Sunday, December 30
Friday, December 28
Woke up today and finished Harry Potter, it was imense, loved it. Then I left the housr to discover SAM, Singapore Art Museum. That was also imense, I saw work from the following artists.
- A. Ramachandran
- Farhad Hussain
- Mark Justiniani
- Abdul Wahab Bin
- Beng Ong
Amongst others. I will make a proper post with actual pictures, links and thoughts, but now is not the time. I'm just about to go to Clarke Quay to find a club called Liquid Room and hopefully have a alright to fantastic time, let's see how that goes sober and alone. HA! No way, just looked at the schedule and tonight we have Electronica and House from JAPAN... it will be a home away from home. Actually, my mistake, that's a different club.
Think Felix the Housecat is playing tomorrow.
Monday, December 3
My Fukuoka weekends have always been fun, the last two in particular were great and I was really looking forward to getting up there again and seeing some Sumo. It was months in the planning and with any event planned with JETs it was often a headache. Despite my best efforts there was still confusion over how people were getting to the venue and confusion about which day we were seeing sumo event (though it was clearly stated on the email and then again in several others), someone even asked me for a map to the hotel, as if they couldn’t just get their own map...titter, sigh.
Anyway, once we all got together, were settled in our rooms and all ready to party then things were great. Sumo before going out was a laugh, I really enjoyed the company I was in and got a few drinks in before going out. Then we went to La Boheme, which is next to the Apple store in Tenjin, and I realised after we had eaten that I had been there before with Evania and on my last visit I remember breaking something in the toilets and wanting to leave very quickly, seems that I got away with that.
Food at La Boheme was pleasant enough and then we went onto the clubs and partied on. I ducked out kind of early and left the guys to go onto Fubar from Sam & Dave’s and instead I went to a reggae bar to meet up with a friend. I ended up at Fubar much much later and then ended up in my hotel at 5am.
The next day I felt like absolute shit, I was hung-o
That evening we went for Mexican food at a place called La Borracha, the service was slow, the bill was enormous but the food was great. I can totally appreciate why Americans love Mexican food so much and why they would prefer it to ramen which is one of the things that Fukuoka is famed for, I got my Ramen fix the next day hidden in a both behind a curtain strangely enough.
After having Mexican I went back to the hotel and slept for an hour and
Another 5am finish and I was feeling fucking shit this time around, in fact I have never had a hang over like this before. I was all hatred and self-loathing, I felt terrible physically and mentally drained, it was shocking.
It worried me how much alcohol could change my mood, and how terrible it could make me feel; it made me feel like something other than myself and that wasn’t pleasant. I was again extremely terrible company on the way back to Miyazaki in the car and I didn’t bounce back from that come down until Tuesday.
It’s now a week on from Fukuoka and I’ve not drunk alcohol since, and although I feel no different physically or health wise, I do feel better knowing that I’m doing something positive for myself.
I don’t think that I’m an alcoholic, nor that that was where I was headed, but I don’t think that I was drinking in a healthy way, I certainly wasn’t drinking responsibly and that bothered me.
I don’t know how long this self enforced ban will last but so far it’s survived several attempts of peer-pressure and belittlement; I find it odd that my not drinking seems so abhorrent to people, so strange that they must again convert me back to my old ways...that's people I guess, what else should I expect.
Anyway, that’s where I am right now, I still love Fukuoka, and am keen to get up there again. Although the people who I met there have all left which is a shame, I enjoyed their company because they knew who they were and didn’t judge me because of who I was. Perhaps Fukuoka will never be the same for me, but such is life.
Friday, November 16
I recently got into Scrabulous the online Scrabble game. I’m into it in a big way and at the moment I’m having to pull myself away from 13 games and the refresh button.
I started playing Scrabulous mainly because I had wanted to play against Tom from Derby, but he declined or ignored my invitation and so my first games were against Zoe and Sarah from Hitchin. I’m now over 10 games in and have 13 active games waiting to be finished some of them with random strangers.
Scrabulous is a lot of fun, it has a social element in that you can type messages to your opponent and have a little bit of a natter whilst playing. It’s also really easy going, it’s turned based so and you can walk away, make some tea and the game will be waiting there when you get back, and its self refereeing so you don’t have to worry about whether that word is a proper-noun or not, the game will tell you (although Rob Burman snuck dawen past me earlier, and that doesn’t exists in any dictionary).
fast players, beginners, people who don’t cheat, well hung men and big breasted ladies.
However, as much as I love this game, I have to admit that it worries me too. Putting aside the cheating, the addiction and the procrastination, there is something quite sinister going on beneath the surface of Scrabulous… something perverse. It seems that for many players, Scrabulous is a foreplay for cybersex.
Since finding that I just can’t get enough Scrabble action from my friends I decided to branch out and use Scrabulous’ game-matching system to play some strangers. You get to search for available games in three speed categories, fast, moderate and slow and then the games are displayed with the players profile picture too. But here’s where it gets odd, some people put messages requesting that only certain types of players reply, fast players, beginners, people who don’t cheat, well hung men and big breasted ladies.
harmless fun, in the world of Scrabble, probably the least sexy game ever invented.
Who replies to these requests I just don’t know, and what the appeal of a scrabble playing sex deviant is I couldn’t tell you, but they’re out there and not just a few either.
