Thursday, March 29

Shoe Gazing

Who do I confide in now when no one seems to want to listen? I called Brin the other day, excited that I had a night out on the town, with the big city lights and away from the quiet hell of the countryside. I describe my grievances about living in the sticks only to be told that I should not complain, at least not to him.

they’re good distractions and not much else

Then there are those who aren’t even that honest, simply paying me lip service enough to get to their own point, and talk about their own problems. I wonder if they mistakenly pride their selves on being good listeners when in reality they’re good distractions and not much else.

So, I write it here, say it to the wind. My fair-weather friends, my lip-service pals and the rest can ignore a friend in need as much as they want to here. Here I’m nothing but a URL, a scribbled note on a mental to-do list that never gets actioned.

join me on a shoe-gazing trip through rural Japan

In some ways it’s liberating knowing that no one is reading this, but still constricting knowing that they could. Not that I have anything bad to say about them (my friends, fair-weather and otherwise), I know them well enough to realise it would be too much like hard work to join me on a shoe-gazing trip through rural Japan.

Still, I wish there was someone more vocal to confide in than the wind.

Wednesday, March 28

Panic Attack

Fuck, I think that I had a panic attack last night.

I had just come off the phone to my aunty Annette and was trying to think of the positives that could be found from a pretty negative conversation about the upcoming family reunion. I decided that I would write an email encouraging everyone to turn up and to put it in their calendar, to come with a positive attitude and for those who’ve worked hard towards making it happen, enjoy your self. I find that when I organise something I get so close to the project that I become my own biggest critic and often my own worst enemy, it was with this thought in mind when I checked my email. There was a reply to a forum post I had made about the new Bank of England £20 note.

English imperialism and correct my worldview

In the post I had addressed it to all the JETs from the UK, and then informed them that the £20 note had change. However I didn’t say that the Bank of England note was the only one affected, and a particularly vocal member of the JET community seized upon this as an opportunity to fight English imperialism and correct my worldview… “England doesn’t equate with the UK”.

It was whilst writing a reply to this that my heart started racing really hard, my vision became slightly distorted and, well, I panicked. At first I thought that the 3-day-old wine I had just swigged from the bottle may have been ‘bad’, then I thought I was having a heart attack. When I finally came to my senses and realised that I was having a panic attack I tried to calm myself by controlling my breathing, that didn’t work.

the catalyst for the attack, by no means was it the cause

So, I didn’t ignore it but I decided I would finish the reply and concentrated fully on that task. That seemed to work, I felt a lot better after finishing and my panic had turned to worry. My heart was still beating hard when I went to bed, but nothing like it was before.

Althought the email was the catalyst for the attack, by no means was it the cause. I’ve been stressed recently with the preparations for my parent’s arrival, everything is in hand but I’m still letting it worry me a lot. Also I’ve been having trouble with learning Japanese, partly due to a lack of motivation. And at work I’m losing my supervisor and I’ve been trying to plan the years lessons at work, which is no small task. I guess it all got on top last night, hopefully it was a one off.

Thursday, March 22

Good and Bad News

Last week I nailed the sycncopated beat I had been struggling with and I had a great time playing the Oroshi which is a series of beats played on the Taiko that continuously gets faster until it played very fast and then we start over. Watako often plays one set of beats twice and then plays the rest of the beats one bar (think thats the term) out of sync with the rest of the group so when we’re playing, Don ma ma Kon ma ma Don ma ma Kon ma ma (where ma is a silent non-played part) then she is playing, toka toka toka toka toka toka toka toka (where toka is a right hit quickly followed by the left stick).

I also went in and out of sync and still managed to keep in time so was very pleased. We played Oroshi for an hour straight without stopping and my Boshi didn’t slip from my right hand once, by the end of the practice I was also trying to lean back and forth in time with the drum hits, this is part of the performance in one of the songs and usually throws my beat off but now I keep rythym.

However later in the night when I had to use the syncopated sequence in a song I screwed it up and went back to a 1 – 2. I also screwed up the simple beat from the song I should have learnt by now.

