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May 2005 saw me having a bit of a rough ride, with emotions flying all over the place and a big epileptic seizure - my first in ten years - ensuring that I felt completely spaced out. With my return to Japan looming, and nature bursting into bloom all around me, I just didn't know which way to turn...


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Thursday 28th April 2005 01:11 GMT The Red Light Cupboard, Sheffield

n o t o b s e s s e d

My desktop background. No, I'm not obsessed.

Thursday 28th April 2005 01:11 GMT The Red Light Cupboard, Sheffield

wouwo wouwo wouwo rabu reboru-shon

keikochan and Mrs Capulat (a.k.a. me)

kawai jan?

Saturday 30th April 2005 22:39 GMT The Red Light Cupboard, Sheffield

feeling the need to be skintight

I felt the need to slip into my skintight jolly-green giant suit this morning, and parade myself in front of the crowds in Sheffield City Centre.

So that is what I did.

Sunday 1st May 2005 10:53 GMT The Red Light Cupboard, Sheffield

you know you're in student accomodation when...

...you wake up and find this outside your door

Sunday 1st May 2005 14:44 GMT The Red Light Cupboard, Sheffield

The first photo of my 5-day-old nephew

World, meet the little cutey Edward.

Edward, meet Wo... oh, you're asleep. Maybe later hey?

Wednesday 4th May 2005 00:45 GMT The Red Light Cupboard, Sheffield


yes, tit poo AND wank.

I have so much I want to write, so much I wanto to do, and yet tomorrow I have a bloody two-hour lecture in which I am guaranteed to fall asleep (not due to boredom I hasten to add). We've been there before I know, but there you go, it happens every wednesday, because university timetables are generally arranged on a weekly basis...

ooh but my head isn't. My head is arranged on a veritable bed of organic lettuce full of ripe sultana's without apostrophes and stuff.

yes so I think i'll be resorting to red bull again tomorrow.

So yes, today one of my course mates told me that her name, far from being 'question mark" as per my April 2005 photo album , was in fact Ruby (although it's not actually, as her real name is Caroline, but for the sake of privacy we'll call her Ruby). Anyway anyway this was followed by another coursemate adding that I'd spelt their name wrong as well.

This prompted me tonight to see if anyone else that I might know here in Sheffield is taking a sneek peep at TGW... and having employed some rather clever detectives in the shape of a battered cod and a floppy disk drive I discovered the warren of online class-mate activity that I first came across last year courtesy of a random Google search (not for horse cocks you understand) is in fact a multinational network, and to top it off in the way that crushed almonds do on cauliflower soup one of them even has a link to my site! You may recall that a month or so back I went to the wedding of our wonderful teacher, miyuki, along with, amongst others, a few other first & fourth year students. Well, naturally we've tried to keep this as quiet as possible so as not to embarrass miyuki. I even avoided writing about it in tdm... but I couldn't hold back from posting the photos.

It's weird this thing of posting diaries online and all that. As I've said many times, I just do it for myself, and don't like it when I know that people read it. so don't.

Still, it's been interesting reading the odd thing or too about those classmates who I really know very little about. The more I read, the more I like them, and I liked them to start off with. I think if I was a few years younger I would feel positively intimidated by the lot of them... In fact I found out that one of them is a Bjork fan, and as we all know, I am Bjork's no. 1 fan - and that was even before I met someone who, oh I suppose I'd better not tell you that, it's a bit rude and involves naked flesh and orgasms. ...anyway, I'm drifting. I wanted to tell you about something else.

so I saw her again today. Oh dear I feel so childish. Well, sort of. The thing is tonight, she sort of gave me the cold shoulder via email having done precisely the opposite when I saw her a few hours back in the Union. So that's good, right? That means I can't go and throw my degree away for the sake of a woman, just as my ex did for me and no doubt lived to regret it, She's not talking to me these days so I wouldn't know. The only one who isn't. Oh, apart from the two that post-joseph went on to reject men altogether in favour of the far more beautiful sex. Oh dear where was I? Oh yes, so, you see, it could just be cultural misunderstandings. Well, actually, I never understand women unless I'm actually with them (thus the tragic inter-continental love story of BBC fame), so I think I'll wait until Friday when I'm due to go out and get drunk with a whole bunch of darlings including said victim of my yearnings. And again on Saturday night, and, oh bollocks, I'm driving the minibus for the Nursery on Saturday morning... Got a parking ticket this week when I did it!! I felt so upset I nearly cried - the tears were welling up as I begged the nasty man in the flourescent suit to not book my minibus which was, after all, there on charity business (that being my trying to find a pair of shoes that would enclose my ski-like feet - I need size 46cm /11.5). He wasn't amused when I urinated up his leg in protest when the tears failed to move him.

Ahhh all my emotion has left me. I feel empty!! What's going on? Where's the love gone? I think I know actually - it has been drained by a) afore mentioned rebuttal b) reading bits of wwwinternet stuff that lacked emotional outpourings.

a few minutes later

I really don't like feeling nothing.

I was going to say that I'd rather feel bad, but that's not true, because I HATE feeling bad.

Oh bloody f*** with a willy on top. I so want to fall in love. It's so not fair. I saw TWO couples kissing today. Bloomin PDAs. AND as if that weren't enough, two Biochemistry students who I've come to know quite well through spending most of my waking hours in the library's group study area have finally got it together after month of foreplay. I couldn't figure out if they've shagged yet though.

