T-weet t-woo

T-weet t-woo

With just twelve official followers, Jesus would never have succeeded as a messiah had he been born into the Twitter generation.

Not that I want to equate myself with the son of God, but that was approximately the number I attracted during my brief flirtation with Twitter in the early 2010s. I like to think, however, that one or two of my tweets were either funny, informative, or both, so despite a complete absence of public demand, I have collected them for you here.

The tweets are in reverse chronological order, and cover a period from early 2013 back to early 2011. Some of the statistics and so on will, therefore, be several years out of date:

Number of organ donors per annum: Japan – 112 / USA – 8,126. Number of organ transplants per annum: Japan – 329 / USA – 22,517

Of 15 men and 15 women questioned after exiting a Tokyo convenience store, 4 of the men had made impulse buys compared to 13 of the women

It’s official! The five most common Japanese surnames are: 1) Sato 佐藤 2) Suzuki 鈴木 3) Takahashi 高橋 4) Tanaka 田中 and 5) Watanabe 渡辺

There were icicles on the bathroom window this morning and I still have hay fever – does this mean I’m allergic to frost rather than pollen?

The spout on our kitchen tap is so long that when you turn it on, you can feel a tiny, two-second rush of air before the water comes out

There was a programme on TV last night in which the presenters were sampling 鶏肉刺身 (raw chicken) – surely not a good idea…

Believe it or not, there is an entry in English language Wikipedia called ‘List of Japanese People’

Recent test question: _____ is my pen? Correct answer: Where is my pen? One student’s more philosophical version: What is my pen?

I assume I’m not the first person to be disappointed to find out that cous cous isn’t some special kind of grain, just very small pasta

Most amusing answer found while marking end-of-term exam papers: Q – What do you want to be in the future? A – I want to do a nurse.

1 in 30 children born in Japan are now of mixed-race parentage

“…in 2011, 149,000 British citizens left the UK with the intention of spending at least a year in another country…”

People who commit suicide are far less likely to be smokers than those who don’t – ergo, if you’re feeling depressed, have a ciggie

Last week, for 3 days in a row, school lunch contained no meat at all – great news for a pescetarian, but will probably never happen again

Interestingly, there’s a clause in my employment contract stipulating holiday entitlement in the event of me becoming a bone marrow donor

More panda facts! Pandas spend 10.5% of their time playing, 35.5% of their time eating and a whopping 54% of their time sleeping!

88.8% of houses purchased in the UK are second-hand. 86.5% of houses purchased in Japan are brand new.

How’s this for eco-friendly? When Mrs M finishes her shower, I turn off the boiler & have my shower using what’s left in the hot water pipes

Opened a new bank account for baby M Jr today & got 2 free gifts: one Anpanman (popular cartoon character) towel and one…box of tin foil?!

Annoyingly, the ledge beneath a standard Japanese blackboard is never quite big enough to accommodate a standard Japanese blackboard eraser.

I always expect something like the Indian monsoon, but rainy season in Japan is a damp squib: no more rain than a typical June in the UK.

One of the 1st years filled 11 pages of his notebook just writing the days of the week, so I left a note telling him to try something else.

Good news: baked beans on sale near our house for 98 yen a can. Bad news: Italian-made baked beans don’t taste quite the same as UK ones.

In 2011 the average age of a woman giving birth to her first child exceeded 30 for the first time in Japanese history.

After years of research and experimentation, I hereby decree that it is much easier to eat salad with chopsticks than with a knife and fork.

Gaw blimey guvnor! Mrs M has discovered Eastenders on YouTube and our married life has gone cockney for the first time in a year and a half!

Last night’s epic thunderstorm started at 6 and was still going strong when we went to bed at 11

Number of people in Japan reported to have damaged their eyesight while looking at the solar eclipse: 100+

Little known motoring-related trivia factoid: Mazda – as in the brand of car – should actually be pronounced Matsuda

Note to self: Coco = curry house, Coco! = convenience store, Coco’s = family restaurant

It’s official: proper hay fever medicine is only available on prescription in Japan – the over-the-counter stuff is pricey and ineffective

Most preposterous looking DVD found at local video shop: ‘Soccer Dog’ (they even had the sequel in stock: ‘Soccer Dog 2: European Cup’)

In Japan, a flat-head screwdriver is called a ‘minus screwdriver’ and a Phillips is called a ‘plus’ – think about it…pretty clever, eh?

