Technological Advances at Sheffield University

That uni of ours in the UK seems to be undergoing a technological revolution this year. In 2004, the housing application process was fairly slow, full of forms to sign and useless bumph I didn’t really want. This year, it has taken the form of two online forms, and two confirmation emails. I’ve paid my […]

Taxpayer’s money spent on stoned panda

Yesterday, whilst out cycling behind a convoy of dumper-trucks which were equipped with special pro-dust tyres, Jon and I came across a little zoo. It was rather an odd zoo, being as it was situated in the middle of nowhere, I mean, really, nowhere, like a place where no-one would even go even if they […]

My first book – Not on sale now!

Here’s the first glimpse of Book One in the Tame & Twinkle series – 20 pages of pure unadulterated raw photos of nice things. And mightily happy with it I am. Unfortunately it’s not available for you to buy just yet. Unless you pay me lots of money. Like, £15. Plus postage. And it was […]

The Cherry Forecast

Yes, this week saw the publication of the official Cherry Forecast, a report that is compiled every year by Japan’s top meteorologists in conjunction with a highly trained pack of wild dogs whose noses can sense the oncoming of the annual bloom, up to 2 months in advance. The Cherry Forecast has a huge impact […]

My old bedroom makes it into Gran Turismo

I was in Bic Camera with Tom the other day checking out mics, headphones and, er, Macs, when I saw something on a Windows PC that nearly made me fall over and behave like an armadillo – that’s how shocked I was. The screen was showing a demo of Gran Turismo, the world’s most popular […]

Human Rights? About as healthy as Fatty Butter!

Japanese politicians are not known for choosing their words carefully when speaking in public. Last month we had the “birth-giving machines” scandal involving the Health Minister. Speaking about the problem that is Japan’s declining birth rate, the minister said “Because the number of birth-giving machines and devices is fixed, all we can ask for is […]

down time

Ah, it’s really hard at times like this. Times when you just feel totally disinterested in doing anything at all. When you just want to sort of mope in front of the TV, watch some film, ignore the pile of stuff you need to do. Ignore all the emails demanding your attention. I nearly did […]

I want to make films

The music that accompanies this entry is Moby: ‘Signs of Love’, from his album ’18’. If you have it, please put it on. I yearn to make films. One of my dreams is to be a film maker. Productions that are arty, informative, challenging, beautiful, moving. This feeling has been growing for a long time. […]

Review: Apple Airport Extreme

Those who are bored stiffless by computer talk, look away now. Those of you who aren’t interested in the AirPort but who do own Macs, see the second half of this entry. So, yesterday, I finally picked up my Airport Extreme wireless base station, which has just been released.As with most Apple products, it’s damn […]

Just Banana It

Today’s shopping trip saw another shop added to the list of “Places to go to get free food”. It was our local butcher. I needed some bacon, but only had 85 yen (about 40p) on me. I was advised that I couldn’t make a decent meal with the amount of bacon that that would buy […]

Underwater ironing in Very Big Shoes

I do find it really difficult when ‘life’ gets in the way of ‘things I want to do’. Today is a prime example, with a necessary visit to the hospital and lesson planning for my English classes tonight preventing me from doing the things that I really want to do, such as read The Big […]

It hurt so much I nearly passed out

It was perhaps the most horrendous physical pain I have ever felt in my life. I wanted to yell and scream and shout F*** F*** F***, collapse and writhe in agony. But I didn’t want the person I was with (*Twinkle’s father) to know what a state I was in, so I continued to walk, […]

A Year in Japan – Episode 05 out now!

In Episode 5 of the increasingly popular podcast series A Year in Japan, Joseph takes you on an early morning trip to Tsukiji fish market in Eastern Tokyo. With over 50,000 employees, it’s the largest market of its kind in the world – and also one of the most dangerous with hundreds of ‘Mighty Cars” […]

Practical joke

This has to be one of the funniest practical jokes I’ve ever seen, especially the second half. Only in Japan? (I’m just glad they weren’t trying it out last week at the ski resort we were staying at!) technorati tags: video | practical joke | Daily Mumble

University Entrance Exams, and the discovery of a paperclip embedded in my spine

One thing I’d forgotten, when heading to the uni health service this morning, was that it’s entrance exam season at Rikkyo University at the moment. Entrance exams are serious business in Japan, and are arguably, and somewhat ironically, the most difficult part of one’s entire university career. Once you’ve passed them and been accepted though, […]

Philharmonic Ensemble Orchestra

Wow! It was a proper orchestra, with, like, three million musicians, and a conductor who was completely mad! Our free tickets had us sitting only four rows from the stage in that HUGE hall. Fantastic stuff! Amazing how together they could make such a beautiful noise. Until today I thought that only CDs were capable […]

Returning to the Metropolis

I’m not entirely sure what I did do under that tree halfway down the piste, but whatever it was, my back didn’t appreciate it all that much. I’m pretty sure that when I did fall over backwards I did fall onto a stone. I remember swearing a bit. Thing is, at the time the rest […]


It was my first winter living above the clouds in Switzerland. I was 19 years old, embracing my new-found freedom, ready to tackle anything. When the first snows fell, I visited Tony, the old man who owned the sports shop next to the hotel in which I worked, in order to pick up some gear. […]

A week of firsts

The first first is that I start work for the first time in a long time, tomorrow. I can’t remember if I mentioned this before, but I’ve got my old teaching job back, the one I had in 2002/2003, and handed over to my friend Tom when I returned to the UK. It’s time for […]

Any other hair questions?

A round of applause for these two chaps – if only we saw more of this at press conferences, especially following court hearings in which people are faced with ridiculous charges. Check out the video here. technorati tags: hair | Boston bomb scare | Daily Mumble

Prostitution and the 9 of Spades

Yo WIGGY! So, it’s a Sunday morning here in fair Tokyo Town, and the sun is a shining. I do like Japanese winters, at least those of the Kanto area (the plain on which the capital sits). Unlike back home, there’s little in the way of storms or heavy rain. Clear skies are common, but […]