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Retour chez Papa Maman.jpg


Nagoya to Kyoto is the same distance as London to Bristol. The journey by bullet train takes 30 minutes and there’s a departure every ten minutes.


This retreat has been partly prompted by reading a couple of books about the Life of Tenzin Palmo, the Englishwoman who became a Buddhist nun and spent twelve years as a hermit in a Himalayan cave. Game-changing books that, among many other things, helped me understand that Buddhist meditation techniques do not presuppose any particular belief system.

Tenzin Palmo


End of week ten, and the training phase is over. Altogether we’ve trained 68 volunteers in four different versions of the orthography.

The daily visit to the pool is paying off in more ways than one. Yesterday I dived in and found a 5000 cfa note (£6.50) on the bottom.


…in the course of one afternoon’s shopping, ten people say ‘sorry’ to you.

Still piecing this culture together bit by bit after 21 years. Today I learned that as long as I have no beard it would be considered presumptuous for any of my employees to grow one.

From closed systems of thought
And self-referential sub-cultures
Good Lord deliver us.

Wikipedia kabiye 500

This week the Kabiye Wikipedia topped 500 articles, which means we’re half way through the official list of “the 1000 articles every Wikipedia should have”. Some of the most recent articles posted are: Three Gorges Dam, Venezuela, Walt Disney, Trombone, Basketball, Emerald, Nobel Prize, The Beatles, Milky Way…  Well done to all the contributors!

Facebook feeds you news based on what you “like”. That’s fine when, for me, it concerns Baroque countertenors, rollerblading and the Cornish coastpath. But it ill-serves the democratic process, because the more I liked “Remain” posts, the more I got. And because I was not prepared to like a “Leave” post, Facebook never exposed me to the other viewpoint: I had to go elsewhere for that. Consequently, from my angle, it looked as if a massive majority was in favour of remaining in the run-up to the election. I’d be interested to here how other Facebook friends manage this imbalance.

I’ve just spent three wonderful days catching up with good friends in Paris. Also had a meeting with Valentin at the lab I used to work at to plan my next field trip to Côte d’Ivoire and gave a talk about my Kabiye research. You can read it (in French) here.  Taking the TGV to Lyon this afternoon.