Let it snow Let it snow Let it snow

Did I mention? I’m on retreat at the Welsh Garden Project. It snowed yesterday. I love snow. It’s really soft and gentle and white, a bit like Andrex. Not so useful in the bathroom though.

God revisited

2007 saw me trying to implement a number of changes in my thinking, with what I feel has been considerable success. I’m happier now than I have ever been (and this despite my love being in Japan and all that that entails… ;-p ) One of those changes was to start to Let Go. I […]

My 30th Birthday

This lunchtime I was reminded that this coming Sunday, I celebrate my 30th Birthday. Perhaps ‘celebrate’ is too strong a word, as the day will probably be spent writing an essay about famine. I’ve never been one to be that fussed about birthdays, at least, not my own birthdays. I think it started as a […]

The Great Leap Forward

Today I’ve been reading about Chairman Mao’s Great Leap Forward, which took place between 1958 and 1961. Mao’s drive for rapid modernisation was a catastrophic disaster, resulting in over 30 million deaths and untold hardship. The majority of the victims died of hunger, as famine ravaged the country. However, this famine was entirely man-made: as […]

Stanley. He moos when he’s happy.

Stanley was born in a field in Southern Herefordshire in early 2008. He has qualifications in IT, double glazing and logs. Application forms available upon request. Every week, he meets Mr. Mouse. Mr. Mouse is an Underground Cheese Dealer. Due to the ban on cows consuming dairy products, Stanley has to meet him in secret. […]

Love on a bridge

I saw this girl on a bridge above the Thames the other day, and instantly fell passionately in love with her. Just can’t get her out of my head

The Crack

If you go down to the Tate Modern today you’re sure of a big surprise. If you go down to the Tate Modern today you’re barely believe your eyes. For every crack that ever there was will gather there for certain because today’s the day the national crack-in-the-floor is sti~ll there. Here, the legendary chasm […]

New Year with *Twinkle*

Ne. I think if there’s one thing that really makes me feel truly grateful to be alive in this wonderful world, it is the love that *Twinkle* has brought into my life. I feel we have a strong purpose in being together that goes far beyond our everyday human lives. It is so delightful to […]

Love, Fun, Beauty

Three words, three photos, to sum up how things are. Us at Windsor Castle: The flag is flying, the Queen is at home. Pepé and the armed policemen I am so happy to be with my *Twinkle* (who, incidentally, took the above sunrise shot).


I’m now at my parent’s house, a 150-year-old blacksmithy that sits at one end of a peaceful valley on the Welsh Border. No signal for my mobile phone, no broadband internet. I like it. On Thursday morning I found myself faced with an impossibly long list of tasks to get through before evening. Looking at […]

You get what you give

It has indeed been a Wiggy Week of the highest order. The Japan soc Christmas Party was a great success, with over 150 people attending, including our beloved sensei, one of our favourite tutors, and his wife who played a big part in making me feel that Sheffield was my home, before I’d even returned […]

I’m through to the final

Last week I reported on my atrocious telephone interview which, after the submission of an essay, served as the second stage of the selection process for the 3rd Japanese Speech Contest for University Students. Today, mid-Japan Soc committee meeting, I received the following email. Gulp indeed. According to the leaflet, I’ll be one of just […]

Squirming under the Japanese spotlight

I received feedback for my presentation today – it was very positive, and generous too in light of the fact that the hours spent editing the video somewhat robbed it of having any form of ‘balanced’ argument. We had our final class with the lecturer in question today, which despite being great fun, left me […]

Start of the wiggiest week yet

Ok, so here we go, into the home straight. Good start to the week this morning: a friend of mine unexpectedly brought me some hand creme, having read about my dry hands on the Mumble! Very kind, a nice surprise, thank you Miss. F. Now, if anyone out there happens to have a spare radiator […]

The end is in sight

Ooooooohh I can SMELL the FREEDOM! It was back into the darling Western Bank Library this morning. Until this September, it was called the ‘Main Library’, but what with the opening of this swish new high-techno-wiggy-wiggy 24/365 ‘Information Commons’, it’s been renamed. Despite the fact that Western Bank Library contains the main Japanese Studies Collection, […]


flugg. flugg. fluuugggggggg,. arr. 67&^$&, $%^ Grinp etat. (after 14 hours in here, I’ve nearly finished the first draft)

In the IC

Gahhhhhhh. Midnight thirty on a Friday night and still in the Info Commons. An expresso and two cans of evil red bull are keeping me awake, as is the stress of a deadline now only 48 hours away. ga gagagaga gahhhh. I have a head full of a gendered workforce.

