Thursday, 30 October 2008

Genghis Kong vs. Jimmy Van Halen

Japanese television is, without exception, utterly crap. Every aspect of Japanese TV production is indescribably woeful in every possible way. However, sometimes it manages to be such utter, utter crap that it accidentally becomes genius.

Terebi dorama (Television drama) are extremely popular in Japan. These are more-or-less like soap operas, except that they're utterly farcical. None of the actors have a shred of talent, the plots are retarded, the production values are low and everything is so over-acted, over-dramatised and generally overdone that it becomes laughable. In fact, they can become hilarious.

I've just been watching a wonderful dorama entitled Yamaonna, Kabeonna (mountain woman, wall woman), in which a flat-chested saleswoman (wall woman) gets a new employee on her salesteam who has enormous breasts (mountain woman). Wall Woman is envious of mountain woman's rack, and hilarity ensues. In todays episode the department chief of the department store where they work didn't feel like eating his potato croquettes, so Mountain Woman had some. Unfortunately, Department Chief suffers from erectile dysfunction so his wife had laced his croquettes with some kind of drug to encourage his libido (I didn't quite catch what it was that she put in the croquettes, but it sounded like "spong", so I'm going to go with that). Mountain Woman reacted strangely to the spong, going into a super-hard-working frenzy of smiles, enthusiasm and efficiency, and was so impressed with them that she shared them with her section chief. He also went into a berserk spong-fury, and at the end of the day he charged off to some classy hostess bar with his colleagues to exercise his love muscle. There he bumped into limp-dicked Department Chief (his boss) with much embarassment but they end up sitting together with their girls for a while. Later on, who should appear on the stage dressed as Elvis but their company president (!) to much embarassment/amusement all round.

Meanwhile, Wall Woman has been invited to Mountain Woman's house for dinner, and Wall Woman is trying to work out how to make her boobs bigger. She is surprised to discover that Mountain Woman's mother has tiny breasts, so she decides that it must be something dietary. Mountain Woman eats a lot of pickles, so Wall Woman starts gorging on mama's special pickles in an effort to grow her breasts. Later on, Mountain Woman's grandmother comes home. Grandmother also has enormous great big boobs, and when she sits down to eat with them she has to lift her breasts up and rest them on the table. Cue slow-motion soft-focus close up of old lady boobs as Wall Woman gazes transfixed by them.

Wall woman offers Gran some pickles, but Gran declines, saying she never eats them. Damn, thinks Wall Woman, if its not the pickles, then what is it? I transpires that Mother (flat-chest) never drinks, but Wall Woman and Granny both drink like fish, so Wall Woman decides that the only way for her to get bigger boobs is to get amazingly drunk.

Oh, and at some point Mountain Woman was hospitalised by falling objects. I don't quite know how that fits in with the rest of it.

I can't quite tell whether the show ended there or whether I got bored and changed the channel, but that's about as far as I got.

Here's a little picture (that's Wall Woman and the left, Mountain Woman on the right):
And if you found my plot synopsis a little confusing, here's a handy chart to explain things more easily:
Does that make it a little clearer? Good.

I'll try and watch it regularly and keep you all up-to-date with the fascinating goings-on. I'm sure you're all desperate to find out what happens next.

Guess who I met last night?

JIMMY VAN HALEN! There he is, looking sexy. What a god. He's like a walking chunk of sex. He's like a little fleck of sex wee stuck to the bedhead in a love hotel. He is the worlds tallest sperm and the most fertile man in all of Asia.

For those of you who don't already know him, this is my friend Jimmy. We lived together last year and throughout first year we terrorised many karaoke events. We're karaoke terrorists. We turn up and we blow everyone away, but most of the time we also get killed in the blast.

Unfortunately, there were too many of us last night to all fit in one karaoke room, and we decided that it was only fair that we share the love evenly, so Jimmy was in one room and I was in the other. I was in this room:

That's right. All-you-can-drink karaoke with women dressed as Pikachu. Isn't Japan an awesome country? I don't even know who these women are, but I think one of them was called Ashley. Perhaps. (The chick in the middle was cute. Dude, I totally should have banged her.)

