A Legacy of Spies: John LeCarre

When it comes to LeCarre, there is “Good John” (almost all the non-Smiley) and “Bad John” (most of the Smiley). This being a ‘Smiley’ offering, the book is not only by my definition, “Bad John,” but also pretty pedestrian writing. The one thing the Smiley contributions do do well is highlighting the mendacity, paucity and amorality of the intelligence profession as a whole.

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Robert Harris: Munich

Harris’ FATHERLAND, set in historical Nazi Germany, was a tour de force of Alternative History. Thank God, then, that Harris now returns to Germany-in-the-past, this time to offer a book of “faction” focusing on British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s calamitous journey to Munich to appease Hitler and hand over the Czech Sudetenland to the Nazis.

How else could we know the colour of the draperies in each of the rooms the ostensible “protagonist” carries two red boxes from room to room throughout the book, for nothing else new of historical significance nor literary merit is otherwise added.

A Gentleman in Moscow: Amor Towles

I am by no means immune to the charms of literary fiction. Indeed, I have advanced degrees in the location and time period of Towles’ book. However, not even the supposed charms of Count Rostov or the Hotel Metropol could keep me interested in this literary tale, bereft as it is of bon mots, startling insights, clever turns of phrase or the economy or beauty of language. Not only does not nothing happen through the entire course of the book, there is not even a hint that something will happen. Ever!

Children of the Mind: Orson Scott Card

This is the last in Card’s “ENDER” series, one of the best sci-fi series in history IMHO. Card receives a huge amount of social criticism for his views but, Lordy, the man can write a good story! This one is better read after all its preceding offerings. Even given that, there is too much back story, prose and explanation to hook me like the others did. It only really works when the dialogue and plot take over from the back story. Still, a wonderful series that everyone should read.

The End of an Era: Tsukuji Fish Market

https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/tokyo-tsukiji-fish-market-toyosu/index.html

I used to love coming here in the morning…..

End of an era as Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market closes

Patrick St. Michel, CNN • Updated 6th October 2018
02:50
Tokyo (CNN) — Following years of delays and plenty of controversy, Tokyo’s Tsukiji wholesale fish market, one of the city’s most popular destinations for international visitors, has finally shut its doors.
The October 6 closing marks the end of an era for a structure that has been central to the metropolis since the mid-1930s and was considered the biggest fish and seafood market in the world.
The market is moving to a new facility in eastern Tokyo — the Toyosu Fish Market — and is set to start operating October 16.
The opening stands as one of the biggest developments in Tokyo in 2018, closing one chapter for the city and beginning a new one.

Why Tsukiji means so much to Tokyo

For decades, Tokyo's Tsukiji market has been the beating heart of a world-class culinary capital, supplying Michelin-starred chefs.

For decades, Tokyo’s Tsukiji market has been the beating heart of a world-class culinary capital, supplying Michelin-starred chefs.
KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
The Tsukiji wholesale fish market opened in 1935, though similar venues have existed in the surrounding area since the early 1600s.
It quickly established itself as the biggest fish and seafood market in the world, and one of the largest wholesale markets, period.
According to various reports, vendors sell around five million pounds of seafood from all over the world at Tsukiji daily, which works out to about $28 million.
Besides being a vital business hub for all things aquatic, over the years Tsukiji also became a must-see Tokyo tourist destination.
Walking through the inner market — the area where vendors sell seafood to restaurants and other companies — was a sensory overload.
Most popular of all were the early morning tuna auctions, with visitors eagerly showing up daily to watch people bid on huge hunks of fish.
Just as intriguing was the outer market, an area around the main structure housing dozens of food stalls and restaurants. Visitors could enjoy some of the freshest seafood here — assuming they showed up early enough.

The move itself

Demonstrators protest against the impending move of the Tsukiji fish market to Toyosu on September 29, 2018.

Demonstrators protest against the impending move of the Tsukiji fish market to Toyosu on September 29, 2018.
KARYN NISHIMURA-POUPEE/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Plans to move the fish market to Toyosu have been in motion for decades, but didn’t get serious until the early 2010s.
Why move? Reasons centered around the age of the structure itself — these buildings were constructed in 1935, after all — along with the fact the Tsukiji fish market sits on valuable real estate that could prove useful for and after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
There were hiccups along the way though.
The Toyosu market was originally supposed to open up in November of 2016, but was delayed for various reasons, including worries over contaminated soil.
The spot where the market was being constructed used to house a gas production plant, and it appeared the ground beneath had absorbed chemicals from this factory.
After a campaign to clean it up, experts declared the area safe for use this past summer. Now the setup is complete, with the new market set to open October 16.
It remains a divisive topic, however.
Many citizens of Tokyo worried a move from Tsukiji would deprive the city of a historical sight at a time when many longstanding destinations are starting to vanish.
Even more vocal were the vendors and workers at Tsukiji, who have held protests against the move at the old market in the days running up to its closure.

Toyosu: What to expect

An aerial photo of Tokyo's new Toyosu fish market.