I was playing with a lady from Canada on Sunday and the game was a lot of fun, we chatted about our jobs and travelling and normal light hearted stuff, and when I had won the game I sent her a message to let her know that if she ever wanted a rematch I would happily oblige. To which she replied “You want to play again? What sort of play? And how old are you?” Still think that she was talking about Scrabulous I replied that we should play with the same dictionary and play a regular game. She told me that ‘that’ wasn’t the type of play she was thinking about and put it frankly… ‘do you want to cyber?’… I have to admit, I was half tempted, but the pull of the other 7 games I had going at the time was much greater.
I guess it’s harmless fun, a bit of role-play between two consenting adults, it just seems odd that it would be going on in the world of Scrabble, probably the least sexy game ever invented.
Thursday, November 15
In front of me was a woman who has had health scare after health scare but still ate in excess. In front of me was a woman who would smoke cigarette after cigarette in front of her son and long after a friend of hers, a 40 a day friend, suffered from a stroke and was crippled by it. Despite the health warnings, my constant nagging and pleading and common sense and she never stopped smoking.
I sat in front of her and was angry because what I foresaw, as clearly as I can see my hand before of my face, what I foresaw was day upon day of me attending to her as she slowly faded away. Both of us too young to lose our lives but both of us losing our lives anyway. And it occurred to me how selfish her addiction was, how careless and unthinking she was to poison her self slowly and neglect herself totally leaving me to pick up the pieces.
My Mum is ‘healthy’ now, well, as healthy as she has ever been because despite the hospital scare she hasn’t stopped smoking and despite working a high-demand job she never exercises. It’s only a matter of time before I walk in on her again and she’s clutching her chest in pain.
So, why am I thinking about this now? Well recently in the UK a smoking ban was put in place. No smoking in public places is the basic rule, so that means bus shelters, nightclubs, pubs. And I’m delighted!
Smokers seem to have no semblance of social etiquette, they will happily pollute a persons space, air and lungs for their fix without as much as a ‘do you mind’ or an apology. And if they can’t be trusted to employ the social graces their selves then why shouldn’t the law step in and tell them “no, poisoning people with second hand smoke isn’t on. Making other people smell with your pollution is thoughtless and inconsiderate don’t do it”. Only an addict can be told not to be thoughtless and inconsiderate and then find a way to justify doing just that.
And the latest justification: The U.K. is becoming a nanny-state and our freedoms (like the freedom to be unmindful and insensitive) are being stripped from us.
Wrong! We have always had the choice of whether we would poison ourselves costing the NHS millions of pounds for extra care for those who have senselessly inflicted their selves with diseases or otherwise irrevocably affected their health. And we have the same choice when it comes to other people and whether we choose to poison them as well.
Let’s not worry about the U.K. becoming a nanny state, let’s worry about the type of culture where we expect to be able to be able to harm ourselves, to damage our own bodies despite warning and advice and then when we need fixing we put our hand out to the welfare state and cough meekly, ‘please make me well enough to smoke 40 a day again’. Fuck you! Die! It was no accident that got you in this condition, no momentary lapse in concentration, it was the constant and slow attrition of carcinogenic materials that you happily ingested everyday.
And what makes me angrier about the sudden call to arms against our oppressors, those that choose to turn our ‘liberal’ U.K. into George Orwells dystopia by removing one freedom at a time, starting with the small victory of cigarettes; what angers me is that these, our liberators of such oppression were nowhere to be seen when our real freedoms were being impinged upon. Trident, new anti-terrorist laws, Brazilians being gunned down in the street, all of these things were accepted with a sharp intake of breath and a long smoking sigh.
Thursday, November 1
Ducked a noose
The cat was amongst the pigeons
Held it’s tail
Let it loose
My mouth quickly found religion
Held my breath
Pulled out my hair
Out of luck
The future haunts my vision
Stroke my ego
Touch my leg
Your laughter is infectious
Hold my hand
Lick my beard
You’re wicked and you’re wretched
Lead me bad
Astray and lay
I’ll let you choose positions
Take me in
And hold me down
If you’re taking I am giving
Ignore my retreat
Bat my eyes
Notice me without looking
Row right past
To drum’s beat
Sodden wet, not sinking
I’m yours if you are givingLead me astray
A bad lay
Worried it wasn’t my decision
Sunday, October 28
I half watched a film called Waking Life last night, it was about a person stuck in his own dream who realised that it was a dream but couldn’t wake himself from it. He kept meeting characters in his dream who would tell him profound or strange things and new and interesting philosophies.
One particular encounter struck a chord with me; The main character of the film accidentally bumps into another person on the street and they both apologies, the woman then stops and asks our hero if they can have an actual human moment instead of being ant like, antennae out feeling around so they can get from point A to B in the most efficient way but with no real, human interaction. She explained that we have set responses for set questions and for each interaction a set reaction.
We bump into someone and say ‘excuse me’, we hear someone sneeze and say ‘bless you’, ‘Do you want coffee with that?’, ‘Have a nice day now’, ‘Will you be paying by cash or card?’
It’s like we’re automatons and we sometimes forgo what makes us human for the sake of just existing, or getting along in the most efficient manner. It’s something I feel when I enter a shop in Japan, the reactions are set, the questions always the same, there’s no real human interaction, that smile… it always looks that genuine, which makes me wonder if it is.
And other encounters too. Meeting someone for the first time, I always get the same questions, they’re polite and they suggest that your partner is interested but they say nothing about them and reveal little about you. It can become almost like you could rehearse and then just rehash the same answers to everyone you meet here and thus make as little impact on each person you meet, and have none of them impart upon you either.