My friends have said to me, "well, you;re not going to meet anyone if you spend all that time in the library now are you?" I would argue that that is not the case. I tell you, that library is full of the most gorgeous women in Sheffield. Don't ask me why, but they are just ...ooh god I think I told you about the time a couple of weeks back when I literally went weak at the knees, speeding heart beat etc, well it seems to be getting more like that everday now. Partly because the library is busier than ever, and partly because everyone's taking their clothes off, and there is nothing quite as beautiful as naked bodies. Apart from a bankruptcy petition that's been stamped by your local court ridding you of 18 grand of debt.

Tonight, it muct have been about 11.30pm, I had cause to go down to Stack 3 in the library. Now Stack 3 is the lowest floor open to the public. To get to it you have to go down two tiny flights of stairs from the main reading room. It's mostly full of special collections, but is also home to the Korean section, and what with me doing Korean History, well, I needed to find a book down there.

I hadn't realised that they close that area after 9pm.

When I opened the door, the stairwell was pitch black. Felt around for the switch, and made my way down. Opened the door at the bottom, and out into the pitch blackness. A vast warren (yes, I know I've used warren once tonight already, but it just happens to be the right word ok?) lay in front of me. Apparently. I couldn't atually see it though. Anyway, whilst down there looking for my book, it struck me as to what a great place it would be to have sex.

It would be very exciting. I do like having sex in unusual places. Sadly, so far, my list of exciting places isn't actually very exciting. It includes:

On table 34 in the restaurant where we used to serve over 300 Japanses tourists everyday, Switzerland; a log shed that had one wall missing right by a road, Switzerland; A field right by a busy road, France; an outdoor fire escape at a youth hostel, Italy; on a mountain whilst having my toes licked by a cow with a big bell on, Switzerland; on a stranger's doorstep next to a nightclub, outside Europe; on the counter that we used to put all the food on when serving the 300 Japanese tourists, Switzerland; in a youth-hostel dormitory, Japan; in a shed in the middle of a forest that had wild grizzly bears, up-state New York; in a love -hotel, Japan (not very naughty, but very exciting, depending on the love hotel in question - recommend the expensive ones in Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo), in the main carriage of a train whilst it climbed a mountain, Switzerland; my brother's living room (he came back into the house seconds after the session concluded), by a lakeside in America, woken up in naked entanglement with the girl I lost my virginity to by a boat full of adults with learning difficluties and their carers passing by...

But yes, am yet to have sex in the library, still, I've got three years in which to fulfill the dream.

Right, I need to trim my beard and go to bed as it's now 2.04am. I think I'll make my packed lunch in the morning - that's how naught I'm feeling.


Friday 6th May 2005 00:20 GMT The Red Light Cupboard, Sheffield

rough seas ahead

really, I mean it.

I can't talk specifics, but anyway, yes, this is all real bad timing. You know I was just saying that i want to fall in love, well, it seem someone up there was listening and now, even though the other party involved probably doesn't give a poo-plop in the eternal portaloo of the Music Festival of Love about me on anything more than a friendship level, my heart has decided that it's going to do it's own thing anyway, and is not listening to a word my head says. So, Hurt, Here I Come.


No-one has made any indication that they are the slightest bit interested in me, which is good, because otherwise my heart would probably be racing so fast I'd turn into a humming-bird. But, none-the less, me being such a bloomin' emotional bit of humankind I do tend to go to extremes. Ambiguity is all I am given to work on - dangerous when it comes to the likes of me.

This is real bad news because it means I can't get to sleep before 4am. Mind you, that has been the case anyway as I can't stop thinking about going home. I mean, Japan. Thinking about the places I can visit where I used to live, see old friends, some of whom I haven't seen since 2002. And that's even without including the excitement of seeing my bestest friend whose lampshade I'll probably hit my head on.

So, there is no plan as to how I'm going to deal with all this. Well, there is actually. The plan is to just wait and see what happens. I shall do nothing but bear my torment in silence (with frequent outbursts on The Daily Mumble no doubt.)

The plan ISN'T to fall head-over heels and screw up all the OTHER plans. (World domination through 1st Class Degree then amazing job in Japan with the Daily Mumble going live from the Fuji TV studios...)

You know, I really really so want to NOT fall in love. But if I do. My god. It's a drug. It's wonderful. It's so beautiful. Oh but it's so addictive! I've bever so been so happy as when I've been in love. But, no, not now. I have to write an essay on Korean History.

This weekend will prove to be interesting.

Whatever happens, the next few months are forcast to be the most choppy since the winter of 2002/2003.

Saturday 7th May 2005 03:20 GMT The Red Light Cupboard, Sheffield




Yes, well, that's maybe how it is in Forties Cromarty Forth Tyne, but this is how it is in Sheffield.




(this entry is also available in Real Media Audio )

Saturday 7th May 2005 11:33 GMT The Red Light Cupboard, Sheffield

Yo-Yo Boy

oh yes, that's me.

I'm feeling rather fine today.

No hangover after last night's bottle of wine, and beers, and ice cream, and tofu. Yes, feeling really rather good! This gorgeous weather helps. Plus, I really had a great time flirting with the grogoeous gal who works at my local wholefood shop this morning. Oooohh, it was very exciting.

yes, i really had a good time last night (despite walking-home-alone syndrome which resulted in above entry). Will and my other friends from the world of Will Yaki very kindly invited me to join them for the business launch party. I'm so glad I became involved with Japan soc, it's made such a huge impact upon my social life here. They really are lovely people. In fact, I've decided to change my Japan plans - stay in Tokyo a bit longer to enable me to join them for a reunion party at the end of June.

oohh it's a slippery slope Joseph.

