Sunday, January 06, 2008

NHK documentary: Pakistan: Dinner with the President

NHK has a fascinating year-end (年末年始) documentary series on democracy around the world -“民主主義”~世界10人の監督が描く10の疑問~ ("Democracy" - 10 problems drawn by 10 directors around the world).

The episode I caught features Pakistan, particularly timely given recent events. The directors サビハ・スマル Sabiha Sumar (Pakistan) and サチタナンダム・サタナンタン Satchitanandan Sathananthan (Sri Lanka) interview regular people on the streets and question Musharraf about the impact of the country's democratic parties on the lives of the people. Sumar does most of the interviewing. By itself, the word "democracy" appears to be quite polarizing. The various viewpoints of the individuals interviewed are fascinating. This may be the first time that I've ever heard regular Pakistani citizens' thoughts on TV. As always, it is the poor who suffer in the conflict.

I'd like to hear the directors' thoughts on their interviews, but that is something that would probably impede any future work that they do.

I think there are English voiceovers in the various films, but they've been muted for the NHK broadcast, unfortunately. A lot of the political and religious vocabulary is a bit beyond my grasp.

(It was pretty tough to find Sathananthan's English spelling with only the katakana!)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

rice porridge (aka congee) and the shelf life of thousand year-old eggs

I tested out the おかゆ(okayu) function on my rice cooker. Okayu is Japanese rice porridge, quite similar to Chinese rice porridge or congee. It worked quite nicely! Soft rice that still maintains its texture.

However, my thousand year-old eggs expired in December, so I am left with the burning question, do thousand year-old eggs really have a shelf life of a mere 3 months?

Update: Happy New Year! May it be a good one.