The resistance I have to writing my project for Sheffield University (that’s the one that we were told about a year ago, and the deadline for which is now just a couple of weeks away, and the one for which I have done virtually nothing) is pretty remarkable. You see my walking around in circles like a caged zoo animal, brain not really functioning, fearful of having to deal with the comment tags that were appended when the draft was looked over by the sensei. I did manage to get a fair bit done yesterday – translate the questionnaire, insert missing statistical figures etc, but only because these didn’t really require any thinking.

However, today I WILL finish all the pre-interview work, and write a summary of what the bridal planner told me when I interviewed him last month.

I would like to recommend a few of my friends’ websites.

The first, The Home Sensei, is aimed at private English language teachers based in Japan. My friend, Shari Custer, with whom I worked in Tokyo over the winter of 2002~2003, has been teaching for almost two decades, and has a wealth of experience in lesson planning, and also has experience writing text books.

Whilst I now find my conversation classes pretty easy, there are still times, with some particularly reluctant students, when I really struggle. This has caused me a lot of stress – thus I was delighted when I received an email from Shari telling me about her new site where she was posting a lot of her lesson material.

I’ve found it to be very helpful, inspirational and reassuring. I highly recommend it should anyone find themselves struggling for ideas as to what to do in their next private English lesson.

The second site I would like to recommend is also penned by Shari. This is her personal blog, “My So-called Japanese Life”, and offers a superb insight into what life is like for a Westerner in Japan. Shari has a knack of really hitting the nail on the head when it comes to discussing such things as ‘The REAL Japan’ – have a look at her recent blogpost on that very topic and you’ll see what I mean.

I find her blog to be very informative, and also a great inspiration, something to aspire to.

The third site I would like to recommend is that of a classmate of mine from the Hereford Waldorf School days, Billy Salisbury – a.k.a. the Undercover Hippy. Those of you who heard Episiode 1 of my podcast series A Year in Japan will have heard his classic, “Money Money Money”.

Anyway, Billy has just launched his new website, check it out at

I thank you.