Last December, Yeasayer called it a day. Brooklyn’s favourite psych-freaks were one of those bands I discovered in my first flush of uni freshers excitement, along with Wild Beasts, The Maccabees, Everything Everything, and a smattering of standard issue Leeds dub and reggae. It was a minor musical awakening of the kind felt in university halls across the nation. Continue reading “Leaving the Moshpit”
‘The NHS is good, but people expect too much for free. They should pay for their care.’
An animated Filipino nurse with two financier sons chats to me in the anteroom, while I wait for my interview. She is amiable, soft-spoken, but somehow exudes the air that she takes no nonsense whatsoever from her patients. She changes topic regularly. She’s been to Japan, saw a sumo tournament there, admires the cultural unity of Japan. Some of the nurses on her ward are too fat. I should keep travelling the world. One of her sons lives in Hong Kong, and ‘you don’t know what you’re eating there. It could be snake meat.’ It’s all a bit jumbled, but much more interesting than staring into space, and no more rambling than I can be at times. Continue reading “The Jobcentre Cannot Hold”
It was a slow burner, that realization of change. A friend of a friend told me that it took her five months to readjust to England after leaving Japan. After returning for Christmas last year, I often joked to friends that it took me twenty-five minutes. But I can see now that I was wrong- the Earth has shifted slightly beneath my feet. Continue reading “Good Morning, Verulamium (Here and There)”
It is late October 2019; the trees along either bank of the Motoyasu are starting to turn pale orange and yellow and drop leaves into the river, and I am closing bank accounts and notifying authorities and getting ready to fly home via Manila. I shall be reading this with a sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence. Whether it’s a sigh of regret or sweet natsukashii1 remains to be told.
As my good friends will know, I’m not one for superhero movies. To me, they mostly blur together into an aspartame-packed mêlée of action setpieces, leaden Hollywood quips and deus-ex-machinae. The plots are often generic and I don’t give a shit about the characters. Continue reading “The End of Something”
Let me preface this by saying: I know I’m one of the lucky ones.
When Typhoon Hagibis barreled into the Kanto Plain at the weekend, at least 58 people lost their lives in the extreme winds and flooding. Over 10,000 houses were damaged by flooding, and more are still at serious risk from heavy rain and landslides. As of yesterday, 77,000 homes didn’t have access to electricity. The disaster has been particularly cruel to farmers of certain crops, like Nagano apple farmers whose crops have been irreparably damaged by the storm. It was the strongest typhoon to hit Japan in sixty years, although not the most deadly, thanks to improved weather warning systems1. Continue reading “Typhooned”
When I started writing this blog, just over a year ago, I wrote in my founding document (Article 5) that I promised to be honest about the ups and downs of my time in Japan. Continue reading “An Exercise in Honesty”
A year ago today, I stepped off a plane into the feverish Osaka summer. I got lost, failed to understand conversations and had to flee the city for a day because it was all too much. Battling the elements, braving the rush hour subway, trying to learn the basics of conversation and culture. Looking at my first photos of Japan today didn’t merely stir a warm glow; it catapulted me headfirst into an intense flashback of emotion. Continue reading “One Year in Japan”
I’ve learnt a lot about Japan in the last nine months, as I’ve got to grips with life in an unfamiliar society. I’ve written about urban geography, muzak, religion and death customs, sumo, cuisine, historical memory, work-life balance, design, international relations, arcades, football, nature, volunteering, technology and rabbits, as well as a hell of a lot about travel. Well, today, I’m writing about me, and I’m keeping it relatively short. Continue reading “Blossomfall”
A mere snippet today, since it’s official- I’m moving house in a few weeks! I’ll be moving to Takaramachi, in the city centre. I like peaceful suburban Itsukaichi well enough, but it’s surprisingly distant from the metropolis. Hiroshima’s not a huge city, but it stretches around the harbour, and Itsukaichi is on its southwestern edge. And the trams and trains here all stop around midnight, leaving me with few options after a night out. Continue reading “Leaving the Suburbs”