Tempus maximae frequentiae. That’s how you say rush hour in Latin, according to the new Vatican dictionary of Latin expressions for modern concepts. Evidently the ancient Romans didn’t have rush hour. Lucky bastards!

I was interested to see that George Blake, who spied for the Soviet Union and escaped there almost forty years ago, said that the only thing he missed from Britain was whipped cream.

It’s odd, but whipping cream seems to be unavailable in many parts of the world. It’s a simple enough thing, and yet you just can’t get it.

Fortunately, however, it is sold in Japan. However, it’s very expensive—about five times as much as in Britain. And no one seems to know what it is, so don’t bother asking for it! You’re as likely to be pointed to condensed milk in a tube as to the genuine article. Then again, what would you really expect? This is the country where they commonly refer to coffee whitener as “milk” (well, miruku really) and use the stuff in tea. Horrible. Do you know what the dominant brand of powdered coffee whitener in Japan is called? Creap. They were only out by one letter...

By far the best thing is to stick to the local beverage: green tea. It tastes good on its own, and it seems to be fairly difficult to screw up making it.