Random thoughts, comments, observations and general fluff from a random bint who left London at the end of September 2004 to embark on a new life and new adventures in Tokyo, land of the cute.... and is leaving mid-June 2010 - and counting!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

New Years Cards

Not being one to send Xmas cards - well, it involves being organised and finding time and most people I know don't tend to send them and bla bla bla - I always wonder why people DO buy loads and hand them out to people they know. I mean sending to people you don't see all the time, fine, but it's such a commercial thing, isn't it? And the fact that it's so often done with a complaint because people feel they have to send them but don't want to, find it boring, bla bla bla.

Anyway, here New Years cards are the big thing rather than Xmas cards. And one of my students told me yesterday she'll be spending her Xmas holidays writing 600 of them. Well, glueing a signature and message into them. I taught her the word 'tedious' in exchange for this information and told her I didn't know 600 people. She said many were acquaintances of her husband and that a couple of years ago they'd had to send over 1,000 cards, so this wasn't so bad.

Yeah right. As I was discussing with another student, second marriages in Japan aren't as common as in, say, the UK. I imagine one reason could be that once you've done the get-up-at-5am-to-make-breakfasts-and-lunches thing and the New Years cards thing, once - that you have no desire to ever do it again. I am, of course, just theorising here.

Monday, November 28, 2005

It's s-s-s-s-so c-c-c-c-cold!

Daytimes are still, generally, pretty warm here. But the nights, bloody hell, they are SO cold my hands are all wrinkled when I'm at home... Roll on spring.


Sunday, November 27, 2005


I got told this evening my taste is cheesy! I'm devastated. I mean just cos I like trashy music and trashy movies doesn't mean I'm cheesy. Does it?

We're the kids in America, wo oh,
We're the kids in America, wo oh,
Everybody lives for the music go round,
La la la-la la la

You know, sometimes, I feel my life is so complicated. I mean I have to keep on making decisions like what karaoke song to sing next, or what holiday I should book next. WHY DIDN'T I DO THIS YEARS AGO????

Friday, November 25, 2005

Just Wrong

This morning I saw several council employees on ladders, up trees.

They were taking all the leaves off the trees.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Does everything have to be sanitised and in its place here?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A lovely lady called Susan

Susan is an ex-colleague of my mate Sarah's from the UK. On a warning that we'd either love or hate each other I was told Susan would be getting in touch whilst in Tokyo. She did. And you know what? It's bloody difficult making arrangements with someone that doesn't have a mobile phone here! But we did and had a lovely lovely day. We started off at Barbacoa (a Brazilian grill restaurant) where we both ate far too much - well, it was an eat as much as you can buffet and dessert buffet. Susan took great delight in the ice cream fountain and all the toppings you could drown it in!

Then we wandered down Omotesando Dori to the Oriental Bazaar, where I was held responsible for Suse spending lots of money, and down to Harajuku. We were too late to go into Meiji Jingu shrine, but spent a while taking photos of the Cosplayers (photos will appear on here once I've uploaded them), amongst whom were three freakygirls with feathers stuck on their faces... Different from the Lolita and Goth Lolita's, I guess.

Had a wonder through Yoyogi Park, as it was starting to get dark. There was still enough light though to see the beautiful colours on the trees and the biggest dog I've seen in my life. It had probably consumed a dozen or so Chihuahua's for it's mid afternoon snack. There were also groups playing drums, practicing Caipoeira, skipping and lots of people just sitting around.

We headed on down through the park and somehow ended up in Shibuya (by 'somehow', I mean my sense of direction was trying to take us back towards Harajuku Station but went a 'bit' wrong) were Suse was totally enthralled in the crossing. This crossing has (I think) six bits of crossing area that all pass each other (it's the crossing they show in 'Lost in Translation') and where several hundred people cross every couple of minutes. It's quite amazing to watch; not so much fun to go through, often. And I remembered: the neon-ness had been something that had totally overwhelmed me when I first came to Tokyo. Just huge neon explosions of light and signs everywhere. I got used to it. I forgot everywhere wasn't like that.