The situation is worse when you can’t communicate very well; anything less than fluency is seen as a serious disability to a Japanese person and thus they act accordingly, read patronisingly. Even though we don’t speak the same tongue I’m still a person, I’m still capable of sharing more than robot answers and ant-like reactions. Where are the real human interactions?
Sometimes, I find myself so in need of humanity that I find the extreme of my emotions and explore them in an introvert manner for days upon end, sometimes it feels like depression sometimes its almost the opposite, but each time I know that something is actually happening to me, I’m still alive, I’m not just a set of prescribed reactions from a phrase book, and even though most of the people I meet here will never fully realise it, I am human.
Thursday, October 18
Ok, so you've got your pen
Your paper and wit
You got your time
So you wait and you sit
And nothing comes
Nada, jack, zip!
So you just write and hope that something will hit
But in all this time that ain't once been the case
You've never ran this like it were a race
You've never felt the threat of being red in the face
When you took this commission you had your own pace
Now you're making poetry for cash, dollar, cream
Hoping that each penny will fulfill your dream
To make a profession from what once did seem
A joy, a pastime, for the moments in between
Its for the roof overhead
And the threat of losing your flow keeps you awake in your bed
And as each pause gets longer you fill more with dread
Has it always taken this long for words to come to my head?
You're dried up - You're old news
Your best has been and gone
You won't face it - You refuse
But what else could be wrong
You don't have it - You're done
You're dead and buried mate
You don't know what you got 'til its gone
And now it's too late
So you've got your paper
Your pen, sans time and wit
You sit patiently and poised
But get nada, nothing, zip
Tuesday, October 16
Not sure that I’m cut out for blogging, as my lack of blogs may attest. My thoughts are too transient, or I’m too stupid, one of the two. Or I’m too busy, that’s a possibility… accept that I’m not.
Anyway, a blog about blogging isn’t the blog I want to blog. So that, actually this, is the last time I will write the word blog in this whole electronic public journal.
Onwards! Well, I’m going to write about my weekend… exciting times, it was dra
gon boat and it was good. Actually Friday was a bit of a blow out, I just stayed indoors, bored, making funny faces at my MacBook camera and looking for stories about technology on the internet, I may have watched Star Wars too…
Saturday however; woke up early and felt the need to tidy, I like
to tidy when I’m excited about something, I remember realising this when I was about to go on a date with a friends girlfriend, not a very nice thing to do but she was a very nice girl so… anyway, I made myself late cleaning the sink, the carpet and the windows of my apartment, then made the long journey to meet her and had fun discovering that she could tuck her foot behind her head.
So this morning was much the same as that morning except I didn’t have a date to go on, I was going to a party!
I really like parties. I love them in fact! I like to have a deep conversations about how Buzz Lightyear must have felt when he discovered he was neither unique or a hero
I realised something about myself,
on this wonderful trip of self discovery that is my tour of Japan; I really like parties. I love them in fact! I like meeting new people, or bumping into old people, I like abandoning my friends to meet them hours later and get a glimpse of the mess they’ve got themselves into. I like drinking, and buzzing off alcohol and conversation, I love to flirt, or to have a deep conversations about how Buzz Lightyear must have felt when he discovered he was neither unique or a hero.
What I discovered on Saturday night was that I don’t understand and can barely tolerate people who don’t like to party. Wait that’s not true, I can not stand people who encroach upon my ability to enjoy a party. Those people who are given lemons and just become bitter, instead of juggling, playing lemon Subbuteo or indeed making lemonade. Not only do they find fault in EVERYTHING, they will also tell you and everyone about it, making their problem your problem.
On Sunday I discovered that I can operate on just 3 hours sleep, an onigiri (rice ball) and moustache power! And that I don’t like losing, even when I’ve made no effort to actually win.
But Dragon Boat was good, the party was good and our little splinter group had a good time albeit in different places and in different ways and that’s cool. We went home after one round and that's cool, I don't think that stressing about places to sleep, making it more than one round or deliberating on where to have breakfast at 9pm detracted from the party and won't be the memories I keep longest.
After the hangover, after the alcohol comedown and after some sleep, what I remember is that I got involved, and that's what this little trip of self-discovery is really about right? Stepping out of your comfort zone for the sake of growth.
Tuesday, October 9
My last post was on the 22nd of August... sorry about that, I kind of ran out of things to say... anyway, I'm back and I have (had) a dream.
It was all set in a modern, sparse office building, glass and steel everywhere and a view that look out over a city at night, we seemed to be in the largest building for miles around and we weren’t alone. With this girl and me were two people I didn’t know, another couple.
To begin with we were all talking about the trouble we were in, we were stuck in this building with no way to get out and we were all sure that we were going to die. My friend was worried that she couldn’t call her boyfriend, Tanaka (a figment of my imagination). I’m not sure when exactly the turning point came, but once we had given into despair and decided we were going to die then the only sensible course of action was to have sex until that time came.
So my friend and I started at it with the other couple watching, whilst we were doing it we were still talking, having pretty normal conversations, nothing like the doom and gloom of how we were to survive or escape our fate, just everyday things.
It occurs to me whilst this friend of mine and I are having sex, that she really isn’t enjoying herself, so I ask her if everything’s OK and she encourages me to carryon but still looks utterly bored; then her mobile phone rings and its Tanaka.
