The Far Coast, Part 2: Matsue

I moved house today, saying a fond farewell to Itsukaichi by way of bean stew, noodles and fried chicken at a Burmese restaurant. From now, I’ll live in the city centre, close to the heart of Naka-ku, and even closer to my favourite bar. But I don’t want to detain you with the details right now. Let’s flash back to last week, and my trip to Shimane. Continue reading “The Far Coast, Part 2: Matsue”



Hiroshima CastleHiroshima has a castle. Perched atop a musha-gaeshi (the Japanese equivalent of a motte) and surrounded by an network of enclosed maru (courtyards, or baileys in European castle-speak), the castle tower is an impressive sight. In the grounds, the ruins of the Imperial War Headquarters lurk; the emperor stayed here in the 1890s, during the first Sino-Japanese War. Attendants sweep the paved terraces clear of leaves. The yagura (guard tower) keeps a watchful eye on guests. Crows alight from stone lanterns, and you’re instantly drawn back into a world of samurai, closed castle towns, and men in straw hats carrying water.

Continue reading “Reconstructions”

Westward and Wandering

Hey there, all.

I haven’t felt much like blogging for the last few days because the auld foe is back- I’ve been having big trouble sleeping again, and teaching on a tight budget of sleep really drains you to the core.

Continue reading “Westward and Wandering”

On Food-Related Bankruptcies, Shouting at Taxis and the Meaning of the Word ‘Overwhelmed’.

A lot of these articles will be about some aspect of Japanese society or culture or history, or about teaching English, or about some specific aspect of my own experience in Japan.

Not this one.

This is what I like to call an ‘itemized ramble’- a stream-of-consciousness narrative of my first 72-odd hours in Japan, with very little editing. If you find it disorientating, you can’t be as disorientated as me. Buckle up, it’s a long read.


Continue reading “On Food-Related Bankruptcies, Shouting at Taxis and the Meaning of the Word ‘Overwhelmed’.”