What would St Francis do?

Last night, a small crack opened up next to the nail on the index finger of my right hand. I saw it happen, and thought at the time, ‘hmm, this is probably going to be painful’ (I was right). The reason this 3mm crack appeared was because for the last few days it has been […]

Getting there

It was last week sometime when I suddenly noticed that the sun had set. Ok, so it had set before, but at 4pm? I’m sure it didn’t set this early last year. I’m finding these short winter days absolutely magical. Last night, with the clear skies came a heavy frost, and this morning a bright, […]

People trafficking on my doorstep

As mentioned in the past on TDM, I live in a red light district. Most nights, I hear cars screeching to a halt outside my window, women swearing about the attitudes of clients… I don’t mind too much as it rarely continues long after midnight. But until now, I’ve never really stopped to think about […]

That dam presentation!

Wow weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Ha! I did it!!! The presentation is complete! I can’t remember if I’ve talked about this here before or not, but on Thursday, I have to give a 20-minute presentation on Development Resettlement, the Chinese Governments program to deal with over 2 million people whose homes are suffering from a rather major case […]


Caw blimey gov, talk about being pushed to the limits of epilepticness. So many deadlines bearing down on me, it’s a case of bed at 2am, up at 6am. Not good for me, but possibly sustainable for another 10 days. It is amazing how much you can get done if you put your mind to […]

Balls …and a birthday party

You know that faulty electric toothbrush that I took back to Boots last month after only having it for a week due to the fact that it wouldn’t charge? I’ve just discovered that this is because electricity doesn’t come out of the mains socket in the wall unless I turn it on.. That would probably […]

The Exam

Module: EAS332 (Japanese Language V) – 3 Hours – 21st January 2008 Japanese to English Precise Translation (probably about UN) (Nic) – 25% – 45 mins Comprehension (Angela) Short text, answer in English. 20% – 30 mins Newspapers (Rick) Longish text, English summary, 25% – 45 mins Writing in Japanese (Mika) Letter to employer – […]

The Lead Telephone

That was not an enjoyable experience. As arranged, the phone rang at 9.15am. It was the lady from the Japanese Speech Contest organising committee, and she was phoning to interview me. I remember the experience well from two years ago. Ten minutes of panic, desperately trying to recall bits of vocab. (I didn’t make it […]

What happens when your Mac’s hard drive dies

Wednesdays and Fridays see me getting up at 5.45am, due to the demands of some local sushi. My involvement with the local sushi also means I have to have a police check, and unfortunately my last police check certificate has just expired. I must say, I’m glad I’ve never done anything illegal, as it would […]

TBS Podcasts

In order to feel that I’m making the most of the time that it takes to get to my part-time job and back, I jog. That’s about 30 minutes of easy downhill and harsh uphill – really gets me going for the day. I was wondering what I could listen to whilst jogging – whilst […]

Three weeks and counting

Big relief today with the handing over of the website I’ve been helping co-ordinate the construction of. I’ve put about 30 hours of work into it over the past three weeks, which has of course impacted upon my studies. I’ll be mightily glad when this degree is over – never before have I been inundated […]

Laziness leads to pain

…at least it does when tea pots full of just-boiled water are concerned. Not wanting to have to put the teapot down in order to turn the door handle, I held it in my fingers and turned the handle with my palm, the result being a great gush of scalding water all over my wrist […]

From the IC

Back in the Information Commons today, aiming to get through a lot of ‘stuff’. The university website project deadline is just a couple of days away now, so later on I’ll be pulling the remaining loose threads together and hopefully creating a nice neat package to pass on for review on Monday, before it goes […]

It’s all Well Wiggy

Big congrats tonight to our friends L&P for securing their first buy-to-let property – inspiring stuff! Apologies to Rick, Nic & Lianne for taking over the SEAS Open Day – I think the public-speaking bug has well and truly got me, I’m lovin’ it! (sorry, again, Ronald). For tomorrow’s Japanese speaking class I have to […]

Woop Woop it’s another great day in Life

Yo Yo Wiggy! Great start to the day – news that a close friend has had their business idea shortlisted for a £100,000 prize! Now we’re just waiting on our phone call to tell us that our business idea went through too! This afternoon is the first of our department’s three annual open days. I […]

What If?