Now my friend doesn’t live in Japan, doesn’t have a Japanese boyfriend and never has, but in my dream she’s going out with Tanaka and stops what we’re doing to answer the phone.
At first I’m nervous because I think that we’ve been caught, my friend assures me that there’s nothing to worry about and then passes me the phone. I take the phone and begin talking to Tanaka in my worst Japanese, Tanaka hangs up and I feel terribly disappointed and then wake up.
I think that the dream was about performance anxiety, hence the audience, the windows and the friend who’s opinion I value;. I’m hoping for a dreamless sleep tonight.
- To dream about sex is to dream about the integration of contrasting aspect of myself, apparently. According to experts I need to be more receptive and incoporate aspects of my dream sex partner into myself.
- To dream about having it off with an ex or someone who isn't my partner suggests that I'm anxious about embarking a new relationship or situation. It relates to new roles you've accepted and the responsibilities that come with that.
- To dream of a strange city means that you will have need to change your mode of living.
- Skyscrapers are to do with confidence or other peoples confidence in us, the higher we are in the building the more confident we are or they are about you.
Wednesday, August 22
August the 6th 2007 was the start of the 26th year of my life and the 26th time I would travel around the sun and the first time I travelled around the sun from the land of the rising sun. Because as significant as my birthday was to me, more significant was the anniversary of my arrival in Japan. I made it, with my sanity intact, with a lot to show for the journey and a lot to be thankful for.
This blog entry is late, but I still wanted to put it up. Yay for a year in Japan, sometimes its tough, but its never dull.
Tuesday, August 14
And so it starts
The bitter ‘he said’
Followed by the sour ‘she said’
Neither one of you
Will lay it to bed
So it rages on
But in no place is the battle more violent
Than inside your own head
And so it is
The lines are drawn
Rook takes knights pawn
Then the games keep on playing
Because no one is saying
Exactly what they think
Grid reference A 4
Watch your battleship sink
And so it goes
Each side has its casualties
Yet each player acts so casually
Pretending to know what each thinks
Oh they act so effortlessly
And deny oh so professionally
Tiptoeing in circles on the rink
Friday, August 10
Just relax your eyes so that the two images cross over and you will see a 3D version of the picture.
Go to FLICKR and search for "Stereoview" for more pictures like this.
Tuesday, July 31
However, a lot of people who I’ve befriended and enjoyed spending time with have left or are in the process of leaving and returning to all manner of places all over the world.
It’s an odd feeling, saying goodbye, and not one I like to dwell upon. I mean theres no gurantee that I will never see these people again and that is heartening to some extent, but, they’re moving in so many different directions its hard to imagine that I will see all of them again someday… the world just isn’t that small.
Also, I’m sorry to see all of them go, there’s not one person leaving this year who I don’t have time for. First to leave was Jessica; a girl with so much spirit and fun inside of her that she was her own hangover cure, I’ve never seen her not smiling and not having fun or not giving something 100%. Jess came down to Saito quite often and was here for the 30km walk from Nishimera (which she won).
Yesterday Tim left; Tim was one of the first people I met in Japan; we spent my first day in Japan together, which was also my 25th Birthday. Having Tim around was certainly a adequate substitute for my friends and he soon became a good friend too, although I didn’t make as much effort to visit him as I could have; something which I plan to rectify when I return to England in August.
Today Fiona is leaving; Fiona: smart, witty, quick as a whip, fun and beautiful. Again I didn’t spend that much time with Fiona but the time I spent with her was fantastic and I really appreciated it.
John also leaves today; John is another person I got on with straight away. We both share an interest in computer games, and cinema. John is moving to New Zealand for a new life with his new girlfriend Anna. Good luck John.
Later this week Alyson will leave too. Which is a shame because there are very few people as easy to get on with in the world, let alone in Miyazaki. She’s smiley and straightforward and generous with her time.
I’m liked the leavers all for different reasons; and where at first I was disappointed that I couldn’t find embodied in anyone person, what I had from people back home, now I realise that I got something different, not worse and I’m different as a result of meeting these people.
Had my ass kicked (figuratively) by Kodama sensei who is the taiko master of our group. We had a practice on a Thursday, I had been attending extra practice because Saito Matsuri (summer festival) was approaching and frankly I needed to put in more effort. Kodama sensei turned up and because I was one of only 3 people there he could hear every mistake I made, and apparently I was making quite a few.
My main problem was that I couldn’t link the uma (horse) beat to another more elaborate beat and then back again. I don’t think that Kodama sensei could understand that I could do the uma beat alone, but not with another beat following it and not with him breathing down my neck and shouting at me. It was a hard lesson.
My next ass kicking was my first performance in months at a primary school in Saito. I lost my nerve and then I lost my concentration and I lost my way through a song. It was terrible and disheartening because I knew I knew the song better than that.
My next asswhooping was from a certain JET who does taiko too and likes to tell people what to do. She told me that she thought I should quit, and then told me that I shouldn’t perform at least, and then told me that I shouldn’t play at weddings. At first she was giving me this ‘advice’ off of her own back, then when I refused it the advice was due to something she had overheard, and when that wasn’t enough the advice was because someone asked her to say something.
So I asked, or at least someone asked on my behalf, and the answer from a senior member was that everyone starts off poorly, it was the effort I was making that was important… and I was really making an effort.
Not only did I have my nerves to contend with, beats that seemed impossible, and songs that were long and hard to remember; now I had this person who wanted me out of the taiko group as well, all the time Saito Matsuri was looming too.
