It has been raining in Amsterdam pretty much every day for the past 10 days. I recently found out (thanks to local iPhone applications that alert you about rain in the vicinity) that the Dutch word for dejected – Neerslachtig – is very close to the Dutch word for precipitation – Neerslag. And this pretty much sums up the attitude here towards the present weather conditions. It’s not all doom and gloom though. The clouds put up quite a show before and after rain. Many hours have been spent staring at them in silent contemplation.
It seems to me that if you live by a street just off Leidesplein, putting stickers on the door of your parking asking people not to park, is the easiest way to get someone to park in front of it.
The reviews of Spirited Away had mentioned something about it being about a bathhouse for sprits. The material sounded intriguing enough to make me watch it. I was mesmerised by both the film’s content and its presentation. A few weeks ago I watched another Miyazaki film, The Wind Rises, to the same effect. It roughly chronicles the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed planes used by Japan in World War II. Japan’s role in World War II remains a delicate subject. Can you separate a man’s achievements during a war from what they were put to use for?
p.s. The movie kept reminding me of this music video by Japanese rock band Spitz. Not sure if it’s related to the movie in any way other than its aeronautical inventor theme.
p.p.s. I am going to exempt these post scriptums from my self imposed 100 word limit. The risk, given my otherwise verbose style, is that I’ll end up writing entire blog entries as post scriptums.
A boat ride through the canals in Amsterdam should be on the itinerary of every visitor. You could rent a pedal-boat or take a tour in a covered tourist boat, but an open motorboat is highly recommended. On the streets by the canals, life marches on at its usual pace. From a boat in the canal, it seems to slow down. The views seem more panoramic, the bikes locked to the railings of the bridges overhead more picturesque. It’s as if the city is letting you in on its grand scheme – one that isn’t revealed to cyclists or pedestrians.