Longest highway bus route in Japan – 1162km / 15hrs (Saitama to Fukuoka) / longest normal bus route – 167km / 6.5hrs (in Nara / Wakayama)

In true Japanese style I’m 1) not going to use up my paid holiday entitlement this year and 2) not going to get paid for the leftover days

In Japan this year, the popularity of electric bicycles is set to overtake that of motorbikes and scooters combined – 400,000+ sold in 2011.

Contents of emergency supply boxes in Tokyo elevators in case they get stuck between floors: water, food, temp. toilet and…playing cards?!

Never let it be said that teachers and students are poorly fed – highest number of calories in a school lunch this month: 907 / lowest: 702

Some words of jazz wisdom: ‘A genius is the one most like himself’ (Thelonious Monk)

Amusingly enough, here in Japan ‘Being John Malkovich’ was called 「マルコビッチの穴」- ‘Malkovich’s Hole’

Last week our junior high baseball club broke the world marathon record…sort of: all 20 members ran 200m at a time in a 42km-long relay

It won’t be long before we need Jamie Oliver to fly in and rescue us: today’s school lunch included – gulp – the dreaded chicken nuggets…

80% of students studying Japanese in Japan – including myself – learn from volunteers, not professionals

Interesting panda fact: baby pandas in captivity have to be ‘burped’ after feeding, just like baby humans

My local video shop has a copy of Pasolini’s ‘120 Days Of Sodom’ – not quite sure who’s going to rent that one in a small country town…

It may surprise you to know that judo is by far the most dangerous martial art in Japan – 114 deaths over the past 25 years.

Results of annual health check (free for public employees): high cholesterol, low white blood cell count, but on the plus side, no cancer!

It pains me to have to teach words like ‘Italy’ in my English lessons when the Japanese pronunciation – ‘イタリア / Italia’ – is more accurate

Just acquired some authentically non-designer jeans – no text or branding at all apart from ‘high quality guaranteed’ on the fly button

Surprising fossil-fuel related statistic: Japan imports more coal than any other country in the world, including China.

Here’s a fax that won’t land on my desk very often: ‘Warning – wild monkeys spotted in the vicinity – do not approach or make eye contact’

What is it with winter clothing and artificial fibres? Am currently generating enough static electricity to power a medium-sized town.

I assume I’m not the first person to get bored while driving an automatic and switch from using my right foot to my left?

Fewer Japanese schoolchildren – 41% – have respect for their teachers than in any other country in the world

Chilly apartment? Frosty mornings? Cold bicycle seat? No heater in the bathroom? Yes, it’s goodbye summer, hello haemorrhoids!

Slightly worrying animal fact: guide dogs are colour blind and therefore can’t tell the difference between a green and a red traffic light

Useful household tip: the secret ingredient for removing stickers from CD cases, windows, pets etc isn’t white spirit, it’s WD40

CEOs of major Japanese companies earn 16 times more on average than their employees. CEOs of major UK companies earn 88 times more.

Landlord at our apartment last night to deal with a very British dispute: downstairs neighbour angry that a car was parked in ‘his’ space

Saw Inception last night & thought it’d be fun to summarise the plot in a Tweet: so there’s this bloke, right, and, er…actually, forget it

Had a dinner party on Friday where all 4 of us turned up wearing hoodies – symbol of disaffected youth, iconic fashion item, or both…?

UK Border Agency has lost paperwork pertaining to over 120,000 visa applications – is it just me or is that staggeringly incompetent?

7 months after emigrating, the time has come to stop reading the BBC sport page – after all, how much obscure snooker news do I really need?

If you hang your futon over the balcony for a couple of hours on a sunny morning, it’ll still be warm when you go to bed in the evening.

A 3-metre deep / 20-metre square hole recently appeared near our apartment and was promptly filled in again. I’m thinking nuclear waste…

Just taught a class where I was the only one in a room full of thirty people not wearing a surgical mask, which was somewhat disconcerting.