So me and Jimmy were in separate rooms, but we were able to get together for an absolutely storming, foot-stamping, screaming shouting rendition of that Karaoke classic, Dschinghis Khan (by Dschinghis Khan), to rapturous applause and wide-eyed terror. I'm also pretty chuffed with myself because I totally out-karaokeed a Japanese host guy at a Japanese song. Hosts (like a hostess, but a man) are pretty much trained to be good at karaoke. It's part of their job. And yet I Karaoke Blasted him right out of the water, even singing in Japanese.

Incidentally, the hosts that were there last night were off-duty. They weren't getting paid to hang out with us, they wanted to hang out with us because we're cool. Actually, they wanted to hang out with Lisa because they think she's cool, and I just happened to be in the same place at the same time.

We also met up with Rachel and Lisa from Sheffield so it was almost like a mini-reunion. Tomorrow, though, I think we're having a much larger-scale Sheffo get-together, possibly in fancy dress ('tis Hallowe'en, after all), which should be jolly.

Last weekend I went to 'camp'. I don't know whether I've already mentioned the IFL, but I feel I ought to. The International Friendly Lunch is a very camply-named club at Rikkyo University which aims to befriend and make welcome foreign exchange students, and they organise loads of stuff (mostly drinking parties). They also organised a camp for us, which involved booking a lodge near a river and then doing a barbecue and drinking party. They picked a very beautiful spot out in Saitama, about an hour and a half away from where I live:

You can just see the first hints of Autumn on the leaves. You can also see that there's a river.
River + Drunkeness =
Male nudity! Yay!

I, unfortunately, was not on top form for this event. I had exhausted myself from getting excessively wasted the night before and having spent the night telling a racist to stop being so racist at great length, I had slept very little. Thus I was sleepy and hungover and grumpy, so I wimped out and went to bed around midnight, although I believe the party continued until the very weeest and smalles of the wee small hours.

It was this episode - where I somehow managed to fuck up getting drunk at a drinking party by drinking - that caused me to pause and reconsider my lifestyle, and ultimately to decide to "detox".

On the subject of the detox, I am not doing too badly. My not-drinking lasted precisely as long as I thought it would (3 days), but I have been out drinking twice, surrounded by smoking people and still have not smoked, which I guess is a good thing. I have also not drunk any coffee, although I have had one or two cups of green tea. So I'm still a drunk, but I don't seem to be a smoker any more, which is strange. Strange in a good way, I suppose, but definitely strange.

To follow up on another point from my last post: I asked her out. She said no.


(Notice the new picture at the top of the blog)

I've got a week's holiday now - no school until Thursday next, although I believe I have mid-term exams on Thursday, which sucks a bit. A lot of people have gone off travelling to exciting places, but I decided to stay around and not do a great deal. This way I can conserve money, study lots and I've also got a chance to meet up with the Sheffield crew which is nice. On Tuesday I'm going to Disneysea, too, which should be fun.

I'm going to leave you with this delicious song by MGMT, because I think its awesome and I've slightly fallen in love with the weird face-painty girl in the video.

Genghis xx

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Genghis Kong vs. Tox

As those of you who pay any attention to my Facebook may already know, I am attempting some kind of "detox" regime type thing. I put that in inverted commas because a true detox implies that you lay off the "toxes" long enough for it to make an appreciable difference to your health, whereas that was never really my goal. Indeed I don't really know what my actual goal is, but I've decided not to drink alcohol or caffeine or to smoke for the time being.

I think I'm going to crack on the drinking first - I'm meeting up with my cousins husband tomorrow night to show him around Tokyo and I wouldn't be surprised if he might want to go somewhere for a drink later on. Failing that I have also been invited to a drinking party last night, and I have specific plans (written in my diary and everything) to go the pub with a bunch of girls on Thursday night (wa-hey!). So, while I can quite happily not drink if I don't go out and don't see anyone, I'm not sure how easily I can spend an evening in a pub without drinking. I'm not even sure I'd want to.

As for smoking, I'm not too sure. The two main factors which would make me want to smoke would be hanging around smokers and drinking, but the people I drink with don't tend to be the same peaople that I smoke with, so we'll have to wait and see how long I can hold out. Again, I haven't even decided that I actually really really want to quit for good, but I guess I'll take it as a little challenge to see how long I can go.

