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「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


A Bloomsday breakfast

By Mike Dwane


June 16, 1904, is probably the most famous date in English literature and it begins with its most famous breakfast (but more about that breakfast in a moment).

That is the date on which the action in James Joyce's Ulysses takes place. It is celebrated in Dublin every year with the Bloomsday literary festival, named after the novel's principal character, Leopold Bloom.

James Joyce is regarded as Ireland's greatest writer although curiously he is not among our four Nobel literature laureates. But Irish pubs around the world have been named after Joyce and his works — including the Dubliners chain in Tokyo. And maybe this popularity would have pleased Joyce even more than winning the Nobel Prize because his books are so difficult that hardly anyone has the patience to read them. Still, he is considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, with traces of Joyce in the writing of everyone from William Faulkner to Haruki Murakami.

One of the reasons Joyce never won the Nobel Prize may be the fact that Ulysses caused such great scandal for its sexual content. The book was banned in America and copies burned by the U.S. postal service. Eishiro Ito, a professor of English in Iwate University, has pointed out that problems with censorship meant Ulysses had been translated into Japanese three times in the 1930s before many in America or Ireland had a chance to read it in English.

Japan features in Ulysses through the war it was fighting against Russia in 1904. One of the characters remarks: "The Russians, they'd only be an eight o'clock breakfast for the Japanese."

This is a variation on the expression meaning something is not a difficult challenge. When you say "the management are going to eat the workers for breakfast," it means you expect only one outcome to a labour dispute.

But what did Leopold Bloom eat for breakfast on June 16, 1904, and what can visitors to Dublin expect if they visit on Bloomsday?

The novel finds Mr. Bloom dreaming about offalkidneys, livers, hearts and other organs — for breakfast but he returns from the butcher only with the pork kidney, which he likes for its "fine tang of faintly scented urine"! Disgusting, right?

Maybe this is not a problem for those who have had a ryokan breakfast of squid, crab's "brains" and umeboshi but many find the Bloomsday breakfast a little strong.

Hotels will usually serve Bloomsday kidneys with lamb or chicken livers — and of course black pudding, which is not a dessert but a thick sausage made with onions, oatmeal and lots of pig's blood. Bon appetit and happy Bloomsday!



The Japan Times ST: May 29, 2015

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




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