A Song of Wind and Drizzle

Listen, I’m not saying the ancients were right about Daisen. Despite all the age-old warnings, I doubt that Kagutsuchi, Shinto god of fire, himself dwells on the slopes of the mountain, or that would-be hikers need a yamabushi (syncretic1 mountain priest) for protection. But maybe it would have been a good idea to check the weather forecast first. Continue reading “A Song of Wind and Drizzle”

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The Far Coast, Part 2: Matsue

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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”

The Far Coast, Part 1: Izumo

This week, I took a short trip to Shimane Prefecture. I stayed for two nights and planned to document it all in a single blog. But then I went to an original, sengoku-era Japanese castle, and there’s no way I’m summing that up in a couple of paragraphs1. Therefore, I’ve taken the unspeakably decadent step of splitting my travelogue into two parts. So here it is- my first double album. (Apologies for the filler: Keith insisted we put his track with the stupid clarinet solo on there.) Continue reading “The Far Coast, Part 1: Izumo”

Valentine’s Politics and Detachable Limbs (Another Miscellany)

It’s rare for me, but I’m struggling to find something to say. Usually there’s too much, to the extent that I’m forced to self-edit. I’ve been working a lot the last couple of weeks, and I haven’t had much money, and it’s still cold here, so life’s been on the quiet side. I’ve been trying to promote the blog on Instagram and via a couple of internet forums, but without much success. Continue reading “Valentine’s Politics and Detachable Limbs (Another Miscellany)”

Leaving the Suburbs

My flat- August 2018.jpgA 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”

No Place (or, Stuck in the Nineties)

‘Evening. What’s new with me, you ask? Well, I’ve actually been keeping one of my new year’s resolutions! I decided to get more active, and to that end I’ve started swimming at Hiroshima Central Pool, and am going bouldering once a week with my buddy from work, Brett. He’s a seasoned climber, so he’s giving me tips. The climbing centre is great, although for some people, gravity is just a minor inconvenience. Spot the difference*:

 

To my chagrin, I’m forced to admit that doing more exercise does make me happier. I’ve been working on taking some more interesting photographs, too, and later in February I’m heading for Shimane Prefecture, to see the birthplace of Japanese civilization. And then in April, I’m visiting Tokyo for the first time!

Anyway, enough about me. Today I want to talk about my biggest surprise when I moved to Japan. Continue reading “No Place (or, Stuck in the Nineties)”

Poison Island

Was that a good week or a terrible one? I think it was a good one, even if it did start with me missing my shift, dashing manically to work, buying some ill-fitting shoes and then getting fined for my sins. True story. Along the way, it took in my first Shinnenkai (Japanese party to celebrate the nascent year), where I tried horse sashimi with fiery wasabi and soy sauce. On Wednesday, I talked hip hop and Paul Simon with a colleague from Okayama and the owner of our favourite bar, and on Sunday, I went bouldering, an activity I’m determined to master one of these days. Continue reading “Poison Island”