On the hunt for an Izakaya, and on a general mooch around, we stumbled on The Christon Cafe. Now, I've been to the one in Shinjuku lots of times, but didn't realise there was also one in Shibuya. I now have a new favourite drink: mango sour. Soooo good! And after a lovely evening there it was time to come home.

Suse, great meeting you, enjoy the rest of your trip and stay in touch!

I do NOT waffle!

Do I? Yesterday I was told I waffle in my blog. DO I waffle? And, IF I do, is it a bad thing? I mean it's not like I have a word limit, is it?

Note to Elizabeth who put her little pin on my map: I'm really happy I've bettered your life by opening your eyes to the various used of the word 'piss'. I feel my job is being well done here now!

Yesterday and today are a school holiday. Yesterday, after pizza, we toddled off to Tokyo Dome City's Attractions to go on the rides. (click on the 'attractions' bit of the link). Having not been on a rollercoaster or other fairground ride since forever - well, since the early 90s anyway, I'd convinced myself it was going to be crap, I wasn't going to enjoy it and that Disney would probably be a lot more fun, but, as the consensus was to go there I did. The semi-reluctance wore off the second my bum made contact with the first ride, and three hours were spent laughing, screaming and trying to stop my heart from popping out of my mouth. Fantastic fun. Very good for tension release! Although I DO have to confess: the first time I went on the big rollercoaster, I DID keep my eyes shut for most of the ride. Second time, I didn't. And it was great fun - big drops, swooping over buildings, etc. Funnily enough, with my eyes closed I dribbled. Open, I didn't. (Does that mean anything?) The plunging and spinning rides were pretty cool too. And they also had a pretty cool Water Symphony, with jets of water dancing to loud music. Going on a water ride, in November, on a cold evening, maybe wasn't the wisest of moves though...

And now I say: bring it on. I want more rollercoasters!

P.S. I bought a sandwich whose label said: "Fresh Sandwich. This sandwich is fresh, home made, and delicious. We want you to try to eat this sandwich."

I tried. I managed. I DON'T think I won anything though. Oh well.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Quick Update

My throat and tonsils feel tons better, though both are still quite swollen and sore. I think the Bailey's may have done my trick. A friend told me Maria Callas used to swear by it. He didn't clarify if she swore by it for sore throats, or just swore by it though...


One of my JHS students came to the class last week with a heavily bandaged finger. It had been broken, and her arm fractured, earlier that week whilst playing dodgeball, in a PE lesson, at school. In the same game another student ended up with a broken arm and two were hit in the face. Now, if this was the UK I could see the governors going mad and insisting it were banned from the school because it was dangerous. A bit like British Bulldog was in so many schools back in the 80s. Or at the least swapping to a soft ball (remember those big sponge ones?). Instead, they've been told to be 'more careful'. Yeah, right.


I finally got around to updating my blogroll links. I'll be adding more pictures to my photo site in next day or so too.

Odds and Bits

Absolutely nothing. I'm trying really hard to think of something, but nothing is coming to me. Does this mean it's time to move on? Should I be judging my life by my blog and finding new things? Nah.

BUT the weather is cold and horrible, especially the evenings. One of my students went to Nikko, which isn't too far from Tokyo, AND IT SNOWED. I really hope snow isn't around the corner for us too. I mean the autumn leaves are very pretty - but they are all going :(

My ragingly sore throat is still ragingly sore. I tried consoling it with a half (200ml) bottle of Bailey's earlier. It didn't really work.

We've had builders waking us up early every day so I, and at least one other neighbour, are running on short fuses of tiredness and sickness.

I was, however, told by a random middle aged Japanese man, in a restaurant, that I have a beautiful British accent.... (he was with his wife).

