Thursday, June 21, 2007

Kuro Neko

I telephoned a Japanese shipping company to arrange the collection of my many boxes of books etc. which will be sent to Japan. The company said shipping my stuff to Japan will take 8-10 weeks, so I may have to hang around in Tokyo for my stuff to arrive. This will be really annoying as I want to spend a month or so traveling round Honshu(the main island of Japan) before I get settled in Tokyo.

I really like the shipping company's logo, which is why I am going to entrust them with everything I own...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I got attacked this evening in the park. It was just after 10 pm, so it had been dark for less than an hour. I was practising some jumping and rolling on my own, near some skateboarding ramps. I heard 2 men arrive somewhere behind me, and felt it was time to move on.

I walked a few metres away from the skate park and did some stretching. All this time my back was to the skatepark so I couldn't see the two men. I heard one of them shoult, presumably to get my attention. Then he walked up behind me and shouted again. As I turned round he punched me hard on the jaw. I think I must have been moving away from him at the time because I didn't get the full force of the strike. In any case, I've been hit far harder by my martial arts instructors both in the UK and Japan.

He tried to punch me quite a few times and may have kicked me as well. Each time I was moving back so I don't think he actually managed to hit me after the first strike to my jaw. While this was happening I asked what it was about. He just kept trying to hit me so I moved back again and started running.

The man chased me, shouting "Just wait until we catch you". His friend joined the chase as well. I've been jogging in the park almost every day for the past couple of weeks, so I knew exactly how far it was to the park exit, and what running speed I could maintain. I looked back at one point about 20 seconds after I started running, and saw the guy a couple of metres behind me. For some reason I knew he and his friend wouldn't be able to catch me, so I just kept running.

When I got home I had a glass of water and looked in the mirror. My jaw was red and slightly shiny where I had been hit, but there was no bruising. My left leg hurt a lot, maybe the guy landed a kick or punch there, or maybe it was just from the running. My left knee is often a bit sore after running, so that may be the cause of it.

All in all, a strange experience but not a terrible one. I'm so glad for the hours I've spent running and for all the martial arts training I've done.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

To Live And Die In LA

This afternoon I watched the 1985 film "To Live And Die In LA". Before I go any further, I must say that I love Los Angeles. I know that many (most?) Americans hate LA, but to me it's an amazing city of contrasts and adventure. Also, the lead role in the film is played by William L. Peterson, possibly my favourite actor due to his perfect performance in the film Manhunter. It is therefore unsurprising that I loved To Live And Die In LA.

The plot is pretty formulaic: a Secret Service agent hunts for a counterfeiter who killed his collegue, with hilarious and violent consequences. The soundtrack, by UK New Wave group, Wang Chung, adds a lot to the atmosphere of film and also helps to set the pace. To Live And Die In LA is essential viewing for anyone interested in 1980's culture and/or quality cinema.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Had a restful day at home. No run, just packing, throwing stuff away and listening to various podcasts from Japan. The three I've been listening to regularly are Tokyo Calling, Finding Japan and A Year In Japan.

The three podcasts are very different and it's great to listen to all three on a regular basis. Each time I listen to a podcast I remember that I have, thus far, failed to produce a podcast of my own.

Tokyo Calling is a very personal podcast by Scott Lockman, an American living in Tokyo with his wife and three young daughters. Most episodes detail Scott's daily struggle with work in Japan, as well as his experiences watching his daughters grow up. Scott often includes audio in his podcasts that he has recorded outside with an Edirol R-09 MP3 recorder, which helps the listener feel that they are actually in Japan.

Finding Japan is by Christopher, a young American man who is in Japan as part of an international program organised by his university in the US. Christopher doesn't hesitate to dive in to any situation so he often has quite interesting tales to tell.

A Year In Japan is by a young British man called Joseph Tame who is in Tokyo as part of his degree in Japanese Studies. Joseph's opinions on Japan are very similar to my own, which means he's right...

There are two other popular podcasts from Japan "Herro Flom Japan" and "Kobe Beef" but I haven't listened to either of them yet.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Perfect Saturday?

Had a very good Japanese lesson with my teacher Takako. It's great to be learning Japanese again even though I'm constantly reminded of my low ability.

When I switched my mobile on after the Japanese lesson I found a text message from my friend Anwar. We decided to have lunch at a Malaysian buffet restaurant.

Anwar has just self-published a novel that he wrote and will probably become a local celebrity over the next few months. Maybe I can be his manager...

When Anwar noticed I had a cold he gave me a large bottle of organic carrot juice. Not sure if it will help, but it's the sort of thing I feel I should be drinking as part of my new, healthier lifestyle.

Had a good run in the evening and did some circuit training as well.