Monday, September 29, 2008
Have been studying these musics with children lately, please enjoy:
Mozart Piano Concerto K.488 Adagio
- particularly suiting my emotion at this moment - one of the most beautiful, emotional and peaceful pieces of all time. Son just learned the Allegro (Movement 1), can't wait to hear him play this Movement 2.
Beethoven Spring Sonata
- All time favorite violin sonata, Beethoven rocks! I still love you even though I favor Mozart's beauty and simplicity a bit more as I am getting a little older.
Mozart Violin Sonata K.302
- Written by the young Mozart at age 23, this piece is youthful and energetic.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Found a wonderful website to share for the parents:
Although it is mainly a homeschooling website, I fount it very helpful for me to find supplement materials for my kids, especially on Singapore Math, history, reading and Language Arts (Wordly Wise Series).
So long, take care ... with much love!
p.s. Just read Flowerbossa's Imagina blog entry :
Love these words :
…. Many members of the family are not only mesmerized by his acting, but by BYJ himself. Perhaps they see something in him that cannot be found in the men around them, and consider him an ideal man of sorts. From that perspective, we come to respect him highly for his extraordinary thoughtfulness and graciousness. We cannot hide our disbelief in the fact that such a man exists in this cold world.
Bae Yong Joon, a special actor “who possesses his own words, and speaks in his own words”. We will still not be able to take our eyes off him in the years to come.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
My name is Doug Copp. I am the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of
the American Rescue Team International (ARTI), the world's most
experienced rescue team. The information in this article will save
lives in an earthquake.
I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue
teams from 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries,
and I am a member of many rescue teams from many countries. I was the
United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation (UNX051 -UNIENET) for two
years. I have worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985,
except for simultaneous disasters.
In 1996 we made a film which proved my survival methodology to be
correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul, University
of Istanbul, Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this
practical, scientific test.
We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten
mannequins did 'duck and cover,' and ten mannequins I used in my
'triangle of life' survival method.
After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble
and entered the building to film and document the results.
The film, in which I practiced my survival techniques under directly
observable, scientific conditions, relevant to building collapse,
showed there would have been zero percent survival for those doing
duck and cover. There would likely have been 100 % survivability for
people using my method of the 'triangle of life.' This film has been
seen by millions of viewers on television in Turkey and the rest of
Europe, and it was seen in the USA, Canada and Latin America on the TV
program Real TV.
The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico
City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under their desk.
Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones. They could
have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was
obscene, unnecessary and I wondered why the children were not in the
aisles. I didn't at the time know that the children were told to hide
Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings
falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects,
leaving a space or void next to them. This space is what I call the
'triangle of life'. The larger the object, the stronger, the less it
will compact. The less the object compacts, the larger the void, the
greater the probability that the person who is using this void for
safety will not be injured.
The next time you watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the
'triangles' you see formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common
shape, you will see, in a collapsed building. They are everywhere. I
trained the Fire Department of Trujillo (population 750,000) in how to
survive, take care of their families, and to rescue others in
The chief of rescue in the Trujillo Fire Department is a professor at
Trujillo University. He accompanied me everywhere. He gave personal
testimony: 'My name is Roberto Rosales. I am Chief of Rescue in
Trujillo. When I was 11 years old, I was trapped inside of a collapsed
building. My entrapment occurred during the earthquake of 1972 that
killed 70,000 people. I survived in the 'triangle of life' that
existed next to my brother's motorcycle. My friends who got under the
bed and under desks were crushed to death [he gives more details,
names, addresses etc.]...I am the living example of the 'triangle of
life'. My dead friends are the example of 'duck and cover'.
Tips from Doug Copp:
1) Everyone who simply 'ducks and covers' WHEN BUILDINGS COLLAPSE is
crushed to death -- Every time, without exception. People who get
under objects, like desks or cars, are always crush.
2) Cats, dogs and babies all naturally often curl up in the fetal
position. You should too in an earthquake. It is a natural
safety/survival instinct. You can survive in a smaller void. Get next
to an object, next to a sofa, next to a large bulky object that will
compress slightly but leave a void next to it.
3) 3) Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in
during an earthquake. The reason is simple: the wood is flexible and
moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does
collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building
has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break
into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less
squashed bodies than concrete slabs.
4) If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply
roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed.
