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. What with dad’s dodgy ticker, and all these ‘things’ I feel I need to do before I leave the UK, well, it’ll just make my life a lot easier if I postpone my departure. There’s plenty of time to live in Japan in the future. Now is the important thing.

Speaking of which, it’s 4.02am. I’d best go to bed.


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.)

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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 should do ok in that section of the exam. I was a different story last semester. I didn’t realise that the comprehension section would be based on a story that we’d already looked at, so I completely skipped revising everything that that one particular teacher had taught us. Even told one of my class mates that we needn’t bother with that section… (they then walked out of the 3-hour exam after 20 mins due to shock, and then left the course!) …don’t wanna make that mistake again! I really could have kicked myself when I turned the exam paper over.

Anyway, it’s pretty groovy really. I had a look at the piece that we did in week 1, a piece that I remember really freaked me out at the time, it just seemed incomprehensible, but today I was able to read straight through it in a couple of minutes and understand everything! Mind you, I then had a look at some other piece we covered a couple of weeks back, a news story about illigal immigrants, and that still had the power to scare me. Tell you what though, this learning business is blooming fantastic. I love it. Hmm, learning kanji in contxt is so much easier.

Did a couple of essay plans for Postwar Japanese Politics too. They are the very essence of sexiness, but no doubt when I sit down in the exam hall in 6 days time my brain will suddenly forget the meaning of structure and tell me, “just write everything you know!”

That’s kind of what happened with my year-abroad project proposal, the one that was supposed to be 1000 words long, and ended up being 5000ish. I got 65% for that, but as I told the lecturer, whom I didn’t know until 2 days ago but whom I came to like a lot in the space of 20 minutes, I wasn’t really bothered by that as it’s simply pass or fail, and therefore the grade has no effect upon my final degree (providing I get over 40%!). Yes, had a very interesting chat, about why japanese women find western men attractive and vice-versa. I’ve since bought a book on the subject so I can figure out why the hell *cough* would want to be with me (apart from the obvious), and find out if there’s any other reason I’m with her other than, er, erm, so I can use her tip-ex pen when mine runs out.

Oh, update on father. The hospital said they won’t write to him for another 3 weeks, which is good news, as his condition is clearly not critical.

Ok, well I’d best get on.

Just wanted to say how happy I’m feeling. AND I have my own cut-out-and-keep model of the legendary Arts Tower (“The Arts Tower is the tallest University building in the United Kingdom”). I am yet to cut it out and keep it, but fret not, as soon as I have done so, I will take a photo. I’m also trying to track down an electronic version so you can make your own.

Raa woooo wiggy wiggy and we’re off to japan soon. STILL haven’t heard back re the summer thing. Will hassle them next week..

xxx by ebye bey

p.s. all spelling mistakes etc are due to the fact that I am not using my own laptop and therefore are not my fault ha!!



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 alarm clocks.

8.45am: Leave home, having had breakfast and put our packed lunches that we made the previous night in our rucksacks, not forgetting the thermos of tea and two bottles of organic blackcurrant squash.

9am: Arrive at main library. There are still some seats available. If we were to arrive at say, 11am, it would be very tricky for us to find 2 seats, let alone 2 seats next to each other. That’s how packed the library is.

9.05am – 6.55pm: Study.

7pm: Go home.

7.30pm: Eat supper, prepare packed lunch for following day.

8.30pm: The fact that I’m studying for about 10 hours a day means that in the evenings I feel free to relax and do what I want, without getting stressed about not revising. The fact that my brain is completely frazzled by this time also means that even if I actually wanted to carry on studying I might find it tricky.

11.30pm: Go to bed.

And that’s how it’s set to go on for the next 15 days or so. Hurrah!

Good news is, no sign of epilepsy, despite perfect conditions for it, and despite me being on a very low dose of Epilim. I put this down to (a) 8 hours of sleep every night (b) not getting worried (c) not being single…

Still don’t know what I’m going to do after the end of term, still no idea when I’m going to Japan. Not sure when I can move my stuff back to Hereford either, as dad is yet to hear from the hospital (thus not sure if he can drive or not). In a way that’s good news, as had he had a ‘critical condition’, they would have called him back in immidiately. Unless of course they’ve accidentally got his results mixed up with those of Mr. Smith across the ward – it wouldn’t be the first time!

Anyway, it’s all good at the mo. Just gotta keep me head down, and it’ll all be over soon.


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 set to start revising later today. BUT, first, I must tell you what I’ve been up to…

Oh, but before that, I must just instruct you to go and have a look at an interview with “Mr Lordi”, the winner of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

I was curious as to whether the UK had come up with a song that was, as usual, guaranteed to ensure that we lost by a margin of at least 267. Reading the review on the Eurovision Website, and then checking the results table, I was reassured that we had not broken away from our British tradition of making complete fools of ourselves, and had indeed lost by a margin of 267.