Last week however I found some kids playing Taiko in School, and saw where they hid their boshi, so I will approach them and see if I could practice with them. One of the kids was pretty good, playing a complicated beat that involved crossing hands and playing on more than one Taiko.

Yesterday was Taiko practice, but I missed it. I was tucked up in bed by 8pm and wasn’t going to move for love nor money… not good. I will have to try double hard next week.

Wednesday, March 21

St. Patricks Party

Online Videos by

Warning: This video is about 7 minutes long and my only description of it is that it is random. It was filmed by Rebekah, so that is to be expected I guess.

Monday, March 19


I was reading the Guardian games blog and came across an interesting sounding computer game called Lost. It’s fiendishly simple and encompasses many of the things I like about the net, community, communication, creativity and self expression.

The premise is simple, to get points get as many people to join the game as possible, each person playing as a result of your invitation is an extra point and points really do mean prizes. After a certain date, the person with the most points wins $5000, and there are $500 prizes for the top 10.

So far people have been writing their invitations in the sky (using balloons and banners) in the sand, over their arms, on money (I’ve never seen a defaced 1000yen note, so was eager to copy this technique myself), all in order to spread the word and play the game in a way that is interesting to them.

I want to do something creative and get from my current position of 509th to the number one spot. I used to make stickers in Derby and put my (terrible) tag on them and then place them about the city. When I was advertising and promoting The Runoff I would make stickers with the logo on it and put it everywhere. However, I never see graffiti in Saito or Miyazaki, I don’t think there is a culture of it over here, for viral advertising or otherwise.

Japan isn’t a public forum for individuality and creative expression and every idea I’ve thought of so far I can only imagine would be frowned upon at best or get me sacked.

So far I’ve taken advantage of the fact that the game has the same name as a popular TV program and uploaded copies of the latest episode of said program with a small text file attached asking people to sign up to the game. It’s worked with about 10% of people who downloaded the file signing up, I will repeat the process this Thursday after enjoying what promises to be an excellent episode. I’ve also appealed to the people of Myspace, the people of Facebook, snuck sneaky links on and Flickr and posted a link to too.

If I was to win I would donate $1000 to a charity, more than likely to M60 considering my previous and ongoing involvement with them.

As soon as I think of the best way to get to the number one spot I will put my plan into action… in the meantime, go sign up here.

I'm in 400th position with 74 participants... whoop!

Friday, March 16

Saito Seeing Through Spring Clean Eyes

Japan is an interesting sight these days. The famed sakura are in blossom and everywhere there’s a hint of summer. Bright pinks and soft creams line the roads and paths, vibrant reds dot the bushes and a sea of yellow meets the horizon in Saitobaru. There are tulips (red, pink, yellow) in the road divides and the river which runs past Tsuma Temple is a deep teal emulsion with a coat of living gloss shifting over it and looks amazing bordered by the lush deep greens and hazels of the surrounding trees.

"Bright pinks and soft creams, vibrant reds and a sea of yellow"

Yep, Japan is a sight at the moment; the days seem longer, warmer than last month. Though the weather mostly remains temperate with the occasional break of sunshine and then rain.
Rice paddies reflect in them the grey of the sky with small green spikes disturbing the motionless clouds at uniform intervals.

"Satisfaction can be found in whatever you choose to love"

Japan is a marvel, a real treat for the soul and mind. I had grown so jaded with the changes of the season in England. Each change seeming to only bring a new complaint from someone: “too cold”. “too wet”, “too hot” , “not hot long enough”. Here however each change brings a new romance, a new poetry, and from me a quiet sigh of relief as I realise there’s more to life than money, sex and alcohol. Satisfaction can be found in whatever you want, in whatever you choose to love, yep the romance is back, and my favourite mistress Japan is being as kind and as generous as she has ever before.

Monday, March 12

Film Review


Not a film to watch whilst eating, this total gross –out horror tells the grim tale of a small southern North American town that gets thoroughly worked over by a mutating, flesh eating, tentachled, alien menace.

