Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sunday Salon: Lost in Austen, breakfast cereal and bookshelves

Despite the lousy weather and rainy days (why is it that during rainy season this year we didn't get all that much rain but now that it's officially over, it can't seem to stop!?), this was a pretty good week.

First, I got to watch the concluding episode of Lost in Austen, which ended up being quite a lot of fun, and counts as my first Austen-related item for Stephanie's Everything Austen challenge. They'd been airing an episode a week here from the beginning of July and this past week was the fourth and final episode. When I starting watching it I did wonder if it would be a bit cheesy, and ok it was a little, but I really enjoyed it. It gave such an interesting twist on all the beloved characters of Pride and Prejudice with lots of witty, humourous moments, including a few nods to the Colin Firth/BBC version. Think wet shirt scene! I think I may have to get the DVD of it to watch it all again sometime. Definitely recommended to fans of Pride and Prejudice.

Photo: ITV

Then mid-week my cereal order arrived. Cereal order, you may wonder? Well, in Japan breakfast cereal has never really become popular so in the supermarket the choice is limited to corn flakes, bran flakes and occasionally muesli. Booorrrring! I recently found out about a great website though, Expat Express, where I can order typical grocery items from the US that are then shipped within about a week. Sure it's more expensive than if I were shopping in the US myself but the shipping cost is pretty reasonable and it is considerably cheaper than a round-trip plane ticket, even during off-season. So I now have a few boxes of Cheerios (yay!), Frosted Shredded Wheat, Life (which I hadn't had in years!) and a couple others to satisfy my cereal cravings this summer. My husband laughed at me because my face totally brightened when the delivery arrived, but I'm just wondering how long it'll be before I need to make another order!

And then on Friday my new bookshelf arrived. It's just a cheap particle board deal but was much needed. The unpacking had actually stalled a couple of weeks ago due to a lack of shelf space. See, I lost a whole bookcase and a half when we moved, as they were re-designated for other things. So anyway, this weekend I've been finally unpacking the remaining boxes of books and my wall of books is starting to take shape.

On the reading side of things I finished The Flight of Icarus by Raymond Queneau earlier in the week. It was very funny and clever, occasionally a little too clever for me, but very amusing all the same. I'm still dipping into Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby, and chuckling regularly. And I've also started reading Goodbye Madame Butterfly by Sumie Kawakami. The author interviewed various Japanese women and these are the true accounts of their lives, their marriages, their affairs. I've only read two women's stories so far but they were both sad and touching, and a fascinating glimpse at what life is really like for women in modern Japan.

Coming up this week a couple more new books to mention tomorrow, and reviews of The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell, and The Flight of Icarus. Happy August!

Week in review:
New books and travels in Europe
Review: Best Intentions by Emily Listfield
Celebrating Japanese Literature


  1. I've heard so many good things about Lost in Austen. Your post just reminded me to check and see if my library will be getting the DVDs.

  2. I watched Lost in Austen recently, too. Yes, it is on the cheesy side, but it does have an interesting twist. I still don't know how I felt about the ending.

    I am a fan of breakfast cereal myself, so I can totally relate.

    I am glad you finally have another bookcase to store your beloved books. When I moved in January, one of mine went into storage. The one I am using looks crazy with my TBR pile stacked up in 5 piles in front of the regularly shelved books. I don't have enough room for another bs so I just have to make do for now.

    I am off to read your review on A Geisha's Journey and your posts on Europe and Japanese Lit!

  3. I totally relate to your cereal order. I regularly order American sweets and soft drinks and have them shipped to me. I'm going through a box of Mountain Dews and A&W rootbeers at the moment!

  4. I own the Lost in Austen DVD but I haven't watched it yet...sounds like I really need to get to it!! Your need for cereal made me realize how much I take for granted! I hope those boxes last you a while :) Goodbye Madame Butterfly sounds truly interesting. I think I just may have to read that!

  5. I hadn't heard of Lost in Austen before. I am glad you ended up enjoying it. :-)

    How exciting that you are finally able to get more variety cereal wise! I've been rediscovering cereal myself now that I'm slowly working breakfast back in my diet.

    A new bookshelf! I tried to talk my husband into letting me pick out one when we were out and about this weekend, but he says we're supposed to be packing our books not buying more shelves for them. He's no fun.

    I hope you have an enjoyable week, Nat!

  6. I'm so glad you enjoyed Lost in Austen. It is such a fun mini-series!

  7. I haven't ever heard of this Lost in Austen series!

    And I completely understand your need for Cheerios! I would be doing the exact same thing.

  8. My husband laughed at me because my face totally brightened when the delivery arrived,

    And as I read your post, I got a big smile on my face and thought, Yay! Nat got her Cheerios!! :) Enjoy!

  9. Memory - It was a lot of fun. I hope you'll get a chance to watch it.

    Rebecca - I can feel your pain! But not having enough shelf space doesn't seem to stop us from buying more, does it? The bookshelf I got was very needed and it's already pretty full! LOL.

    Michelle - I was very tempted to add some root beer to the order! Maybe next time. :)

    Staci - It's a good one to watch when you just want something light and fun.
    Cereal is one of the few things that I miss and can't get here. Along with rhubarb and raspberries! :P

    Wendy - I'm so happy to have found the site. I wonder how much/how often I can order before H starts to complain. ;)
    Lol at your husband. I suppose he's right but still, you're not moving for a little while yet!

    Stephanie - It really was so much fun! I'll definitely have to watch it again sometime.

    Lena - I think I'm addicted to Cheerios! :P

    Les - LOL. I think it's funny how you all know about my Cheerios craving. I had brought back a couple boxes from Canada in January but they're long gone. H just doesn't get how much I miss them. And thanks, I've already been enjoying them regularly! :)

  10. OMG what on earth do they eat in Japan for breakfast? I COULD NOT survive without cereal. I like live on cereal. Cereal is what gets me out of bed in the morning. Okay, I'm exaggerating because I spent a semester in Spain and they don't eat cereal either. But there was homemade orange juice to make up for it.

    Isn't it funny the little things from home that make a difference when you are out of the country? For me it was altoids. Those just made my day so much better.

  11. Kim L - LOL. Somehow I survived without cereal before but now I'm making up for lost time! ;)
    It is funny the little things that we miss.

  12. Lost in Austen did turn out to be surprisingly entertaining!

  13. Beth F - It was a lot of fun, wasn't it? It surprised me a little how much I ended up enjoying it.


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