Another contestant not short of confidence is Daz Sampson of the United Kingdom who describes himself as ‘the people’s champion’. But there’s no sign of him at the start of the song, which is being sung by five girls in cute school uniform, sitting at desks in a classroom. It’s only after the chorus that Daz appears from behind a blackboard, dressed in a bright yellow jacket and rapping about the gulf between teachers and teenagers. A very catchy tune!

A very catchy tune maybe, perhaps of that variety that is so terrible that it sticks in your head, going round and round and drives you crazy. A bit like Cliff Richard’s “Christmas Time”.

Anyway, moving swiftly on.

So, yes, Thursday, end of term, anticlimax. Floods of tears etc etc. Ok, not quite. Nonetheless, a bit odd.

Friday was far more structured – it went a little like this:

Got up at 10am to make sure that the cake which we’d ‘made’ for our teachers was feeling happy and looking mightyly colourful, and as you can see, it was.

It was then off to the arts tower, laden down not only with cake, but also a few other prezzies, such as a trophy and a badge (“Best Teacher Ever”), and a pen with “BOB” written on it – the name of the persona one of our Japanese teacher’s takes on when recording skits for use in listening classes. Ohm, and a BIG box of chocolates.

Here’s the groovy 2nd year crowd, all but one of us (Warbadger included, but hiding), with our three fantastic Japanese senseis.

It’s great that we have made it so far without distinct warring factions having developed amongst us. Sure, not everyone loves one another to the extent that they’d want their babies, and in some circumstances that would be somewhat problematic even if they did, but nonetheless, I think overall we’re a pretty happy bunch. This will no doubt be the last time that we’ll all be together, as some will fail the exam, others will probably hate japan and drop out, or not pass the year abroadm or get married whilst there… these things happen.

After the cake presentation, we all trundled off to the pub, where, being joseph, I got drunk on half a pint of beer. Then a bit more drunk on some more drinks… until time melted away and the day became a veritable orchestra of interaction with classmates, some of whom up until Friday, I knew almost nothing about. That was great, exchanging stories and opinions, and laughter. And chips. Our venue somehow changed from the pub to the pool room in the bar at uni, and then an hour or so later the terrace out the back, where this photo was taken. By this time, a few of us had been joined by our other halfs. When *Cough* arrived at the bar she was told, “Joseph’s being very funny”, to which she thought, “ah, he must be drunk…”.

After that, heaven knows what time it was, probably evening, the 12 of us that remained trooped off down London Road to a polish restaurant run by, surprisingly enough, a Polish man who served Polish food, and played Polish songs for us on his accordian whilst we waited for our food. Mind you, all that squeezing took its toll on his wrists, and after a few minutes, he could play no more. As his accordian fell silent so screams arose from the paying customers,


Almost in tears at this sight, he begged, “If there is another accordian virtuoso in the restaurant tonight, please step forward and fill the air with music once again”

Well, how could I refuse such a desperate plea from the heart?

I have since discovered a video extract of my performance. You might have to turn your monitor on its side for this one, but such is the beauty of the music I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s worth it.

(Windows Media Video, 3.7mb)

We were home by about 11.30pm I think. Apparently I didn’t talk to as many roadsigns as I did last Thursday.

Yesterday, surprisingly, I didn’t feel that bad at all, apart from having heavy feet. Having said that, I wasn’t in the mood for study either, so we decided to go to the cinema to see The Davinci Code, to see what all the fuss is about. Apparently, in Japan there were queues strecthing up to 1000 people in length outside cinemas. Thankfully we didn’t encounter such a thing at the Odean in Sheffield. In fact, when I went up to the box office the lad working there had actually dozed off! head lolling down, I had to knock on the glass to wake him up!!

Re the film itself; I’m not surprised its created such a storm, although I don’t believe that anyone has the right to censor it. Why is it such a crime to express alternative theories on history, a history that took place thousands of years ago? Ok, so I agree that in cases such as that of that historian who has frequently denied that the holocaust took place (and has since been arrested / charged in Austria where making such proclomations is a crime), where the evidence is significant, and to deny that it ever took place is denying people of their past, but when it comes to Jesus, who lived before the time of digital cameras / HandyCams, well surely the past is open to debate, and surely debate is a healthy thing as it encourages understanding.

It’s these reactionary forces within religion that I don’t like. Thankfully we don’t see too much of that sort of thing in the UK.

Anyway, the film was rather good I thought, despite the brats next to us who I’m sure went into the wrong screen, having bought tickets for “X-Men”. “Ah! I thought it had finished!” they announced to the whole auditorium at the end of each scene.

Back home, and no, study still didn’t appeal, so we watched Phantom of the Opera. Oh, except for the last 10 minutes… The DVD had been corrupted by some evil spirit, and thus we can only assume that in the end the good guys won.

Next was In the mood for love, a superb film set in 1960’s Hong Kong, telling the story of two neighbours who discover that they have something rather unfortunate in common. Great stuff, thoroughly reccomend it.

Finally, I came across The Aviator. We’ve watched the first half, will watch the second half this afternoon, after lunch at our favourite Chinese Restaurant. I quite like it actually, depsite Leonardo.

Revision begins tonight.

These exams are gonna be great!! Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!