This is a film which isn’t to proud to aspire to B-movie status and then stop, is fully aware that B-movies could scare as much as they provoke fits of laughter which are only halted by something so hideous your gag reflex kicks in, but so ridiculous your laughing again. A mutant head-butting deer, anyone?

The Pursuit of Happyness

I will start this review by stating three prejudices and biases I have:
1. Movies based on true stories suck!
2. Movies with Will Smith in are great.
3. Movies based on true stories with Will Smith in are fantastic.

Now these nuggets of BS can be attributed to films of my past, thusly:
1. Perfect Storm- a film so bad I left the cinema and screamed abuse at the screen before the film had even got two thirds in.
2. Men In Black! Independence Day!
3. Ali.

So, if we look at the third assertion in each list then The Pursuit of Happyness should be a fantastic film! It’s not, it’s average in every respect apart from it’s length, which is too long.

Mystic River

Fell asleep (due to utter exhaustion through self neglect, not due to the film) close to half way through and then woke up at the end and I didn’t feel like I’d missed anything of significance. The whole ending is signposted so early on its hard to get excited about such an obvious conclusion.

However Sean Penn’s performance is fantastic and so different from his other recent more recent treats too. If I came away from this film with anything I came away knowing Sean Penn is one of the greats of our time.

Billy Elliot

I watched this film with an Australian and was worried that the Newcastle setting and thick accents would be far to foreign for an Ozzie. Twenty minutes into the film and I realised that 1970’s northern England is place in as foreign to me as my friend.

Thankfully the director and actors do a fantastic job of describing the scene, the tension, the political climate and they never forget that this is a story first and foremost about following your heart.
Brimming with artist flair, evident in the choreography, cinematography and the direction, this film is a delight to watch, an amazing film.

Sex and Lucia

A Spanish language film with amazing cinematography, an amazing story which is well acted and handle with aplomb by a fabulous cast. As unrealistic as the situations these characters find themselves seems you’re led willingly as the viewer, eager to see what twist leads to the opening scene (a flashback) and an apparent suicide note. This is proof that there are some stories only film can tell, a masterpiece.

Akeelah and The Bee

Feel good movies don’t come much more cliché than this, but fortunately, the fact that this movie conforms so closely to all other coming of age, feel good movies works in its favour. The situation Akeelah finds herself in is fantastical enough in context but small enough to be believed and understood by the audience. It always feels like a personal struggle that Akeelah is capable of winning. She’s hampered by insecurities and immaturity but the one lesson she learns helps her overcome her hurdles.

Standard fare, but entertaining to the last.

For Your Consideration

Hollywood satires aren’t for people like me. I appreciate that Hollywood is full of vacuous bimbo’s, despicable pond-scum, and fickle users, but as long as they keep turning out great films that make me munch popcorn mesmerised… well, I don’t care.
‘The fame and the backstabbing is hard, boo hoo, and it’s pathetic how these people act’, OK, but it’s not funny.

Pan’s Labyrinth

When you first see the extent of the villains cruelty in this movie you root relentlessly for his demise, and try to ignore the nagging feeling that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.

Pan’s Labyrinth is a portal to a world of immortals, a mythical escape for the young protagonist of the story. Her fantasy world is in stark contrast to the real world of war and sacrifice that surrounds the Labyrinth itself, but is as threatening and as dark for the viewer, and sometimes even more threatening.

Pan’s Labyrinth is a fantastic film, maybe one of the best of last year. How it was overlooked in the Oscars is an absurdity of such preposterous proportions as to be unfathomable.


Another Spanish language film, this time staring Penelope Cruz as a woman trying to cope with the death of her husband whilst running a new business venture and discovering more about her late mother than she may want to.

Volvre manages to make big events seem small and cursory whilst highlighting the characters emotions with the most subtle of set pieces, gestures and scenes. In one poignant scene the despair of being unloved, unappreciated and trapped is communicated without the lead saying a word.

Cruz was nominated for an Oscar in this role and she deserved that recognition. Another amazing film.

