Oh! Canada Again

I’m back home in Canada after a month in the UK. As expected, it is cold. The icicles outside my window reach from the roof to the windowsill. I don’t think they count as icicles anymore. They are more like columns, or prison bars. It’s the kind of weather that makes your face hurt when you go outside.

Not that I’ve actually been outside today. No, instead I’ve unpacked, done laundry, cooked tomatillo chicken chilli (slowcooker I love you), built myself a standing desk out of boxes and a photo album (I miss all the standing up from my teaching days), caught up on Woman’s Hour, done the washing up, finished off and submitted a Tofugu article, drunk more tea than is probably healthy, made a “creative consistency” progress chart out of masking tape, half built a paper model of a Japanese castle, started job hunting, and watched a lot of Youtube videos. Productive procrastination.


Behold! Desktron!

Standing desk isn’t the name of the monster. It’s actually Frankenstein’s standing desk.


I managed to write a bit too. Not as much as I want, but it’s a start. I don’t know why I have such gut scrunching fear whenever I go to write. Once I start it’s fine, but the starting is excruciating. Yet I want to be a writer. I want to get these stories out of my head and onto the page.  Tomorrow I will write more, and the next day even more, and so on. That’s the plan.

All the Tofugu I failed to tell you about

Six months of quiet. Oops. That wasn’t very good was it. I have been doing things in those six months though. I wasn’t just hiding in a cave communing with nature and honing my mental powers, I promise.

Look I have proof; Tofugu articles. Everyone knows caves have terrible Wifi. How could I have written these from a cave.


Introducing Introduction: Mastering the Jikoshokai and ALT Self-Intro Class

In which I introduce introductions and talk more about sheep than you’d expect.


Let’s all get NAKED! Onsen and Body Image

This is the article I enjoyed writing the most this year. It’s an ambition of mine to write a book about onsen one day (this is not just a ploy to get to visit lots of wonderful hot springs, really it isn’t.) Seriously though, if you only read one thing I’ve written, let it be this.


Getting Down and Dirty with Japan’s Garbage

My vocabulary went all trans-atlantic in this one. It is rubbish or trash? I don’t even know any more.


How to Cope When Japan isn’t Perfect

Yeah, this is drawn largely from my own experience. Writing it, and hopefully helping other people going through similar troubles, really helped me come to terms with a lot of the crazy stuff that happened to me in Japan.


Wined, Dined, Brined, and Intestined: Acquiring a Taste for Japanese Delicacies

Kudos to my editor for that title. Mmmmm intestined… I had a lot of fun researching this one. I do love a good gross food story. Ever since I wrote the cookbook ‘Making Meals with Seals’ for The Polar Museum, I’ve been a bit obsessed with icky food writing. Watch this space for the Necronomnomnomicon.


Michi no Eki: Japanese Stamp Rally in Hokkaido

And with this one we’re up to date. It still pains me that I never stamped ’em all. One day I’ll get back to Hokkaido and finish my collection. I swear it by my collection of fridge magnets!

New Year, New Determination

So far 2015 has brought me two things. First, metal pins in my face. I’m currently recuperating after dental surgery. The positive thing about this is that it’s giving me a lot of time to do things, like update my poor neglected website. The negative thing is: ow.

The second thing 2015 has brought me is determination to get things done. 2014 was a pretty packed year. I got engaged, moved my life between three different countries, and was payed for writing for the first time (living the dream!). Still, I think I was fairly lazy last year. I still haven’t made progress in some big areas. So 2015, let’s do this.

Even though I’m shouting into the void a bit here (hello void!), I’m going to try to use this site to hold myself to account by posting more regularly.

Here are my goals: write consistently, study Japanese consistently, waste less time.

Here’s to a consistent 2015 and the alleviation of dental pain!