Anyway, I must go and pick up a bunch of kids from the city farm where I left them a hour or two back. Was a bit of a struggle locking them into the minibus to take them there, and their parents weren't too pleased having their children snatched from them in Tesco's, but, well, I think children should go to a farm now and then.

I love life, I really do. It's wonderful.


Sunday 8th May 2005 11:33 GMT The Red Light Cupboard, Sheffield

I'm so tired i could eat a whole bed in one mouthful.

If it was covered in chocolate and naked ladies.



click here for a dreadful, dreadful, short video of me singing Your Song at Karaoke...

(although the video was shot over 3 years ago, not last night)

hello! it's me here. Joseph. Surprising really considering this is MY mumble. Yes, and just what ARE you doing here anyway?!!

Well, I haven't actually been to bed yet, and it's 10.20am. In addition to suffering from sleep deprivation I also have a fantastic hangover. No doubt the whole bottle of white wine and the several pints of beer played a part in bringing that on.

Oh, but I had fun!

Yes anyway last night, we (japan soc) held a karaoke night. sore ha chou omoshirokatta yo (it was really great fun). Un, yes, I really had a good time. What was even better though was what happened after the karaoke, when a whole bunch of the resident MA Japanese students and a couple of 4th year Japanese Studies were kindly invited back to dear keiko's place in Victoria Hall. Stayed up all night talking, eating and stuff. I loved it, immersed in Japanese, and understanding quite a lot of what was going on. And they are all such lovely people.

ja ne.


Sunday 8th May 2005 18:33 GMT The Red Light Cupboard, Sheffield

hen na kimochi

hmm. I can't remember what I was going to write now.

Tuesday 10th May 2005 21:33 GMT The Red Light Cupboard, Sheffield

fame bangs on the door ...again

It just can't resist me. Fame, that is.

Greenpeace USA have decided to use my little story & photo to kick off their new climate-change campaign.


Not sure what I was thinking when I submitted that photo...

Wednesday 11th May 2005 19:59 GMT The Red Light Cupboard, Sheffield

coffee revolution carrot cake

I finished my 48th diary last night. Been writing them since I was ten-years-old you know. I haven't written much over the past year. I have tended to make 5-minute video diaries instead - no time - and I figured they can be used more easily when the film is made about me after I die.

Recently though, I've started again. A friend wrote me an email which prompted me to research into my state of insanity back in 1997. Having successfully located the day I had in mind (it involved a lot of vodka redbulls , vomit, one ski boot and an emotional reunion with someone whom I had not spoken to for a month, despite the fact that we lived under the same roof and were in the same 5-man team) I started to read... and couldn't stop. This reminded me of what a friend my diary is to me. It deserved more attention, and so that is what it is now getting.

Got to know someone tonight who I've been scared of since I first met them a couple of months back. Once again a case of I wish I'd got to know them sooner. That's happened quite a few times recently. I won't make the same mistake next year. Next year I will do my utmost to develop decent relationships with everyone as soon as possible. Easier said than done I guess.

Oh I really love our teacher [in a totally platonic sense you understand, she'a a married woman you know]. How fortunate we are to have her. She has know idea what an amazingly positive impact her attitude has had upon our learning experience.

Mind you, today she said the F word! It was such a shock to hear her say that! She was demonstrating a bit of grammar, and used that in her role as a nasty thug. I felt that in doing so she went one-step beyond The Line. I mean, you know, in a way it's nice to have teachers who cross the boundaries (as she constantly does, bless her), but there IS a line. I was shocked...

I shall miss her next year (she does not teach level 2), but no doubt I'll often be popping into the office for a chat. I really like chatting with them. Hmm, they're so nice.

Gosh there's so much going on. I don't quite know where I am. I am very fortunate to have such caring friends though. There's one in particular, Will, who I got to know through Japan Soc (he's our president... oh yes, that reminds me, we've just had our elections, I nominated myself for secretary and happily, was voted in ok. Although I guess that might be because no-one else stood for the post. And because of those Yakuza I hired to aid me with the campaign...). Anyway, Will, well, anyone who can count Will as one of their friends is fortunate indeed. Such an energetic, caring and level-headed guy, I really respect him, and I am so glad that I'll be working alongside him next year.

The end

Saturday 14th May 2005 02:20 GMT The Red Light Cupboard, Sheffield

satisfaction guaranteed

Oh great sense of achievment!

It's eight minutes past two-in-the-morning, and you find me in the library. I'm feeling very good, having picked up a copy of this week's widely distributed Sheffield Union What's On magazine.

Last week, I took part in a feedback forum thing, focusing on the afore mentioned publication, in order to secure a £15 book token to offset the cost of next year's books. However, I ended up simply arguing on behalf of Japan Society / societies in general, by drawing attention to the fact that a great deal of space was given over to advertising beer when it would be far better utilised if allocated to Societies that otherwise are unable to reach a wide audience.

Following that feedback thing, I submitted an ad for our movie showing next week (Shimotsuma Monogatari / Kamikaze Girls) ...and then, when not half an hour ago I picked up a copy of the latest What's On, what did I find? Not only a big section of Tuesday's listings given over to a poster of the film, but also on the back page a review! I am well impressed. Just goes to show, nagging works.

