidays. Jess is tough and bold, but Tilly is shy and timid. She lives in the countryside and finds the city a bit frightening but she came along on the walk very obediently. It was good exercise for her too – she needs to lose a bit of weight! Here Owen is with the walking group near St. Paul’s Cathedral telling them about the Guildhall – an amazing building dating from 1440. There are fabulous banquets here for honoured guests such as Nelson Mandela but once a month, like any other Town Hall, they have meetings to discuss all the ordinary but important things which keep a city running, like street lights and rubbish clearance. It’s got to be the most magnificent Town Hall in Britain and you can go in for free between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Saturday. Here the walking group is visiting Postman’s Park in The City. It’s near the old Central Post Office so it was where the postmen would come to eat their sandwiches at lunchtime. Over 100 years ago a wall was created here remembering brave people who had died while saving someone else. Each tablet tells a fascinating story and you can see the group reading some of them here. Perhaps you remember the Hollywood film ‘Closer’ from 2004 starring Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman and Jude Law? It began and ended here in Postman’s Park where Jude meets Natalie, a mysterious young woman who steals a false name from one of these tablets. Finally on Thursday, Charlie took a small group to the Tate Britain in Pimlico and they had a good look around. There used to be fighter planes hanging from ceilings but apparently this exhibition is now over, which is a shame, but they were replaced by a lot of scupltures and giant butterflies, which were really interesting. The Tate Britain is less famous than its younger brother the Tate Modern, but is definitely worth a visit. Next week will be quite busy with museums, bowling and pool, musical, pub and an extra event, courtesy of Slava, on Saturday. Have a lovely weekend and join us next week!