It's been an interesting week...I picked up a virus on the flight back to the UK from Spain and by Saturday I was bedridden. On Tuesday eve I was due to give a talk at my own book launch in London - surely I'd get better in time? Instead with every passing day I felt yet more exhausted. Finally on Tuesday morning I strapped my dead body onto a horse and proceeded El Cid-like towards London. Just so long as they didn't realize I had already died until the battle was over!
Yukio Mishima was pursuing me everywhere. With a few hours to spare and feeling slightly revived after getting off the train, I thought I might look round the Ming exhibition at the British Museum. Exhibitions are not the best if you are feeling weak so I soon plumped for sitting on a bench and listening to the dulcet tones of Michael Wood guide me while I looked at the audioguide's digital images. The exhibition is partly divided into 'bu' (military) and 'bun' (cultural) pieces exemplifying the age-old maxim that enlightened rulers had to be both warriors and cultured men, a theme picked up by Mishima in his pursuit of 'bunbu ryodo' (the path of both the pen and sword): that he would be both writer and warrior.
It was great to see old uni muckers like UBS master-of-the-universe David Soanes (who looks exactly the same as he did 25 years ago) and to meet Wiesia Cook Bownas, the widow of Geoffrey Bownas, a Japanese literature scholar who had collaborated with Mishima. Many thanks to one and all for coming and to the superb staff at the Daiwa Foundation for hosting the event. Afterwards I enjoyed a wonderfully entertaining dinner with Jason James, the effortlessly charming director of the Foundation. Having been unnerved to see my hand weirdly shaking as I attempted to sign copies of the book, I found I considerably revived after a couple of glasses of wine and enjoyed startling my dinner companion with the news that I hadn't actually eaten anything since yesterday lunchtime.
Good luck to them. As for me, I'm just hoping to make a full recovery soon...