Listening tonight to one of the audiobooks that has helped me most, There is a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem by W. Dyer, I’m reminded of something I tell myself all the time, yet do not fully embrace – there is no ultimate goal to be reached, there is only now. I’m also reminded of […]

Productivity and happiness

Wow, another productive day. I’m finding proper planning so useful – by putting absolutely everything in my calendar and then printing it out a-week-to-a-page, I feel in control even when I have a hectic schedule.I can see it all laid out before me. Today’s was particularly busy. Starting at 6am: 2 hours of part-time work, […]

Interview Manners in Japan

NO NO no nono nononono If it was a piss-take it would be funny. …But as it’s real it’s positively scary. Someone, save that country! A guide to Interview Manners for graduate jobseekers in Japan. (If unable to see video watch it here)

The *Twinkle* Fund

This morning I got a warning from the company that hosts the podcast I recorded in Japan last year, A Year In Japan. “Our bandwidth monitoring systems have detected that you have currently used100% of your available monthly bandwidth. The good news is your podcast is very popular! Please be aware, however, that if you […]

Changing the face of the globe

Whilst researching the Three Gorges Dam for a presentation I have in a few weeks, I came across this talk by the photographer Edward Burtynsky, taken from the excellent TEDTalks series. I found it pretty terrifying. Familiar too in the case of Shanghai. But inspiring too – a single person can make a difference. Visit […]

Astral Weeks

Last night, lying on my bed exhausted, I picked up my remote control and began to idly browse my music library. There’s so much stuff in there that a lot of it is rarely heard, buried beneath thousands of other songs that have been lucky recipients of a couple of stars at some point in […]

Letting fear get the better of me

I can’t help but feel a sense of disappointment for not dealing with my fear towards my Japanese presentation today at an earlier date. This fear, which saw me spending ages creating a Keynote presentation (only to scrap most of it when I found out it was way too long), resulted in my failing to […]


Caw blimey, whoever invented this life thing, they get Top Marks. I’m lovin’ it! Today was yet another superbly sublime day. Thank you everyone who was in it; I hope it was sublime for you too. I was just looking at some photos of *Twinkle*, who I haven’t seen now for, er, over THREE MONTHS! […]

The good times

We are feeling good. Very good. Today was a good day. It started last night. It must have been about midnight when I picked up the Japanese book. I was restless, and feeling bad about having done so spectacularly badly when tested on Keigo (polite Japanese) in class that morning. There was one consolation though, […]

Differing attitudes towards smoking

With the Japanese government holding the majority of shares in one of the world’s largest Tobacco company, Japan Tobacco (“The Delight Factory”), one could argue that this first ad is Government-sponsored. As is the second one, from the UK.

Bjorky baby

At long last, a dream I’ve had for over 10 years is set to come true. A date with Bjork. I’m just 5 rows back from the stage! Big thanks to JJJ for the tip-off. 🙂


A message from one of the masses: “Joseph, Did you know that your web site is a google whack?!!!!!! i managed to find your site by putting 2 random words into google, they were Amazing !!!! you are the only person on the web to have these 2 words on the same web page!!!

A time of darkness

As you may have noticed, I’ve been a bit stressed of late. Why? Deadlines, confusion over what I’ll do after I graduate, financial concerns. Being ill with a very bad cold left me feeling too shattered to exercise, and I turned to junk food to deal with stress. Mr. Kipling Mince Pies, Buy-one-get-one-free. Magnum Ice […]

What NOT to do when applying for JET

Whatever you do, WHATEVER you do, DON’T click on ‘Back‘. I’m just trying to convince myself that there is a good reason why I have just lost 2 hours worth of stuff entered into the JET job application form. I just can’t see it yet. 3 hours later…[Update] Ok, so I’d missed a couple of […]

Academia vs. ‘Other stuff’