Something had to change; my problem was confidence, it was lack of confidence that gave this person the idea that they could dictate and bully me out of playing taiko, it was lack of confidence that led to me making mistakes in performances and lack of confidence that held me back from learning.
Now? Now, I feel that I know maybe 80% of each song well, bar the most complicated one, and I feel that I’m close to learning the other 20%. It won’t happen immediately, but it will happen, and it would certainly not happen if I just give up.
And once I nail it, once I kick it’s ass, it will feel that much better for the beatings I’ve taken along the way.
Monday, July 30
This was going to be a prize for the kids in my English Club, but both of them are pretty unlikable and neither of them make any effort to speak English. So I gave it to someone more deserving instead.
Filled with cream and utterly delicious... Milky omiyage. Yum!
The zen garden with its raked stones and island boulders. This picture was taken in Kyoto and then sent to someone in England at 4 am GMT... and they couldn't even see the pic, I don't think they were feeling too zen after I woke them up for nothing.
Came into my office one day and this piece of art was propped up against a wall. The artist is a friend of one of the teachers and she allowed me to take a picture of it.
Friday, July 20
I wrote this little bit of... um... satire (let me check my dictionary)... YES satire, just before some screwed up American went can killed a whole heap of his fellow students in a depressed gun spree, yes I know that doesn't narrow it down to any particular day.
Well this isn't a comment so much upon the state of America and that nations particular predilection to violence and more about the type of person who writes diaries. NOT BLOGS!! Oh no; diaries are a very different animal. Blogs are a digital voice to a real audience; diaries are like the voice in your own head addressing yourself like you're another person and telling yourself about what you did and thought, as if you're a mental ivilid who can not remember your own thoughts.
Keeping a diary sucks! I couldn’t take it seriously. It’s not in the least bit fun and it’s the past time of serial killers and suicide bombers. In this blog entry I’ve imagined myself into the role of a diary writer (a rather concise diary writer, if there is such a thing).
It’s spring, yay! It’s finally arrived, the winter of my discontent has melted away and the sun is shining in the heavenly blue sky. It’s fantastic, the birds are singing loudly and with such pride, the rice fields are almost ready to harvest and the Sakura blossom is here, golly gosh it’s wonderful.
Bad news! My supervisor, my protector and guardian in this strange and sometimes hostile world is being transferred to a place far yonder called Nobeoka… or as the locals call it No-one-Be-Ok-here.
I fear for his safety I really do, but more, I fear for my own. It’s selfish I know but what will I do without my supervisor. I feel that all is lost, woah betide, all is Lost!
Just as the leaves of the Sakura tree fall quietly to the ground as winds disturb their rest, a wind of change charges through my soul and disturbs the very core of me, shaking me and almost ripping me out by my roots.
It seems that not only my supervisor is to leave but my neighbours too, Nagatomo the slight and happy cook and Horiken the quiet and timid collector of pornography are both moving away.
Spring seems to bring nothing but a reminder that all great things must come to an end.
The day of the leaving ceremony, no doubt a few hours of pomp and self congratulations. I will have to keep a brave heart and hide the fractures of my war torn soul behind a fragile porcelain mask, and a painted smile.
The leaving party was fantastic! The food, the drink, the conversation although limited. I felt great! I no longer fear for my safety heading into this new era, instead I look to the horizon with renewed vigour and a faith in my stamina that cannot be shaken.
I’ve said my goodbyes now; it’s time to let go of the past.
Oh joy! Oh wonder and merriment! I got into the top 100 in my quest to spread the good gospel Lost.eu/303FC. This is reason to rejoice, this is reason to be happy, this is fantastic!
We are inextricably bound to the future as we are unconquerably tethered to our past. Sometimes I long for the Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind… tonight I opted for Ace Ventura instead.
I woke from a startling nightmare this morn. I was in a world where all hope was lost and we had all but fallen into shadow, it was a grave and hellish fate that twisted all of humanity into agonies no man should endure.
When I shook myself from this terror I put on Radio One and listened to some Arctic Monkeys. They were playing tracks from My Favourite Worst Nightmare, the irony wasn’t lost on me.
My new colleagues have arrived and never have I seen more disagreeable representatives of the human race. Crooked and bent all of them, not to be trusted I’m sure! Something in my marrow tells me they will be the ruin of me and again my dreams turn to despair.
I must stop this nonsense lest I go mad with paranoia! I must give myself to the moment and the moment now, is spring. The sun still shines in the real world and my dreams are only persistent behind closed eyelids. I hope that they are not prophetic and I’m sure in fact that they’re simply a product of my anxiety.
I’ve decided to go out sight seeing and drinking and eating. It’s hanami season and I plan on going to Saitobaru to sit amongst the Sakura blossoms and relax. I won’t be making another entry until tomorrow, in the mean time I will miss you Diary, know that you’re always in my heart.
Yesterday sucked the fleas off of mangy dog balls. Fucking hanami! I’ve seen the truth about my dreams now, and the truth about spring… it’s all about abandonment isn’t it Diary! Well they won’t leave me, oh no, those petals won’t fall, because the only wind of change is me… ME!
