So, this is it. Morning of the final day of my journey from Tokyo to Sheffield. In a few hours, Mr. C will be arrive from Bristol to take the helm of the family chariot and drive it three hours north to the university of Sheffield, from where I shall pick up a key to Broad Lane Court, the now familiar block of early-90s housing that we all know and love. No doubt I will then be meeting my housemates (at this stage I know that one is American and another Jamaican), and wondering how on earth I’m going to fit everything in that room. They’re not the largest of student flats you’ve ever seen, but they are clean, warm, and have high-speed internet (I noticed yesterday that I can set my Airmac Extreme to generate an invisible wireless network, so that gets over the issue of no wireless networks being allowed).

Penguin at dawn

I finally finished my packing yesterday afternoon. I’ve managed to reduce my long term memory collection (that being schoolwork, letters, diaries, cards and photos) down to 6 banana boxes, which can be stored under my bed for the time being and sent to Japan when the time comes. Mum and dad have been just great, giving me the space and time I need whilst feeding me yummy food and doing all my washing! Despite being in a financially sticky situation, they have also been very generous in covering my transport costs, getting my 16-year-old bicycle serviced and sorting out a big box of food to keep me going until my student loan comes through.

I’m pleased to have been able to keep my body clock on Moscow time, waking naturally just after 6am. Early to rise and early to bed is my ideal rhythm, but whether I can maintain it whilst at uni I don’t know. I was asleep by 9pm yesterday!

Waking this morning I feel excitement, it’s surging through my body. There’s a nervousness too. The nervousness is connected with the thought of all the things I will be committing myself to doing. The course. The Japan Society. The Photography Society. The Student Ambassador thing. The daily exercise. The web-site creation. Oh, and the part-time job, which I now accept is going to be necessary if I don’t want to end up begging towards the end of term.

Where’s the time for my reading? Returning home last week I was delighted to find an article in Resurgence by Deepak Chopra; it was a response to Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion, which I note with sadness remains in the top 10 bestseller list. Unfortunately I don’t have it to hand (it’s at the bottom of one of my boxes ready to go to Sheffield), but it is a superb expose of the fundamental flaws in Dawkins’ thinking. It left me thinking of Dawkins as the Channel 5 of the literary world – full of cheap sensational crap aimed at those who have just finished reading Big Brother 345 – Debbie’s secret diary from the inside.

That was actually the first of Chopra’s works I’ve read, despite being only too familiar with his name. Having read that, I asked mum if they happened to have any books by him. I suppose I shouldn’t have been all that surprised when she produced two, one dealing with coronary diseases and how to overcome them, the other focusing on The Path to Love. I started reading the latter last night and have found it utterly inspiring.

Nephew No. 1, Jamie, playing the clown

In this book, Deepak ‘explains how we can rediscover the love we long for, one which is rich and meaningful, satisfying and lasting – by restoring to love its missing element: spirituality’. I can see that by reading this book one could come to appreciate one’s relationship with one’s partner, family and friends on a whole new level, and come to accept that when one is struggling with others, really one is struggling with oneself. One’s current partner is always the right person – the right person for who we are at that time.

Through the glass: Nephew No.2, Edward

Unfortunately I now have to load the car up, and I doubt I will make the time for this book once I reach Sheffield, so instead I shall be buying the audiobook version from – Hurrah for modern technology and its role in the path to enlightenment!

Nephew No.3, little Ralph

See you in the North!

Love, Joseph