Sunday, March 15, 2009

Aukje de Vries' Diary Day 56

It is Book Week. That is to say, it is not precisely a week but 10 days in which Dutch books are promoted. The week has opened last Wednesday with the annual “Book Ball”, an event of the literary world, in which most well known writers and other literary VIPs participate and which is usually shown on television. During this “week” there are many special presentations, lectures and other activities having to do with Dutch literature. Everyone who buys a Dutch book is given the Book Week Present. This is a small book of about one hundred pages. Each year a different author is invited to write the Book Week Present. Dutch Rail sponsors the Book Week and that means that everyone who can show the Book Week Present is allowed to travel for free on the train this coming Sunday.

I’d planned to buy a book next Tuesday when I will be in the neighbourhood of a nice bookshop, but I am going to Rotterdam today and I might as well profit of the offer of free travel. The book shop at the station is open and although they only have a rather small selection, I found a book that I wanted to buy anyway, so I received my Book Week Present as well and travelled without a ticket to Rotterdam. I also use this opportunity of being in Rotterdam to charge my rail pass so that I can use it on the metro in Rotterdam. I do not need it today, but it is nice to have it anyway, because in the near future all public transport is going to work with a chip card. My rail pass is equipped to serve as such, but I cannot yet charge it in The Hague.

Martje and some of her friends are going to see a film which plays in Japan: Tokyo Sonata. She suggested I join them. Two of her four friends are going to Japan in May and Martje and myself hope to go there in October. I walk to the cinema and notice how the street, where the cinema is situated, has changed since I lived in Rotterdam, more than 50 years ago. It is a change for the better, with a lot of new housing, probably social housing, but good looking.

Martje had told me earlier she might not come, because she does not feel well, but she is there. We have some coffee before the beginning of the film and another friend of friends joins us. It is an interesting film, although I do not quite understand why a certain scary part has been included in the film. Is it to create some extra suspense? I don’t find it fits logically. The rest of the story is rather thin, about an unemployed head of the family and the authority of a parent. It confirms some of the stereotypes of Japanese society. We don’t get to see much of Tokyo in the film.

I decide not to go to dinner with the group. Martje is not going either, but I also want to get home in time because again, on Sunday evening, there are many interesting broadcasts I don’t want to miss. I am getting to be a TV junkie!

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