In other news, I got my 12th consecutive [A*] accredited homework back yesterday. Before the A*s I only got straight A's (8 of them I think) as I didn't realise that A*s were available and so didn't put the extra effort in. If only I was so confident about next week's exams :-(

Have been in the library since 2pm, so that's what, 12 hours? Have managed to complete all the weekend's homework which now allows me to devote tomorrow today and Sunday to my essay on Korea.

Was feeling very emotional earlier this week, but have been feeling much better this past couple of days. ne.

Oh I do like Andy Kershaw. Thank heavens for Wireless Broadband Radio. ne.

Sunday 15th May 2005 01 36GMT The University Library, Sheffield


It's thirty seven past one in the morning, and I'm still in the library. Been here since 3pm. Feel godd, have written 2800 words of 2500 words of an essay (woops), the title of which is

Discuss political events on the Korean peninsula from the 1880’s to the formal annexation of Korea by Japan. Discern the different stages of the events which led eventually to Korea’s absorption by its neighbour. Looked at from the perspective of 1880, was it inevitable that Korea would be absorbed by Japan?

Defend your statement.

I never used to like history, but I really do now.

Korea has had such a bad time at the hands of Japan, Russia, China and its own power-hungry cliques. Unbelievable.

Last night, I got offered pills AND sex when taking the five minute walk home.

The prostitute wasn't prepared to pay the rate I demanded though.

Sunday 15th May 2005 19:49GMT The University Library, Sheffield

10 years without a major seizure then...

I had rather a traumatic night last night. It involved

1) our flat being burgled (I heard the burglary but failed to grasp what was going on)

2) I had my first tonic clonic (epileptic) seizure in over ten years last night whilst asleep, resulting in


a) a harshly bitten tongue

b) toes bleeding due to a lack of skin due to prolonged rubbing against bed frame

c) 4 limbs that all feel as if they have been dislocated

d) prolonged concussion. I couldn’t think at all, didn’t know what was going on, but eventually realised, called mum and dad who called NHS Direct who then called the paramedics for me! Two ambulances turned up within minutes!

They took me to A & E where I was checked over, and despite superficial injuries I should be ok, but I have to take it easy. The long-term side effects of the seizure have yet to be revealed.

great timing, what with exams next week.

I’m absolutely wiped out, despite having slept all afternoon. Limbs weigh an absolute tonne.

I really never thought I’d ever have another tonic clonic seizure. Off to see my GP tomorrow to discuss upping my medication. I've only ever had one in my whole life, and that was before I was diagnosed / put on meds.


4 hours later...

Crikey it must really have been a big seizure. I'm so glad I was unconscious whilst it was going on!

What really confused me, as if I wasn't confused enough already, was when I woke up this morning my feet were bleeding (as I mentioned above). Now, there's nothing sharp near the end of my bed, just a mattress (which incidentally extends all the way up my bed!) and the smooth wooden bed frame. Imagine how long / how hard I must have been seizuring to rub the skin off completely - and we're talking foot-skin here which tends to be quite durable.

I'm pretty sure I dislocated the tendons in both of my shoulder joints. My right shoulder has a history of slipping out, and the way it feels now matches that exactly. The left has been ok until today. Once you have done it once though (and stretched all the bits involved) it's more likely to happen again, which is probably why, to my great astonishment, my left shoulder popped out this afternoon!

I've also hurt my lower back, and my head is still thumping away.

This is all a major pain in the bum, especially with an essay due Wednesday, an exam Thursday, another exam Friday, a third exam the following week and a final exam the week after, oh, and then ten weeks in Japan.

Probable causes for this seizure:

- sleep deprivation. I was up very late on Friday doing all my homework (bed 3am ish), and was then woken by the phone at 5.30am. Then yesterday i was in the library until 2am-ish, stuck in front of a computer for 12 hours. Once home, I went to bed, but was woken at about 4.30am by my flat-mates who had discovered that we had been burgled (more on that below). After about an hour of sorting that out with the police and security, I went back to bed - and it would have been then that I had my seizure.

Coupled with a lack of sleep has been the stress, associated with exams, and more recently returning to Japan. It's been a recipe for disaster really.

this is a BIG poo!

The Burglary

The annoying thing is I actually heard the b******s break in, and thought to myself, "That sounds like someone breaking in", but I dodn't do anything about it.

I live in a ground floor flat with six other people. There is a corridor with three bedrooms off each side, and at the end of the corridor, a kitchen/living room. My room is right by the kitchen, so I can hear if anyone's in there.

Last night, as I was settling down, I heard some noises in the kitchen. This prompted me to have the following conversation in my head:

"Hmm, it sounds like there's someone in the kitchen. That's odd, I know no-one's in there because I haven't heard the door close (it's a heavy, noisy door).

"Hmm, it's probably a burglar, climbed in through the window. That window that opens onto that dodgy street the other side of the building is always open a bit."

"I wonder if I should go in there with my camera and film them."

"No, actually, I'm probably just hearing things..."

It was about an hour later that I was woken by a couple of flat-mates returning home from a party. Play Station 2, XBox, DVD player and a whole pile of DVDs gone. They didn't take the TV as it wouldn't fit through the window.

Quite a coincidence I guess that not 12 hours before the robbery a member of University Security had come round to tell us to be careful about security due to the number of robberies in the area.

Tuesday 17th May 2005 22:07GMT The Red Light Cupboard, Sheffield

the long road

hmm. Think it might be a bit of a long road to a full recovery.

