Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Chimp

(delayed post, from July 21st 2010)

It is very hot and humid in Shizuoka at the moment; the season of eternal perspiration where I guzzle what seems like over 3 litres of fluids each day. (Nothing makes fruit juice and milk taste better than a run in the summer.)

Have just read an excellent book called "Catching Fire" by Richard Wrangham on his theory that cooking was the prime evolutionary catalyst for many adaptations that make us human; from physically smaller guts and jaws to pair-bonding (marriage) arrangements, the sexual division of labour and cooperation. I'm totally sold on his argument, and only wish he'd come up with it when I was studying anthropology because it is such a simple but wonderful idea that fits so much better than the "compulsive communicator" or "aquatic ape" hypotheses I had to learn. It's very easy to read with lots of fascinating anecdotes, you should pick it up!

On Sunday and Monday we went for a BBQ/camp-in-a-hut trip near lake Yamanaka (one of Fuji's five lakes) with some other couples (Nami's Uni friends). We had a good time cooking and drinking. The weekend provided me with some handy anthropological field study as I could observe human behaviour around the campfire. I bought a small Primus gas stove with which I intend to make "Himalayan Sherpa Tea" (no kidding, that's the brand name) at the top of Mt. Fuji in a couple of weeks, and tested it out when camping, but ended up boiling water for coffee for ten people. It works a treat though.

On the second day of the camp, before we (I) drove home, Nami had organised for everyone to do some crafts, most did pottery. With the anthropology book in hand, I set out to make a chimp/proto-human mug...

Now I think about it, kind of looks like the early humans from "2001"... hmm! I could choose between a white glaze or none. I went with none and hope to scratch and shape him a bit more when he arrives fired. Suggestions for a name welcome!