An aerial photo of Tokyo’s new Toyosu fish market.
STR/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Like it or not, the Toyosu move is happening.
For visitors coming to Tokyo hoping to experience it, here’s what to know.
The closest subway station to the new Toyosu fish market is Shijo-mae Station, located on the Yurikamome Line (the station actually connects directly to the market, so don’t worry about getting lost).
It’s only two stops from Toyosu Station, which also can be accessed via the Yurakucho Line. The market is the only real draw near this station, though Toyosu has a variety of restaurants and shopping centers worth exploring, while the Yurikamonme Line leads to Odaiba, a man-made island in Tokyo Bay.
For those hoping to get to the Toyosu market before sunrise, find a hotel in Toyosu or Odaiba.

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Entry into the Toyosu market is free for all visitors, with those hoping to see the space at its liveliest advised to get there before 8 a.m.
The famous early morning tuna auctions will still be happening over at the new location, beginning at 4:30 a.m. daily.
Whereas at Tsukiji you had to get a reservation ticket, all you have to do now is show up and try to get a good spot on the special viewing platform.
All dining options are located in the structure as well now, with around 40 food stalls — most carried over from Tsukiji — set to operate.
Beyond that, visitors can also head up to the grass-carpeted roof to take in nice views of the city. Organizers also plan to move the famous Tsukiji shrine to the venue as well.
Remember — this is still a fish market thus low temperatures are the norm. Bring something warm to wear.
As for future plans, plans are reportedly underway to open a hotel and hot spring catered towards tourists at the market in the next few years.

But what about Tsukiji?

Tsukiji's outer market will continue to serve up incredible plates of sushi.

Tsukiji’s outer market will continue to serve up incredible plates of sushi.
Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
All tourist-related activities at Tsukiji came to a close in late September, and the inner market shut down for good on October 6. But that doesn’t mean the area around the market is suddenly deserted.
The outer market — the one featuring all the food stalls and restaurants — will still be in operation.
Just go to Tsukiji Shijo station on the Oedo line or Tsukiji station on the Hibiya line to get there and enjoy a taste of what is now a part of Tokyo history.
You can also still join one of the many organized tours running in and around the outer market, to learn about the history of Tsukiji and see how it shaped this part of the city.
While the future has arrived with the Toyosu fish market — a venue that does away with the chaos of Tsukiji in favor of a visitor-friendly vibe — it’s still possible to enjoy a taste of the past, at least for a little while longer.

Just Listening to the Snowflake Generation Gives Me Anxiety

U.K. student union bans applause in favour of ‘jazz hands’ because clapping could ‘trigger anxiety’

U.K. student union bans applause in favour of ‘jazz hands’ because clapping could ‘trigger anxiety’
Sara Khan, Manchester University’s liberation and access officer, argued that traditional applause was not sufficiently ‘accessible.’ Whooping is also discouraged

With jazz hands, no one gets hurt.Getty Images
The Telegraph
C
LONDON — Clapping has been replaced with “jazz hands” at a British student union amid fears that the noise of applause could trigger anxiety among some students.

Whooping is also discouraged at Manchester University student union events on the basis that the loud noise may be a problem for those with sensory issues.

The use of “jazz hands” — where students wave their hands in the air — is the British Sign Language expression for applause and is deemed a more inclusive gesture.

At the union’s first meeting of the year, Sara Khan, who is Manchester University’s liberation and access officer, argued that traditional applause was not sufficiently “accessible.” The union resolved to ban clapping in favour of “jazz hands,” and urged “student groups and societies to do the same.”

The students’ union also plans to make “BSL clapping” part of inclusion training for new students.

The union noted that “loud noises, including whooping and traditional applause, could pose an issue for students with disabilities, such as those with anxiety or sensory issues.” Jazz hands should be favoured at debates, panels and talks as well as at meetings of the student senate, it said.

Students who whoop, cheer and clap should face ‘consequences’

“Jazz hands” were adopted by the National Union of Students (NUS) in 2015 on the basis that clapping “triggers anxiety.” Delegates at last year’s NUS conference said that students who whoop, cheer and clap should face “consequences.”

Audience members were repeatedly warned that they must cease whooping to express support for a speaker because it had a “serious impact” on the accessibility of the conference for disabled students.

Critics of the move say that such behaviour is typical of an over-sensitive “snowflake generation” of students who are quick to take offence. Last year it emerged that Oxford University’s equality and diversity unit had issued guidance to students advising them that those who avoided making eye contact with their peers could be guilty of racism.

The University of Glasgow started issuing “trigger warnings” for theology students studying the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, whereby students would be told in advance that they may see distressing images and would be given the opportunity to leave the room.

Let’s silently hear it for jazz hands! Getty Images
Earlier this year, If, Rudyard Kipling’s poem of paternal advice, was scrubbed off a Manchester University building by university students who claimed he was a racist on the basis that the poem was a tribute to Leander Starr Jameson, the British colonial statesman who led the Jameson Raid against the South African Republic in 1895-6.

Student leaders at the university declared that Kipling stood “for the opposite of liberation, empowerment, and human rights.”

The poem, which had been painted on the wall of the students’ union building by an artist, was removed by students in a bid to reclaim history on behalf of those who had been oppressed by “the likes of Kipling.”

A union spokesman said the hand gesture referred to as “jazz hands” was “designed to support those with disabilities and/or sensory conditions to participate in events.”

They added: “Students’ unions strive to make their events welcoming to all of their students by acknowledging their experiences and responding to their needs.”

A spokesman for Manchester University said: “We consider this a matter for the Students’ Union.”