And there was much celebrating!

I’ve made my first fiction sale! ‘The Springwood Shelter for Genetically Modified Animals’ will be appearing in Crossed Genres this September. They also interviewed me for their new author spotlight. I’m very happy to be published by them and the process has been a pleasure.

I made a mad flurry of submissions a while ago, which led to this. I didn’t really expect much to come of it, but life proved me wrong. I did learn a few things though. When I submit things I need to keep a much better track of where and when I’ve sent them. A rush of enthusiasm is fine, but it needs to be paired with methodical planning.

In other news, I started my new job a while ago. It’s good to have some more structure in my life, though I do miss my long, daytime conversations with John Montague, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. Just before I started work I was having a very productive writing time. Thousands of words a day, consistency, all the things I aim for. Since starting work, this has slowed a little. Now that I’ve got a feel for the job, hopefully I can get back into my writing swing. A new routine of early morning writing may be in order. I’d like to have some more things to submit (methodically) soon.

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!

June’s Tofugu Articles

Eeep! It’s almost halfway through July. When things get busy this blog goes quiet, but I’m going to try to fight against that.

Today’s update is a double header. Two of my articles were published by Tofugu last month.


HELP! I don’t know how to ALT! was the first of my articles about the fine art of ALTing. Look out for another coming up soon. I was very happy how well this piece was received. Giving advice about teaching tends to get people all riled up. Usually I quite enjoy those sorts of education debated. But here I wanted to write something very practical for new ALTs. I think I succeeded. It has also been picked up by AJET Connect and will be republished in their issue for incoming JETs.


Perhaps some of my good fortune was thanks to my collection of Omamori. Omamori were the subject of my second article last month. I’m planning on picking up some more omamori before I leave Japan. I need a job hunting one!


I’ve written and submitted one article already this month. I’m going to take a break in August as I go travelling around Kyushu and Shikoku. I should get some great material for September onwards though!

As for personal bloggery, check back soon for a post about boxes. So many boxes. My world is boxes…



Learning to Drive in Japan


My second Tofugu article was just published.


Learning to Drive in Japan

There was so much more I could have said about learning to drive in Japan. So many weird moments, like the time my instructor started talking about 666 the number of the beast. Or the giant bat of remorse. Or the way I screeched to a halt at a yellow light on my test, but still managed to pass. I think driving school will be coming up again in my writing soon.

Japan can’t decide if bears are cute and cuddly or dark and dangerous


My first article published on!



Japan Can’t Decide If Bears Are Cute And Cuddly Or Dark And Dangerous.

It feels pretty great to have something published for the first time. This is only the start. Determination station!

I knew I wanted to write about bears. Living with bears on the doorstep has been an interesting experience. When I throw out my rubbish I have to put it in a cage. That cage has been patched up with plywood after a bear had a go at it a few years ago. It’s a little bit more worrying than foxes getting into your wheelie-bin.