Spring Back (The Blossom and the Memory)

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies, that’s for thoughts […] there’s fennel for you, and columbines. There’s rue for you,and here’s some for me.‘- Ophelia, Hamlet

Blossom Blog 4I always knew this would be the difficult time. As winter gives up the ghost, my battered old green coat is finally too warm. There’s an ambient chorus of birdsong outside my  window, and when I walked through the park today, early spring was making its mark on the trees. Mosses were glistening on the damp tree stumps and gaunt paper birches suddenly sprung to life. Around me, I could see cotton-white, fuschia, lemon yellow, warm mulberry purples and brick reds. I used to say spring was my least favourite season, but I think I’m changing my tune. Continue reading “Spring Back (The Blossom and the Memory)”


One Year in Japan

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”

The Drums of Summer (Miscellany #3)

Hi all,
Haven’t written for a month or so. I’ve been busy here, catching up with people, and making the most of a sweet spot when summer is warm but not furiously hot. For a few weeks, I wasn’t sleeping too well either, and between jobhunting, work and social life, my energy’s been fully spent. But I seem to have recovered, and I thought I’d give you a quick update on life as lived, along with some other assorted miscellanies. That’s right- it’s another fuckin’ clip show. Continue reading “The Drums of Summer (Miscellany #3)”


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”

La Daijoubu Vita

IMG_1685I’m writing this on the last day of September. Last night, there was a definite chill in the air, and this morning, a typhoon was howling in from the south. Unlike earlier in the summer, the winds have really picked up here in Hiroshima. Late in the afternoon, the sky turned the strangest colour. But the rain just stopped, and for a moment a rainbow poked through the clouds.

It’s been three months since I took my first tentative steps into Japan, through the sultry fug of the Osaka summer. Tomorrow, school is changing over to the Autumn textbooks, and it felt like a good time to stop and take stock.

Continue reading “La Daijoubu Vita”

Somewhere Close To The Door

To lift an opener from Che Guevara’s diary: this is the history of a failure. Not a failure of an effort, or a moral failure, but the failure of a theory to explain the world as it is. These are the kind of failures that drive scientific discovery, and self-discovery too.

Continue reading “Somewhere Close To The Door”

Life Out of Balance, or The Story of a Boy with One Less Tooth

Oyashirazu (親知らず), the Japanese word for wisdom teeth, is an etymological gem. The word  roughly translates to ‘without the parents knowing’, and nobody’s quite sure why, although it’s probably because your wisdom teeth emerge after you move out of your family home. It’s such an elegant, lyrical word.

Continue reading “Life Out of Balance, or The Story of a Boy with One Less Tooth”

O Taichou! Watashi no Taichou!

September arrived in style today, with a cool breeze, insistent rain, and clouds cuddling the mountains. I like the sharp-drawn demarcation between seasons, and to be honest after two months of Hiroshima summer I’m ready for autumn. Just don’t call it ‘fall’ like half my students do.

Contemporary Art Museum in the rain.JPG

Continue reading “O Taichou! Watashi no Taichou!”