Friday, October 27, 2006

Hana and his brothers

Despite what I've written about before, the last two nights have once again been busy. On Tuesday, our entire team at work went out for dinner at the Italian restaurant Da Paolo on Charlotte Street where we ate good food (I had crab risotto and mozzarella and avocado salad), drank copious glasses of red wine and made the most awful racket (lucky we had an entire basement floor to ourselves). It was a great night and this morning both my head and my throat were very sore.

Last night, I met up with M after work and we ate prawn dumplings, shredded chilli beef, pak choi and deep-fried tofu, and egg fried rice at the cheap and stylish Chinese Experience opposite the Curzon Soho cinema. Then we walked across the Thames to the NFT for another London Fim Festival night, this time watching Japanese period drama Hana.

Hana is the son of a great samurai, passing his days teaching writing in an 18th century Edo shanty town while trying to plan out a revenge attack on the man who killed his father. Unfortunately getting in his way are three things he doesn't have any control over: One, he can't find the killer; two, he's falling in love with a young widow next door and her son; and three, he can't swordfight to save his life! Aiding and abetting him, and not very successfully, are his loyal and very crazy shanty town sidekicks.

Directed by Nobody Knows and Afterlife director Hirokazu Koreeda, the film is both funny and affecting, and has such a wonderful attention to detail that you are instantly transported to Edo, 1702.

The entire night at the NFT turned out to be a comedy: several people turned up late, I'm sure because they expected adverts; the audience was older than your usual cinema crowd and people kept getting up to go to the toilet, getting in the way of the subtitles and stepping all over our bags; the air-conditioning was off, leaving the air hot and stuffy; and the guy behind us kept laughing away like Beavis and Butthead rolled into one - even during the non-comedic episodes - as if he'd come to the film determined to laugh the entire time because he'd heard the film was meant to be funny.

Despite it being an excellent film, I was seething throughout and didn't stop seething the entire journey home. Of course, now I see the funny side.

I spent today in Slough again. Few days of one's life should ever be spent in Slough - it being one big business park - but because one of my clients is based there, I had no choice. In any event, the day-long meeting was a big success and I learned a lot from some very interesting people, and it also meant, because I wasn't in the office, I returned home on time to cook us both rice noodles with king prawns and purple-sprouting broccoli in a chicken and chilli broth for dinner.

When he came home, M surprised me with a lovely gift of a black watch I've been eyeing up in Muji recently. Now I'm catching up on my blogging while M is pretending to be Sergei Dragonov in the new Tekken game I bought him last week for his PSP. Then we'll eat Gu mini chocolate souffles and watch the newest season of Curb Your Enthusiasm on DVD.

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