a precious friendship

My phone rang a couple of hours ago. It’s quite unusual for anyone to use my landline. Must have only rung about 10 times these last 9 months. It was a family friend, known through the Waldorf School, and the person whose husband introduced me, about 6 years ago now, to John John, the reality-defying […]

Essay result shock

“The author has written a largely descriptive essay that has little in the way of critical analysis or originality. The author is advised to consider how an essay should be structured and, in particular, the importance of an introduction that should demonstrate a grasp of the question and define the scope of the essay. Unfortunately, […]

Only in Japan?

When this story dropped into my mail box a few moments ago, I did a double take. I mean, come on, you have got to be kidding. “Japan mulls limiting foreign residents to 3 percent of population A Justice Ministry panel studying an overhaul of Japan’s immigration administration is set to propose that the proportion […]

33 hours to go

…hhm, must be time to give the shower a good scrub then. While I’m at it I think I’ll clean the kitchen windows. Oh, and then there’s that leaking tap I’ve been meaning to deal with for ages…

Hidden Beauty

Continuing in the arts tower theme, which seems to have turned into a form of pre-exam therapy, to keep me from pressing this button… In case you have have had your head in a very big block of concrete for the past 40-odd years and don’t know what the Arts Tower is, it’s the University […]

Departure for Japan: Postponed

Decision made. I’m not going to leave for Japan until September. I’ve emailed all parties involved in the summer activity expressing my apologies for withdrawing (extremely presumptuous of me to think that I may have made it through the selection process in any case!). I suppose this will feel like a relief in the morning. […]

Arts Tower Mobile

Wow. I have to get a supply of these for next year whilst I’m in Japan, so I don’t get homesick. (My department is on the 5th and 6th floors. If you look very carefully you can see my teachers looking out of the window, waving at the camera.)   

cut-out-and-keep Arts Tower

Hey folks. I’m on a blog-break. Think I deserve one. Been here (library) for almost 9 hours now. Been a good day. I finally finished going through all the newspaper readings we’ve been studying since February, and providing I actually learn all the wretched compounds that I’ve put on my litle muji flash cards, I […]


I’M IN THE LIBRARY! yes, so after a few days of drinking and watching films I finally managed to face the reality, the reality that is exams at the end of next week. 2 of the beasts. Our routine, which began three days ago, is quite simple. It goes like this: 8am: Woken by 4 […]

Last day with my classmates

Well well well. What a nice couple of days I’ve had. haven’t done anything in the way of study since, er, three days ago now. HA! I laugh in the face of exams (and no doubt regret it later). <Justification clause>If I didn’t have some time off I would go CRAZY!</Justification clause> Anyway, I’m all […]


woooooooooooooooahhh on a downer. BIG post-last-class of this two year block anticlimax. Not quite sure what to think or feel. Kanji test was not the disaster it could have been. Still, I could have done a hell of a lot better. My recognition is ok, it’s writing the damn things that does me in (and […]

cheeky tutor

We had a mini-kanji test on Tuesday, as we do every week. I accidentally learnt the wrong week’s kanji this week and so didn’t do particularly well, 2.5 out of 10 in fact. Hurray for me! Nevermind though, those weekly tests don’t count towards our final grade. Anyway, these tests basically take the form of […]

eight hours and counting

ok, so 8 hours 30 minutes to be exact. I’m really stuffed re. this kanji test in the morning. Just tested myself and there are so many compounds I could’t remember. Just try and console myself with the thought that this test is worth very little really, and in the grand scheme of things means […]

Epson Cursive

In Shinjuku, central Tokyo, there’s a HUGE advert for Epson (I can only find one photo of it online, here). It’s been there years. Big flashing light thing several stories high. Makes you wonder how they can afford such a thing in such a prime spot. I’ll tell you how – BY RIPPING ME OFF! […]

Hereford Waldorf School Reunion

This one is for any of you out there who a) went to school with me orb) know anything about Steiner Schools. One of my 7 classmates at the Hereford Waldorf School was Billy Salisbury, a.k.a. The Undercover Hippy, multi-talented artist and musician. Now a couple of years back, the Hereford Waldorf School celebrated its […]