Epidemic of whooping cough (百日咳 / lit. ‘100-day cough’) is sweeping the school – not v.good news for the singing festival this Saturday…

Apparently there’s a word in Japanese for ‘the day after the day after tomorrow’ (明々後日) – how pointless and at the same time marvellous

In rankings for TOEFL (exam to measure English language ability), Japan is 135th out of 164 countries worldwide and 27th out of 30 in Asia.

Have now realised that deliberately cycling over fallen leaves so they make a crunching sound is just as satisfying as walking over them

You know an English lesson is going downhill when your fellow teacher makes the dyslexic student read a dialogue in front of the whole class

Note to self: particularly when there’s a typhoon, try not to leave your mobile phone on a pile of newspapers outside the back door.

You know an English lesson is going downhill when your fellow teacher asks you to sing We Are The World solo in front of 30+ students…

You know an English lesson is going downhill when your fellow teacher mis-spells the word ‘Octber’ when writing the date on the blackboard.

Correct answer to ‘jumbled sentences’ exam question: What do you have for breakfast? More intriguing answer: What do you have breakfast for?

Two extracts from the same student’s homework (task: to write about their weekend): “I got up at sex. I had lunch about one at homo.”

Newsflash: Applicant for Level 1 of Japanese Proficiency Test mistakenly marks 東北 as desired exam location on application form instead of 関東

I’m not saying that I work in the sticks, but of the 21 teachers at my school, 7 have the kanji for ‘rice field’ – 田 – in their surnames.

You know an English lesson is going downhill when your fellow teacher produces the dreaded Pronoun Wall Chart…

Since April this year my junior high students have grown 1.8cm taller and 0.3kg heavier (average across 1st, 2nd & 3rd yrs / 12-15 yrs old)

Hurrah! Family-size packs of Choco Pie are back on sale at the supermarket! (The factory must be back in action again after the quake.)

No. of school dinners to be served this month: 20 / No. of school dinners containing meat: 19 / Not the best news for a semi-vegetarian…

At last, the Japan tree stats you’ve been waiting for! Tallest tree in Japan: 63m high! Thickest tree in Japan: 24.2m circumference!

Average temp in Mito, Ibaraki in 1897: 12.4 degrees C / in 2010: 13.8 degrees C / Annual rainfall in 1897: 1498ml / in 2010: 1298ml

Inter-racial marriages in Japan 1965: approx 5000 per annum / 2011: approx 50,000 per annum / Inter-racial marriages ending in divorce: 50%+

New fastest time for junior high school disaster evacuation drill: 2 mins 20 secs

Average intake of vegetables in Japan 20 years ago: 111kg per person per annum. Average intake of vegetables in Japan now: 95kg and falling.

According to Japan’s interpretation of the 24-hour clock, 12 midday is 00.00 hrs and 12 midnight is 24.00 hrs, which is frankly confusing.

Japan 1970: green tea made up 70% of all caffeinated drinks consumed. Japan 2009: coffee made up 63.4% of all caffeinated drinks consumed.

Number of mosquito bites sustained this year up until last Friday: approx 3 Number of mosquito bites sustained since last Friday: approx 15

Is it just me or is there something odd about the fact that my electric toothbrush takes a full 24 hours to re-charge?

Only just found out that a Japanese player was sent off for a cynical foul in the dying seconds of the final – not very sporting of her!

Most amusing question posed in Junior High School debating contest (aka. Interactive Forum) last Friday: ‘Do you like cockroaches?’

Water temperature in elementary school swimming pool (outdoor / unheated) this week: 29 degrees C

Current maximum daytime temperature in London: 21 degrees. Current minimum night-time temperature in Ibaraki: 23 degrees.

Probability of 6.7-7.2 magnitude quake off Ibaraki coast within 30yrs: 90% Probability of 6.7-7.2 magnitude quake in Tokyo within 30yrs: 70%

1st thing said when I arrived to have lunch with 1st graders (by a girl holding a plastic-wrapped cheese sausage): ‘It looks like a willy!’

No fair-trade chocolate in the supermarket! What am I supposed to do with my middle-class guilt now that I’m living in a class-less society?

