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!

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…



Notes from the fog

Life in the fog (without Internet)

It is very foggy in Nemuro. That is something of an understatement. To understand how foggy it is here, first you must know that the locals have not one, but two words for fog that aren’t used elsewhere in Hokkaido. It’s so foggy that people had to find new ways if taking about fog. The Japanese for fog is kiri 霧 (きり). Here in Nemuro it’s jiri (じり) or gasu (ガス).

The fog can make you feel colder than even the snow or wind. It’s a damp cold that settles in your bones and makes you feel old. My heater is whirring and I’m all bundled up, but I still feel cold. I probably will until July.

In other news, this blog post is coming from my phone as I only have limited Internet these days. Rationing my usage has been a bit of a struggle. I’m trying to save it for essential things, like my blogging, booking my journey home and only very cutest videos of fluffy creatures. It’s tough. I am getting more writing done though.

Green fuzzy research

Marimo! Aquatic friend!


A little preview of my next article.

After a rather miserable couple of days (brought on by bureaucracy), part of my cheering up programme was a research trip to Lake Akan. Fondling fuzzy green balls and bathing on a rooftop is a good way to spend an afternoon. The other part of the cheering was talking to wonderful people on Skype. I am very glad to be living in the future.

Between loved ones and moss balls, I think I should be able to face the upcoming week. Hopefully.

The last 60 (working) days

I counted up today that I have only 60 days of work left in Japan. 60 days, doesn’t seem like much. And after those 60 days (and their associated weekends) I will be setting off on my grand tour of Japan, before heading back to Britain. Then it’s only a few weeks before I’m off on my next great adventure. (Note to self, book travel insurance.)

I like counting down to things. It helps me stay focused on making the most of the passage of time. They are all lined up and heading in the same direction.

I wonder how much I can get done in 60 days.

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.