In their welcome comment on my previous post, “Anonymous” expressed the view that a half of me is expressing. That is, that having made the decision to concentrate on my degree which is after all the reason I came back to the UK, I should stick to that, and not be sidetracked so much by […]


6.30am Up to go pick up Takoyaki trailer and tow it to trading position 7am Breakfast, deal with 16 emails that came in overnight 8am Jog down to hire car place, arrange car rental for Christmas 9am – 11am Read book about Japanese NGOs and write dissertation outline 11am – 12.30pm meet with librarian to […]


It’s incredible how a bad attitude can affect others. For the past week or so, I’ve been unable to connect to the University’s wireless network. I took my Mac to the computer help desk, and was told that yes, it was a known issue with Macs running Leopard. They would look into it. I went […]

"Public" transport

A few days ago I started writing a post in which I was going to mention the pleasures of being sobre (as I have been for many weeks now). It was prompted by a blog post written by my friend Shari, an excellent little piece on ‘alcoholism’ (nani sore?!) in Japan. But then I forgot […]

White Water

Wow, my body has been Super-Ill today, it’s been mightily impressive. My nosy is bleeding it has been blown so many times. My throat is raw, my tonsils large making swallowing something to be avoided, my legs and back totally ached out. Energy levels are somewhere in the bicycle shed below my room. Good thing […]

Leopard: One Week On

Non-macaddicts, skip this entry. I’ve finally figured out why photos I edit in LightRoom look crap on Firefox – Firefox (and Internet Explorer for that matter) ignore embedded colour profiles and assume everything has been created in an sRGB colour space. Thus whilst my photos exported with other colour profiles look great on most of […]

No Procrastination Weekend

Being in the grips of the lurgy (confined to bed, floor near bin covered in snotty tissues, legs not working), and with a ton of study to get through, I thought I’d declare this weekend “No Procrastination Weekend”. So I thought I’d design myself a nice poster in Photoshop that reads “No Procrastination Weekend”…

coming out of the dark

Of all the scary photos, this one scares me the most. I like it. p.s. thanks to the person who sent me that mystery (drunken?) message at 3am today. Next time you do see me, introduce yourself and I might be able to indulge you.


I’ve been very busy this week helping my friend Will get his brand-spanking-new WillYaki mobile eatery business on the road. It’s come a long way since those days when we used to sell octopus balls from a cardboard stall outside the union, using a borrowed BBQ set. There’s now two sides to the business: preparation […]

Spinning is so sexy

Quite an eye-opener this Japanese Studies degree course. Below are some quotes from one of the handouts we’re working with in one of this week’s translation classes. (It’s not an English-Japanese dictionary I need here, it’s an English-English dictionary!) “…today, a multiracial coalition of mixmasters is bumrushing the hip-hop/soul arena, dawning the latest trend in […]

Sleep …and more mac clap-trap

I really like the way my body knows what it needs. This past week has been pretty hardcore, with several nights that have seen me sleeping for less than five or six hours. Thursday was probably the longest day, with the fire alarm going off at 5.40am and then again at 6.20am, 10 minutes after […]

Mada Macless

It’s good for me, right? A good long break from my computer. It’s day 8 today. I’m going to have to wait at least another 4 days. It’s been good in a way. Playing with this Windows laptop is just so boring that I only bother switch it on to check emails. Saves me a […]

Just for the record

Listen, can you hear that? Listen carefully. Yep, you know what that’s the sound of. It’s me, vocalising the words “YESTERDAY I ATE 10 PEARS”. And I did, you know.

Long Distance

Tonight was the Japan soc Halloween Party. Fabulous, just fabulous. Everyone made such a big effort to dress up – there were some pretty scary characters there! I’ll post some photos which I think you may like a little later in the week. The status of my Mac has finally changed to “Undergoing Repair”, so […]

Time Management Part 2

One thing that today’s session highlighted for me was just how difficult I find it to say ‘No’. This results in my becoming involved in many different projects – spreading my resources thinly, leading to an overall net loss in effectiveness. I’ve been trying hard to say No more often. In meetings, where volunteers are […]

Time Management

So, I went to my Time Management session today – a two hour workshop run by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, delivered for free thanks to the university’s Life Skills program. I thought it pretty ironic when, on leaving the session, I looked at my watch and realised that I’d just missed my 3pm lecture! (A lecture given by […]