Class-mate’s Bum Crack

So, here we go then, last taught week of the academic year. Bloody good thing too, I’m knackered, and enthusiasm is rapidly disappearing out the window. I find these times-of-change difficult to deal with, that is, end of regular weekly timetable, start of unstructured weeks that are hazy in their appearance. Not knowing whether I’m […]

Tame Goes Drinking

Ah, curse my status as a British student! …for with that label comes the need to go binge-drinking now and then, a practice that not only leaves you being sick in your course-mate’s toilet, but also leaves you utterly incapable of doing anything that requires the use of one’s brain (luckily for you that doesn’t […]

Tame Goes Flickr

For those of you who don’t like my photo albums due to the fact that there’s no “slideshow” option, today is the day that you have been waiting for… Over the past couple of days I’ve uploaded over 3,000 photos to www.flickr.com, not to replace the standard layout I use, but to compliment it. I’ll […]

Under 4 foot 11 inch Special

This notice, which I spied in the window of a Chinese restaurant, begs a number of questions: 1) Why only children under 4′ 11″ (approx 150cm). What about short adults (what’s the politically correct term for short adults? Oh yes, ‘Japanese’). I mean, the stomachs of both Japanese (and other dwarfs’) stomachs must be pretty […]

Egg of Love

The other day I cooked my *cough* a hard boiled egg. Please appreciate what a wonderful boyfriend I am, by observing the amount of love I put into even the most mundane of daily chores, such as egg-boiling.

Golden Gnomes Award Ceremony

I think I should give up all ideas of a Japan-related career and become a professional Nominator. Last spring, I nominated 4 teachers for exclusive Sheffield University Centenary Awards – all four received them. In the summer, I nominated Japan Society for Best National Society – we won. As told below, a few days ago […]

Politics Essay

I just wish to apologise now for the appaling crapness of the essay that I am going to submit on Tuesday. It truly is a pile of pants – not the recently washed variety either. I think I read too much, and allowed too little time to distill all that wondrous knowledge into my 3450 […]

The Dark Side

When I get a moment, I’ll be writing an entry entitled “The Stages of Gaijinhood”, an entry inspired by a converstaion I had last night with a gaijin (foreigner) who lived in Japan for 23 years, backed up by my own experience. However, for the time being I just want to bring you this quote […]


I spoke to dad this morning. A few weeks ago he had severe chest pains and was taken to hospital by ambulance – with his history of heart trouble (quadruple heart bypass etc) he has to pay attention to the slightest sign of trouble. Anyway, this led to him being subjectd to a test a […]

Sheffied Union Centenary Achievement Awards ceremony

Last night saw the University of Sheffield Student’s Union Centenary Award presentation ceremony take place. I nominated my friend Will Christophers, who is in a way responsible for that first fateful meeting between *Cough* and I last September… although I didn’t actually nominate him for that reason – I nominated him for these reasons. It […]


I’ve always had this image of Newcastle as a grim, cold, Northern city, where grey is the the order of the day, people only smile when they have to, and trains only stop there upon special request and upon the proviso that police are present to prevent anyone getting on. I was wrong. In our […]

naughty boy

I’m skipping classes tomorrow, all one of them. Never done that before (Prof. H doesn’t count as I attend his virtual classes instead on my iPod. Far safer to take his classes in bed as you avoid banging your forehead on the desk every few minutes…). I had a day off last year due to […]

Nice weather for ducks

I recently finished my tube of organic toothpaste. Having ‘no time’ to make it to my local health food store, I bought a small ’emergency’ tube of Colgate, just to keep me going for a few days. That was two week ago. Today, I remembered that I really must get some non-lethal toothpaste, but knew […]

The sillest thing you’ve ever done whilst drunk

Whilst carrying out some research for my politics essay, I came across a website titled “The silliest things you’ve done whilst drunk”. That got me thinking. I guess there have been quite a few incidents that could fall under this category, such as climbing up a traffic light (only to be pulled off the top […]