Nengajo

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In Japan they don’t send Christmas cards, they send New Year’s cards called nengajo. On January 1st the Japanese postal employees deliver all your cards to your house. They’ve saved each posted card for each address and work this holiday to deliver everyone’s cards.

This year is the Year of the Dog in the Chinese system. Japan celebrates New Years according to the Western calendar so January 1 is their New Year’s Day too.

I thought I’d send you my wishes with this cute nengajo.

Note: In the drawing above the dog’s head is made with an “i” and the body’s made with a “nu” in hiragana, which is one of the Japanese writing systems. Dog in Japanese is inu.

The Kennel Murder

With William Powell of The Thin Man movies, I was looking for a suave, witty detective story. If The Thin Man is an A movie, The Kennel Murder is a C+.

The film opens with detective Philo Vance, played by Powell, at a dog show where his dog loses. At the show there’s a rich man, Archer Coe, with plenty of enemies. His niece resents his control over her, his cook, who’s Chinese, resents his Coe for selling his collection of ancient Chinese porcelain, his secretary resents Coe for forbidding him to marry his niece, his lover’s been cut off after a jealous Coe finds her with an Italian lover, who was supposed to buy the Chinese porcelain collection . . . . No one seems to like Coe.

When Coe is found dead in his bedroom with the door locked, the inept, comical police sergeant assumes it’s a suicide. But Vance doesn’t buy it. When Coe’s hapless brother’s found murdered, murder is suspected, but who did it?

Powell is clever and stands head and shoulders above the police force who all provide comic relief. It’s an entertaining movie but not as witty as The Thin Man films and better 1930s films. With Myrna Loy, Powell had an equal to engage with; here he was the lonely brain. The other characters were stereotypes; and there are some flaws in the murder.

So I’ve seen better films and wouldn’t recommend this strongly, but The Kennel Murder did entertain.

A Worrier’s Guide to Life

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Full of comics simply drawn and clever, A Worrier’s Guide to Life is a fun, quick read. It is a little on the negative side, but so much of American humor is sarcastic or snarky, so I’m used to it, though I’ve become less so. Nonetheless Correll is clearly perceptive and funny. Her simple drawings have charm. It’s a book to get at the library for a quick read.

La Pere Nöel

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Absolutely delightful, La Pere Nöel is a movie I could watch any day of the year. It’s a French film about a little boy around 7 years old whose father has died. He wants La Pere Nöel to take him to see his father.

While he’s struggling to sleep on Christmas Eve a burglar dressed as La Pere Nöel tiptoes into his apartment. The boy follows him out of the apartment and the bogus French Santa can’t shake him. He winds up getting the boy to help him steal gold because that’s what La Pere Nöel needs for fuel to power his sleigh and help the boy see his father.

The film has heart without being fake or saccharine. It should be a classic.