Recently what with all these data backups and so on, I’ve been thinking, “It’s a shame I never kept copies of my original website. All that time I put in to writing my first bits of code… That ghastly light blue colour scheme…” And then tonight, completely by chance, I stumbled across an archive of […]

Accepting me for me

It’s been a good weekend. Got lots done. I think it was a good thing that I didn’t have my Mac this weekend. The nervous tension brought on by the knowledge that next week I will get it back with a new screen, new keyboard, new optical drive, new Operating system, new iLife suite and […]

Under the sea

I think if it was just a case of having to put up with the very loud prostitute outside my window I wouldn’t feel that stressed. But combine that with having to use Windows XP and it’s enough to make one want to live in a submarine. For about 10 years. Without oxygen. p.s. Excellent […]


It was about 10am when I heard the crash. Jumping up from my bouncy ball I pulled the net curtain back, and peered out onto the main road. There were a lot of stationary cars, a motorbike on its side, and in their midst, a guy lying on his back. Seeing this, I dialled 999 […]

Hello Leopard

The countdown to the launch of Leopard on Apple’s front page currently reads 3 hours 16 minutes 36 seconds. At that time, Apple shops will open their doors after a few hours of secretive preparation, and allow people to get their first glimpse of Leopard. Unless of course those people happen to already have it […]

Bye bye Tiger

I had serious doubts last night as to whether I’d be able to attend all my classes today. I don’t like missing lectures, as we have relatively few, so any missed tend to have quite a big impact on one’s overall understanding of what’s going on. It was after 1am, and I still hadn’t finished […]

Life without a computer? Impossible.

So, following today’s Planning Your Dissertation meeting, I’ve decided to give up eating. There clearly isn’t time for it this year. Spent an hour on the phone to Hiroshima this morning (cost me all of 25 pence). It wasn’t the whole city mind you, ’cause I wouldn’t have understood what they were saying, just one […]

Stress and hair loss – an experiment

I thought I’d conduct an experiment today. The idea was to induce extreme stress for a short period of time, and see if my hair fell out. I concentrated hard, inducing stressful thoughts for about 30 minutes, and then waited. Sure enough, about 35 minutes later, a huge swathe of hair fell out. It was […]

The travels of my Mongolian Phrasebook

I received the following email a few moments ago. Made me smile! “Hi,Just thought I’d update you on the progress of your Mongolian phrasebook which is travelling the world without you. I had a great time in Mongolia whihc has to be one of the most empty and beautiful countries in the world – nearly […]

Anton in Tibet

Checking my RSS feeds, I found that Anton, the young chap I met in Moscow who shares my passion for adventurous travel and photography, has finally reached Tibet. He’s been taking some stunning shots, which I invite you to take a look at. I have a You Tube recommendation too, which brought a few tears […]


At those times when one does something well, and receives recognition for having done it well, it can be difficult to prevent one’s ego from going out and feasting on chocolate-covered organic pineapple (my favourite food). Doing so can cause one to believe that one’s legs have grown and that one is now at least […]

Andy Goldsworthy makes me happy

Today, I had a real treat – a visit to Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which is currently host to a number of Andy Goldsworthy installations. It was absolutely magical. Standing before his huge wall of leaf stems I had shivers running down my spine. Surrounded by his cracked mud-walls, I was glowing, this was the real […]

An intelligent universe

I’ve been listening to Alan Watts‘ lectures this morning, thoroughly recommended. They’re pretty short, easy to digest …and make sense for me. Available as a podcast too. “You cannot get an intelligent organism such as a human being out of an unintelligent universe.” Hmm. I guess that means I must be intelligent…? Tags: alan watts […]

Striking a balance

It’s been quite interesting for me learning about the Tao in the light of the other reading I’ve been doing this year. Many of the books I read at the beginning of the year had messages such as “Step outside your comfort zone!” “Dream, and then chase that dream!” “Live everyday as if it were […]

Are you an Amazon shopper?

The loss of Google Adwords was a bit of a shock – I’d been using it to pay for bandwidth and server space, as well as raising money for Oxfam earlier this year. Still, the ending of that contract forced me to explore other avenues, one of which has been Amazon. I’ve not been too […]

Let’s sing and dance!