Caffeine just seemed to complete the set. Also, I like to smoke with a cup of coffee, so it seemed wise to get rid of that too. I've got to say though, I do look amazingly cool when I'm sitting in a little cafe on the street, Haruki Murakami novel in one hand, hand-rolled cigarette in the other and a steaming cup of black coffee on my table in front of me. Honestly, I am so kakkoii (Japanese for "totally fucking cool") it makes passers-by stop in amazement and break down weeping with uncontainable eye-joy at the sight of me. But I guess I'm going to have to give up that particular hobby.

"But why," I hear you cry, "have you decided to go on a detox all of sudden? You who are reknowned as a great lover of tox, and in many situations you are defined by your great tox intake - surely, without tox you are not even the same man? How can you turn your back on the tox which has been so good to you all these years?"

Well, in actual fact the tox hasn't been so good to me all these years. It has made me very fat and unhealthy and this is all part of a grander get-fit regime with which I am hoping to persevere throughout my time in Japan. The university gave me a health check-up for their insurance and things, and it turned out than in my first month here I lost about half a stone without making any effort towards healthiness whatsoever, so i felt I ought to try and capitalise on that gain. However, I think that early weight loss was entirely thanks to muscle atrophy and malnutrition - if anyone has ever told you that the Japanese diet is amazingly healthy, they were lying. The Japanese diet consists primarily of a large bowl of rice with a thin scraping of salty and/or deep-fried flavour smeared across the top of it. Most of their food is deep fried.

Of course, I'm being unfair. What i'm describing is cheap Japanese food, i.e. the food they serve in the cafeteria at school, and the only food I can afford most of the time. Of course there's all sorts of other things - delicious noodles, sushi, grilled meat and chicken things, a wide range of fish both cooked and raw and an unimaginable variety of seaweeds, tofus and pickled things. However, it is extraordinarily difficult to find vegetables in anything more than a garnishing capacity (unless those vegetables are pickled or deep-fried), so I have given up on the cafeteria food, and on eating out most nights. Instead I stay in, lift weights, and eat vast quantities of salad and vegetables. Blam. Incidentally, if you think its odd that I said I've given up eating out most nights, that's because in Tokyo it's usually cheaper to eat out than to stay in, especially if you want to eat interesting and varied food which tends to cost a fortune from the supermarket.

Another reason for my "detox" is that I have been having problems with sleeping. I don't know whether it's a very delayed jet-lag, whether its dietary, psychological or pituitary but its indescribably frustrating. I sleep for a reasonable amount of time each night, wake up the same time each morning, but I spend the first 10 or more hours of each day in a dazed, semi-conscious stupor. There's a thick, heavy foggy feeling in my head, my eyes feel gummy and its difficult to focus on anything, and anytime I sit down somewhere even slightly warm, quiet or comfortable (for example lessons, library or anytime I try to study) I start to nod off almost instantly. My vision blurs, my eyelids droop, I lose track of what's being said and gradually half-formed fragments of dream begin to form around the periphery of consciousness until all of a sudden I jerk awake again to realise that whatever notes I had been taking have trailed off into a squiggly line culminating in the words 'hitler clown' and I have absolutely no idea what the lecturer is talking about. And the lecturer has just asked me a question. It's deeply, deeply frustrating and annoying. I feel retarded or disabled or something, being completely incapable of even basic cognitive functions for most of the day. Around six or seven I perk up again, my mind is clear, I can focus, study, do whatever, but when it comes time to go to bed I'm still awake, alert and not sleepy.

So anyway, I figured that a peculiar daily cocktail of stimulants and depressants probably wasn't actually improving my sleep in the long run, so I'm cutting them out to see what happens. So far, I've been sleepier than ever, but I guess these things take time.

The final reason for my "detox" plan is, basically, that there's a girl I like and she doesn't smoke, rarely drinks and is very sporty, so essentially I'm just trying to impress her.

But this is all getting a little heavy, is it not? What other, lighter topics can i ramble on about.

