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All The Wasted Time April 25, 2008

Posted by Mitch in General, Rantings.
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Another week is slowly drawing to a close and, aside from discussing suicidal Japanese authors in long, unstructured blog entries, I’ve done very little. Again. I must have mentioned in previous posts that my school have now got themselves in a position where they can’t win – if they ask me to come to classes, I resent it because I want to sit and do nothing, but if they just let me sit and do nothing, I lament that my time is being misused. Either way, teaching doesn’t seem to hold anything for me and, despite being sorely tempted to apply for the job of an ESL teacher in Macedonia after this stint finishes, the fact is, I would only be doing it in order to live and experience life in another country. Doesn’t this all sound familiar? Recall those days about a year ago when I was full of the joys of Spring. However, even then I knew that there was no way on Earth that I was going to Japan to have a good teaching experience. I think I decided in Germany that it wasn’t for me and all consequent teaching jobs have either been for the money or for the experience and have made it clear that my initial judgement in Germany remains correct to this day. It’s not that I loathe my time here and am going to look back on it with anything but the fondest of memories. It’s just I’m now tired of living for two days of the week. I’m not naive enough to think that I’m going to return to England and get the job of my dreams, but it has to happen to some people, right? Surely not everyone in the world can be occupationally miserable? What’s to stop me being one of those people that has a job they love?

I’ve decided to go on a diet. I’ve put on quite a bit of weight since I’ve been here, and as my return date looms round the corner, I feel the need to shed some of the excess baggage I’ve gained whilst here. Everyone seems incredulous that it was possible for me to put on weight whilst in Japan because they’re all skinny. First of all, let me cite once and for all the case of sumo wrestlers. And then, after we discount probably less than 1% of the population, let me also indicate the fact that these people are, on the whole, tiny. When I got to school today and left my shoes at the genkan (the place where one leaves one’s shoes), I happened to place them next to possibly the smallest shoes I have ever seen. And they belonged to a woman. Not a little girl. Not an infant. An actual woman. With roughly size 2 or 3 feet. Most Japanese people I’ve come across have been short and therefore, they tend to eat less. Of course, these are wild generalisations, but in my experience it’s the truth. And also, bear in mind that I only eat Japanese food at school lunches. When I’m at home, I’m hardly about to cook Japanese food, seeing as I have no idea where to start. And so my diet had degenerated into that of an obese man who needs people with brooms to clean under his saggy man breasts. Of course, I’ve not got to the point where I need to be airlifted out of my apartment, but I’m not overly comfortable with how I’ve let myself become. So, enough with the moaning and the unfulfilled promises to myself that “once it gets hot and my appetite decreases it’ll be alright”. I was proactive when I started my final year at uni and was at the gym 5 times a week. So, even though I’m not about to become a gym bunny again (that’s waiting for my return to Old Blighty), I’ve decided that I’m the only person who can take this situation in hand. So, a diet it is. My main meal will be at school (because I can’t really alter what that is because it’s just plonked down in front of me) and I will work out some type of regime around that. Here’s hoping that it works and that I don’t land back at Heathrow in a plane whose wheels splay out at odd angles as we make contact with the ground, due to its heavy load.

In other news, my parents have now booked their tickets over here for a few weeks come July. It’ll be hot and humid, but in order to placate them, we’re all off down to Okinawa to make the most of the beaches. I’m worried about having to be a translator, seeing as my Japanese study has gone seriously by the wayside. As in, I don’t study it at all. Still, I’m sure it’ll be fine and I’m looking forward to showing them how my life has been this year. It may have started out a bit rocky, but since I settled, it’s become so much better here. I constantly tell people that I love Japan, it’s just the job that I don’t like that much. And the fact that I’m illiterate and have very few communication skills here. I just know it’s going to be weird to get back to England and to understand what people are saying. All the time.

Right – I suppose I better sign off and go do something constructive. Like read internet comics all day like I did yesterday…

Till next time!

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The Ballad Of Mishima April 22, 2008

Posted by Mitch in Random.
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In previous entries I’ve mentioned the Japanese author, Yukio Mishima and, having just finished a biography of him, I decided to share a little about him.

