I’m skipping classes tomorrow, all one of them. Never done that before (Prof. H doesn’t count as I attend his virtual classes instead on my iPod. Far safer to take his classes in bed as you avoid banging your forehead on the desk every few minutes…). I had a day off last year due to illness, ooh that was terrible I won’t even begin to recount the full horror of the condition. This year I missed one class by accident as my classmate, who I follow everywhere, was sick, so I was lost. Other than that I have been angelic as always.

Thus, tomorrow’s action on my part is unprecedented. To voluntarily, knowingly skip classes. Mind you, I couldn’t do this without consulting the teacher concerned first, the guilt would be too much, so that’s exactly what I did today. The class is going to be mainly listening practice, and is centered on various sketches on a CD – yes, CD!! I know, I couldn’t believe it either – digital technology in the language department. Up until now we’ve only ever used wax cylinders… Anyhow, I was able to ‘do’ that class in the library’s Wolfson Suite using a wind-up laser-disc player that was manufactured in the 17th century, and had a big His Master’s Voice gramaphone type horn on top. The other people in the room were not too impressed with my Japanese tales of waiters bringing mushroom-flavoured spaghetti sauce instead of tomato.

Anyway, this is all by-the-by. Just setting the scene, just letting you know how much trouble I went to to get tomorrow off. Sensei completely understood my situation though, indeed when he heard the reason for it he virtually insisted that i take the day off, saying he knew full-well what I was going to go through… ganbatte kudasai, ganbatte kudasai! (good luck, good luck!).

You see, tomorrow, I meet someone for the first time, someone who has just flown all the way over from Japan just to meet, er, her boyfriend, in Glasgow. She’s here for one week only, and insisted that I travel 2 hours on a train to Newcastle to meet her (and her boyfriend). She is …*cough’s* older sister.

Yes, tomorrow, I meet the family. Thankfully my name is not Focker and *cough’s* real name is not ‘Martha’, so we shouldn’t see any dog’s being flushed down the toilet scenarios. Also, by all accounts, this sister is mad. Nonetheless, she is going to go back home to Japan on Saturday and will report back on *Cough’s* gaijin boyfriend. I have to make a good impression. You see, whilst *cough’s* family are apparently pretty open-minded etc, it would seem that *cough* is the father’s favourite of all four daughters. We have had to tread very carefully, in fact, he didn’t hear a thing about my existence until months after all the rest of the family knew. I already feel I kind of screwed it up with *cough’s* other older sister by sending her an email that… oh, it’s a long story, let’s just say it didn’t go down too well.

When *cough tentatively suggested in a roundabout way that the two of us move in to the family house (that is, share a room etc), her mother didn’t quite get the message that we were trying to put across, and kindly offered to let me stay in a garden shed in the grounds of her grandma who lives the other side of Tokyo.

Oh, that’s the other thing. *Cough’s* older sister, let’s call her *Hiccup*, who I shall meet for the first time in about 12 hours, would also like to live with *cough* upon her return to Japan in September, an arrangement that *cough* had sort of agreed too – before she met me. So, we’re potential rivals you see…

At the moment I’m just the gaijin who *Cough* has met in England, someone who isn’t yet ‘real’ in the minds of the *cough* family. But, as of tomorrow, what with me meeting family member #2, my status will undergo a subtle shift, as I become more concrete, although hopefully not in the form of wellington boots full of the stuff dragging me to the bottom of the River Tyne with *Hiccup* looking down upon the bubbles that are breaking the surface of the water, laughing in a wicked, gleeful manner.

Let’s hope she doesn’t do a Google search for my name either.

Wish me luck.

oyasumi xxx

Latest addition to the student mould colletion: 5 day old spaghetti cheese stuff