I've started reading up on and planning Vietnam now, so any hints, thoughts or ideas let me know. I'll be there for two weeks, flying into Hanoi and out of Ho Chi Minh.

Oh one thing: a Tokyo warning, especially for the girlies: we don't have much information about this and things may never be clearer, but one friend was stopped by some 'police' and asked for ID. They weren't uniformed and didn't show her any photo ID. We (teachers, Japanese staff at our company, students) think this is very dodgy and anyone in this situation should refuse to show anything UNLESS they are at a Koban, or taken to a Koban. This incident is being reported to the police, in any case.

Told you I had nothing to say.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bunny Rabbits

I love Thumper from Bambi. He's sooooo cute. As for real rabbits, well... when I lived in France one of the families I worked for had a rabbit. It used to run around the kitchen shitting everywhere and the kids couldn't be arsed to look after it. Other times it had the run of the garden. I got VERY good at catching it using the torch and child technique. A couple of times I could be seen running up the road, after the fucking rabbit, as it had escaped the garden confines and was racing up the street.

I hated that rabbit.

French butcher's shops don't fanny around making animals look like meat (the way I like to see them). In France, I remember seeing the whole dead animal - head, fur/feathers et al. Seeing whole deer hanging in the doorway was particulaly upsetting to my hyper-English sensitivity.

Another time, I was forced to eat rabbit. That upset me. But not as much as the year after when a whole skinned rabbit was put down in front of me to chop up. It was too too horrible.

In pet shops in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong I've seen lots of rabbits in little cages. Lots of little rabbits jammed together in tiny cages. Very upsetting.

Okay, my point, my point: actually my point didn't need to be preceded by the above waffle but tough. Fur.

My point is FUR. Fur belongs on animals and nowhere else. Japanese women like fur. Real fur, fake fur (but mainly real fur), rabbit fur is a particular favourite. For jackets. For bags. For scarves. One student came in wearing all three. I asked her how many rabbits it took to make them all. She just laughed. But it IS everywhere now. Maybe I'm just being very English.

Even worse though was the mint green fake fur jacket I saw someone wearing this evening on the train. Not a good colour.

I'll (bunny) hop off now.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


On the train today: the amazing clashing woman - her top was orange with lots of orange and black commas all over it worn with yellow fleecy leopard skin gloves, a green tartan picnic rug type scarf, a black, white and grey striped hat and an ethnic bag, blue jeans and white canvas / black rubber Converse.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Things I like about Japan

I finally got to the end of Season 4 of 24! Wooooo! Now, did anyone count how many times in the season Jack said: you gotta trust me? What an infuriatingly addictive series.

Anyway, as an antithesis to all my negativity recently, here's a 20 things I DO like about this place list. I intend to expand on this, but it may take a couple of days to get around to. In no particular order then:

