Mailbox

Foto: Barbora Kmentova
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This week in Mailbox: a "Czech lake district"; different times of the day you like to listen to RP; the architect of Hiroshima's A-Bomb Dome. Listeners quoted: David Wright, D.M. Cook, UK; Ron Williams, Gilles Letourneau, Canada.

Thanks for tuning in and also for the many Christmas greetings we've been getting these days. But we've also been receiving usual mail from you, and here's a letter from David Wright who listens to us in Wales. He is reacting to a topic we discussed in Mailbox last month.

"In relation to the question asked by Mr Shamim regarding beaches in the Czech Republic, I once travelled through your country on a train where I met a family who were on their way to spend their holiday camping in what they referred to as the "lake district". The children of this family, and their dog, were very excited as it was their first time out of Prague and it reminded me at the time of my early trips to the seaside in England. I have often thought the Czech "lake district" would be a good place to go camping with my own family, for myself and maybe for Mr Shamim, is there somewhere you would recommend?"

To my knowledge, there is no such place as a "Czech lake district". What the family might have meant could be the region of South Bohemia with its system of fish-breeding lakes artificially made in the 16th-century. Incidentally, that's where most Christmas carp come from. Maybe it would be a good idea for Radio Prague to do a Czechs in History programme about the architect of those lakes and ponds, Jakub Krcin. The region is beautiful not only thanks to the lakes but also because of the numerous historic towns, like Ceske Budejovice, Jindrichuv Hradec, Cesky Krumlov and so on.

Now to change the subject, it is always nice to read in your reception reports how, when and where you listen to us, as Radio Prague broadcasts all over the globe at different times.

Ron Williams lives in Nova Scotia in Canada.

"I just wanted to let you know that I listen and enjoy your program early every morning on my way to the gym, at 5am."

And Ron isn't the only one who listens to FM rebroadcasts of Radio Prague programmes in the car. We often get mail from commuters on the East Coast who hear our programmes on their way to work.

Not so far away, Gilles Letourneau from Montreal, listens to us on shortwave.

"It has been a while since I have written to Radio Prague but rest assured that I am a faithful listener to your programs. I really enjoy listening to Radio Prague in the morning hours local time during winter, while drinking a warm cup of coffee."

D. M. Cook from Scotland likes to listen to Radio Prague later in the day.

"I have been using the 2330 news at bedtime to hear bits of news etc. I have been trying to get the 1400 hours broadcast and had no luck finding it."

On the other side of the globe, in Japan, this listener appreciates the fact that Radio Prague broadcasts in several languages.

Jan Letzel, photo: PD-Japan / Wikimedia Commons
"I admire Radio Prague because it speaks six languages. Japanese people speak only Japanese. Also, I like Antonin Dvorak very much. By the way, did you know that the Hiroshima Dome was designed by a Czech architect?

Yes, we do know it and we have also broadcast a couple of reports about him. The Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall was designed and built by the Czech architect Jan Letzel, who was born in 1880 in the town of Nachod in north East Bohemia. He studied at Prague's School of Creative and Industrial Art under Jan Kotera, the founder of modern architecture in Czechoslovakia. A few years after graduation Letzel started working as a designer in Tokyo.

During his ten-year stay in Japan, Jan Letzel designed more than 15 residences and public buildings. Hiroshima's Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, a fusion of neo-Baroque and Art Deco, was completed in 1916. Jan Letzel himself never lived to see the transformation of his Industrial Promotion Hall into the A-Bomb Dome. He left Japan in 1923 and returned to Prague where he died, exactly 80 years ago, on December 26th 1925, at the age of 45.


And finally it's time to repeat Radio Prague's competition question for December.

Our mystery woman was a wildlife conservationist and author who won wide recognition for her observations on animal behaviour in Africa. She is best known for her books, in which she describes the life of the lioness Elsa, raised in the family household and then released into the wild. She was born in the north-eastern town of Opava. She went to Kenya at the age of 27, where she got married and lived for the rest of her life. She died in 1980.

Please send us the name of our mystery woman by the end of the month to the usual address, Radio Prague, 120 99 Prague, Czech Republic or English@radio.cz. That's also the address for your comments and questions. Please don't forget to identify yourselves by your name and country, it makes it easier for us to quote from your letters. Thanks for listening and till next week, bye-bye.