Oriental Expression

Just about to leave Edinburgh after my panel at the Festival yesterday about cultural transmission and the Far East. I spoke about the Han dynasty pop songs I’d translated for the Little Book of Chinese Proverbs, and the Inconveniently Anti-Christian Poem that I wasn’t allowed to include in Zen Haiku. My fellow panellists were an Indian novelist and a Korean choreographer, so there was enough Orient in play to cover everything from the rise and fall of manga in the UK to the merits of a Korean TV channel. I was rather surprised at the size of the audience on a Tuesday afternoon, but then again, the smart people of Edinburgh have taken the whole week off so that they can catch a Beijing Opera version of Hamlet, a dramatisation of Haruki Murakami’s Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and a ballet of the Peony Pavilion. And last night, I was off to see the above-pictured King Lear in Chinese.