I blogged this not all that long ago, but the link was buried amongst others, and I don’t think I did it justice. Imagine if everyone lived in the spirit of this message! Wow, what an amazing place this world would be! CLICK ON ME!!! “The Big Hoax”. Being a final year student I’m now […]

Getting on board with Audiobooks

It struck me this afternoon that I have been doing rather a lot of advertising around here for Audible of late …and not getting paid for it! So let’s change that! Whilst the following may sound like a sleazy sales talk, I do mean every word of it: the positive impact that this company has […]

A huge THANKYOU!!!

You see, there I was just wondering how I was going to cope with the next couple of weeks, when, when I entered the kitchen to put the kettle on what did I find? A surprise package for me! And look what was in it! A huge THANKYOU to Mum #2 for your generosity. I […]

Busy Busy Busy

This past week I have constantly been thinking, “What can I let go of? Where can I make some extra time?” Yet now I find myself with a few new errands, all of which I find very hard to say no to as I want to do them. For a start, there’s the Japanese Embassy […]

Fire Drill

We had our annual fire alarm test this morning. I always think it’s an interesting excercise, as it demonstrates differing attitudes towards life. You know, like that of people who clearly don’t like their course, and so take ten minutes to evacuate their flats. Standing in the courtyard in the freezing cold, you’re exposed to […]

It Doesn’t Matter

It wasn’t that bad a day for me personally. It was a bit disquieting though towards the end. Took my Mac to Apple shop this morning, as it has’t been able to finish burning DVDs lately. Also, the screen got scratched during 9000 miles. And the keyboard surround has split when the lid makes contact. All will be […]

Today I learnt that I have a temporomandibular disorder – Hurray!!  Now I get to add yet another section to my healthy-living routine, this one involving me opening and closing my mouth like a relaxing frog. This afternoon I carried out my most ambitious experiment yet into ‘mind over matter’ – in the dentist’s chair. I was […]

Washing Day

Is it normal to be so economical with clothes usage that one only has to put a single wash on once every three weeks?

In the press (just twice this week)

Just two mentions in the press this week – a double-page spread in a Japanese magazine, and a single page in the internationally unrenowned student newspaper, Sheffield Steel. I can’t quite remember why I gave them that terrible photo of me kissing a Mongolian herdsman. However, I am delighted that Pepe the Peguin has made […]

Blog Action Day: The environment

Today, as you may or may not know, is Blog Action Day. The theme? The Environment. As you know, I could ramble on and on for hours about this …but you’ll be happy to know that I’ve decided not to do this. Partly because I have to go and pick up my organic vegee box […]

cliff edge

I spent a couple of hours in a team of 8 this morning, shovelling 6 tonnes of coconut fibre into sacks. I then helped with the carrying of what was quite possibly the largest round table in the whole world, across town. This was followed by a lovely thank you meal; thank you Panni and […]

Facing the truth

It’s been another of those “landmark days” today. The focal point was our comprehension class, in which we were given back the scraps of paper with last week’s translation attempts on. I did pretty appallingly. It was quite depressing, although it took some time to sink in. The next few hours were spent with a […]

The Experiment …and the future

This one’s been brewing. I hope you’re ready for a long one. Subjects separated by horizontal rules. I’m loving this music sharing stuff. Tonight I have an additional FIVE music libraries to choose from, thanks to the university computer network to which lots of people’s computers are connected. Currently we are listening to Dvorak’s New […]

Two Years

Happy Anniversary to Us! Tags: *Twinkle* | The Daily Mumble

Woopy wee woodaloo

I’m so bloomin excited about life I can barely sleep. I just feel so damn good! I want to get up now before I’ve gone to sleep (but not go down mill or live int shoebox int middle a road). What on Earth is going on?!! p.s. this is not one of my two weekly […]

Joseph causes a storm at the BBC

“BBC Weather Pictures of the Week” – remember the one I took of the rainstorm over Japan’s Inland Sea? Fourth along from the left. “Joseph caught this cumulonimbus cloud and rainbow while sailing to China from Osaka.” Tags: photo | weather | bbc | The Daily Mumble