Forthcoming exciting events:
I've got a week's holiday from Thursday this week until Wednesday next, so i'm hoping to meet up with some the Sheffield crew during this time (probably for more drinkies)
I'm going to DisneySea on Tuesday (like DisneyLand, but they sell beer)

That's about it for the moment. I'm sorry if this post has seemed less light-hearted and mirthful than previous ones, but hopefully the next one will be a riotous party of joy, colour, photographs and music.

And I can't even think of an amusing song with which to sign off. Oh, you'll have to make do with a song which is just good then, I'm afraid.

(Damn, you can tell I'm smitten, picking a song like that. Quality song though)

Love and love,

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Genghis Kong vs. Tokyo University Baseball Team

Go team!

Everybody ready now? Sing it loud!

St. Paul's will shine tonight,
St. Paul's will shine!
St. Paul's will shine tonight,
St. Paul's will shine!
The sun will go down
and the moon will come up
and tonight St. Paul's will Shine!

Go-o-o-o-o-o-o RIKKYO!

I went to a baseball game on Saturday, to support my university's team (Rikkyo University, also known as St. Paul's University) against Tokyo University. It was absolutely awesome. Aside from the actual baseball (which was pretty good, actually. It's not such a bad sport after all) the cheerleading squad was absolutely berserk. I mean, of course, there were pretty girls in little shorts waving pompoms, but it was the cheerboys which made the most lasting impression on me. Now before you all go off thinking I've turned gay, let me show you a little of what I'm talking about - this was a relatively sedate moment in the cheerleading proceedings:

As I say, this is not them at their most crazy - this was pretty early in the match, nothing had really happened yet. You should have seen them when we scored!

So it was a truly fascinating experience - at first the cheerleaders were just so loud and crazy that I was scarcely aware of any baseball going on. Also, all the cheers are in Japanese, and everyone is expected to join in, but of course I don't know any of the cheers or songs so at first it was deeply confusing and, honestly, quite terrifying. Not to mention slightly embarassing - the only bits of what they were shouting that I understood were "Okay everybody, let's really make some noise! 1, 2, 3..." and then they'd shout something I had no idea what, and look at us (all Gaijin where we were sat) expectantly, as if to say "why aren't you cheering?".

Gradually though, I worked out what *most* of the cheers were (still no clue about the songs though), and once I had worked out what they were saying I also realised that they were actually cheering in response to events happening in the game, so i was able to follow the cheers and the baseball simultaneously. I don't mind admitting that I possibly got slightly too into it - jumping up and down, screaming and hollering. They gave us all purple megaphone/noisy cone things when we went in, and by the time I came out mine was hopelessly mangled from over-vigorous clapping, waving and punching the air. I probably should have kept it for the shelf of tat.

I think I might have to start going to these things regularly. All I need now is to pick a professional team to support, then I can go to baseball all the time! Also, this has given me a new ambition for my time in Japan (I'll add it to my mission statement later): to become a cheerleader! I think it would take rather a lot of training though - those crazy bastards didn't stop for 2 1/2 hours - screaming, running around, shouting, waving their arms, shouting, waving flags, shouting... It was mad, and more than little bit frightening.

On a totally unrelated topic - I just ate one of the finest beer snacks I've ever encountered in all my days. I had a stick of spicy salami with little pieces of cheese inside the salami! They've combined 2 of the finest foods available (I combined that with the finest beverage available) to create something truly awe-inspiring. Verily, my friends, this is indeed the land of the future.

Ah... cheese... how I miss thee. Sweet yellow maiden of the curds, how richly and tangily you play across my beer-soaked tongue... Oh, but that I had the money I should dine upon your delights daily, but no. It cannot be. For your prices here are grossly inflated beyond even those of The Fine Cheese Co. and I shall have to content myself by listlessly wandering the food courts of high-class department stores, subsisting on nought but the meagre morsels proffered me on cocktail sticks by nubile young Japanese cheese-maidens. *sigh*

Yes, cheese here is obscenely expensive - £8-£15 for about 100-150g of decent cheese? I think not. Why would you spend so frivolously on cheese when you can buy packets of dried squid strings or pig's ear cartilage for less than a pound?

Damn this country and it's freaky beer snacks.

Okay - what else have I got for you...