I only know this because one of them landed in the playground the other day, but ‘air ambulance’ in Japanese is ‘doctor heli’.

Latest ‘only in Japan’ fact: children here are encouraged to say hello to the people they meet when on the way to and from school.

Official stats from headmaster: all junior high students do 500-plus hours of after-school club activities every year (excl. PE lessons!)

Time spent cycling last Saturday: 6 hrs. Time spent cycling in dry but overcast conditions: 2 hrs. Time spent cycling in pouring rain: 4 hrs

You know you’re getting old when…trousers with an elasticated waistband start to look both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

Why is it that noisy neighbours always play crap music? I’ve never, for example, been kept awake at night by John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme.

New favourite pastime / ‘only in Japan’ experience: watching all the teachers clean their teeth in the staff room after lunch

Distance sea bed moved at epicentre of 11th March earthquake: 24 metres

Just realised this is where I used to park my car before a night out http://s.webry.info/sp/bestof.at.webry.info/201103/article_31.html

Target time for staff and students to fully evacuate school building during earthquake drill: 3mins. Current record time: 3mins 19secs.

Newsflash: Sound engineer of ten years’ experience puts CD in CD player wrong way up and has to ask school secretary for assistance!

So farewell then my North Face jacket, after nearly a decade of faithful service. You always kept me dry, and yet I only washed you once…

Current favourite pastime: watching the Coffeemate dissolve in my afternoon cuppa. It’s quite hypnotic, you know.

Japan: the country where you can say to your partner, ‘Did the earth move for you, darling?’ and mean it literally.

Best thing about the Royal Wedding by some distance: The Archbishop of Canterbury’s eyebrows!

Money spent at local 100 yen shop since moving into new apartment: approx. 10,000 yen. That’s 100-plus items of useless plastic crap!

Lesson learned from yesterday’s shopping trip: assembling flat-pack furniture in Japan is just as infuriating as it is in the UK.

Stopped at a zebra crossing today for a school kid – after crossing, he gave a bow to us and another car that had stopped – only in Japan!

Cost of 1 x packet Dorset Cereals muesli from food import shop in Mito, Ibaraki: 847 JPY (approx. 6 GBP)

Number of students so far who have done their 自己紹介 (ie. introduced themselves to me personally) during English lessons: approx. 180

Previous record for no. of earthquakes in Ibaraki during one calendar year: 345. No. of earthquakes in Ibaraki during the past month: 400+

Quake, hail, lightning, torrential rain, aftershocks – yesterday was so much like a disaster movie I half expected John Cusack to turn up

Time taken between double-clicking Firefox icon on workplace PC laptop and Firefox actually starting up: approx. 3 minutes.

Satisfaction at buying new shirt for 490 yen: inversely proportionate to mood when contemplating pay and conditions of orphan who made it.

Last night’s aftershock was big enough to have finished school, left home and become a fully independent earthquake in its own right.

Most convenient aspect of new employment contract terms and conditions: wearing of necktie not compulsory.

Some people say that 140 characters isn’t enough space to properly describe what’s going on in the world, but I think that’s a load of rubbi

I tried to write an incredibly concise and articulate tweet that summed up exactly what was going on in my life, but sadly I ran out of spac

Number of times Mrs M has written our names and address on various forms (apt, mobile, car, bank acc, etc, etc) in past week: approx. 236

Distance Japan’s east coast has moved towards USA: between 2 and 5 metres. Distance Japan’s east coast has sunk into Pacific: approx. 75cm.

Cost of 3-bed flatshare in SW London: approx. 1600 GBP per month. Cost of 1-bed flat in Hitachi-ohmiya, Ibaraki: approx. 350 GBP per month.

Exchange rate in June 2007: 1 GBP = approx. 250 JPY. Exchange rate in March 2011: 1 GBP = approx. 130 JPY.

Time elapsed from entering doctor’s office (no appointment) to leaving with full results of medical check-up (including x-ray): 45 mins.

Length of queue at nearby petrol station last Wednesday: approx. 1.5km. Length of queue at nearby petrol station today: approx. 200m.

Average earthquake frequency under normal circumstances: once a fortnight. Average earthquake frequency at present: once an hour.


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