5) If an earthquake happens while you are watching television and you
cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down
and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.
6) Everybody who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is
killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the door jam falls
forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the
door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In
either case, you will be killed!
7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different 'moment of
frequency' (they swing separately from the main part of the building).
The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each
other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people
who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads
- horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn't collapse, stay away
from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be
damaged. Even if the stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they
may collapse later when overloaded by fleeing people. They should
always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is
8) Get Near the Outer Walls Of Buildings Or Outside Of Them If
Possible. It is much better to be near the outside of the building
rather than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside
perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape
route will be blocked.
9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above
falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly
what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway.
The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their
vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by
getting out and sitting or lying next to their vehicles, says the
author. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to
get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All the crushed
cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had
columns fall directly across them.
10) I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices
and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact.
Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Opensea posted this on the Talk Box of BYJ's official home.
'Yon-sama' BYJ in Washington (DC)[US Joongang Daily]5/12/08
'Yon-sama' BYJ in Washington (DC)
Talent BYJ, taking rest in US after finishing drama 'TWSSG', visited Washington on 11 and serve a mass for Grand Celebration Day for Descent of Holy Spirit at DC Joomingonghyeon Catholic Church with family of his acquaintance.
BYJ left for New York on that day, after taking commemorative phototaking with believers.
May 11, 2008, a special day - it is both Pentecost and Mother's Day.
May 11, 2008, a special day - BYJ attended Mass. So did I.(So happy!!!)... I've always been hoping HRH will take the Eucharist once in a while, as often as possible. It is such a treat to read that he did, especially on this special day. I am sure he did that not only for the Pentecost, but also for his mother, on this beautiful Mother's Day, so far away from home. Again, on this Mother's Day, I would attribute this special song, one of my favorite Marian song to YJ's mother:
morning star, so strong and bright,
gentle Mother, peaceful dove,
teach us wisdom; teach us love.
You were chosen by the Father;
you were chosen for the Son.
You were chosen from all women
and for woman, shining one.
Gentle woman, quiet light,
morning star, so strong and bright,
gentle Mother, peaceful dove,
teach us wisdom; teach us love.
Blessed are you among women,
blest in turn all women, too.
Blessed they with peaceful spirits.
Blessed they with gentle hearts.
Again, dear YJ, I wish you find a gentle woman to love you, support you, accompany you throughout your life, as loving, strong, peaceful and wise as your mother.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Some sisters are having April snow this year in Canada, even in Vancouver as Coco reported. Isn't is rare to see snow in Vancouver? Isn't it super rare to see snow in April in Vancouver? Isn't it because our HRH is stepping on the North American ground? Well while he is walking on the American ground at the east coast, the west coast is echoing with pure white snows. Generally speaking, on the east coast, we are having sunshines, blooming flowers, chirping birds, a beautiful spring to welcome our prince. A poetic April for he is here!
The joys of having children is that one will never stop having fun of learning new things. One of the things I learned recently is that April is American's National Poetry Month. Excuse my ignorance, I just got to know there is a "National Poetry Month" through my 6-grade boy. Looking back a month, now I started to see why he got a language art writing project starting in March creating, designing, assembling a booklet of 8 self-composed poems.
One March day at one of our afternoon piano lessons, while it was the time for the older boy to having lessons, the younger one would do his homework, and that day he was staring at the picturesque scene through the sizable window of our teacher's house situated in a peaceful woods, and murmuring out the words like "nature's flawless beauties...". I was thinking, wow! what poem is he making? This sure sounds like describing our prince ...
Weeks later, when in the early April, his poem booklet was back, with teacher's comment "I love it" and a full mark on the poem of which I heard ... "Nature's flawless beauties..." I was curious to see what he wrote. There I found the page that holds that little poem, with his hand-drawn illustrations.
Naturally I asked him, why was the poem written in a staggered way. Then one more thing I found that I learned was - this poem's style is called "stair peom", in which you are required to write the poems in stair forms, one line beneath the other, each line shifted left to make up a four level stairs. The first line is a summary of the object. The second line is where and/or when about the object, the third line has to consist 3 adjectives describing the object, and the last line will be the name of the object. My son, growing up and fascinated with woods, wrote these little verses:
(I have a hard time to format it correctly as it should be in the stair poem format. This is the best I can do with this blogger. Just imagine that it is in the format as illustrated in the above picture.)