Physically, I'm not doing so bad. My legs, which yesterday felt as if they's been forced to run about 100km in very thick goo, are today more or less ok. Thighs still ache somewhat though. My left arm has threatened to pop out a couple of times, but I have taken swift action whenever I've felt the familiar twinge, thus preventing dislocation of tendons etc. Headache gone, bruise near ear not so tender. My tongue remains the biggest source of physical discomfort. I really must have had a good knash at it. Nice yellow skin-type stuff now covering the wounds.

The problem though is not really these physical side effects of my seizure, rather, it's the damp sock that has been put over my senses. I think the best way I can describe how I feel is constantly stoned. If I move my head faster than a snail's pace, I feel dizzy. I can't remember anything that I'm supposed to have remembered either yesterday or today.

This is a major poo.

The question is, is this fuzziness a result of the seizure, or a result of the upping my intake of Epilim? It's one of those catch-22 situations, I'll never know.

Well, at least my new mouse is positively sexy and working far better than my old one that died on Sunday.

Thursday 19th May 2005 22:39GMT The Red Light Cupboard, Sheffield

tomorrow is the last day of term

Hmm. The recovery continues.

My head is taking a bit longer than I would like to get over last Sunday's electrical storm / epileptic fit / tonic clonic seizure / tenkan no hossa.

My thinking remains very clouded. Muffled. A bit like when you are woken up in the middle of the night by the telephone and aren't quite sure what it is that's making the ringing noise - that's how most things are appearing to me at the moment.

I achieved my worst EVER mark for a test today. Since I started uni I have not got anything less than a First for any of my assessed work, so today's 3 out of 12 for Kanji came as something of a dissapointment! Well, I was expecting it actually, as I'd only been able to write the answers to three of the questions despite studying them for the same number of hours as in all other weeks.

Today's end-of-semester kanji test was also a complete disastor due to my inability to recall the characters - a resultant state of the seizure. Thankfully, my department are being utterly wonderful about it all. My teachers are all aware of the situation, and my state-of-mind will be taken into consideration when it comes to assessing my exam work and the bloody awful essay that brought all of this on in the first place. The departmental secutaries are absolute angels.

It has been pointed out to me by staff on numerous occasions that even if I do appallingly badly in my exams and get, say, 30%, I'll still get an overall 2:1 for the year.

Anyway, all of this talk of grades is actually a bit misleading, because what matters to me is not the grades but

a) whether or not I get laid My Japanese language ability

b) enjoying my time at university

I'm quite happy with both really. I feel on a par with my peers re. Japanese language ability, and grateful that I am not afraid of making a complete prat of myself by using it

Socially, it has been a good year. I have managed to

- remain single. This was one of my goals. I think it was a bit to easy to stick to though. I would have preferred more of a challenge on this front.

- establish good friendships with my teachers (attending the wedding of one of them was a definate highlight). I feel that they are just as much my friends than teachers, and I hope to be able to further develop these valuable relationships over the next few years.

- ingratiate myself with the admin staff of my department by helping out as much as possible with Open Days etc etc. They are absolutley lovely people, and I do feel like they are my surrogate mothers here in Sheffield, although of course they are too young to be my mothers :-) And some of them aren't female and therefore lack the required bits.

- become heavily involved in the running of Japan Society through a bit of cunning use of confidence last October. Through that I have made loads of friends outside of my department, and have also been able to make invaluble contacts within the Union and other university departments.

Hmm, I'll miss my teachers.

Anyway, plans are already well under way for next year. We've already started room bookings etc for events we'll be holding in the first few weeks to ensnare the 1st years who don't know any better. It's gonna kick off again so soon.

I keep on dislocating the tendon in my left shoulder, blooming painful I can tell you. It must have been out of place for quite a while whilst I was fitting on Sunday.

Started arranging my transport to London etc for three weeks today. Oh, in fact, in exactly three weeks right now I should be flying over Western Europe on my way to Tokyo.

I don't know why it is, but I feel like I'm going home after a few years abroad. I hope it's not connected too much with people, I hope it's more the place, because I don't want to cause anyone any trouble (including myself). I've been thinking though, what am I actually going to do in Tokyo for 3 weeks? I mean, I have a list of people I want to see (currently standing at about 25), but they can be sort of clustered into three main groups, one being those connected with snoopy, one connected with Sheffield Uni, and the other just random strangers who had the misfortune to run into me at some point in the past. So I could see most of them in the space of a few days, which then leaves me with about two weeks to do... what? I won't have much money. I suppose I could find out if tsutomu still has my bike and go on tours of Tokyo, meeting random people, and write a book about it. Whatever happens, I have to make as much effort as possible to use as much japanese as possible.

I can hardly believe I'm going home.

I can also hardly believe that I have a listening test in 14 hours. I really should do some more practice.

If you are reading this and can speak japanese, please call me, shiken no tame ni...I need to talk to you.

Friday 20th May 2005 19:18GMT The waiting Room, Stockton Railway Station, North of England

homeward bound

Well I'm not sure what that was all about, but that was quite possibly the easiest listening assessment we've had all year. A nice way to end the semester.

I'm so shattered I've decided to take a bit of time out and so am currently on my way to the folk's place. Spend a couple of days there, and then a few days at the Welsh Retreat. My flat mates are driving me nuts. They came back at bloody 3.30am last night singing some football song at the top of their lungs. I was not a happy bunny, so inconsiderate, especially considering all that's been going on lately.

Can't believe it's all over. Felt quite emotional today. Just two exams to go and then it's really really all over. And we all know what's happening after that.

ho hum.

quite a nice waiting room this.

