I find it worrying how long my loaf of bread has survived without going mouldy in this hot and humid room. I don’t like to think what they’ve put in it to prevent the growth of greenery.

I have no such worries when it comes to jam however – happily, that developed a huge great mouldy within 3 days of its purchase. I’ve overcome the problem of having nothing edible to put on my titanium bread though – I bought some honey.

We signed the contract for our new place yesterday. Ahh, can’t wait to move in. This place is SO noisy! Situated right next to kanpachidori, the house shakes whenever a large lorry goes by, and believe me, they do go by, in their hundreds, mostly in the middle of the night.

Had my second Japanese language class yesterday. Great stuff. Mind you, the speed that that woman speaks at – incredible. As a baby, she must have been put in a tape recorder which then had its fast-forward button pressed. I understood everything, but the concentration required for that 90 minutes was immense, with the resulting headache lasting all day!

It seems that for the most part, it really is down to us as to whether or not we study. There is very little pressure to do anything but attend classes (all seven of them!). Indeed, yesterday we were actually told “it’s ok not to study Kanji” – although this was followed by a warning that we’d have to stay in level three if that was the case as they didn’t use much furigana in J4.

We were also strongly advised to watch TV. “You really can see the difference between those students who watch TV and those who don’t”. Our new house comes with a TV so that’s ok. It’s just a shame that it’s all such rubbish; cookery programs and shoe-cleaning quizzes. Yes, an entire half-hour program devoted to testing celebrities’ knowledge of shoe-cleaning tecniques. Surely a sign of social illness; all this self-control and supression of true desires is clearly harming the Japanese.

It’s at times like this that I wish I was a pigeon. No constant pressure to better oneself. All the pleasure one could possibly require in life obtained by a single simple action, that being the opening of one’s bowels when perched up high above an unfortunate human victim with black hair.

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