He was born Kimitake Hiraoka (公威平岡) and began writing ridiculously early. Even though his writing style began, and indeed remained, flowery and philosophical, the sheer fact that he was able to compose works so erudite at such a young age, is indication enough of his genius. In one of his first pieces of fiction, called Sorrel: A Memory of Youth, he told the story of a 6 year old who happens upon an escaped convict:

He took from his pocket a white ball and threw it high into the air…The sky clung to the ball, rose, then fell with terrible swiftness. He caught the ball and rejoiced, as if he had captured the blue sky. Then he breathed the air, deeply…It was more like eating than breathing. Into his mouth he stuffed the air with its strange taste and fragrance…
The man sighed…”I had a child. A pretty boy just like you…Now he is a seagull flying above the vast sea. And when he spies the silver glitter of scales among the waves he thrusts his neck into the water and he says, I was murdered on the grey evening sea. My murderer sank to the dark, dark bottom. Until he floats to the surface I must remain suspended here on these white wings in the low clouds of the sky…But the devil who killed that poor poor seagull has found his way up to the surface. And you know who showed him the way – it was you.”

I could quote interesting excepts from all of his books, but I realise that most people have neither the patience nor a tolerance for wordy, long-winded passages. But as a man he was also fascinating. In his life as an author, he never missed a deadline. His final tetralogy, collectively referred to as The Sea of Fertility, was in fact finished almost an entire year before the last installment was required. He had two very differing styles. He was able to write long, theological and philosophical novels that explored a whole array of complex emotions inherent in him, but also managed to turn out a popular, contemporary chick-lit novel once a year. He wrote many plays, his main expertise in resurrecting archaic kabuki-style language and tackling the task of updating traditional Nō theatre. He even wrote a ballet, titled Miranda. He was fascinated by the Ancient Greek emphasis on classical beauty and travelled there twice as a pilgrimage. He had a rather disturbing blood-lust that is made clear in his almost autobiographical novel (and the first released as a “serious” author), Confessions of a Mask where he indicates his erotic desire to murder his male classmates and eat parts of them. His sado-masochistic tendencies stayed with him until his death in 1970, when he committed ritual seppuku. He conceived the idea of the beautiful death and took delight in the bloody deaths suffered by knights when fighting dragons in fairy tales. He was enamoured with a picture in one of his childhood books of a knight riding bravely into a battle that had very little possibility of victory. When he discovered that it was actually a picture of Joan of Arc, he lost all interest in it, rejecting her femininity. He valued the masculine willingness to die for the Emperor and relished his chance to prove his support for the Imperial Family. That said, when he was required to take a physical exam to determine suitability for the Imperial Army, he faked a case of tuberculosis and was dismissed. By all accounts, he looked on that day as his gravest mistake. If he had been conscripted, the face of modern Japanese literature would be vastly different.

In general, most of his works weren’t greatly appreciated by the critics whilst he was alive. But there were certain novels that helped gain him the esteem he wanted and needed. Confessions of a Mask continued to sell about 50,000 copies a year from when it was published until he died. It would not be doubtful that this number rose following his very public demise. He did become a public figure as well. He was garish and favoured Western etiquette, even though towards the end of his life he became a staunch imperialist. He was quite hirsute for a Japanese man (I had to look up ‘hirsute’ when I first read it – it means hairy) and would walk through the streets of Tokyo in an open shirt, revealing his supposed masculinity. The thing is, he wasn’t overly masculine. He starred as gangsters in a few movies and even though his acting bettered as the years passed, critics all agreed that his features were far too gentle and so when the camera closed-in he was betrayed as lacking a certain manliness associated with such roles.

As his ideals became more and more extreme and Rightist, he set up a society called the Tate-no-kai, or Shield Society. Their role was to undertake military training in order to become the Emperor’s own army. Ironically, Mishima despised the Emperor (at that time, Hirohito) for his renunciation of his divinity, following Japan’s defeat in World War II. He idolised what he called the Emperor of Culture – the idea of all Japanese culture descending from the Emperor. Following the growing decadence of Japan at that time, Hirohito was apparently unworthy of this title.

As mentioned previously, Mishima was enthralled by the image of the beautiful death. However, he reasoned that death could only be beautiful if the dying body was beautiful. So he set about weight training and, for the last 15 years of his life, religiously trained 3 times a week, come what may. He neglected to work on his legs, however, and so became rather visually odd – he had weak, thin legs to support his bulky upper body.