Saturday 21st May 2005 22:14GMT My parent's home,, Herefordshire, England


So, it's now almost a week since I had my seizure, perhaps time to review the past week and see how I'm feeling now.

Physically, I've made a good recovery. The only nagging reminder is my arms - they are loose in my shoulders following the forced, prolonged stretch all the tendons / muscles etc had.

Mentally, I'm not so happy with my progress. I have noticed a genuine slowing in my response time to stimuli. My short-term memory has also been hit quite badly; I've been having problems recalling what people have said to me / what I've said to them (and I've mis-placed my folder containing all my Japanese notes for the past week, with not a clue where I left it). The most noticeable side-effect for me though is the effect that the electrical storm has had on my speech. I was never one for complex vocabularly, but I've really had problems stringing sentences together over the past few days.

Overall, I just feel more "stupid".

I don't mind being stupid normally, as i know that really, I'm not. However, this feeling of stupidity is different from the norm as I can no longer rely on the fact that I'm not stupid, as heaven knows how many brain cells were killed off on Sunday morning.

In the light of all this, Japan becomes even more appealing. There I can be stupid and no-one need know (apart from those closest to me). I can use my gaijin bubble to protect myself from the truth about myself.

I'm at my parent's house now, the place I grew up. I like it here. It;s familiar, quiet, and treats me kindly.

I went shoe-shopping with mum in town today. That took me back! Hmm, I enjoyed myself, and I think mum did too.

dad, mum and me in the garden here in Orcop, today a bumble bee buzz buzz buzz

Can't get Japan (and in particular the people I'm going to see again there) out of my head at the moment. Only two weeks six days now. Scary, exciting stuff. Shit, the more I think about it, the more I remember of everyday life there, and the more it seems like only last week that I was there last. I have such vivid memories of the areas where I lived and worked - how am I going to deal with coming up against my history in such a full-on manner? But it's all going to be so different too...

Well, I'm going to be spending the majority of the next 30 months in these places, so I guess that's plenty of time to find my feet.

Ho hum, best do a bit of kanji study.

the view from my room


Tuesday 24th May 2005 12:38GMT The Welsh Garden Retreat, Wales

first words

My sister tells me that my little nephew, now age, er, *joseph is seen counting on his fingers*, 20 months, has started talking! How exciting!

Despite the fact that mummy and daddy hardly ever swear, one of the first things he said was

"Oh Shit!"

Ah! That's my boy!!

What a pretty flower I found this morning in the garden here at The Welsh Garden Retreat! It's important to remember how much beauty there is in this world when one is feeling old and grey, as I am today.

...and when reading about the Korean War. What a bloody, terrible crime that was.

What's even more shocking is that US foreign policy does not seem to have changed much in over 50 years, judging by the amount of killing that it continues to carry out on a daily basis.

Now scroll back up to that flower.

Or click here for an alternative form of therapy.

Wednesday 25th May 2005 09:56GMT The Welsh Garden Retreat, Wales

bathroom tiles

Here at The Welsh Garden Retreat, taking a bath or shower is like relaxing, in the nude, in the middle of the Tate Modern Art Gallery.

The idea is simple: ask all your family and friends to paint a tile or two, in any style they desire. After a month or two, when you have a few hundred painted tiles, tile the bathroom with them.

The result is wonderful: you are able to have a bath surrounded by all your family and friends without everyone seeing your naughty bits.

Here's a few of my favourites:

A few of my favourites. Incidentally, my talented mother painted the giraffe, the little girl and the pig.

This week, my mental recovery has been stunted by a couple of disturbing incidents. The first involved coming across the biggest seed in the world, the Coco-de-mer, which I am told can only be found on the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.

It was wearing a big pair of pants.

Also looks good in pants

(These are the female seeds. Sometimes they look like this!) (check out the Male version here!)

The second shock to my system occurred when I opened a map of the Milky Way ('Ama no Gawa' or Heaven's River in Japanese) that came free with New Scientist magzine.

Until Yesterday, I thought that the Milky Way was just a load of stars floating around OUR solar system, with our sun at the centre and everything else spinning around it.

It seems that I've been getting solar systems and galaxies mixed up for 27 years. Not only is our sun NOT the centre of the universe, but also our ENTIRE SOLAR SYSTEM is so absolutley miniscule that if one looks at a map of the whole Milky Way (see below) you can't even make out the individual planets within our solar system.

ON TOP OF THAT black holes are actually REAL, and not something created specifically for Captain Kirk to navigate in a daring and exciting manner whilst that other bloke with the Scottish accent says "I canee hold 'im captin" and Spok stretches his ears with aspirations of looking a bit more like Kat out of Red Dwarf.

The red dot represents out entire solar system.
Although actually that red dot makes it look larger than it really is.

Makes one feel all rather insignificant really does it not? Comes as an especially harsh shock when one has always been under the impression that one WAS the centre of the universe. Whereas in fact one is but a little blip on a rather insignificant planet within a tiny solar system that is undetectable without the aid of a Photoshop™ red dot on a map of a vast universe named after a chocolate bar, which is itself but one of many.

And you're telling me there's no intelligent life out there.

AND my jeans have just ripped.

BUT I have discovered Juana Molina. You too can enjoy six beautiful tracks by her, over here. Although my favourite tracks by her are the ones that have been remixed by some talented people, and are not available for free.

Thursday 26th May 2005 22:39GMT My parent's home, Herefordshire, England

elephant pants and p****y piercings

It was such a good idea to get out of Sheffield. It was so kind of my friends to offer me their home and hospitality.

