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Author: muzuhashi

A Walk in Yamagata

A Walk in Yamagata

This is one of those, “Aah, things were so much easier before COVID…” posts, from a time when we could all still move around freely, go on holiday, go to work without having to wear a mask, etc. etc. Miss Beautiful Happiness, a friend of ours from our time living in London (Mrs. M met Miss Beautiful Happiness when they worked together in a Japanese restaurant, and we invited her to our wedding), lives with her mother in Yamagata, and…

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Food quiz no.1

Food quiz no.1

Gyōmusūpā — literally”business supermarket” — sells things like catering-size bottles of sauce and sack-size bags of coffee, and has been rivalling Costco in popularity recently, partly thanks to being featured in various TV commercials thinly disguised as bona fide shows. Below are some pictures are of an interesting — and surprisingly yummy — food item that Mrs. M brought back from Gyōmusūpā the other week, but can you guess what it is? (A hint: although it may appear to be,…

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Cherry blossom 桜

Cherry blossom 桜

It’s a miracle: we have cherry blossom in our back garden! Not exactly a long-cherished dream, but I wanted something nice to look at instead of a brown metal fence and in the interests of cultural integration, decided that a cherry tree would be appropriate. This time last year, I bought a cherry sapling from the local hardware/garden store, read the instructions for planting it — along with some online advice — and, with a little help from M Jr. and…

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Podcast!

Podcast!

I was recently introduced to a very nice fellow called Ollie Clissold, who is currently locked down in Denmark, but over the years has lived in Australia, Vietnam, Africa, and Japan. Ollie recently began presenting an excellent podcast called Old Dogs, in which, as the name suggests, he talks to people who have acquired “new tricks” later in life. Ollie asked if I would like to appear in the podcast, so if you want to listen to me talk about…

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Scarecrow festival かかし祭

Scarecrow festival かかし祭

Every year there is a scarecrow festival in Satomi, which used to be a town in its own right and is now part of Hitachi-ōta City. I have been to the festival many times over the past decade or so and last autumn, not only did the festival go ahead (I assume they considered cancelling it due to the Covid situation) but there were some very interesting scarecrows on show. These included a Gundam: Naomi Osaka: A dragon: Anpanman’s superhero…

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Book!

Book!

I have two very important things to share with you. First, some of my writing appears in the above anthology, which is available now on Amazon and published by the very nice people at Camphor Press. Second — and of far greater importance — after years of writing/typing under the pen/keyboard name of Muzuhashi, I can reveal for the first time on these pages that my real name is Tom Gibb. Just to set the record straight, I am not,…

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My Journey to Work

My Journey to Work

A few years ago a good friend of mine asked me to contribute to a Facebook project she had devised called My Journey to Work. At the time I commuted by bicycle every weekday, rain or shine, and as it happened, was in the middle of a stint at the furthest of the five schools at which I work (at the moment I am commuting to the closest, which is within walking distance). The journey of eleven kilometres took around…

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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…

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So you want to be a direct-hire ALT?

So you want to be a direct-hire ALT?

This was originally written as a guest post for my good friend James at ALT Insider and is re-posted here with his permission. As James has so eloquently described on ALT Insider before, there are basically three types of ALT: 1) JET ALTs 2) Dispatch company ALTs 3) Direct hire ALTs. 1) Getting a place on the JET program requires that you complete eight book-length essays, twelve interviews, and twenty-five workshops over the course of three years, before being made…

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Sleepless in Ibaraki – Part 1

Sleepless in Ibaraki – Part 1

This was originally written as a guest post for my good friend James at ALT Insider, and is re-posted here with his permission. A while ago, Gaijin Pot ran a very honest and revealing article called Dealing With Depression In Japan, and while moving here may seem more like a holiday than real life, in fact – and for reasons I shall explain later – I would argue that you’re probably more likely to fall victim to mental illness while…

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