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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…

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Looky-likey

Looky-likey

By some freak of genetics that I don’t pretend to understand, I have been blessed with everyman-like features, and over the years a disproportionately large number of people have told me that I look like someone they know, or someone famous. For example, a friend of mine once went up to someone on the tube and, convinced that it was me, said, ‘Hi, Muzuhashi!’ only to be treated with a blank look and a ‘Who’s Muzuhashi?’ in reply, and in…

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The ALT Insider guest post!

The ALT Insider guest post!

In the space of little more than a year, ALT Insider has become the one-stop-shop for those of us who ply our trade as token gaiji…er, I mean English teaching assistants in Japanese schools, and seeing as James – the man who rules over the ALT Insider kingdom – was kind enough to let me write a guest post for his site, in the spirit of reciprocity, here’s his contribution to the United Kingdom of Muzuhashi. Read, enjoy, and if…

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Preggers pt 2

Preggers pt 2

Mrs M is now seven months’ pregnant (or eight if you count them the Japanese way), and we keep ourselves amused of an evening by watching Muzuhashi Junior on the move. She seems to be most active just after we’ve eaten and just after we’ve gone to bed, and like a cat in a sack, when she kicks her legs or wiggles her arms, little comedy bulges appear in Mrs M’s bump. Late last year, though, when we had only…

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Speech 演説

Speech 演説

After much badgering by my teachers, this year I finally decided to have a shot at the prefectural speech contest for non-native speakers of Japanese. Somewhat improbably, I came in second place, although this may have been because a) one of those teachers was on the panel of judges, b) another teacher gave me a lot of help writing my speech, c) I had concocted a fiendishly cunning tactical plan after seeing a Vietnamese friend take part last year, and…

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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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The agony and the ecstasy

The agony and the ecstasy

Baseball is by some distance the most popular sport in Japan, and in order not to feel left out when the subject comes up in conversation, I have been trying to learn a little more about it. Obviously there is a national league with its dominant team, the Yomiuri Giants, and several Japanese play in the American major leagues – most notably Ichiro Suzuki of the New York Yankees, who just passed 4000 career hits, something that only six other…

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Chopsticks 箸

Chopsticks 箸

For a long time, whenever I ate lunch with the students I couldn’t help noticing that they held their chopsticks differently from me. At first I thought that it might be just a lack of table manners on their part, particularly as a lot of them seemed to be employing a crude-looking, clenched-fist technique. Then one day a third-year homeroom teacher – having given me the standard ‘Oh, you can use chopsticks!’ compliment that most foreigners in Japan have heard…

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Washing machine 洗濯機

Washing machine 洗濯機

Back in the days when I was still a bachelor, I would do the laundry as little as was humanly possible – ie. about once a fortnight for clothes and once a month for hand towels, tea towels and so on. Like her mum, however – and particularly now that we’re a family of three – Mrs M does a truly heroic amount of washing. She claims – with some justification, it has to be said – that my bath…

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Footie

Footie

A couple of weeks ago Japan earned a 1-1 draw with Australia, thereby becoming the first team to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Brazil, and in order to fully savour the achievement, I paid one of my very occasional visits to a nearby Western-style pub (that’s Western as in non-Asian, not Western in the horses-tied-up-outside / customers-wearing-cowboy-hats / poker-games-ending-in-shootouts sense). Watching the footie in a pub with one’s mates is a British tradition that stretches way back into…

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