Majestic, Lofty, Ancient
It's a simple poem, but somehow it sticks to my mind. The more I think about it, the more I am feeling it was written to my prince HRH. The more I savor on it, the more I think about HRH and tend to do a little mod to suit my feelings:
Nature's Flawless Beauty
In image, in voice, in spirit
Majestic, Lofty, Timeless
Thinking one step further, I tend to connect the trees in son's poem with our HRH in the mod version. In my mind, BYJ is just like a unique tree we found in the woods, a tree that we decided to give extra care for, a tree that we watch intently, to anticipate it growing healthily, happily, prosperously. Our love is like the soil, that the tree draws strength, courage, inspiration from.
Thinking one step backwards, I recall an old post I did for the book I read "The Little Prince". In there you'd read the Little Prince has a special rose to take care of. Here I realize that I have a special tree - BYJ.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Sapphire pointed to us another article from Beijing Morning Post dated 2008-03-31. It's about BYJ's Have We Really Loved, my favorite drama. Here is the original post.
《我们真的爱过吗？》中的姜在豪，出身贫寒但很自尊，白天读书，晚上去蟹行辛苦工作（像咱们的海鲜摊贩），只是想把自己和妹妹弄得体面点儿。但这样的生活 让他觉得很累，所以他想追求到一个富人家的千金，好让以后的日子不这么辛苦。他的想法卑微得令人心酸——车是二手车，名牌表是水货。但裴勇俊赋予了这个角 色高贵的气质，即使在被富家女友识破了贫穷的真相时也让人不觉得他可怜委琐，反而感慨人生对他真是不公啊!
当在豪被朋友害得失去了辛苦多年攒下的生计，最疼的妹妹也不理解他，满腹伤心无处诉说时,他只能去找自己默默爱恋的女教师信英。在校园里的一处台阶上，他 低声对信英说：“给我一杯茶吧。”那一刻,姜在豪,或者说裴勇俊,像一个受尽委屈的小男孩终于来到了妈妈面前，脆弱、无辜又透着隐忍着的自尊和不自觉的爱 情。戏中的苦难和裴勇俊的表演皆如静水深流，看似波澜不惊，却有让人窒息的疼痛，无声而惊心。
喜欢看裴勇俊演《冬季恋歌》的李民亨、 《情定大饭店》的申东贤，但那都是混出头的人了，他们的苦难和失意都是戏。你知道是一场戏。坐在台下看人演上吊，哭肿了双眼，心里依然可以有迷离婉转的音 乐。可是在豪无论怎么痛苦挣扎，却总像在那一束舞台追光照不到的地方。你看见他身上覆盖着真实的暗影，最终以死亡留下一摊难以收拾的破碎，想起的全是自己 真正有过的困窘和伤心。
1999 年，裴勇俊以辞演KBS的《纸鸢》为代价，执意出演这部戏，渴望在演技上有真正的突破，为此他遭到了KBS长达三年的封杀。适逢韩国经济萧条，这部沉郁的 悲剧，如今在裴勇俊的影迷中仍被公认为极具艺术价值和思想深度的代表作，在当时却收视低迷。此后裴勇俊在韩国演艺圈消失两年……
Sunday, March 23, 2008
童话 (一) - 纯洁
还记得小的时候在妈妈怀中听妈妈唱着摇篮曲或是讲着童话故事,你慢慢地进入梦乡?我们幼小的脑海中洋溢着公主,仙女教母,美丽的女孩和奇妙的魔术.有趣的 是,无论我们在世界的哪个角落, 不知怎么我们都会听到象Cinderella, 白雪公主,睡美人这类同样的故事. 童话故事真的已经成为我们成长过程 中珍贵的一部分,不是吗?
随着时间的流逝, 我们的心灵渐渐地被现实生活的琐事和艰辛所缠绕.我们再没有时间给美梦和幻想,因为我们会忙于满足我们的物质需求和社会义务. 很多姐 妹们都感到在发现了裴勇俊之后,我们迷失已久的纯真与梦想又再次苏醒.这里我想尝试从童话幻想的角度来探索裴勇俊现象.