With the Tate-no-kai, he found an outlet for his fanaticism. Tired and bemused by the new system of government, they planned to storm the training ground of the Japanese Self Defence Forces, enlist these men to help and then march on the government, determined to reinstate the divinity of the Emperor. Mishima desired a kirijini death. This was a warrior’s death in battle and so he was truly ready to give his life for his cause. The possibility of such a death decreased, the more the Tate-no-kai gained notoriety. Together, he and a select few planned their first and only coup. On 25th November 1970, Mishima and a handful of others barracaided themselves in the office of the Commandant, taking the man prisoner. According to the group’s wishes, the men of the Self Defence Forces were gathered below the balcony. Mishima intended to speak for 30 minutes, rallying support for their attack on the Japanese Diet (the government). He was drowned out by the boos and jeers from the crowd and cut his speech short after only seven minutes. He then retired inside and drove a sword into his side. Dragging it across his abdomen, he sliced open his stomach. He had intended to write the Japanese character for sword on a piece of paper in front of him, but the pain was too much. Instead, he gave the signal and his second swung his sword. Unfortunately, the blow failed to decapitate the author, increasing the unbearable pain. After a second failed attempt, Morita (the man Mishima named as his decapitator) relinquished his sword and another man finished the deed. Morita then also committed seppuku and the same man decapitated him too. The commandant was released and all present bowed to the corpses.

The author of the biography, John Nathan, speculates that the pain of the deed, besides being incredible and overwhelming, probably held an erotic desire in Mishima, who had spent all his life dreaming of this death and had actually been planning it for well over a year, with the help of Morita. In the words of Mishima’s brother “[He] always wanted to exist but never could.” Even Mishima’s mother dubbed the funeral as a celebration, as death was the only thing that he had done that he had truly wanted to do.

My Favourite Japanese Author

The Morning Report April 18, 2008

Posted by Mitch in General, Life in Japan.
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So, the first week back at school is drawing to a close. To be honest, I’ve had worse weeks, so there’s nothing to moan about. I’ve been getting accustomed to my new place (where all the teachers watch me as I play games and ask me about the rules and kids wander in and chat with my friends (through me) on MSN) and the new faces. There’s a new English teacher as well. Joining myself, the ever-infamous Julie and the shy-and-retiring Martin is a new friendly face in the form of Karen. Karen used to work with Lucy, but the powers that be saw it necessary to bring her to Kuga Junior High School. In Japan, a teacher doesn’t really get the choice of where they teach. They are government officials and so, if the government in question decides that they want you on the other side of the prefecture, you move. You move job, you move house, you move responsibilities. Basically, once you become a teacher, your ass is theirs.

But Karen seems to be settling in well. She’s in charge of teaching the new first graders who I’ve been teaching for the past 8 months at my two Elementary schools (for the record, the ESIDL is actually OK, but I feel there’s a need to distinguish between the two schools and so the acronym remains). They like her and are getting used to her new classroom manner which, as they’re new, they would have had to do anyway. In our most recent classes together, I’ve been testing them on the things I’ve been going over for the past 6 months (the first couple of months, my lessons were absolute crap, where I fell back on colouring in and the like which, let’s face it, isnt’ very good practice in English. But, what can I say? I was new and had never had to plan an entire class myself – it took me a while to get a proper momentum) just to make sure they hadn’t entirely forgotten everything. I’ve got to say, the kids did me proud by, on the most part, remembering everything we’d covered.

There are quite a few new faces actually. I was formally introduced to one of the new Vice Principals the other day. His name is Steve and it was going very well and I was the epitome of confused, yet respectful gaijin (foreigner). It was then that he chose to reach out his hand and pat my stomach. All traces of formality dissipated and I felt like punching him in the face. Of course, I didn’t but, this being Japan, I’m not sure how the other people would have reacted. They may have just looked on with bemused horror, rather than rushing to restrain the violent, erratic white boy in their school.

