Browsed by
Month: December 2012

Alan Booth

Alan Booth

Alan Booth moved to Japan in his twenties and lived here for more than half his life, until his untimely demise from cancer at the age of 46. On the face of it he would appear to have written just two books, and one of them was published posthumously, so there must be scope for a further collection of his journalism and travel writing, of which there was sufficient for him to earn a living (he doesn’t appear to have…

Read More Read More

The roads to Sado – Day 6

The roads to Sado – Day 6

After the morning commute, there is a period of about four hours during which most of the buses on Sado are idle, so sleeping late rather scuppered my plans for sightseeing. After studying the timetable in some detail, I decided to head for Futatsugamé at the far north-eastern tip of the island (seen from above, Sado is shaped like a kind of laterally elongated figure of eight, with four corresponding ‘corners’), and after catching the bus from Sawata to Ryotsu,…

Read More Read More

Men of the year (sort of)

Men of the year (sort of)

As a follow-up to my post about gorgeous gals I’d like to go out with if only Mrs M would let me, and as promised, it’s time for a counter-list of studly Japanese fellas. Except it’s not. I asked Mrs M to tell me which of her countrymen she’d most like to be wined and dined by, and she said that, to be honest, there were barely enough to count on the fingers of, er, one finger. So instead, I…

Read More Read More

End of an era

End of an era

I had intended to work at the friendly, rural junior high school and friendly, rural elementary school for another couple of years, but just before Christmas a friend of mine made me a job offer I couldn’t refuse, and as of this month I shall be working at not one but five friendly, rural junior high schools in the next town (and to Mrs M’s delight, earning an extra few thousand yen into the bargain). So before I forget what…

Read More Read More

Flight

Flight

One thing I never got round to doing before I confessed to Mrs Muzuhashi that I’d be OK with the idea of moving to Japan, was to make a For and Against list of, er, Pros and Cons. Given my penchant for lists of all kinds (apart, that is, from those Saturday night TV epics along the lines of ‘The Fifty Greatest Car Chase Film Bloopers Starring Chevy Chase and Chris Tucker of All Time’), I may still get around…

Read More Read More

Wedding

Wedding

When you tell Japanese people that a British wedding can go on all day, or that an Outer Mongolian wedding can go on for five days (I’m making that example up, but you get the idea), they will look shocked and wonder how much like hard work it must be to get married or go to a wedding in the UK / Outer Mongolia. But for sheer, concentrated, intensive hard work, even at an average of less than three hours’…

Read More Read More

Tatémaé

Tatémaé

Tatémaé (建前), also known as jotoshiki (上棟式) or munéagé (棟上), and not to be confused with the more familiar meaning of the same Japanese word (建前or sometimes 立前: one’s public face as opposed to one’s real feelings or opinions), is a traditional Shinto ritual to bless a newly built house and, presumably, the people who will live in it. It is not such a common practice these days, as evidenced by a somewhat cursory entry in Japanese Wikipedia, but a tetemae…

Read More Read More

Exile On Main Street

Exile On Main Street

Because of the background noise, which necessitates turning the volume up in one’s headphones to potentially damaging levels, I tend to avoid listening to music – or indeed watching too many films – when flying, but as I was shuffling through the iTunes-style album list on my entertainment console thingy on the flight to Japan, I was tempted into the metaphorical dusting off of a timeless classic. Ever since I inherited a battered old copy from my father – on…

Read More Read More

From the archives

From the archives

From an unspecified newspaper on an unspecified date – probably more than a decade ago – and found while sifting through boxes of mementos in preparation for The Big Move: Howling MistakeA woman had to be taken to hospital after she saw a body slowly rising from a coffin on a rubbish tip on a dark October evening, Winsford magistrates court heard yesterday. Mrs Doreen Power, aged 43, of Middlewich, Cheshire, twice had to be given oxygen by ambulancemen after…

Read More Read More

From the archives II

From the archives II

Hunt for video game loser who left home Police last night stepped up a hunt for Mr John Chandler, aged 35, who stormed out of his home in Reading, Berkshire, after a Star Raiders video game beat him. Mrs Linda Chandler said yesterday her husband had been playing the Atari video game last Tuesday. ‘He was getting soundly beaten and became very angry. He kicked over a tray of tea cups and was very ratty. Soon after, he got in…

Read More Read More