Post Epi (the totally politically incorrect term for an epileptic seizure), the most important thing seems to be to relax. Now, with end-of-year exams just around the corner it was very difficult for me to feel that I COULD relax, or that I SHOULD relax. Enter my friends, who know me and my manic attitude to study only too well. They said why not come and stay for a few days, and just do nothing.

Hmm, sounded good, apart from the doing-nothing bit. Still, I thought I'd give it a go, just to see them if nothing else, and their lovely garden that I have helped restore. I couldn't resist sneaking a couple of textbooks into my rucksack though.

The first day I felt quite guilty, not studying. Just lounging around. So, I looked around for something else that I really needed to do that wasn't study. A few days and over 500 metres of cotton thread later, this is the result.

Aren't these just the sexiest Levis 525's you've ever seen? Aren't those elephants down the side seam just the cutest? And you should see my sexy bum...

I love sewing. It's so relaxing, and you get to meet such groovy people through it.

This evening, returning home to my parent's, I feel very rested. And grateful that I had the opportunity to stand under this beautiful Oak tree today.

and that I was able to count the petals on these lovely daisies.

On the way home tonight two things of interest ooccured: I saw a cyclist weeing off a bridge onto traffic on the motorway below. Imagine if you had your sunroof open.

I received a text message from a (female) friend who has always been inclined to do rather crazy things, telling me that she is going to get a piercing tomorrow in a place where, well, I'm not a woman, but the sheer thought of having a piercing there makes me wince. Imagine if it got infected. And I guess no sex for a bloomin' long time. And believe me, that's no fun. I should know. I can't remember my last sexual encounter. Oh, actually, it was probably when I went to the doctor about that swelling...

...Mind you, I do know a chap who has had his willy pierced. Crikey, I wonder how I came to know that? I don't know this guy very well, in fact I only ever saw him in class at Bristol College once a week. If I think of our friendship I can't imagine it covering the area of willy piercings. How on Earth did I come to know that about him? Gosh, I hope it wasn't an extremely drunken encounter which I don;t remember anything about, because then I'd have to go through all that teenage angst again of wondering whether I was gay or not.

Personally, I don't really like piercings at all. Or tattoos. It's just not natural, introducing foreign objects into people's bodies (having said that, I can think of a few exceptions... *cough* ) I guess belly button piercings can be quite sexy, in fact yes, they can look very nice, although I think un-pierced belly buttons are far sexier. But surely, the risk of infection for women who get bits of steel bolted between their thighs must be pretty high. Anyway, it's none of my business, but as a 'responsible adult' I have expressed my disapproval.

Thinking of calling me a boring old fart? I don't think you are qualified to do so...

Today is my big sister Catherine's birthday. Catherine died 24 years ago this July, when I was three.

Here's a nice photo of her feeding one of our kids whilst I looked busy sucking my thumb.

Happy Birthday dear Catherine!

Friday 27th May 2005 21:17GMT My parent's home, Herefordshire, England

purple boy

The next stage of my life is underway - today saw a definate shift in my sense of belonging.

I've gone into one of those weird floaty states, which looks set to continue in one way or another for a couple of months at least.

I have said goodbye, emotionally, to Broad Lane Court in Sheffield. Thing is, when I return there for my exams next week, I'll be living out of a rucksack. All "homely" items, including the kettle and my Paddington Bear duvet will be gone. It'll just be me and my sleeping bag. I'll be in that routineless-homeless state for just over a week, then the travelling proper begins. Car, train, plane, bus.

I've started to project my emotional being half-way around the world. It's more in Japan than here.

My creative streak continues. Today I tie-dyed a couple of white T-shirts and my organic white-cotton trousers that were getting a bit grubby. This is what they look like now, modelled by this very very sexy (single) bloke. RAAAAAAA.

No, they're not pyjamas

Yes, I was feeling purple. And that was the only colour dye that I had to hand. And I like purple. And yes, I am an aspiring hippy.

I can't decide whether or not I should keep the beard when I go back to Japan. What do you think?

It was such a gorgoeus day today. I've been sat behind the left-hand window for much of it watching mummy and daddy run around in preperation for an open-garden thing they've got coming up.

I'm very proud of them you know. They seem to have made a very successful transition to retirementhood. They have developed a big network of friends most of whom are also refusing to act their age. They do a lot of stuff for charity. Mum has become a talented artist (she sold her first piece recently). They have an amazing garden. And all this despite age-related illnesses that seem to plague them both. I shall not go into detail about all that because it makes me wince just thinking about it. And this is a family site.

humph. Feeling rather lonely tonight, rather tearful. I suppose listening to Joni Mitchell isn't helping. I made my baby cry... It's just that thing of feeling like I've left all my (Sheffield) friends behind. Mind you, this is only temporary, right? I mean, it's all so exciting right? Once these bloody exams are out the way and I'm not stressing about them, ooooohhh I can jump up and down and sing and be happy and I think I need a cup of tea.

OOOhhhh I'm famous AGAIN! This time thanks to Tame Goes Wild.

A month or two back I was contacted by a chap in Switzerland. He was responsible for putting together the program for a high-profile meeting of over 100 top scientists from around the world. He'd spotted a photo of mine on TGW, and asked if he might use it to illustrate the front cover. The result was this:

That's my cow picture! As seen here I think.

