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Month: February 2013

The roads to Sado – Day 4

The roads to Sado – Day 4

I awoke at ten past six to the sound of muzak drifting in from the hotel corridor, and while the weather outside had improved since the previous evening, it was still very much on the moody side. Pretty soon I had left the mountains behind me, and riding through the suburbs of Niigata City was relatively straightforward, as they were full of rice fields and flat as a pancake. The only problem was that after just three days on the…

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Muzuhashi Junior

Muzuhashi Junior

Mrs M called me at 5.30 on Monday morning to say that she was at the maternity clinic with okah-san. An ultrasound scan the previous Tuesday had shown that M Jr was swimming in a slightly smaller amount of amniotic fluid than she ought to be, and after another scan on Saturday, Mrs M was told that if it reduced any further, she may have to be induced later in the week. In the event, she woke up on Sunday…

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Poo! うんち!

Poo! うんち!

When you have a baby, all of a sudden poo takes on a much bigger role in your life than it used to. In the days following M Jr’s birth, her nappy filled with a black, tar-like substance, the technical term for which is meconium, and which contains a mixture of (and I quote) ‘intestinal epithelial cells, lanugo, mucus, amniotic fluid, bile and water’. This eventually settled down into something less sticky and with more of a green tinge to…

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Espresso Tea

Espresso Tea

The first thing many Japanese holidaymakers do upon arriving in London is to take afternoon tea – preferably at somewhere posh and expensive like The Ritz – and even in Tokyo there are several places where you can experience this great British break time, including a chain of cafés called, appropriately enough, Afternoon Tea. Even in Ibaraki we are blessed with Kohcha-kan (located on the main shopping street between the north exit of Mito Station and the Keisei department store),…

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Baseball club 野球部

Baseball club 野球部

Just because the summer holidays have already started doesn’t mean the students stop coming to school, so for the couple of weeks’ work I am obliged to do between now and the end of August, I have decided to join in with the various club activities that will be occupying them during their supposed time off. First up was baseball, which is renowned for attracting pushy parents who complain if they don’t think their child is being coached to the…

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The Goddess of the Toilet / トイレの神様

The Goddess of the Toilet / トイレの神様

Every New Year’s Eve there is a programme on TV called Kohaku-Utagassen (紅白歌合戦 / The Red and White Song Contest). It’s like a longer version of Christmas Top of the Pops, in that it showcases the best and / or most popular songs of the past year, and the big talking point on 31st December 2010 was the song Toiré No Kami-Sama (トイレの神様 / The Goddess of the Toilet) by Kana Uemura (Tokidoki Tokyo has also written about the song…

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Landslide! 地滑り!

Landslide! 地滑り!

A small corner of the countryside in Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture recently made the national headlines, when half a field full of green tea bushes and a large chunk of the hill on which it was perched plunged into the river eighty metres below. As I was watching the news, though, I couldn’t help thinking of that scene in Crocodile Dundee, the punchline for which is ‘That’s a knife’. In other words, forget green tea bushes in Hamamatsu, this is…

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