Sunday, Aug 12, 2007, 10:59:19

Michael Hoffman in Heian Japan-confused as a nun on a honeymoon.

Genji and Murasaki on romantic tabi with private tsuyaku M. Hoffman.

Back from his visit to Heiankyo Mr Hoffman was asked by Genji and Murasaki to take them on a World-tour in his wonderful time-machine. Mr Hoffman gladly agreed to be both guide and tsuyaku for getting the global exclusive right to publish the story.

Starting in Canada in his home town, inviting them to his parents home for a "good old home cooked meal" consisting of pork-chops with boiled potatoes and apple pie dessert , Genji asked for some sake but was told that "we do not drink in a christian home" and Murasaki was trying not to show that she could not eat such greasy food without a lot of fresh and pickled vegetables so she ate the apple pie with the pork leaving the potato and brown souse. At the coffee-table (Murasaki liked the coffee since it stopped her diarrhea and the flavour made the shoe odour in the room tolerable ) the conversation cooled of when Murasaki asked if Jesus was married, how many children he had, and Genji told Hoffman senior that he never travelled with his wife. Fortunately just before the japanese guests wanted to take their usual evening furo, Hoffman junior entered "wealthiest renaissance monarch" in his time machine. 300px-Rosenborg_cph.jpg

Arriving at Rosenborg, they found Christian 4th, drinking wine, with his favourite mistress Karen. Just back from the beginning of the 30 years war, licking his wounds,he raised his glass 17th time, Genji was impressed by the royal elevator-chair, automatically lowering Christian 4. to his bed when he became too drunk to get on his feet. Genji liked the wine and pickled herring, but Murasaki refused to eat the "gammel ost" and the liver-stake ( Christian liked them rare and bloody). Left hand queen Christina (Kirsten) saved the situation by offering tea with brown cookies and fresh strawberries. Murasaki was also impressed by the little louse-trap the Queen was wearing around her neck, and her earrings made out of Swedish steel-shrapnel removed from Christian's left eye and Christian planning to send settlers and traders to Canada. Genji told Hoffman that it was "zannen" that some Norwegian governor screwed up, otherwise they would be speaking danish in Canada and the Inuit and Indian wouldn't loose their languages. ChrIV.JPG.jpg

Taking a stroll in the rose garden away from the naphthalin filled air at Rosenborg Murasaki and Genji chatted about remarkable Christian 4. and his 26 children with various women but concluded that they would not like to live in Rosenborg since there was only one small bathroom (exclusively for the king). Wondering when and where other people took a bath Hoffman entered Chateau de Versailles in his time-machine, arriving at an impressive party in honor of visiting King Friedrich I. (Friedrich the Great's father) of Proussia.  

Friedrich was sitting on a chair, waiting for his royal adjudant returning from Berlin. He was a big roomy man, got exited during the Quadrille - Lancier and his trousers had cracked. It was the only pair he had with him so the host Louis XIV had suggested him to by a pair of new trousers in Paris but Friedrich refused ordering his adjudant on horseback and get a pair from Berlin. The french branded him King scrooge, but he didn't care, and told Murasaki: "I am saving money for the coming wars."

Genji was having a drink with Le Roi Soleil (having his own multilingual interpreter) and he told Genji it was convinient since only 40% of his subjects spoke french but the princes of Europe began to imitate France and Louis XIV in everything from taste in art, food and fashion ; many even took official mistresses as it was done at Versailles; Louis used to have many lovers too but that he now only made love to Madame de Maintenon, but at 72 only twice a day. 350px-Geromeconde.jpg

Outside Europe, French colonies abroad were multiplying in the Americas, Asia and Africa, while diplomatic relations had been initiated with countries as far as Siam, India , Persia and the Manchu Court in China so that french would become the world language. Genji was deeply impressed and thought. "Sugoii, anno onna dattara watakushi ichinen ikkai mo yaru jishin nai." It was especially Madame de Maintenon's breath that turned Genji off and when Louis XIV asked him which of the noble-women at the party he liked, Genji frankly admitted: " Minna chotto obasan-ni mieru, watakushi motto wakai, pichi-pichi no ho ga suki."

The royal interpreter explained Genji that it was becouse of the "elegant disease" called the "French disease" in Italy and Germany, the "Italian disease" in France, the "Spanish disease" in Holland. The Russians called it the "Polish disease", the Turks called it the "Christian disease" and the Tahitians called it the "British disease" so if Genji or Murasaki should happen to bring it to Japan they should call it the "French disease". Murasaki immediately wanted to take a bath but was informed that guests at Chateau de Versailles including Louis XIV, never bathed. Instead, he dabbed his face with cotton soaked in scented alcohol and dipped his fingers in a bowl. He was also covered in scented powder several times a day. Washing in water was dangerous to your health. Because the nobles spent so much time with Louis XIV, the standard for elegant fashion in the absolute monarchy was copied all over Europe.

A group of Italian, German and French noblemen started discussing the subject of origin and got exited about whether ice-cream had originated from Italy or France and sauerkraut from Holland or Germany. Fortunately the quarrel was stopped by the Calvinist Superintendent of Transylvania who said that both ice cream and sauerkraut had come from China.

Murasaki had just returned from the "kesho shitsu" behind the gobelains white as a wall, and whispered to Genji. "Shinjirare-nai! Minna yukano ue, heiki de toilett-wo katazuketteru, gobelain no ura ikanaihoga yoi, sugoku niyou. Kono Buersai Kyuden de kawaya mo furo mo nai desu. Hayaku demashou. "

Genji asked Hoffman to enter China in the time machine quickly, since he and Murasaki had read and heard a lot about the life there, so entering "Forbidden City" they arrived 2. February 1421 at the very official inauguration of Beijing as emperor Zhu Di's new capital of China.

The forbidden city was magnificent. At the banquet were 26000 guests , a 10 course gourmet dinner on the finest porcelain, with the finest wines....

Chives, romaine lettuce, chicken, and duck, celery and goose,
Bamboo shoots, and carp, apricot, green plum, cucumber, and pheasant,
Eggplant, barley, wheat flour, and chicken,
Lotus roots, young taro plant, wild rice stem, tender ginger, rice, millet, broomcorn, and mandarin fish,
Orange, chestnut, small red beans, granulated sugar, and bream,
Mandarin orange, tangerine, chinese yam, rabbit and honey, sugar cane, buckwheat flour, red bean, deer,
Spinach, leaf mustard, golden carp, and whitefish,roast mutton, fried sheep tripe, steamed mutton, cold sliced sheep tail,
Pickled pig’s head and trotters, steamed pork with onions, pickled vegetables and garlic, Stewed pork with wine, onion, honey, and bamboo shoots, fried sliced pork with soy sauce, onion, gourd, bamboo shoots, and chives,
Deep – fried sparrows, egg rolls, deep – fried whitebait, thinly sliced abalone steamed herring, sea cucumber, fried chicken legs with mushrooms.

The wine list was impressive with Ganhuo Wine, Green Bamboo Leaves Wine, Yang Gao Wine, Fenjiu Wine, Fenzhou White Wine, Ganniang Wine
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To be continued.

by Gabor Fabricius

 

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