Ooh! Shelf of tat! I've got a new addition!

I won it from a UFO catcher machine (one of those robotic-crane grab-a-stuffed-toy machines) at the bowling alley on Saturday. I didn't know what it was. I didn't even want it, particularly, but it was really close to the edge and loads of my friends were trying to get it. I finally knocked it off, so I get to keep it. Ha!

(The Battleship Yamato beer mug isn't in the picture because I'm drinking from it, I'm afraid)

This is its little label, which says that it's called Devi Gachapin, it's a Super Deluxe Lazy-Style Soft Toy. The red thing is presumably his friend, and is called Devi Mukku. Devi Gachapin has a little speach bubble which says うふふ、たまにはいいな~.This means "it's good to giggle once in a while", but I think it can also be read as "giggling is good for your balls". Perhaps that's just my dirty mind, but I like it better that way.

I'm kind of sleepy, so I'll run through the rest of my news as swiftly as I can be bothered. On Thursday night I went out for conveyor-belt sushi. They had some whale on the menu, so how could I possibly not have ordered it? Whale meat is very definitely meat. Not Fish. It's dark red and fibrous, and looks like well-hung steak. The texture is soft but slightly stringy and the taste, well, to be honest, it came with a big heap of grated raw ginger on top of it, so i couldn't really tell, but it was good. I will order it again.

Friday was also pretty fun. I went and caught a Kabuki play with Lars (Danish guy). Photography was forbidden in the theatre, but here's a photo of the theatre itself, which is nonetheless pretty cool, and a poster outside which tells you which actors are playing there.

Kabuki was cool, but I was too stingy/though too much of my own Japanese ability to bother buying one of the English language commentary earpieces, so i had very little idea of what was going on. Fortunately Lars did buy one, so he was able to fill me in on the plot details. I won't bore you with all of them, but, of course, like any good Japanese love story it had a happy ending - He was executed, She killed herself.

After Kabuki we went to one of my favourite places in all of Tokyo - しょんべん横町 (Piss Alley). Piss Alley is a couple of tiny sidestreets just 3 minutes walk from the busiest train station in Tokyo in within sight of dozens of enormous skyscrapers and business districts. Everything nearby is glass and steel and massive and worth billions, and yet Piss Alley persists; 2 tiny sidestreets lined on both sides by nothing but incredibly small Yakitori shops. Yakitori is essentially little bits of chicken on a stick, grilled over an open charcoal fire. It's among the finest foods the world has ever produced. It also goes extremely well with beer, so what's not to love?

Me and Lars had some chicken, and lots of beer. Then we each had a bowl of the shop's "speciality" stew. It was a very spicy broth which had floating in it lots of Konnyaku (a kind of grey jelly made out of the heads of bullrushes), chicken kidneys (I think) and something which was either tripe or just big pieces of chicken skin. It was a disreputable looking agglomeration of off-cuts and flotsam, but somehow it was actually really good. Here are some photos.

Me enjoying yakitori.

This was literally the entire shop.

And this is Piss Alley itself.

I think Friday ended up with us going into some bar near where we live only to find it was populated entirely by old Japanese women singing Karaoke. Undaunted, we stayed for a beer and sang some karaoke with them. I was awesome. I mean, seriously, I was absolutely fucking awesome. I think I'm so good at karaoke it actually takes the fun out of it sometimes.

Saturday was baseball, upon which I have already spoken at length. That evening we went for a drinking party with the Japanese members of the college of business. It was cool, but I'm still (still) struggling with this whole chatting-with-Japs thing. They're just a little difficult to approach. It's awkward. I've come to the conclusion that my Japanese isn't actually that bad (I have this bar I go to when I'm really drunk to practice my Japanese - I'm so good at it when I'm drunk!), but I still find it a bit awkward to talk to them. I think they're just not very good conversationalists. Whatever - it's definitely their fault and not mine. Definitely.

Now this is the bit I really don't understand. We had a drinking party and a meal. We had all-you-can-drink for 2 hours and lots of food all for £15 (pretty good, no?) but that finished at 9, and then we went bowling and everyone stopped drinking! I don't get it. Surely you would bowl first (while sober) and then get drunk. And if you're at a drinking party where you can drink all you want for 2 hours, why would you then go to do a sport (not a real sport) which requires you to be sober and not to drink? I don't get it. People here are crazy.