始自神话学,童话(仙境)象征一种使人着魔或是进入心荡神怡的状态,一种使人进入梦幻的力量,一种能给人带来祝福的人所具有的能力.在布里塔尼半岛(现法 国西北部), 冰岛,和斯坎地那维亚这些大部分自然美景还没有被损坏的地区,人们依然保持着相信童话传说的热情.童话的存在浸透着对第四维空间的向往,使 人从物质定律所限定的时间和空间中解放出来. 结合于万物有灵论, 一种人为花草,树木,湖泊,山脉和水晶都赋有灵魂的信仰, 童话景观在这些自然能量高度聚集的地区显现这样的话语在悄然蔓延.
童 话以她迷人的美丽,快乐,感召,幽默和调皮而著称.她将现实萦绕上一层虚幻,重建一个人类和童话共存的王国. 如果我们留心放慢脚步,启用我们所有的感 官,要么欣赏花瓣上滴下的露珠,要么呼吸熏衣草园飘来的阵阵花香,或是聆听花园中落日彩霞的细语.我们又会对童话的美妙和神秘所痴迷 --- 就象一线涟漪,一屡轻风,或是一片未经侵扰的静谧.童话唤起我们天赋的智慧和纯洁,令我们的灵魂同自然产生共鸣.
1. A Complete Guide to Faeries & Magical Beings, Cassandra Eason, Judy Piatkus (Publishers) Ltd., 2001
2. Faeries, Brian Froud and Alan Lee, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Publishers, New York, 1978
3. The Book of Faeries, Francis Melville, Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 2002
4. The Little People - Stories of Fairies, Pixies, and other Small Folk, Neil Philip, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2002
5. The World of Fairies, Gossamer Penwyche, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc, New York, 2001
2. 有些图片借用了Korachan 和 Amadienne 的艺术创作.请允许我在这里感谢你们.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Two years after his first offering to his fan-family the first series of his favorite classical music collections - BYJ Classics Hero 34 (released when he was 34 years old), now we are in the spring of 2008. What do we get this year? Not "BYJ Classics **** 36", but the "BYJ Classics The Scenes". A bit Surprised first, but think twice, it makes so much sense. Being a professional in drama making field, AND a music lover, is it fair to think that combining the classical drama scenes and music masterpieces into a series of music albums offers a perfect vehicle to communicate part of his inner world to us.
As we recall from the Dong-gam (Sympathy) Vol. II album, BYJ represents "Love", see Dong-gam(Symapathy) vol. 2 Making film:
It seems so natural that in this music series, one of the four themes shall be about love - Love Story. So let's start from this album first.
Thanks to flowerbossa, I got the movie/music list of the CD from her recent posting for Love Story. Let's see what movies and musics HRH likes and perhaps recommends to us.
1. Dvorak's Symphony No.9 "From the New World" (from the film “Clear and Present Danger”)
I don't seem to fine the theme "love" in this movie summary. Guess I need to watch the movie to find the "Love Story".
Movie : Clear and Present Danger (1994)
Smart, tight, utterly convincing and believable and well executed, this is that rare brainy "action" film that does get you involved and hanging on the edge of your seat.
Music: Dvorak's Symphony No.9 "From the New World"
Youtube: Dvorak - Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" - 4th movement
Marvelous!!! One of my favorite symphonies!
2. Puccini's 'Turandot, Nessun Dorma' (from “The Killing Fields”)
There! At least I see the word "love" in Dith Pran's journal when he was imprisoned.
Movie: The Killing Fields (1984)
A great movie, of an awful moment in human history. If we have any chance of overcoming man's sorry past, it will be because movies like this one get made once in a while.
Quotes:Dith Pran: [in his journal while imprisoned] The wind whispers of fear and hate. The war has killed love. And those that confess to the Angka are punished, and no one dare ask where they go. Here, only the silent survive.
Music: Puccini's Turandot, Nessun Dorma
Youtube: Pavarotti - Nessun Dorma - Turandot, Puccini
Breathtaking!!! Of course, one of my favorite opera songs!
3. Beethoven's 'Piano concerto No.5, Emperor'. (from “Immortal Beloved”)
Movie: Immortal Beloved (1994)
"The music is wonderful here and tries to explain the emotions behind the man."
Music: Beethoven Cencerto No. 5, Emperor
Youtube : Beethoven: Concerto 5 movt. 3 (by Claudio Arrau, never before published)
Claudio Arrau is one of the best Beethoven performers.
Mitsuko Uchida is also one of my favorite pianist, want to compare her performance on this movement?
