Some days, like today, I wake up and find that my confidence left me in the night, carried off by that huge crow who I met on the clifftop near Castle Urgh.

I don’t want to leave my room, but I don’t want to stay here. I’m afraid of today, I’m afraid of tomorrow. Not the best of spaces to be in. I have an idea as to what the main cause is: stress. Stress over my (as yet pretty unclear) timetable, stress over dwindling funds, stress over living in a house of ghosts. Stress over time, or the lack of it, stress over social obligations, stress over stress!

I do find living in Japan quite difficult. I hesitate to put this down to the cultural / language divide – haven’t I also felt like this in Sheffield at times, especially at the start of a new semester? Is there a barrier between Us and Them, or is it all in my head? The more time I spend in Japan and the better my Japanese becomes, the more I am inclined to believe it is the latter.