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”

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Quantum Politics (or, Batman! Robin! Let’s Do Local Election Apathy!)

Campaigners drive around in cars with megaphones on the roofs, waving at people and blaring messages. Around the city, there are neat, respectful lines of posters up advertising the candidates. The elections are for the city council, and they won’t bring down any government, but they’re still the kind of thing that an election otaku like me ought to find something to say about.

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Continue reading “Quantum Politics (or, Batman! Robin! Let’s Do Local Election Apathy!)”

The Bittersweetness of Things

‘If the cherry blossoms lasted six months, nobody would love them’.

IMG_4365This sentence1 lies close to the heart of Japanese culture. Right now, the cherry blossom is covering the city in a thick mist of wan, snowy petals, and the city’s outdoor spaces are coming alive again after the winter. Stirring dull roots with spring rain, and all that. Despite a cold snap, people are barbecuing on the riverfront and eating picnics in the park. Every man and his dog carries himself like a pro photographer.
Continue reading “The Bittersweetness of Things”

Land of 10,000 Temples (a Visit to Kyoto)

Greetings, y’all. I usually like to start off my blogs with some unrelated entrée, but today, let’s cut to the chase. I went to Kyoto to meet my friend and former colleague Tom; here are some musings about my trip. Continue reading “Land of 10,000 Temples (a Visit to Kyoto)”

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”