Wednesday, July 18
Saturday, June 16
imagine that you moved out of this persons line of sight only to notice that same feeling of being watched again, and noticing another pair of eyes fixed on you
Well imagine feeling like someone was watching you and turning to find that someone was actually watching you, unblinking, unflustered by your eyes meeting theirs and unrelenting in their inspection of you. Now imagine that you moved out of this persons line of sight only to notice that same feeling of being watched again, and noticing another pair of eyes fixed on you set in an unsmiling face on top of a neck that pivots with your every move.
Well the latter scenario is my life. I feel like the uninitiated stranger who’s walked into the village of a horror movie, everything seems fine on the surface but those eyes constantly watching, they suggest that nothing is right beneath it.
Maybe I’m just paranoid, ‘wierded’ out by a behaviour that seems so foreign to me. Perhaps I should, after 10 months, accept that I look curious to them, and that’s why they stare, woman, man and child.
I once voiced my concerns to someone, and was consequently likened to an alien.
“What if you saw a Martian on the street, wouldn’t that freak you out a bit.”
What freaked me out was being likened to something that didn’t exist, and to something that in popular culture is to be feared and not trusted. Those points aside, I’m nothing like an alien, I’m a lot like any other black person, a race of people who some believe predate Caucasians, a race of people who have been part of British society predating the abolition of slavery. Seeing a black person is like seeing a tree in the fact that no one can deny they exist and where we may all be different tree’s, I’m distinctly not alien.
I would pretend that their fixed unsmiling gaze was a look of awestruck wonderment. However ...
In fact scratch that because seeing a black person is like seeing a person in the fact that no one can deny they exist and where we all may be different people, I’m distinctly not alien.
So in my head for a while I would liken the staring to a person seeing a rare car, a Ferrari or a McClaren, and I would pretend that their fixed unsmiling gaze was a look of awestruck wonderment. However the other day I saw the same unfriendly stare, the same investigative and unblinking eyes in another face.
“disrespected, unwelcome, threatening”.
As I was walking to school I had passed too close to someone else’s territory and the staring started. Curious, alert and slightly afraid, he looked right at me fixing my gaze with a stare, unsmiling, unfriendly, not shocked, I wasn’t alien to him. And as I passed him his head turned slowly to keep me in sight, and then he done something that frightened me, he got up on all fours, pulled at his leash and barked!
A dogs eyes will never hide what they’re saying, “unwelcome, unwanted”, similarly the eyes I feel on me and then catch sight of are equally honest, “disrespected, unwelcome, threatening”.
I could go on, but I feel the side of me that has been trained to be politically correct pulling me inline. I wouldn’t want to point out any one peoples social inadequacies because that is racist, better instead to accept it, leave it unchallenged and barking loudly, whilst tethered to a place in social evolution most have long since left.
Tuesday, June 12
He said that as an actor, being trained formally, you feel that you want to hunt, want the thrill of it, want the adrenaline and the fear and the kill. You want to get out there and you want to pull back your bow and fire it. But instead you’re given a bow with no arrow, and you're told to pull it back, over and over and over again.
This teaches patients, this teaches stillness and if you’re confident that you’re are a hunter, that you have an important place in your tribe then you will happily be still, you will happily watch and learn, and pull your arrow-less bow content to perfect what you know you were born for.
that is the moment the hunter in you can be let out because then you have the coolness to temper the fire
I want to learn patience, tolerance, to be at one with myself, not to be at odds with myself. Ben said something else interesting as well, when asked what turns him off he said he hates when people come to into any encounter with preconceptions. It’s my own fault and it’s the fault of many people I know, and I hate seeing it in myself far more than in others.hates when people come to into any encounter with preconceptions
Well, I know that I have a lot to learn, there’s a lot I can gain from just watching and being patient.
Monday, June 11
Played a computer game last night… ooohhh, wow, big news right? Yeah! Big news. Don’t switch of yet though because there’s more.
I was playing a game called DEFCON. As the name may suggest the game is about nuclear weapons. You’re presented with an atlas of the world, with physical land/sea borders represented as blue neon lines and population density represented as a warm orange glow against a stark black background. It’s a clinical and unfeeling representation of the world, eschewing the greens and blues of our lush planet for a stylised, bereft and clinical representation using numbers and scant detail to represent the populous of towns and cities.
A timer counts down and I’m pitted against another human player across a network. I’m given resources, all of which are weapons of destruction, missile silos, submarines, air defence units. And although I can see where my opponent populous is I cannot see where his resources lay. I can only assume that he has similar defences as me and the ability to launch an offensive in the same way. I feel a rush of power, I realise that I can lay waste to his nation and suspect that he plans to do the same to me. The clock counts down further and a message appears on screen, I’m now at DEFCON level 3 and I set my defences up with more urgency.
A war ensues, I make a myriad of mistakes, I use a nuke to take out a ship for instance. A showy and over confident demonstration of power which backfires when my later nukes are destroyed mid-flight before hitting their targets and my planes discover subs in my sea.
The population of New York, Michigan, Texas and Ohio are decimated and I hear their screams and their moans and then silence. Their voices are muted and the silence is worse than the anguished cries.
On the other side of the virtual pond my opponents live in peace, untouched by my impotent rage. And suddenly I’m sorry. I don’t feel the same rush of power anymore and wondered if it ever really exsisted, wasn’t it always going to end this way? With anguish and screams and loss, the numbers dwindling and the orange glow fading. What once seemed like a clinical representation of the world was a dark reminder of its fragility and our ability to destroy ourselves.
I thanked my opponent for playing and left the game. Later that night I thought about Korea and my proximity to it and I thought about Nagasaki and my proximity to that place too, it’s people and the very real affects of nuclear warfare in green and blue, charcoal black and singed crack concrete grey.
