In the new books section at the library, a little book called Päntsdrunk (Kalsariänni) by Miska Rantanen beckoned. The illustrated book reminded me of The Little Book of Hyggeso I took it home. Päntsdrunk is a Finnish word to describe the sloth and aimlessness of activities like hanging around the house after work drinking alcohol in your underwear. As that’s not exactly my thing even when I’m stressed, I didn’t love the book. However, it’s written with dry wit and is a quick read so I didn’t hate it either. It’s a gentle poke at Denmark’s hygge culture. It won’t make you laugh out loud and didn’t make me want to book a trip to Helsinki, but it’s cute.
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman is a charming and quick read with zany illustrations by Skottie Young. When the narrator’s mother is away, the kids are left with a dad who forgot to get milk for the breakfast cereal. To please his kids, dear ol’ dad trots down to the corner store to get some and the children feel like he’s taken forever to return.
When he gets home, the father returns with a long, zany tale of time travel to explain the delay. It’s an entertaining read probably best enjoyed by kids in the lower grades.
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.
If you want some light entertainment, Anchor’s Away with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra is a good choice. Anchors Away is the story of two navy officers who’ve earned a weekend pass for their bravery. Kelly, suave and urbane, boasts of his girl Lola, while Sinatra’s more inexperienced and wants some coaching from Kelly, whose plans for meeting up with Lola are soon sidelined when the two officers are roped in by the local police who need help getting a little boy back home. Since the boy who’s around 6 is in awe of the navy, these two sailors who pass by are just the role models to help.
Once they take the boy home, they find his guardian, a young aunt is out. They stick around to reprimand her. Of course, she turns out to be a beautiful young woman who aspires to be a famous singers. Before you know it, Kelly has assured her that his friend’s pal, a famous conductor will give her an audition. Of course, this is a lie. As usual in the genre misunderstandings and outrageous attempts to prevent the truth from coming out ensue. All along the way are catchy tunes and fantastic dancing including a number where Kelly dances with Jerry from Tom & Jerry fame.
While the film was from a gone by era and had no lasting message, the music and dancing stayed with me, unlike that of La La Land. A musical needs to win me over with its music. It’s fundamental.