Yesterday held no less than three encounters with Japanese nature for me. The first was the appearance of a mukade in one of my classes. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned them before, but mukade are the poisonous centipedes whose bites have been known to kill babies and old people. Apparently, if you wake up and one is on your face, you have to wait until it decides to scuttle off, lest it bites you. So one of those strolled into the class and caused a bit of a stir, not least because Martin is shit scared of them too. One of the boys got a ruler and flicked it out, managing not to get bitten in the process. The second encounter was with the giant wasp that decided to set up home outside my window. Brooke informs me that it takes less than 10 of these wasps to destroy a hive of 30,000 bees. So, for the past couple of days I’ve watched this wasp lay her eggs and attach it to my window. Even though it grossed me out, I knew I would have to nip this in the bud before an entire nest appeared and I was beset by killer wasps, so yesterday, frustrated with my Hamleteqsue procrastination, I grabbed a flip-flop and decimated an entire family. The third instance was as I was leaving my house for the station. As I opened my front gate, something fell off it and scampered underneath so I couldn’t see it. As I slowly eased the gate open I discovered that the cause of my vexation was a small, sandy-coloured lizard. It was actually quite cute, but had scared the bejeezus out of me. As it clambered my wall, I noted that it was, in fact, the exact same colour as the outside wall of my apartment. I don’t know if it was a colour-changing lizard or if it was naturally that colour, but I kind of hope it’s the former. I don’t mind having a chameleon-like neighbour.

Right, I’ve wittered on about nothing for too long now, so I’m going to sign off.

Till next time!

Move, Move, Move April 14, 2008

Posted by Mitch in General.
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Well, I am now officially back at school, having taken just over 2 weeks off. As my dad rightly mentioned, most people are less than ecstatic at the thought of ending their holiday time and heading back to work. But in a job of which you’re not particularly fond, it’s that much harder. This morning was even more difficult. Not only had I had a bit of a tiring weekend (more on this later), but when I got in to school, I found that the entire staff room had been rearranged and I was left deskless. So whilst I stood there, wandering around trying to find the non-existant seating plan so I could ascertain where it was that I’d been seated, my supervisor at the school came over and directed me to where I would be sitting. Now, when you first start talking about things with JET, way back when I was but a fresh-faced enthusiastic beginner, they always tell you that you’ll be seated about as far away from people that matter as possible. This wasn’t true in September. My desk was, in fact, almost the closest you could get to the headteacher and I felt honoured that such a position had been bestowed upon me. Fast forward 8 months and here I am, the closest to the kitchen and the furthest away from the principal. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not like we shared many a story over tea and biscuits, but it’s just I quite liked my former position. It was near the door, so I could escape quickly come home time. It was next to a great English teacher who has no, unfortunately left. It was my desk. Well, it’s still my desk, but it’s now just in a different place. I’m sitting with the 3rd year teachers now, as opposed to the 1st and the closest English teacher to me is a nice man, but kind of shy and retiring, so gone are my random conversations about such things as the Japanese word for sea bream…

I was also worried because my computer was now distanced from its internet cord. Luckily, there was an unused one lying on my desk that I quickly claimed. So, despite throwing me off balance at first, I’ve now dealt with it and am coming to terms with it. I must also add that this diatribe about the moving of my desk must show how little work I have to do.

This weekend saw the Yamaguchi JETs meet up with the Shimane JETs (Shimane is a prefecture to the north-east of mine) in Ato for camping and a piss up in the mountains followed by yabusame in Tsuwano. Camping was pretty fun but I drank way too much. Yabusame was kind of cool when they actually were doing stuff. It was preceded by lots of speeches (that is, after all, the Japanese way) and ceremony. Then, the first horseman sped past us, firing arrows at wooden targets, hitting them all. Then there was nothing for a good 5 minutes. That was how it proceeded for the rest of the display i.e. very slowly. When there was action, it was impressive and exciting. But most of the day was spent bitching about how dull the intervals were and talking German with some exchange students that also happened to be there.

Nursing a hangover, cursing the people who woke me up early and needing some sustenance, we made our way over to the food stalls and got some of the best yaki soba I’ve had. It was a little to salty, but I’ve got to say; I was much more enamoured with this meal in a plastic box, than with yabusame on the whole. Still, I’m glad that I did it.

This week holds little to get excited about. It will just be boring days at work, followed by The West Wing at home. This weekend, a couple of JETs in the area are doing a concert, so I’ll probably trot along to that to show my support. Other than that, nothing. Nada. Nix.

Right, well this has been long enough. I’m off to do very little at school. As usual.

Till next time!

Mud In The Water April 10, 2008

Posted by Mitch in Travel.
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I’m back from my whirlwind trip to Kuala Lumpur (the city’s name means Muddy Confluence, as it’s built around the meeting place of two rather muddy rivers). To be honest, it wasn’t really all that whirlwind, but it was a rather roundabout trip getting there and back.

