Silly suits and funny accents.

I took the rush hour train this morning into Shinjuku.  The 15 minute journey was horrendous, excruciating, the carriage so packed I needed a runup to clear enough space to get in.  Once wedged inside, there was not enough space to lift an arm to reach a strap let alone fish a manga out.

The cramped conditions were made more unbearable by the fact I was wearing a suit.  Most people in the carriage were, even some women.  I felt desperately sorry for them in those fleeting moments when I wasn`t feeling desperately sorry for myself.

There is no possible excuse for the suit.  The design is dreadful, a sadist`s fancy dress, barely an upgrade from a straitjacket.  I felt like I had been wrapped in cardboard; one sudden movement and the fragile frame would be torn apart.  At least that would clear the crowds, although I`d be left hoping for an open-minded interviewer.

Sebiro, a Japanese word for suit, is a rendering of Savile Row – the traditional home of London`s top tailors.  Britain`s role in popularising this cruel cut of cloth is a huge embarrassment.  The whole nation should make a dogeza apology, like this repentant Japanese gentleman.

And finally, the manga of the moment is Kabachitare, (dialect meaning quibblers or hairsplitters).  It follows the cases of a small team of administrative scriveners in Hiroshima.  I won`t give details: I can`t.  Hiroshima-ben maybe notorious for sounding rough; it also reads rough: Honnara, jaga, jaro, honja, nanjakanja, Nanjatto!

Reading Kabachitare reminded me of a Japanese exchange student.  She spent 4 years at a Tokyo university learning the Queen`s english then paid for a homestay with the heavily accented, rough-and-tumble Geordies of Newcastle.  Apparently she complained and got her money back (but not her teeth).

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