So, I played a computer game last night… and it made me think.
Tuesday, June 5
Maybe I see irony where there is none or maybe I’m just far too sensitive (something I’ve never been accused of being…) but, let me recount a little non-incident from the Re-contracting conference for you and lets see if we can’t find the ironies together.
there’s only the will to survive the approaching snore-o-thon
So it’s the third day of the conference, I’m tired, disheveled, and glad that in a few hours all the lectures and all the self-improvement will soon be a memory, fast fading and leaving me as ignorant as I was when I arrived on Monday.
I’m wearing my three piece suit, with no tie and a pink shirt which certainly needs a tie to reign it in, I know I look a mess but it’s my prerogative and I don’t care. There’s no one to impress today, there’s only the will to survive the approaching snore-o-thon and leave. A lot of people have just turned up in jeans and t-shirts, fair-play to them, I wish I had thought of that.
I see a person I know across the room whilst waiting for lectures to begin and I go over to say good morning,
“How are you?”
“Fine, how was last night?”
“Great! But this morning….”
“Oh yeah, me too.”
Then I’m introduced to her friends A and B,
“Hi A, hi B, Stephen, pleased to meet you.”
As soon as B has said hi, he’s telling me that he ‘simply must fix my collar’, and then invites himself to do so apparently assuming responsibility for my appearance and ignoring the boundaries of personal space.
...I’m looking about the room for anything that looks like a chance to escape their company in a manner which won’t offend
I thank him for his assistance and then turn to my acquaintance and inquire about something banal, when I’m interrupted again by person B who then undoes my bottom button of my waist-coast for no less of a reason than “that really pisses me off”… the list of things that piss me off all the while is growing.
spiritual wellbeing, coexistence or harmony. The thought confused an already befuddled and hung-over mind
So, person B has successfully made me feel awkward and unwelcome and I’m now very self-conscious about my appearance. As I’m looking about the room as coolly as the situation dictates that I should, for anything that looks like a chance to escape their company in a manner which won’t offend, B takes a book out of his bag and passes it to my acquaintance. My jaw nearly hit the floor when I saw what it was, The Secret of Happiness by the Dali Lama.
I wondered if such a person could have really read and understood anything about spiritual wellbeing, coexistence or harmony. The thought confused an already befuddled and hung-over mind and I decided, socially acceptable escape route or no I was leaving.
Wednesday, May 23
I would be wise not to becomeInvested in expectation
It’s always weighted in trepidation
And as often as there’s elation
Where as one leaves a soul enlightened
The other is burdensome and governed
By a record of past excitement
Which soon became present dismay
Well, I get to Fukuoka after getting the night bus, I’m not well rested but I’m rested enough and I’m ready to shop.
I had wanted to see Evania whilst in Fukuoka but she had gone to Tokyo for the weekend to live it up in a no doubt stimulant fuelled 48 hours of fun and debauchery., good luck to her, wish I could trade places.
However, I had a mission. My Bape trainers have long been the trainer of choice when ducking my head into my shoe cupboard on the way out of my house, as a result they’ve become somewhat mangy, a look that I appreciate on trainers but if I’m wearing this pair to death then I will need another pair to look, um, “smart “ in.
there will be no sky gazing for me this morning. Plan B… breakfast.
However (again), I’ve arrived far too early to go shopping as the shops aren’t until 9am, it was currently 6.30am. I decide to leave my clothes etc in a locker, jump on a bus to a place I don’t know and walk around, see if I can find a park, put in the ipod (with broken iBuds) and chill out, making the clouds move with my mind, it was a wonderful day after all.
I get on the bus and I take it as far as 1000 yen will allow, I hop off and look for the park… there’s no park to be found. In fact this area is so devoid of social spaces I wonder if I’m still in Japan and imagine that the bus has dropped me in Birmingham or something, the area is distinctly and unerringly urban, there will be no sky gazing for me this morning. Plan B… breakfast.
Tenjin: full of short skirts, high heels, hair with too much hairspray and lads wearing eyeliner.
Plan B is hampered by the fact that every restaurant I pass on my now one hour plus hike through the projects is closed. I don’t let this dishearten me though; I see some very nice sites, a Harley Davidson shop being the most notable of these spottings.
Eventually I become bored of exploring this area and decide to head back to Tenjin, the downtown party area of Fukuoka and also home of the Apple store, first stop for me, I need to replace these headphones.
An hour later and I’m on a bus, it’s heading to Hakata and from there I will catch the subway to Tenjin, I’m on the home straight and nothing can stop me, I’m going to shop like a madman and then drop like a sack of spuds.
Tenjin: full of short skirts, high heels, hair with too much hairspray and lads wearing eyeliner. Straight to the Apple store. One wireless keyboard, one wireless mouse and one pair of headphones. Next, Bape!
Time to hunt for the park again.
No such luck. The nearest estimation of a park I find is a concrete amphitheatre with a shallow rectangular puddle in the middle. But people are chilling out there, so I can’t accuse it of not being a public space.
I sit on a wall and watch kids practicing their keep-up skills with a football, they were very good, incorporating hand-stands and jumps into their tricks, all very showy. Whilst sat, a couple came into the park followed by a camera crew. I watched as the man gestured toward me and whatever he was saying was interrupted by the presenter who was dressed in a gaudy looking tweed jacket with clashing salmon tie. Camera’s rolling and gums flapping, I wonder what they’re up to and then my heart fills with dread as the couple make a direct line toward me.