Now since you are looking at Mitsuko Uchida and piano concertos, please please please watch this clip, one of my favorite favorite favorite piano concertos, my son is haunted by this piece too! It's Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20. Just recently I found out that this is widely rated as the No. 1 of 100 greated piano concertos in history. No wonder!
1st movement part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3ymJGV5_lI
1st movement part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpYlUI5HTpM&feature=related
2nd movement http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyMNDHaMb2w&feature=related
3rd movement http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDQ-S7lD6E4&feature=related
Uchida is usually rated as one of the best Mozart piano performers. The reviews said she plays Mozart the best, but lesser on Beethoven pieces. To me she is good enough.
4. J.S. Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in D Major (from “Love Story”)
Movie: Love Story (1970)
"The music was also terrific in this movie. I think it's, beside the acting, one of the most important points to make this movie timeless."
Music: J.S. Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in D Major
Bach - Concerto No. 3 in D Major for harpsichord (BWV 1054)
5. Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No.2 (from “Brief Encounter”)
Movie: Brief Encounter (1945)
"Brief Encounter" is the perfect encapsulation of a very specific time in both women's and British history.
How about just leave it like that and you can figure out the rest of the "Love Story". Watch this line, I love it!
"See this film to witness how it was once possible to make films about love without bedroom scenes. "
Music: Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No.2
Youtube: Rachmaninov piano concerto No.2 by Weissenberg & Karajan
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZRbko3UsnQ&feature=related
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx_XfNWkf_s&NR=1
Such a touching piece! Rachmaninov is so talented isn't he? Karajan was the conductor. Pianist Alexis Weissenberg did a great job!
6. Barber's "Adagio for Strings" (from “Amelie”)
Movie: Amelie (2001)
From the reviews, it looks like a must-see. Wow HRH, thank you for bring this to my attention. I am so ignorant!
"In my opinion, it is an outstanding film in film history for its cinematography, the music, the story, but above all the overall atmosphere ... The atmosphere is also supported by the magnificent music by Yann Tiersen who has composed 19 songs in 15 days for this movie. The principal motive appears in many variations somehow being joyful, yet at the same time sad - slow and sometimes fast and activating. The music supports every moment in the film and becomes the sound of a fabulous world."
Music: Barber's "Adagio for Strings"
Actually never heard this before. Thank you BYJ for introducing a beautiful piece to me!
Youtube :Samuel Barber - Adagio for Strings, op.11. Uncut
A nice pace
A singing version, hauntingly beautiful ...
Wow, no wonder we all love HRH! He has such good taste for arts. These movies and musics are all so very beautiful and meaningful! Thank you HRH for introducing this CD to us. I find it rather educational too! For the lucky sisters in Japan, especially Jaime, enjoy the BYJ Classics Scenes concerts!
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Monday, March 03, 2008
A number of sources confirmed that this comics series is very popular in Asia. Another interesting trend is that lately Asia is coming up on appreciating wine culture following the European tradition. Taking into account that our HRH is a well-known wine lover, I think taking on a role in the drama "Drops of God" is a great project for him, especially it looks like a rather safe one concerning wuri yong joon's health. Talking about HRH's interest in wine, an old bb's post came to mind - "wuri yong joon & wine..." posted on June 11, 2006.
Thanks to die-hard fan Judy, who forwarded us this piece of posting that really gave us a good sense of the popularity and potential of this manga series. When talking about potential, I do mean business potential. Wouldn't this drama fit perfectly to our HRH who has all the charming elements plus the shrewd business mind? The only concern I have is which of the two major roles he is going to pick? I am wildly thinking why don't they modify the script a bit to make the two brothers as twins, so that wuri HRH can take on both roles, that would be a new challenge our prince loves, well he'd better get double pay, but boy we are gonna see him double chances in each episode, fans are going to have a blast.
Here enjoy the article:
By SOPHIE HARDACH
An unusual comic series about fine wines is the toast of the wine-drinking lot.
THE aroma is like a rock concert, with notes of butterflies dancing over a pond and an aftertaste of Jesus Christ and his disciples.
Wine reviews with a twist are a speciality of Kami no Shizuku (The Drops of God), a manga series that has taken Japan by storm, is conquering South Korea and China, and has boosted European wine sales along the way.
Written by a brother-and-sister duo of wine enthusiasts, the manga combines a mystery plot with a playful introduction to European wines. Think The Da Vinci Code set in a Tokyo bar.
