I find living next to a park a real lifeline, especially at this time of year. The mosquitoes are yet to really start biting, and the Cicada’s yet to start making a racket. We can keep the veranda doors wide open and enjoy the breeze, whilst talking to the rapidly growing tomatoes, sunflowers and magic bean. Gardening’s another thing that helps me escape the city, even if it is in a very limited form (that is, confined to a few flower pots).

Long term, I couldn’t stay in the city. Not when I know that I could be living in a place as beautiful as Herefordshire (my hometown).

This is Herefordshire

As hinted at in my previous post, I’ve been immensely busy, and unfortunately somewhat stressed too. Last week I made the decision to turn things around. The first thing to do was to start to say no to invitations to take part in 3rd party projects. I find this very tough to do, especially when there’s so many fantastic events etc going on. Still, I know that ultimately I’m damaging my long-term prospects, health, and relationships – so I’ve now said ‘no’ three times, and am delighted by that. Look I even have a bit of time to blog!

Feasting Bee

Despite not keeping up to date here, I have been keeping track of the wave of events and emotions that have been washing over me these past couple of months. I’ve been doing so in the form of Audioboo posts (also embedded in the sidebar of The Daily Mumble), and a lot more in the form of private audio recordings on my iPhone.

Hungry Koi

I continue to struggle with questions of purpose, with placing a value on my time, with balancing acts of goodwill with the real need for an income to pay the bills.

The exposure I’ve had over the past few months (including a TV interview recorded at home a couple of weeks ago but which I can’t talk about yet) has been a real eye-opener. In particular, it’s made me realise just how bad my spoken Japanese has become.

Seriously upsetting.


At the moment I have ‘Joseph Japanese’. This is all very well and good; I can get my meaning across in most situations, speak with enthusiasm and passion on subjects I’m very familiar with, but when it comes to appearing on camera etc, being asked about things that I’m not so familiar with, I just seize up. I lack the vocab and grammar, despite having learnt both at university. The most recent TV interview was a particular shocker – the producer couldn’t believe the difference between my English and Japanese explanations of the same marathon story.

So, whilst I’m kind of on a roll at the moment, and feel that I should make the most of the opportunities resulting from the marathon exposure, I have this growing sensation that this is not what I should be doing at present. If I wanted to, I’m, pretty sure I could generate a similar level of interest again in the future, and take it from there. Thus, there isn’t an absolute need to push ahead with this kind of thing right now. What would be far more beneficial would be if I paused and spent some time (say, 10 months), really knuckling down and working on my Japanese. I’ve learnt that life is cyclical, and chances DO come around again – you can MAKE them come around again, provided you’re prepared and have the necessary skills.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll stop actively seeking exposure, and instead kind of go into semi-retirement. Of course if some spectacular chances do come up I’d be wise to not turn them down.

That’s all very well and good, but there’s still the larger question of WHY I want to be going down this path at all. It’s a question I struggle with a lot. And, after mych thought, I think it’s a question that at the moment I’m not in a position to know the answer to. I just feel it’s what I should do, and that the reason will present itself in due course. Whatever the ultimate reason is, it’ll be a good reason, and will enable me to improve the lives of others in some way. I feel that strongly.

In other news, and to completely contradict everything I said above, I’m probably going to start helping my brother-in-law Leigh (*Twinkle’s sister’s husband) with the tech side of his business, in order to help him capitalise upon social media etc.

We’re also moving forward with the Penguin project. We’ve gone out and bought all the ingredients needed to make a penguin, and have passed them on to a friend who’s pretty good with a needle.

pet_8501 - It's a meerkat!
Meerkat in Harajuku, used by old man to attract young girls. Bunny rabbits used in same way in Akihabara.

*Twinkle* changed her job this week. Her new one starts at 9am instead of 10am, so this means a change in our schedule. The aim is to go to bed before midnight every day, and wake up at about 7am. So far it’s working. I like it a lot.

Along with this, I’m restarting exercising (namely jogging). My right knee is giving me considerable pain however, so I’m trying to develop a different ball-of-foot style of running to lesson the impact.

My idea for touring Japan by bicycle has been postponed until next Spring. I very much want to do that.

Anyhow, have to pop out now to buy some flash cards for japanese language practice. Or should I just use Anki on my computer / iPhone? Maybe I should.

Toodleloo for now.