Everyone went clubbing after, but clubs in Japan are really sleazy and expensive, so I wandered off to my friendly bar on my own where I got into a discussion (in Japanese) about the nature of race and prejudice and how the old-fashioned white/black/yellow division is really very outdated and inaccurate. I guess i must secretly be able to speak Japanese, but it doesn't come out until I'm really drunk. Incidentally, it wasn't me that described Japanese people as yellow, it was the Japanese guy I was talking to. It took me a moment to work out what he was saying, because Yellow in Japanese is the same word, but it comes out as "ieroo". Damn Japs with their crazy moonspeak.

Gah. That's just about all the bloggery I can manage right now. I think it's a pretty decent offering though. Should keep you all happy for a little while.

I'll leave you with this: There is a children's TV program in Japan called Pythagoras Switch (or Pitagora Suicchi, in Japanese) and this is a compilation of its intro sequences, which are amongst the best things ever. All of them are made for real, with no digital trickery whatsoever. If you YouTube "Pythagoras Switch" you'll probably find loads more, many of them made by tiny Japanese children. Enjoy.

Hot hot sex,

PS. I'm sure I was going to write a PS. but I've forgotten what it was going to be.

PPS. Oh yeah. Thank you all for your concern - my eye seems to be better now. I think possibly spending too much time at my computer was the trigger of this attack of twitchiness.

PPPS. Keep commenting! I can't tell you how much it means to me. I die a little inside every time I log to on and there's no new comments.


Monday, 13 October 2008

Genghis Kong vs. Japanese Internet Providers

Sadly, the internet at my dormitory has died. It died on Saturday and Monday was a national holiday so the dorm manager hasn`t been in all weekend, so I haven`t had any internet for ages! I am now in the University media library where they do have internets, but their keyboards are all confusing and messed up, and none of my photos are here, so I can`t be doing a proper post here. This is a shame because I`ve been up to lots and lots of exciting things this weekend. A brief summary for you:
  • I ate raw whale meat at a rotating sushi bar
  • I went to see a Kabuki play
  • I ate Yakitori in Piss Alley
  • I sang karaoke in a strange little bar with old, old Japanese women
  • I went to a University baseball game
  • I went to a drinking party
  • I went bowling
  • I sat in my room on my own drinking beer and playing StarCraft for hours

So as you can see, there is lots for me to write about, but it`ll have to wait until my computer situation gets back to normal. Hopefully when I go home this afternoon the manager will have already fixed it, and it`ll be business as usual chez Kong.

On another (unrelated) note, do you ever get that weird thing when your eyelid spasms a little bit? You know, the weird twitching sensation that doesn`t hurt at all but is really really annoying? I`ve had that in my left eye for 5 days now. I`m starting to lose my patience/my mind. It`s intensely irritating and distracting.

Well, anyhoo, must run. More Genghis goodness coming up shortly, hopefully.

Ta-ra for now,

Geng x

Monday, 6 October 2008

Genghis Kong vs. Studying

Hello fans!

Long time no speaky! How are you all doing?

Yes, it's been more than a week since last we spoke. I apologise. The fault is entirely my own. It's just that I've been rather busy, you see? Mostly with schoolwork, as it happens. Somebody told me that Japanese University is really easy, which it may turn out to be, but you have to do an awful lot of work - I have homework due in every single day of the week! Having said that, the homework is mostly pretty easy, but still, it means I have to spend a lot of time actually working and studying, which is a rather novel experience for me.

But apart from busy I've also been rather lazy, and rather short of exciting things to write about - in a remarkably short space of time living in Japan has become my everyday, run-of-the-mill routine, so it hardly seems worth writing about to me. There are, of course, still plenty of things which make me scratch my head in disbelief though.

For example: On Saturday evening I was walking through Ikebukuro station, quietly minding my own business, when a little Jap came running up to me from behind and, without offering any explanation, started humming a peculiar little tune at me, whilst waving some strange book in my face. I looked at him blankly (I was taken totally unprepared and didn't even have time to use a Gaijin Optic Blast), and, grinning, he simply continued to hum his little tune and point purposefully at the book he held. The look in his eyes told me he was expecting something - some kind of recognition or sign of understanding from me, but I was (understandably) baffled, and din't know what to say to him.

