Finally, the intense heat and humidity of summer has passed, being replaced by the coolness of Autumn. Autumn in Japan really lovely. Perfect temperatures to enjoy the outdoors, clear skies, beautiful birdsong in the morning (as opposed to the raucous cries of that bird, the name of which I forget, whose squawks are extremely noisy […]

Tokyo Water

And they tell you you should drink this stuff?!! Always satisfying to see how much crap the water filter’s caught when it comes to the annual change. Posted via email from Joseph’s posterous

Saturday Morning

Really nice to have a Saturday morning lie-in; it’s unusual for us both to not be busy early in the morning. Just discussing whether to make bread, or pancakes, or both. The sudden drop in the temperature outside is welcome. Had enough of sweating 3 litres every night! Might be time to bring the pineapple […]

Japanese spouse visa extension

So, as I mentioned on Facebook a couple of times over the past few weeks, I’ve been waiting on immigration to notify me that my visa extension application has been processed and I can go back to their Shinagawa office to get the stamp in my passport. My visa expired at the beginning of this […]

The Road to Recovery

It’s now almost two weeks since I first came down with this virus. The full-blown fever lasted for about 5 days – that’s been followed by an extended period of complete exhaustion and confusion, and continued weight loss (5kg now). It’s felt a bit like being permanently stoned, needing copious sleep, and having bizarre hallucinations. […]

BBC Radio 4

It was soon clear that watching movies was something I wouldn’t be able to indulge in during my prolonged break. In a revolt against my usual habit of staring at screens for far too many hours each day, my eyes would maliciously trigger a headache if I tried to look at anything more dynamic than […]

Halloween in Japan

Halloween is big business in Japan, so it’s no surprise that we’re starting to see pumpkins appear in shop windows. Last year I estimated that 145% of shops had some kind of Halloween-related merchandising instore. This year that figure is predicted to be doubled as downturn-hit owners do all they can to try and convince […]

The great illness of September 2010

I know people generally don’t like reading posts by others about being ill (which is what this one is about). However, one thing I’ve learnt through having epilepsy is that it’s a good idea to document any significant illnesses, as there’s sometimes a need to refer back them later on (when applying for licenses, or […]

Delicious Rain

It’s currently absolutely bucketing it down here in Tokyo. I love the sound of rain. Perhaps because as a child we always had a veggie garden that could do with a good soaking. And it’s no different now – our pineapple, heather and aloe vera have put on huge growth spurts this past month, and […]

This is my new Love

I found him at Daiei department store. He was a sacrificial offering by the staff to the sun god “We can’t sell anything in this heat… But we have to sell something, so we’re selling him at 80% off’” Well, with a price tag like that how could it *not* be love at first sight? […]


Affordable fruit is one thing I miss about my hometown of Herefordshire. Back there we have fruit trees in the garden, orchards down the road, English Cox’s (an apple variety) in the shops that cost a fraction of these apples pictured. Bananas are cheap but lack taste, it having been bred out of them. To […]

Running Again

I’m on the train heading back home after running 12.21km south towards Yokohama. I think it’s the furthest I’ve run since the Marathon in February, and the first time I’ve done over 10km since May. It’s extraordinary how out of shape I am. I used to have a really big barrier at 20km – that […]

Never a Dull Day

It’s certainly been an interesting one today, with a meeting in Starbucks, another at the Foreign Correspondents Club, another in a pizza restaurant and another by a bench outside a supermarket near home. There were revelations, probing questions as well as frustration, outrage, big decisions, action steps …and a dead rat. I got a phone […]