Released over a year ago, I’d not heard of this film until today, when I spotted it in the video store (having finally dared to go back in there following Saturday’s incident). I picked it because of the title, and the fact that it said Film Four on the cover. I like it a lot. It’s not family viewing.

[end of film review]

It’s wonderful to switch off from the constant “Japan” theme at times. To take a break from the constant effort required to understand what is going on around one, to not worry about homework. I’ve actually finally managed to catch up with that, and thus am able to do what I’ve wanted to do since I got here: start on my Kanji using Heisig’s method again. Did I tell you I actually got an email from the man himself a couple of weeks back? I think I did. I told the sensei that runs my course that I have decided to not take any more kanji exams as the method employed at Rikkyo simply stresses me out, and is not all that practical. She said that was fine, and backed me up in my decision to return to Heisig, saying how important it is to use a method that suits me. It’s two months since I last carried out a systematic review of the kanji. First time round I find myself struggling, but one refresh of the stories that make up the characters and they are straight back there on my fingertips. Astonishing.

Yesterday I took part in Yokohama Kokusai Festa (Yokohama International Festival). In addition to being pretty profitable (10,000 yen / £45 for about 2 hours work) it was also a lot of fun. My first role was that of UK rep on a panel of foreigners, up on stage for an hour giving our opinions on Japanese food, fashion and music. I was pretty nervous to begin with, nearly wet my pants in fact, but it wasn’t long before I had everyone laughing with my questionable humour, and was thus able to relax. Bodes well for my TV career. Following that I meandered around the various booths run by internatioanl charities etc. I was delighted to find OXFAM Japan (OXFAM of course being a British-born charity), established only three years ago, and still employing only 5 staff. It is my intention to do some voluntary work with them.

I then joined a bunch of 3-8 year olds and their parents for some running around / music / counting games, before going on to head “English World” – a one hour seminar type thing. Unfortunately my co-English speaker had decided to stay in bed, but I somehow managed to struggle through, pulling in quite a crowd when impersonating a drunk British student on the streets of Sheffield. One would have thought that I’d had practice.

Stepping into our twirly time tunnel and returning to the year Saturday, we find all three of *twinkle’s* siblings in our house. By some strange twist of clothing all four ladies were wearing blue jeans and grey tops. I would share the photo with you but that would be breaking anti-ladder rules. Speaking of *Twinkle*, living together is going remarkably well, considering what a pain I can be. There was the initial power struggle, and we do occasionally scold one another for leaving the lights on, or placing wet umbrellas just inside the entrance where they flood the floor, but other than that, it’s going ok. It feels very different to when we were both living in MY place.

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I was asked to talk to a bunch of students about Rastafarianism. Last night I received an email with details of this week’s topic: “Why the English do not slurp their tea”! Erm, because it’s rude? How I’m going to stretch that one out I don’t know. Incidentally, the theme for this week’s Japanese language essay is “You are an expert heart surgeon, and have two patients in desperate need of a transplant. A donor is found with a heart that will match either of your patients. Which patient will you give it to (the other will die).”

We have to choose our own patients. Our teacher first suggested Joseph (a.k.a. me) vs. George Bush, and then when I pointed out that that wasn’t a matter so much of a difficult choice, more a case of common sense, a small child vs. Richard Branson. Personally I’d go for Richard Branson as the small child is unlikely to own a company which will soon be making commercial flights into space (on which I’d be one of the first passengers, receiving a complimentary pair of Virgin Space Socks).

On which note I shall leave it for today. I need chocolate.

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4 Responses

  1. Hay im at sheffield doing Japanese at the moment (1st year), i stumbled across your blog a while ago and must say it’s great, its keeping me motivted in those low points where i find myself thinking “why on earth did i pick such a hard course” but your experiances, stories etc make me remeber why.

    Good to hear of someone else using Heisig as well i got up to 1100 kanji before i came to Sheff but its sorta stopped for the moment with all the work . sigh… oh, also great review site for heisig http://www.kanji.koohii.com makes revieing really painless and uses the leitner review system, check it out.
    anyway i’ve ranted long enough bye!

  2. Gosh I must be under-humoured lately, the line “How I’m going to stretch that one out I don’t know.” had me in fits for about 10 minutes.
    Funny stuff!

  3. Hi David,

    nice to be aquainted, look forward to meeting you next September.

    Thanks for the link to the kanji review site. I stumbled across it myself only last week, excellent stuff.

    I tend to use Kanji Gym Light
    to review the kanji, an excellent java application which is similar to the one you pointed out, can also be used offline.

    My orgininal mumble about the Hesig method is here:

    Hope the mid-semesters went ok, and ganbatte for the remaining few weeks! Do keep in touch.

  4. Simon,

    the silece coming from your quarters lately has had me worried, thus, good to know you are still alive, if somewhat under-humoured.

    love and kises xxx (I hope you are saimon and not some stranger. I don’t give my love out that freely…)