  1. The food - oh what can I say? steaming bowls of soba and udon... sashimi and sushi.... yakitori.... yakinuku.... steamed daikon... nikoman.... okonimiyaki... pocky... fruit in jelly
  2. The drinks - shochu & sours... pokari sweat... chu hi... melon soda... cassis soda....
  3. Nomihodai - drink as much as you can for a set price...
  4. Izakayas - the Japanese equivalent of a pub, I suppose. It's a sit down, drinks served to your table thing, often with a bell to call for service and a very predictable but reasonably satisfying menu of dishes you order and share...
  5. Convenience stores - ah.... the 'conbeni' a place you can buy ready meals for lunch, get them heated up for your and given with a set of chopsticks... a place you can pay your bills and withdraw cash... buy stationery, bathroom stuff, cute stuff, weird stuff. Just bloody convenient really. And everywhere..
  6. Vending machines - just as you can't go too far without seeing a conbeni or 10, vending machines serving hot and cold drinks are absolutely everywhere. So convenient.
  7. Cafe's - Since getting here I've learned the art of lingering for a long time over one drink and studying uninterrupted. Actually, you can understand why they charge so much: people sit, study and don't move for hours, all for the cost of one coffee.
  8. Ticket restaurants - You walk in, you go up to a machine, choose a dish, insert money, hand ticket to serving person and wait. Simple.
  9. 100 Yen stores - Not to be confused with the £1's in the UK. The 100 Yen stores (100Yen = 50p/$1 ish) stock a huuuuuge range of stuff, much of which is a pretty decent quality. Particularly popular with, er everyone, it's a good place to stock up on stationery, cleaning stuff, socks, kitchen ware, accessories, noodles.... hell, you name it. I've spent 1000's of yen there since getting here.
  10. The safety - I've felt 100% safe since getting here. I'm not saying it IS 100% safe, because I'm not that naive, but it FEELS it. It's also a regular sight to see bags left in bike baskets while people go into shops, bags on the floor in cafe's, mobile phones left unattended in cafe's while people go to the toilet. It's nice knowing I don't have to be physically attached to my belongings ALL the time.
  11. Cheap DVD hire - it's a fraction of the price in the UK. Nothing else to really say about it. And they had all four seasons of '24'.
  12. Karaoke - to experience is to understand. You don't stand in a bar warbling in front of a load of drunken strangers, you have your own private room with your friends, nomihodai (often) and a tambourine or two.
  13. Onsens - Hot springs, public baths, soooo relaxing.
  14. Hanami - Anywhere that has people that go loopy and throw parties because trees are in flower (cherry blossom) has to be okay by me. Hanami parties are great fun.
  15. Work is stress free - Shit, what can I say? I teach English in a language school. Life is easy. When I left the BBC last year, I left behind so much stress it's starting to fade in my memory now.
  16. Fashions are ridiculous - It's good having a constant source of fresh amusement at hand.
  17. Proximity to a whole new continent - Great stuff! I'd never been to Asia before coming to Japan.(Does Israel count as Asia?) Since being here, I've been to Taiwan, Hong Kong and I'm off to Vietnam in six weeks. Cheap, easy, fun, quick, no jet lag!
  18. Book swaps - I've read some great stuff since being here because people have passed it on. Stuff I'd not have normally chosen to read. Fun!
  19. Department stores - Gadgets, animal clothes, things... there are heaps of department stores here - well, the Japanese ARE obsessed with shopping.
  20. Toilets - Heated toilets, showering toilets, toilets with basins attached, public toilets that more than 99% of the time have toilet paper and are generally clean, toilets that flush when you stand up, toilets that talk to you, toilets that play flushing sounds so nobody knows you're peeing, toilets, toilets, toilets......... but I still dislike squat loos.
  21. Cleanliness - Litter and graffiti are seldom seen. It's nice!
  22. Art & architecture - I had to put something intellectual on the list. They are both good. Bla bla bla.
  23. Spring & Autumn - Both are very pretty times of year.

There, is that a bit better now?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Always considering the next move

I'm sure it's been pretty clear from recent posts that the 'zing' has gone out of Tokyo for me. I'm hoping I'll get it back soon and part of it is a combination of being run down (gap? hyphen? one word? gets me every time), generally tired, ill recently (I've decided this definitely isn't bronchitis) and knowing people are going soon and that that will continue.

Anyway. The original plan was three years in Tokyo. I have a loan commitment for the next 19 months which means, until July 2007 at least, I'm stuck having to work somewhere that gives me a good income. Doesn't mean it has to be Tokyo though. Other places in Japan, for example, or in Asia, such as Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong would pay as much. Of course, one of the great things about the company I work for is that they DO have schools outside of Japan. I'll be here for at least another year though, I think.

However, doesn't stop me thinking about options and the other day I saw a link to this - it's a boat that does three month cruises around the world and wants English teachers. My first thoughts were that it must be a religious thing, but it seems not. I can just see myself sailing into Panama. Anyway, not next year, but I think I'll bear it in mind for the year after.