“Please, take our picture.”
The man says to me in rehearsed English.
I reply, deciding that ‘OK’ was to unsophisticated an answer for such an amazing polyglot. He handed me a Polaroid camera and I fixed them in the view finder being sure to observe the rule of thirds and put the girls eye level at roughly 2/3 up the frame… snap, and they’re away to talk to the presenter again, hopefully admonishing him for wearing such a god-awful tie in a public place.
The weather was beautiful that day, perfect light, perfect blue sky, light fluffy white clouds and a breeze which gave relief to any unpleasantness from a naked yellow sun which stood proud and unabashedly flashed me. I needed sun glasses.
she was impulsive and free, she laughed heartily at her own jokes ... before collecting herself to fix you with a serious look and talk at speed about things you didn’t understand
Sunglasses are a necessity for any people-watcher on a sunny day, I do hate to stare, but I do love to watch and with the backcombing, keeppy uppy’s and the now three camera crews milling about, it was now very difficult not to stare let alone watch.
The most impressive sight was an hourglass shaped Mediterranean woman, with dark features and long hair. She was wearing a pair of jogging bottoms and a half-length t-shirt with cut-off sleeves. She sat by the rectangular pond and read. I imagined that she was reading a script and that she was in character for, I toyed with the idea of approaching her for a moment, and fantasised that she might talk to me in character. In my fantasy she was impulsive and free, she laughed heartily at her own jokes and swung her head back before collecting herself to fix you with a serious look and talk at speed about things you didn’t understand. She was extrovert and bold and open and intriguing. I imagined an afternoon falling in love with her and then she left, and as she said goodbye the façade of her character was removed and I was left waving away a total stranger, someone other than the person I had spent the day with. I imagined I was desperately heartbroken and disappointed so, I no longer entertained the idea of approaching her.
AFter this unfulfilled fantasy I went to an Itallian restaurant which had Star Wars music playing in the background, but there was a twist, the music was played on the panpipes, I was impressed. Then I waited, I waited at the airport waiting for my parents to arrive for Golden Week, whilst I waited I listened to my iPod with my new headphones, cooed over my new keyboard and studied Japanese.
I love Fukuoka, my little playground whether its day or night, whether I'm alone or with friends I've never failed to have fun there.
Monday, May 21
Things here in Japan make my blood boil, way past the second stage of culture shock, still things just don't add up. Fortunately if it doesn't make sense it can be answered with three simple letters: TIJ (This is Japan).
Let me show you.
Q:Why is it that people here will evangelise about how safe Japan is but all I ever hear about is dismembered ex-pats, escapee suspects and 17 year olds decapitating their mothers?
Q: It's my weekend, mine to spend however I choose. Yet I need to fill out a form to tell the school I work at that I will be staying at a friends for the weekend. It's like I'm checking in with my mother giving her my school mate's mother's number so they can call if they get worried... what the fuck?
Q: I go to the trouble of making someone a present, in this case let's say a CD of pictures from the year. I hand it to the recipient with all the requisite humility that such an act requires here and because it's not wrapped in cheap, tacky wrapping paper its looked upon as worthless and hardly a word of grattitude is uttered. So it's not the thought that counts?
A: Of course not... TIJ.
You see, every question pertaining to frustration which is felt by living in Japan's backwater can be simply answered thus: T I J.
Thursday, May 10
If we leave our hearts in the hands of fate
In fate we must have the strongest faith
That fate’s plans and ours don’t just relate
But our interests are fate’s greatest weight
Else we may as well throw our heart away
And sail along a heartless plain
Moving, but still, in a world with no pain
But a world with no joy without fate to blame
For Nanami who has been dealt a harsh blow from a throw of a dice.
Thursday, May 3
Monday, April 9
Your back's against the wall
There's no one home to call
You're forgetting who you are
You can't stop crying
It's part not giving in
Part trusting your friends
You do it all again and I'm not lying
Standing in the way of control
I'm doing this for you
Because it's easier to lose
And it's hard to face the truth
When you think you're dying
It's part not giving in
Part trusting your friends
You do it all again but you don't stop trying
I found myself really missing home for about an hour the other day so I thought that I'd write about it, but I'm not going to moan, I want to write about why I'm so blessed to be from where I'm from.
- I love living near London, its a big city, one of the best and it has everything that the soul needs and loads of stuff that may condemn the soul to eternal damnation... fucking fabulous.
- I love my friends, they're fricking cool, and I knew this before absent made the heart grow fonder. They're a laugh, they know their selves well, they know me well and that is great. They're all individuals with such amazing personalities from different warps of life but they manage to get along like peas in a pod because they know how to empathise and they know how to step outside of theirselves.
- Music, music, music! We export and import the best music in the world. Check out the music player on the side of the page and you will see.
- The food! Maybe you have to be born and raised to appreciate it? I bloody love it, Full-English breakfast, black-pudding, rhuhbarb and custard, rice pudding, I love it all.
- Social evolution and multicultural tollerance... Britain for all it's problems is one of the most forward thinking, inclusive countries in the world and though there may be forces waiting in the wings willing to exploit fear, racial, political and religious tension to serve xenophobic and narrow sighted means, common sense will always win out.
So, although I felt homesick on the weekend for an hour or so... I can always look forward to returning to place I'm proud to call home.
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