“The minute it was translated into Korean, we had calls from three importers,” said Basaline Granger Despagne, whose family has grown wine near France’s Dordogne river for 250 years. Their Chateau Mont Perat 2001 Bordeaux appears early on in the manga.
“When it was translated into Chinese, people called us from Taiwan saying, ‘I bought some Mont Perat and sold 50 cases in two days because of the manga,’” she said in a recent phone interview.
In South Korea, businessmen drop names from the serialised book into chats with reporters and shops display “Drops of God” signs.
Wine industry experts believe part of the manga’s appeal is that it teaches readers enough about wine to understand the drink and impress their friends, but does so in an entertaining way.
The main character of the manga, a young man called Shizuku Kanzaki, discovers the beauty of wine after his father, a famous wine critic, dies and leaves an unusual will: a description of 12 wines he considers to be the best in the world, comparing them to Jesus Christ’s disciples.
The first person to find these “disciples” will inherit the father’s wine collection, a contest that pits Shizuku against his adoptive brother, Issey Tomine, who works as a sommelier.
Their quest to find the “Drops of God” is illustrated by double-page manga graphics visualising the heavenly wines.
A dark, dark forest with a pond and the aforementioned butterflies depicts the taste of one “disciple”.
Shizuku’s first sip of Mont Perat, on the other hand, triggers a vision of blurred faces, guitar-strumming musicians and raving fans.
“I know what you mean – it’s like Queen!” Shizuku’s friend, a barman, exclaims, referring to Freddie Mercury’s rock band. They go on to compare the wine’s acidity to Mercury’s voice, wrapped in the thick sound of guitars and drums.
Yuko Kibayashi, who writes the scenario for the manga with her brother Shin under a pen name, said the idea for the series came to them when they tasted a Burgundy wine that impressed them so much they turned into wine aficionados.
In an e-mailed exchange recently, she said the manga is not sponsored by anyone and they choose the wines based on their own independent research, including trips abroad and tastings.
“We mention wines that we’ve actually drunk and felt were delicious,” Kibayashi wrote.
“The kind of ‘betrayal’ of writing that a wine we didn’t like is delicious would pose the danger of destroying the manga.”
Kibayashi’s view is reflected in the manga, where wines costing 1,000-2,000 yen (RM27-RM55) spark just as much excitement and colourful visions among the characters as pricier liquids.
The thirst for wine
Umberto Cosmo, an Italian wine producer, was thrilled when his family’s much-loved Colli di Conegliano Rosso Contrada di Concenigo appeared in the manga. The Cosmos drink their Colli di Conegliano red with meals at home, and that’s how it was presented in the manga: a good, moderately-priced table wine for everyday enjoyment.
Speaking by telephone from Italy, Cosmo said sales of the wine jumped some 30% after the manga came out.
Drinking wine the way the Cosmos do – in a relaxed setting, with friends or family, accompanied by simple food – is a familiar concept to most Europeans, but not to many Asians.
Wine remains an expensive status symbol in much of Asia, to be savoured in a top restaurant complete with a haughty sommelier as stiff as the starched white tablecloths.
Japan probably has the most developed wine scene in the region. At a recent wine-tasting in Tokyo’s Grand Hyatt hotel, row after row of Japanese wine lovers were expertly slurping, spitting and taking notes as German sommelier Markus Del Monego explained what they were drinking.
“In Europe, wine is a piece of grown culture. Europe has been shaped by wine for centuries,” said Del Monego, a former sommelier world champion who frequently travels to Asia.
“In China, the wine scene is just emerging. It consists of a very small part of society that’s very price-oriented, because it’s in an exploratory phase. That phase has already passed in Japan,” he added.
Early next year, The Drops of God will be published in French, possibly followed by Italian. The original book series is expected to continue for another five years or so, and there is talk of a film.
All this is likely to further stimulate the thirst for wine.
Supply, however, may hit a natural limit: there is only so much high-quality wine any given territory will yield.
And wine producers may not even want to sell that widely – Basaline Granger Despagne said her family had been approached by distributors in mainland China but had so far found no one to whom they felt comfortable selling their wine.
In the meantime, the search for the manga’s remaining “disciples” – only three have been identified so far – will keep manga fans, wine importers and vintners on their toes. – Reuters