So, Minamata’s dealt with. I move on.

Next year, in order to ensure that we don’t spend all our time in a cozy izakaya (pub) drinking sake, we have to complete a ‘Year Abroad Project’, which is basically a research excercise, designed to get us out and about with a questionnaire investigating Japanese attitudes towards this that and the other.

I was going to do something challenging, in an area that really interests me, such as civil rights movements or attitudes towards GM products (no, I’m not talking about SUVs here), but then, when I started thinking in depth about what questions I’d ask, who I’d approach etc, it all started seeming a bit complex (apologies to the tutor who spent some time imparting words of wisdom regarding the above, and apologies also for being drunk when you did so… it was the end of term though).

Thus, I have opted to go for something which I already know a fair bit about, something which probably won’t be all that challenging (and thus not as interesting as the above), something which, put bluntly, won’t require as much effort. Having had a hint of what is in store for me at Rikkyo I want to rid myself of as many other responsibilities as possible, in order that I have a wee bit of time to actually enjoy being back in Japan!

Thus, I have decided to focus upon the International Couple Scene. That’s if my tutor will let me – there’s a slight conflict of interest here in that *cough’s* dissertation is focusing upon Intercultural Marriages. Still, I’ve informed my tutor (so as not to be accused of plagarism at a later date!)… I await a response. If he says no I shall have to have words.

Anyway, I’ve learnt quite a lot about foreigners in Japan. Such as, when *cough* and I get married (did I really say that?) she will be one of only about 370 Japanese ladies lucky enough to marry a British bloke that year (as opposed to over 7000 Chinese). Did you know that interethnic marriages account for 5% of the total in Japan, vs. only 2% here in the UK? Well I never! There was me thinking we were the most intermultiethnicallycultural-inclined and all that over here.

I ‘met’ one of her sisters yesterday via video-messenger thing. Crazy. And I thought my family was mad…

I switched my mobile phone on for the first time in about 5 days last night. Not a single text or missed call. aaaahhh bliss. Noticeble drop in the number of emails I’ve received too – why can’t it always be Easter? No queue at the supermarket. AGGHH! Did I say supermarket? I’m afraid so. Sainsbury’s is located just at the end of the street that my kitchen looks out onto, vs. my favourite ever local organic shop which is 20 minutes away up a big hill. I’m afraid this semester, with this workload, there’s been no competition.

So, it’s pretty much all over in 5 weeks, other than a couple of exams. There’ll be no more ‘proper’ classes for Joseph until Sep 2007. Ok, ok, so it does sound like I’ll be a bit busy at Rikkyo, but at the end of the day, it’s only a pass-or-fail year, so I don’t have to go working myself into the ground as I have done these past 18 months in order to get firsts all the time. I do want to do well though in terms of language aquisition, just a case of not being so damn lazy as I tend to be with *cough*. She speaks japanese, I speak English.

Anyhow, I’m bloody knacked, my eyes are utterly unfocused and my futon is awaiting.

oyasumi xxx