Friday, March 9

Ill and other such excuses

This isn’t going very well. I missed my taiko lesson this week and missed an oppurtunity to play with some of the more experienced players in the group. They came along and played some pretty complicated songs, it would have been fun to observe and i may have picked up a thing or two.

However I was in bed with a book, feeling very sorry for myself and producing a whole heap of mucus. Yes, I’ve got Man-Flu, or more commonly known as ‘the common cold’.

The week before this, I tried to play an syncopated beat and failed. Whenever I got it, my left hand would distract my right and I would end up hitting a 2-1 combination. I really need to get this rythym down because it’s an important part of the second song.

I’ve also forgotten parts of the first song, and I’m being rehaunted by the simple beat (r,l,r,l,r,l,R,L with the two last beats accentuated), I messed it up twice.

More complaints… my right boshi (Japanese drumstick) keeps slipping from my grip and it doesn’t seem to matter how I hold it. This particular problem may be solved by doing fingertip push ups, I will try 10 a day from now on.

Another thing on my to do list is to get my camera fixed, it has footage of my last practice on it which I meant to practice from, however I broke my camera the day after practice.

All in all this isn’t going well…


Learning Japanese is a long term goal and I have to remember that its not a race.

I’ve been enjoying my study of late, but this week, again with the cold, I’ve not taken it too seriously. I’ve been listening to Pimsleur lessons which I’ve put on my PSP and now carry everywhere. I’ve ordered a 4gig memory card so I can have all the Pimsleur lessons on my PSP and some video lessons on there too.

Things I think I’m doing better

Repeating words outloud when reading them.
Immediately trying to use a word in a sentence or three to remember it better.
Listening to the conversations around me more intentsely.
Asking for help or translations from my Japanese colleagues.

I’m taking lessons and although the teacher isn’t very experienced in teaching her own language, she’s a bit too timid and doesn’t take the iniative in testing me or pushing me, I think that I’ve found the best way to get what I want from the hour a week I have with her. I go into each lesson know what grammar points I want to cover, I review first, then I move on to things I’ve not done before and I ask for explaination. She has a tendency of saying ‘muzukashi’ every two seconds but eventually gets to the point.

My Kyoto Sensei at the agricultural highschool I work at is talking more Japanese to me. He doesn’t slow his speech down and he talks with a Miyazaki accent but corrects my pronounciation when I use a Miyazaki accent or when I say something lazily. It’s good practice.

Things I need to do

The Clair Books
Get through Genki One
Commit Katakan to memory
Learn more vocabulary

On the last point, I need to use mneumonics for vocab. I have real trouble remembering the syllables of words and often get the Japanese for Famous mixed up with tasty or even cow. I definetely need some devices for remembering them.

Thursday, March 8

Quick Update:-

Stagnant Blog Alert!

Ok, just about to go bowling with the people from school, so, I'm just going to make this short and sweet.

Preparations for my parents arrival are going OK but turning out to be quite expensive, oh well, so it is.

Broke my camera, well someone else broke my camera, but it was an accident and I'm insured so I won't cry over spilt milk.

Talking of which, I've been getting back into cereal for breakfast, mainly because I've been voiding carbs from my evening meals and I wanted.. why am I lying, its because to lazy to make something substantial, to cheap to buy something and the stuff I've got is chocolate flavoured.

Just found out that the mobile phone charger at work in the socket on my desk belongs to me, and I didn't lose it. This news comes after I dish out 2000yen for a new charger and face the indignity of being laughed at by the none-to-clever girl who works there because my Japanese wasn't pitch perfect... fucking rotten toothed hag.

Anyway... what else...?

Nope that's it.