I'd never read anyone else's blog from end to end until I looked at Our Man In Hanoi. I'm off to Vietnam for Christmas and New Year and it is yet another place in the back of my mind as the next place to work. I found this blog rivetting and cried and laughed so many times I was exhausted by the end of it. That is the kind of thing I really want to be doing. Trying to make a difference, not just helping someone with their hobby - which IS what it often feels like. I very much like teaching, but right now I just feel I could do a lot more with it. What's stopping me? 19 months of loan commitment is what!

Anyway, sorry about the recent grumpiness. It'll pass. Leave me some nice messages to cheer me up, in the meantime!


21:45 Update:

I AM fine. I don't know why, but I've been very tired recently, and that's been getting to me. I adore teaching and really like most of my students (the rest I just tolerate). I get a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment from what I'm doing and I get to see the results too. I'm living a stress-free life in JAPAN and everything is a world away from where things were 14 months ago. I just needed to remind myself. Now, I intend to get back into the Tokyo groove and start enjoying the city again. There!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

More on pollution

In the post below I talk about litter, etc. What I didn't mention there was NOISE pollution. Now, in the UK this is taken very seriously, especially in residential areas. I'm sure it is in many countries around the world.

In Tokyo, land of the apparently paper thin walls (although many of the people I know, myself included, actually have pretty thick walls) great consideration is given to not making too much noise. Or so I've read a few times.

Now, I can generally put up with a too loud TV or hearing someone else's music; hey, I'm sure MY TV can be heard by my neighbours from time to time BUT let's not talk about personal noise here but public noise. From what I can gather there seems to be no rules on this. I could, of course be wrong.

Evidence number 1: I live across the road from a large university. The upside of this is many many ridiculous fashions to laugh at, the downsides are the students. But I'm going off point here, so I'll come back to them later. Last Thursday was a National holiday called 'Culture Day'. The significance of this I am still ignorant of as none of my students could provide me with an explanation. It did seem, though, that most schools and universities in Tokyo had events of some sort going on. For local university this started very early on Thursday morning. Well, I got into bed at around 6.30am after my all-nighter, so it must have started a few hours later and I woke up to such loud music blaring out that I wondered for a hazed second whether I'd fallen asleep in a club or something. This continued throughout the day, as far as I know, although I was out BBQ'ing and getting lost so I'm not really sure. Friday was the same story.

Now my window is maybe 2 or 300 metres from the edge of the campus and the whole area is residential. There seemed to be no limits in place to the volume they could blare out at.

Evidence number 2: political vans and loud speakers. What can I say? Vans with politicians drive around, often early on a Sunday, and the politicians shout loudly throught the loud speakers. For a long time.

People selling poles and various other things also use vans and loudspeakers. A couple of months back there was one outside my station that I could hear loudly when I was still five minutes away. By the time I got there it was deafening. Seriously, it hurt my ears it was so loud.

Evidence numer 3: sales people, with or without loud speakers, who shout out (often in the most annoying squeaky voices) trying to lure you into their shops. This is particularly bad when you have a whole strip of them all competing vocally with each other. As if shopping with hoards of people isn't stressful enough.

I like my world peaceful.


My swollen glands have gone down considerably although my throat is still sore. I've a nasty cough and my chest has started burning and I have a horrible feeling this may be bronchitis again. I am, however, extremely, averse to going to the doctor to get antibiotics as they've screwed up my system so many times already. Of course, if it developed into anything more serious that wouldn't be fun either, but I'll see....


The students: the biggest problem with the students here is they are, in general, worse than everyone else put together (well, maybe) when it comes to not being able to walk / cycle in a straight line and / or look where they are going. Often the reason is because they are multi-tasking and I do appreciate it can be difficult to cycle and smoke a cigarette and hold an umbrella and talk into your mobile and have your buddy on the back of your bike at the same time. BUT THAT'S YOUR PROBLEM NOT MINE. OKAY?