I was contacted by another company last week asking if they could use one of my rice-paddy photos for their website. I suppose I should really do something about making some money out of this 9,000 file masterpiece. But that would put pressure on me to deliver, and change the whole atmosphere around here. I have yet to receive any emails from people asking permission to use photos of ME for their own personal, er, uses (dartboard illustration etc). Well, I just like to think that they do it in secret to avoid embarrasment.

I know I do. Yes, I've got photos of me that I secretly downloaded off TGW stuck all over my walls...

Oh dear someone come and entertain me. ...I never realised how dependent I have become on Broadband and my mobile phone. Having neither for a week is proving to be a bit of a challenge.

Saturday 28th May 2005 19:10GMT My parent's home, Herefordshire, England

sleepytime jojo

Ohhh it's been a bit blowy today and I'm not just talking about under my duvet boom boom!

Mum and dad are crazy. They really should take it easy. They've had a full-on day helping sell a load of plants for charity, and yet now, having returned home, they're replanting an entire flowerbed.

I, on the otherhand, have spent the entire day in a bed without flowers, or naked fairies (not that mum and dad have spent the day with naked fairies. At least I hope not. It wouldn't be right if your parents were having more encounters with naked fairies than you, right?). Just got up now (it's just after 7pm).

Before you hurl abuse at me I would like to point out that a third of those hours in bed have been spent studying. I've had quite a regular routine: study for one hour, sleep for two, study for one hour, sleep for two. It's been my first 'proper' day of revision for Thursday's exam, and I must say I've found it utterly exhausting. Am I still feeling the affects of my seizure of two weeks back? Possibly. It could also be due to the fact that my beard needs trimming, but I don't have the necessary equipment to deal with it down here in Herefordshire. Oh, there's the drugs too.

I do love sleeping though, and as pointed out to me today, this is no bad thing:

SKIMPING on sleep does awful things to your brain. Planning, problem-solving, learning, concentration, working memory and alertness all take a hit. IQ scores tumble. "If you have been awake for 21 hours straight, your abilities are equivalent to someone who is legally drunk," says Sean Drummond from the University of California, San Diego. And you don't need to pull an all-nighter to suffer the effects: two or three late nights and early mornings on the trot have the same effect. (full text here)

Oh, and of course it was a lack of sleep that made me attempt to bite my bloody tongue off. Definately not good news. Makes you realise how much pain the Little Mermaid must have gone through (and I'm not talking Disney *spits* here).

I'm going to meet my nephew Eddie for the first time tomorrow, who by my calculations is just over a month old. I'll see Jamie too - nephew No.1. Have to teach him how to say some more naughty words to accompany his "oh shit". Tee hee.

20 minutes later...

Ah!! I am WEAK!! I have just opened the bloomin' expensive box of organic chocolates that I bought for my teachers as a thank you present! I did it in an unthinking supersonic moment, of which I now have no recollection.

See how I fall in the face of temptation, as a farmer might do when tripping on a tuft of grass and landing nose-first SPLAT in a big cow-pat, with his mouth open mid "Arrrrrrggghhhh!"?

What hope is there for me?

10 minutes later...
I couldn't take it any more, sitting here looking out the window watching dad go flat-out preparing the soil in that flowerbed the other side of the garden. It's ridiculous, he's done a 12 1/2 hour day, we've got all the excitement of nephews tomorrow, then Monday he's driving me up to Sheffield, and Tuesday back down again. I know he's not ancient or a cripple, but nonetheless, he's had a quadruple heart-bypass operation and is not as fit as he once was - he really shouldn't push himself so hard. He'll kill himself if he carries on like that. I went out and gave him a good lecture, then a chocolate to ensure that he complied with my demand that he come inside and relax. I'm happy to say he has done as he's been told.

It's frightening how much alike we are at times!

Tuesday 31st May 2005 18:41GMT An empty Red Light Cupboard, Sheffield, England

i'm a [ insert appropriate noun here ] get me out of here

So, I'm back in town. 38 hours to go till this wretched exam.

As instructed by all those who know better than me I have continued to take it steady. The most I can study for at any one time is about an hour, then I have to take a rest, which usually involves going to sleep. It's quite nice listening to my body's demands for a change, and without feeling guilty.

Feel rather depressed though. Yesterday, dad was an absolute star, driving me up here, helping me pack up all my belongings and then taking them all back down to Herefordshire. It's now just me, my laptop, and a sleeping bag.

Bare walls, no plants, no teddy bears, no nuffin really. I have no real food either. Just a couple of packs of spaghetti and a few tins of soup. I could go and buy some vegees and stuff, but I have no cooking utensils.

On top of that, I have no regular contact with anyone.

So in a way, it's a bit like being in a prison cell.

I really really don't want to be here now. I mean I REALLY don't want to be here. I just want the next 7 days to be over and done with. Mind you (this is joseph thinking on his feet here), I also don't particularly want to be anywhere else either, including Japan. Hhmm, what does this tell me? It tells me that I probably need to take some kind of remedial action as my unhappiness is obviously not merely a reflection of my current circumstances, and could get out of control if not reigned in. Usually I might just let it run its course, but I can't really let that happen this week.

*few mins later*

ok, remedial action taken. Texted a friend, am off to join them in the library!! Hurrah!! Have just had a knap so I should be ok for a few hours.

You know, the foundations of this uneasiness lie not in the thick clay of this emotionless empty room, but in the shifting sands that will soon become a prominent part of the landscape around me.

*several hours later*

it worked. bless you jason, matthew, john, mikiya and mr zak.

The Daily Mumble May 2005 Archive



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