Today's Mailbox includes Topics: Listeners' technical problems. Prague will be the site of Japanese week in the beginning of November. Radio Prague listeners' competition. South Moravian folk song. Listeners mentioned and quoted:David Blatt, Brian Moore, Martin Gallas, Kazuhiko Miyahara, David Eldridge, Azizul Alam Al-Amin, Franz Schwartz Jr.
Welcome to Mailbox, the program in which we answer listeners questions and react to their comments.
And talking of comments, we seem to be getting a lot of praise lately, some of it in quite original terms, like this compliment from David Blatt who e-mails:
"Radio Prague is the best! When we get a new cat in our house I shall give him or her a Czech name. It would be nice to have a furry Vaclav running around the house."
That's nice, just be careful, David, that the cat doesn't get at your radio antenna, which is something that happened to our listener in Lowestoft, England - Brian Moore. Brian changed jobs and wasn't able to listen to his short wave radio for some time
"When I did try to resume, an equipment problem came to light as I could get no decent reception. That was tracked down to the antenna, which proved to be virtually severed in its insulated section to the house, the problem being caused by a relatively recent resident of our house. If she remembers her visit, Olga will guess what sort of resident I mean!"
I certainly do - remember the visit, of course, and I do know what sort of resident Brian means - a cat, Brian has quite a number of them in his house.
That's quite a story. Of all the technical problems connected with short wave listening, I think Brian's really is unique.
We do, of course, receive a number of other, more common technical questions and words of criticism, such as a recent complaint from Martin Gallas from Jacksonville, Il, USA, who has problems listening to us on 21745 kHz.
And we've asked Radio Prague's short wave expert, Olda Cip to answer that complaint. Olda will be with us in the studio a week from today, so, if other listeners have problems with the 21745 frequency, I suggest they join us then.
Now, back to this week's Mailbox. I'd like to thank Kazuhiko Miyahara from Ibaraki, Japan for sending us a publication with some really lovely photos. He writes:
"I went to Kyoto last month. Kyoto is the most famous historic city in Japan. I send you a pamphlet about the golden temple Rokuon-ji, the most famous temple in Japan."
The photos really are beautiful, thank you, and we have been admiring them.
You know, Japanese architecture is so different from Czech architecture, but people here do admire it. And that doesn't go only for buildings. Japanese style gardens are getting more and more popular, an exhibition of bonsai held in Prague just a couple of days ago was crowded with visitors.
And that interest expands to all aspects of Japanese culture. In fact there will be a very big event dedicated to Japanese culture held in Prague in the beginning of November, from the 5th to the 10th - Japanese week.
Japanese week is always held in a different country, and it's Japan's biggest annual cultural presentation abroad. In the past the event was held in such cities like Vancouver, Venice, Glasgow, and Havana. This year Prague won the honour of being the site of the event, beating Copenhagen, Denmark, which was also interested.
Some 2 000 Japanese actors, musicians and other artists will be performing in the Czech capital, but it won't only be a cultural event, sportsmen will be coming, too - all aspects of Japanese life will be represented.
Including trade and industry. Czech and Japanese businessmen are to meet here and an increase in trade and business contacts is expected. At the moment 83 Japanese companies are represented in the Czech Republic.
I wonder how much is known about the Czech Republic, and Prague in Japan. Maybe entries to this year's Radio Prague competition will show, since the question we're asking is: What comes to my mind when I hear the word Prague.
And maybe we should repeat once more, that we did not have only Radio Prague in mind when we chose that question.
So, do let us know what comes to your mind when you hear the name of our capital city, Prague - regardless of whether you have been here, or only know about it either from Radio Prague, or from news bulletins, from history books, in connection with Czech music, with Czech literature, including Prague writer Franz Kafka, or Hasek's Good Soldier Svejk.
Or, for that matter, in connection with sports - if you know Czech ice hockey players or other sportsmen. I do think this year's competition question is simple - so many things must come to mind in connection with Prague. So, I suggest you follow the example of David Eldridge, Ilford, Essex, Great Britain who writes:
"I'll have to get my notepad out soon to write down what comes to mind when I think of Prague, for your competition entry."
Yes, I suggest you do that - the deadline is the middle of June and you do want to have enough time to think your competition over - after all, the main prize is a week in Prague, courtesy of Czech Airlines and the Prague Staropramen brewery.
Now, there is no official limit to the length of your competition entry, but we do hope you'll keep your text within reasonable limits, which is a message for Azizul Alam Al-Amin of Ghoramara, Rajshahi, Bangladesh who writes:
"I am quite impressed with the topic of this contest. I know a lot about Prague through your radio station and for me it is not only the capital of the Czech Republic, but a whole interesting world of its own. So my entry will be long, maybe 15/20 pages long. If I submit such a long answer will you accept it for this contest? "
Well, we did say there was no limit to the length of competition entries, but please do keep them within reasonable length. We do have to read them and do each one justice, don't forget that besides the main prize there are a number of runner up prizes and choosing the best entries is not at all easy.
Luckily, we won't be doing it on our own, there will be an independent jury, like there was in last year's competition.
Now, let's get on to other questions. We have to make today's Mailbox a bit shorter, because we want to play a song for Franz Schwartz Jr, from Wilmington, North Carolina, USA, who, by the way writes that Mailbox is his favourite feature, which is nice, thanks.
But the request:
"On Sunday, April 28th you played a beautiful Czech folk song. Could you please play this tune again in full?"
Well, we looked it up, and the song Franz liked was Taku som si frajarecku zamiloval, which means, roughly translated - That's the kind of girlfriend I have fallen in love with. It's sung by Jozka Cerny, a famous folk singer from South Moravia, where the song comes from. And so, here it is once more. I hope other listeners will like it, too. If not, why don't you let us know what kind of music you would like to hear? That's what mailbox is for, to answer your questions and requests. So, good listening!