And if you see a bike coming towards you and you and your mates and their bikes are taking up the entire width of the VERY wide path - doesn't logic suggest that approaching cyclist has to get past you somehow?

You'd have thought so, wouldn't you?

So, why don't I cycle on the roads? Are you serious? Cycling on the roads here is frightening. For one thing, cars aren't used to it. For another, cyclists aren't used to it which means they randomly choose which side of the road they wish to cycle on which IS a problem when they are coming at you and traffic is alongside.

On Thursday when I did my 75 minute tour of the area (when I got lost the evening of the BBQ) what I didn't mention was the actual cycling. I am amazed I didn't get killed to be honest. For much of the cycle, there was no pavement so I had to use the road. Many of the roads weren't so wide so, with two-way traffic, there wasn't a great deal of space to cycle anyway. Several times cyclists came towards me on the wrong side causing me to swerve (yes, often they were texting away on their phones) and a couple of times this was into the path of oncoming traffic. I swore loudly and a lot that night. I think I was extremely lucky to have got home in one piece.

But consideration in general doesn't seem very high here often. Take trains, elevators, escalators, getting in / on / off / out of anywhere and you'll see what I mean. Oh well. I'm going to make some hot soup, study and feel sorry for myself now.

Monday, November 07, 2005


The concept of germs is quite simple to me. If you spread your germs around, other people are pretty likely to be affected by them. Keep them to yourself and you're doing those around you a big favour. Is this NOT extremely simple?

In Tokyo, there seems to be two groups of sick people: the first group wears a face mask, the second group doesn't. The second group coughs and sneezes over everybody within firing range. (Think train or elevator here for a moment).

There are a couple of strange concepts I was brought up with:

1. You cough/sneeze: you cover your mouth/nose.
2. You cough/sneeze: you turn away from people / point your head to the floor, if possible, whilst doing 1. (see above).

Is this hard to understand? Feel a cough / sneeze: raise arm from elbow so hand hovers around nose/mouth level; cover mouth / nose and then cough / sneeze. EVEN better: do it into a DISPOSABLE TISSUE.

Disposable tissues are those things that are given out by promotions people every day outside a hell of a lot of stations. They are easy to get. They are FREE.

Now, I'm all for cultural differences BUT one I just cannot come to grips with is how sniffing is perfectly acceptable but blowing your nose in public isn't. PLEASE. Please, please, please. I hate the noise of someone snot snuffling in my ear even more than I dislike being up close and too personal with imperfect strangers on the Chuo Line. Not Nice. Not. Not. Not. AND, whilst we are on the subject of hygiene, the face cloth (flannel/towelling square) in your bag (and my bag) for mopping up sweat, emergency hand drying, bike wiping, etc (actually that's a lie; I normally have one for me AND one for my bike with me) should NOT be used for mopping up your snot. I mean, do you replace it before next wiping it over your forehead or hands? I wonder.

For a city that appears so spotlessly clean; where most public loos are spangly and clean (and with toilet paper); where litter and graffiti are rarely seen; where litter is carefully separated into a million different types; where mattresses are regularly aired out.... the germs factor just seems wrong.

But then this is a country where grown men on telly think it's fine and funny to try and poke fingers up each others behinds. Nice.

* 'eyyy' must be imagined being said with at least seven syllables each one a tone or semi-tone higher than the last. It's approximate meaning is 'what' and is used when surprised or amazed, normally (though not exclusively) by females in the 15 to 45 year age range.

Other news: I dragged my swollen-glanded, sore-throated, aching-everything'd, feverish body back to work today. Partly because I couldn't be arsed with the idea of having to explain the perculiarities of my Monday students to another teacher, and partly because I don't take sick days if I'm physically capable of standing/speaking. (The latter is optional). I never have - too many years of temping/temporary no work = no pay jobs.

My days off are currently Sunday and Tuesday and, one of the nice things about being a second year teacher, is I can now have consecutive days off. I had a small problem with this. I REALLY wanted 2 days together, but I really like my Mondays. Anyway, I've been given it now and change days at the start of December.