I left my house on Friday 28th March and went to Shimonoseki where I stayed at Louise’s, despite her having a really leaky kitchen ceiling. Having had the best sushi in Japan followed by some great drinks, I headed to bed with a book that Kate had given me called The Ginger Tree by Oswald Wynn. Check it out – it really is absolutely brilliant and it had me hooked so much that I pretty much finished it on the plane.

Early the next morning I had left the safe confines of Yamaguchi prefecture and was headed into Fukuoka. Arriving at the airport, I tried to withdraw the copious amounts of money I was sure I would need to, you know, live whilst I was away. Funnily enough, Japan tends to fail me more on technology than anything else (heating, ATMs) as ATMs don’t work until certain times. They close. Which means you’re left penniless if it’s between the hours of 9pm and 7pm…

So I had no money. Having checked in and being told that I would have to collect my luggage in Hong Kong and then check it back in again straight away if I wanted to leave it there overnight, I sat around, waiting for the damned ATM to open. When it did, I found that the exchange place in the airport wasn’t equipped to sell me Malaysian Ringgit, so I had to make do with some Hong Kong dollars and get my ass to Customs. There, I was told that my overnight bag was full of liquids that were very likely highly dangerous. Yes, my Superdrug Vitamin E cream is really a killer. So I had to check my second bag in.

Fast forward a bit and I’m sitting in Taipei. Why they felt the need to stop in Taipei is beyond me, but I got to see a bit of muggy Taiwan from the plane window. I had the option to get off the plane, but I was reading the aforementioned book and just couldn’t be arsed. And it was only for an hour.

When we landed in Hong Kong, I stood and waited for my bags with everyone else. An hour and a half went by and everyone had gone, but I was still standing there, waiting for the bags so I could check one of them back in, retaining my overnight bag because I was staying, surprisingly, overnight. I went over to the Baggage Information Desk and asked them what had happened to my bags, picturing them still in Fukuoka or, worse, somewhere else in the world, going round and round on the carousel. But no. The man told me that they were in Hong Kong, but they were on my plane going to Kuala Lumpur. Good, in theory, but my overnight bag had all my instructions on how to get to the house I was staying at in Hong Kong. So I had to request them to get it off the plane. Which meant another hour and a half wait. Of my 15 hours in Hong Kong, the first 3 and a bit were spent wandering aimlessly in the capacious baggage reclaim bit of the airport. Fun.

I eventually got to the house and was given directions on how to get a to a bar called Mes Amis that the people I was to meet would be at at 8pm. Leaving the house, I found 300 Hong Kong dollars on the floor. This consequently meant that I spent hardly any of my own money on drinks that night. I wandered around the streets of Hong Kong for a bit, warding off the women who tried to lure me into their strip clubs, killing time until I was to meet Val, Tom and Lucy. Val and Tom are my brother’s girlfriend’s parents. Lucy is her sister. They had been at the Rugby Sevens all day and by the time I met them, they were kind of steamed. But it was OK – I knew I had to maintain the good name of the Wilsons and catch up. So I did. The bar was really expensive, but opposite was a 7Eleven, so we would take regular trips over to the convenience store, stock up on beer and then just drink it outside. All in all, it was a good night out. But not so great a morning.

I woke up before 6am, still drunk and took a shower. Val got up and saw me out and I made my way to Hong Kong Airport once again. Actually, at this point, I just want to say that I had an absolutely amazing breakfast at the airport – smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, an English muffin and a hash brown. It was great!

When I got to Kuala Lumpur, I was kind of miffed to find that my friend (with whom I lived for two years at Uni) wasn’t there. Cue another long wait at an airport whilst I tried to figure out what to do. Eventually, I got my money changed at the bank their and got on the internet. Luckily, she’d sent me her phone number, so I was able to get in contact with her and eventually procure a taxi to get me to her house. The driver charged me double, but me, being unsuspecting, handed the cash on over. This was the first but definitely not the last instance of cab drivers ripping me off.

That night, we went to a BBQ at the poshest house I’ve ever seen. I could have quite happily lived in the pool house, it was so plush. There was a pool. There was a porch/BBQ area that was bigger than my house. There was convivial company. And there was food. From Tesco. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the wonder that is Tesco has made it all the way to Malaysia. It’s kind of different in ways, but it’s still Tesco. I even took a photo of the only one I went in whilst I was there. This may sound strange to those of you living in the UK, but I’ve not seen one of those bad boys for over 8 months now. It was like a breath of fresh, smoggy, English air.