I told him I didn't understand, and I could see his spirits fall. He continued with his tune, but his face had taken on a timorous caste, his eyes pleading for me to validate this little performance, but I didn't know how. With a shrug of my shoulders, his hopes were crushed. His song trailed off and, lowering the book, he apologised, and scuttled away with a look of absolute mortification on his face. I was left bewildered, and felt more than a little sorry for the man, who clearly wanted to tell me something, but I had failed to understand him.

The book he was waving at me was written all in Japanese so I didn't really understand it, but it had a picture of King of the Hill on one page.

"I don't suppose," I asked one of my friends with whom I was walking, "that that tune he was humming was the King of the Hill theme tune, was it?"

"Yeah, actually I think it was..."

Then it dawned on me. This peculiar little man had been trying to tell me, through the medium of humming and pointing, that I look like Hank out of King of the Hill! What an absolute cunt! I mean, sure, I was wearing jeans, a white T-Shirt and glasses, but still - you don't go up to a complete stranger and tell him he looks like a fat, drunk, middle-aged, depressing, American cartoon propane salesman! What a complete and utter bastard!

I'm never going out wearing a plain white T-shirt again.

I think I might buy myself a T-Shirt with "Honey is the Intense Fanny" written on it instead. That'd be good, wouldn't it? Luckily, some clever Japanese clothing designer has already manufactured such a T-shirt! I kid you not - "Honey is the Intense Fanny". On a T-shirt.

Other than being harassed by unpleasant little yellow folk in underground stations, I have been settling in to the rather humdrum business of daily life - not that I'm saying that's a bad thing. We can all benefit from a bit of regularity in our lives (as well as in our digestion).

I have class first period every day, so I'm up at 7am every morning. I haven't quite worked out what people eat for breakfast in this country, and after several deeply disappointing experiments with Japanese bacon, I have more or less given up, so for breakfast I have a bowl of Miso soup and a glass of tomato juice. No, this is not a satisfying breakfast, but it's better than Japanese bacon, and I can't be bothered to start grilling fish at 7 o'clock in the morning. So, I spend my first lesson (which is always Japanese language) with crippling hunger pains, but it's okay because at 10.30 class finishes and I can go to the cafeteria for a very early lunch.

Cafeteria food is pretty tasty to be honest, but in a deeply unsubtle way. It features pretty prominently deep-fried things and curry sauce, which is always a winning combination.

3 days out of 5, first period is also my last class, leaving me with a LOT of spare time on my hands. So far I haven't really found a productive way to fill it although i do study a bit. Its also kind of hard to come up with fun things to do on your own in the middle of the day for free/cheap, but quite often I go and sit in a coffee shop and read a book, which is perfectly pleasant.

The rest of the day is usually frittered away watching TV, playing computer games, learning Kanji, studying, frittering, cooking, eating, chilling etc etc blah blah blah. Japanese TV, by the way, is rubbish. I swear there are no hyper-violent or ridiculous game shows, just strange people doing strange things I don't understand, or answering incredibly easy questions wrong on TV game shows (there was one game show where the contestants were invited to answer questions based on the year 3 curriculum. Some of them scored, like, 20% or less). But watching Sumo is pretty funny.

I saw a real live sumo wrestler the other day. He wobbled in all kinds of amusing ways. Lol.

I haven't really been taking that many pictures lately, I'm afraid. Wherever I go there seem to be at least 15 other people with cameras, so I sort of feel, why should I bother - the pictures are gonna be on Facebook soon anyway - but here's a nice one of me and a load of people sitting in a place.

Isn't that lovely? Yes it is.

I feel I'm rather running out of steam for this post - I'll get back t you when I think of some more interesting stuff to say. For now, I'm hungry, so I'm gonna go make some food.

Until next time, then,

Ooh, oooh I
Ooh, oooh I
Ooh, oooh I,
I just know that something good is gonna happen

Good tune, but nowhere near as good as the Kate Bush original.

Genghis xx