Today I told three of my classes. I felt so guilty. They looked so disappointed. The school I'm leaving was the first school I ever taught at. Some of the students I teach there now I've had since day one. It IS sad, but also nice to know I'll be missed.

Another something I find strange: non same-sex dubbing. Call me weird, but if I see a woman (man) I expect to hear a womans (mans) voice, even if it is obviously the person's voice being translated. It just feels and looks very wrong to me to hear the 'wrong' sex voice doing it. Especially, when a young female voice 'does' the voice of an old male. Weird.

Oh and Darwin Award for this Japanese teenager, anyone: This girl tried to kill her mother and blogged about the whole thing. It gets better, when the mother was hospitalised she tried to do it again. Despite having signed with her name and address at local pharmacies for the chemicals, and what she's written on her blog: she's claiming to be innocent. Yeah, right.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

My everything hurts

I've got some bug or other and everything feels achy and / or swollen. I had a fever on and off too for about, oh 20ish hours maybe. I've not had a high temperature since I was a kid.

Actually, maybe it's not broken cos I'm bloody cold now. Back to bed I guess.

Except that I think I've turned my futon into a waterbed.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Crap, even by my standards

My lack of sense of direction is no secret and causes great amusement to some people, it would seem. Yesterday though, I excelled myself.

There's a park nearby. By nearby I'd guess it's about a 15 minute cycle away. I've been there four times or so, I think, in the last year and every time I've gone alone I've managed to get a bit lost - both ways. Yesterday, I was in the park with a large group, BBQ'ing and feeling rather hungover, wobbly and incoherent. We're still having beautiful days here (cold nights though), though yesterday wasn't as warm as the day before (or today for that matter), but it was still nice to relax and eat lots of meat and drink soft energy drinks. [I'm never drinking again. Ever. Ever. Ever ever ever.] Soo, I left the park, checking which general direction I should have headed in for my fifteen minute cycle home. ONE HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER I got home.

I have NO idea how this happened, but I managed to cross rail tracks at least half a dozen times and discovered many shops and things I didn't know existed and hope to never have the misfortune to see again. I finally approached my apartment from the opposite direction of where I should have approached from. That takes skill. Plus I was bloody knackered.

So knackered in fact that I crashed out at 9pm, only to wake up again at 4am and be unable to fall asleep again for a couple of hours. GAH!

The night before (yesterday was a national and school holiday so none of us worked) a heap of teachers had gone out for a nomihodai night (and again I forgot that drinking stupid amounts of gin on a few slices of sashimi, a couple of little bits of fried chicken and a little pile of salad just isn't going to do the trick), followed by karaoke (and another damn nomihodai) and followed by a club (and more drinking) before getting the first trains home. I've not been so drunk in a while and have periods of incoherence that have since come back to me (or that I've been jogged into remembering). It WAS a good night, but oo HOW bad did I feel yesterday morning?

December is going to be another long drink fest I feel, with a whole bunch of people leaving. Two or three that I'll really miss, but that's life. People come and go. Won't be the same though... Well, for a bit anyway...

On another, more sombre note, one of the teachers I trained with in London committed suicide on Sunday. It was someone I'd had a laugh with on training back in August 2004, but probably only seen a handful of times since actually getting here. Certainly nobody who made any sort of impact on my life. It's just imagining though just how low someone would have to get to do this to themselves. There had, apparantly been other attempts, but maybe they were just cries for help.... who knows? The teacher is at peace now though, although the friends and relatives have to deal with it now.

And I really hope the poor poor train driver is getting a lot of help and support to deal with this. How can anyone get over that? Poor guy. Or am I mean for laying my sympathy with him and the station staff and police that had to deal with it? Nobody ever mentions the other people involved in these situations.

Still, it's my blog and I'll say what I want to. R.I.P.