We also went for sheesha and got to sit in a really cool Arabian tent outside whilst we puffed away, ate great food and chatted. By this time, I was starting to flag a little and the next morning didn’t see me at all, as I slept through it.

I won’t go into what I did every day in detail, because that would make this post ridiculously long. Remember how long the Vietnam entry was? I was in Malaysia for so much longer, so I’ll spare you the boredom.

But, I did explore the shopping centres of Kuala Lumpur (they’re SO huge and so well air conditioned), I went to the Aquarium (kind of pricey, but good fun, especially as I saw the shark feeding), went to the cinema 3 times (Japanese cinemas are expensive and they don’t really show English films), went to the Sky Bridge in the Petronas Towers (featured in the film Entrapment with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery).

I also took a day trip to Melaka, which was colonised by the Portuguese and the Dutch and is very pretty. I managed to get sunburnt there, actually. Hiza (my friend from uni) took me clubbing too. We went to a club called Frangipani and then to another called Mansion. Mansion was really expensive to get in, but one of her friends knew a guy with his name on the door, so we got in for free under his name. We then proceeded to help ourselves to the drinks they had constantly brought to their table. The thing about Kuala Lumpur is that the best, biggest, poshest, richest houses are right next to shanty towns. There’s a lot of money to be had in KL, but also a lot of poverty. Because of the influx of ex-pats, a lot of areas have seen huge expansion and property price booms, meaning that more and more Malaysian people who can’t afford there are forced out.

I also got to experience a Muslim wedding. Hiza’s cousin got married and we went to give our congratulations. It was ridiculously hot and, as it was outside, there was no air conditioning. We stayed for some food and to say hello to Hiza’s relatives but then made a speedy exit to an air conditioned home and numerous episodes of Friends.

Oh Friends. How I’ve missed you. I managed to get quite a few DVDs whilst I was there. For under £80, I got:

  • Grey’s Anatomy Season 3
  • Nip Tuck Seasons 3, 4 and 5
  • Desperate Housewives Seasons 2 and 3
  • Friends Seasons 1-10
  • All 21 Bond movies
  • An 8 film DVD with The Departed, Babel, Blood Diamond, Happy Feet, The Last King Of Scotland, The Queen, Pan’s Labyrinth and Dreamgirls
  • La Vie En Rose

Not too shabby, really, bearing in mind that normally, one season of Nip Tuck costs around £45.

The day before I left, I went to Lake Titiwangsa, in the north of KL and got a good view over the city. I also went up to Batu Caves, which is, as the name suggests, a complex of caves that have been turned into Hindu temples. All very colourful and absolutely full of monkeys.

So, yeah. I had a really great time and it was really relaxing. I don’t feel like I saw everything that could be seen in KL, but nonetheless, I had a really enjoyable trip away and saw what I went to see. It was great seeing Hiza again, too, especially as the last time we met up was before I went to Germany.

When I got back to Fukuoka, I was waiting for Customs behind a lot of Japanese people. They all went through seamlessly. It got to me; the white person, and suddenly the man had to go through all my bags. Every single one of them. He unpacked them and then left me to repack them. When he stumbled across the hoard of illegal DVDs I had stashed in my bag, he didn’t even raise an eyebrow. He was obviously just being a racist son of a bitch and he put me in a foul mood, one which I was not willing to hide. When he thanked me for my time in Japanese I stormed off, really annoyed that he had seen the need to rifle through all my belongings. It’s things like that that assure me that leaving after one year is the right thing to do.

And now I’m back in Kuga. I took the rest of the week off because I knew I would be knackered and that I’d have a hell of a lot of washing to do. But it’s all done now. I’ve unpacked. I’ve done all my washing. So I’m now just chilling out before my weekend starts. Another weekend away, in fact.

This weekend I’m off to Shimane prefecture to camp in Mongolian hut things and watch yabusame. Although I’ve mentioned before, this is samurai on horseback shooting arrows at things. Accompanied by a lot of drinking (on our part, not theirs I should hope). Should be good fun.

Having just tried to add photos into this post and failing miserably, please feel free to browse through the 3 albums of photos I took by following the links below.

Till next time!

Malaysia: Truly Asia I
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2148601&l=47391&id=61306034

Malaysia: Truly Asia II
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2148602&l=d479f&id=61306034

Malaysia: Truly Asia II
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2148603&l=bcbcb&id=61306034