Oh.. here are the multiplicity shots I took before my camera broke:

Label Cloud

London (66) Just Plain Silly (46) Yak (43) Photos (40) Photography (39) Rant (35) Photo (34) Video (33) people (24) photoshop (22) Poetry (20) Portrait (20) Review (16) film (16) England (15) Travel (15) Music (11) Photowalk (10) 5adaychallenge (6) Bestival (6) Festival (6) art (6) movies (6) (5) Japanese (5) Night (5) School (5) Street (5) UK (5) trailer (5) Black andamp; White (4) Cathedral (4) Costume (4) Greenwich (4) Love (4) Norfolk (4) Tattoo Convention (4) WDPS (4) Winter (4) Woman (4) America (3) Animals (3) Autumn (3) Bow Creek (3) Canterbury (3) Charlie Clempson (3) Hipstamatic (3) Performance (3) Photographic Assignments (3) Snow (3) Summer (3) flowers (3) iphone (3) religion (3) whitstable (3) Abstract (2) Beach (2) Bird (2) Carnival (2) Cats (2) Comics (2) Dancing (2) Fireworks (2) Flickr (2) Ganes (2) Hats (2) Leytonstone (2) Mirror (2) Monochrome (2) New Year (2) Notting Hill (2) Sculptures (2) Sky (2) Soho (2) South Bank (2) Tattoos (2) Toy (2) Trinity Buoy Wharf (2) Westminster (2) Wildlife (2) blog (2) camera (2) cars (2) forwards (2) nature (2) party (2) postcards (2) seaside (2) sport (2) spring (2) 620 Film (1) 90's (1) A-Team (1) Acrobatics (1) Aerosol (1) Airport (1) Alcohol (1) Anne Rice (1) Antique (1) Batman (1) Bicycles (1) Bokeh (1) Book Cover (1) Box (1) Boy George (1) Bridge (1) Bristol (1) Brixton (1) Brownie (1) Bull (1) Cake (1) Calm (1) Camden (1) Challenge (1) Chinese (1) Christmas (1) Church (1) City (1) Colour (1) Covent Garden (1) Crowds (1) DLR (1) Daruma (1) David Twohy (1) Diptych (1) Dog (1) Dulwich (1) Epic Fail (1) Eric Radomski (1) Erotic Book Store (1) Exotic (1) Fatboy Slim (1) Fire (1) Fire Eater (1) Flame (1) Foreign Policy (1) Fox (1) Fruit (1) GRass (1) Gallery (1) Gayla Partridge (1) Glasses (1) Goat (1) Gosh (1) Graffiti (1) Gull (1) HMS (1) Hands (1) Hawk-Eye (1) Hearts (1) Heron Quay (1) Heygate (1) Horse (1) Hot Chip (1) ICA (1) James Bond (1) John McTiernan (1) Kanye West (1) Katherine Green (1) Landscape (1) Leaves (1) Links (1) Lomo (1) Mac (1) Markets (1) Meetups (1) Michael Hoffman (1) Mobile Phone (1) Monkey (1) Niels Arden Oplev (1) Nuts (1) Orange (1) PC (1) PS3 (1) Panoramic (1) Patrick Cox (1) Pepsi (1) Rain (1) Reflections (1) Ropes (1) Science Museum (1) Security (1) Self-Pity (1) Sex (1) Shine (1) Spotify (1) Squirrels (1) Stain Glass (1) Stations (1) Steve Gordon (1) Steven Spielberg (1) Street Fighter (1) Summer Sonic (1) Sunset (1) Sunshine (1) Swords (1) TV (1) Taiko (1) Technology (1) Thames (1) The Last Shadow Puppets (1) The O2 (1) The Wachowski Brothers (1) Top 5 (1) Towers (1) Toys (1) Umbrella (1) Union Jack (1) Wellies (1) White (1) Window (1) Winner (1) Words (1) Youtube (1) anime (1) atheism (1) bikes (1) cartoon (1) cheese (1) cityPGame (1) comedy (1) dance (1) desk (1) doctor who (1) dreadlocks (1) email (1) (1) hair (1) hip-hop (1) huts (1) kites (1) lecture (1) memorial (1) nudes (1) parrot (1) piece (1) portraits (1) royal (1) running (1) sakura (1) shoes (1) square (1) symbols (1) symetry (1) tezuka osamu (1) the future (1) thoughts (1) transsexual (1) vide (1) wedding (1)