The Daily Mumble November 2005 Archive
The romance continued ...unfortunately the stress connected with my degree did too
Tea with Mr. Darcy
*twinkle* and I popped round to Mark Darcy's place today, Chatsworth House. It tipped it down, but we had a lovely time. There's 68 photos in my October album, and a select few below to wet your appetite.
oh, and check out this banana I founf in the GM section of the supermarket today.
*twinkle* goes home
Ahhh, just another peaceful night on the estate.
Oh, apart from the BL**DY FIREWORKS going off RIGHT OUTSIDE my window (we're talking rockets shooting off 5 metres from the glass) and the BLOOMIN DRUMMERS...
Make sure you turn your computer speakers up to FULL VOLUME. And it still won't be loud enough.
So, my *twinkle* went home today, ending six days of our being together more or less 24/7. Poor baby got a really bad cold-fluey thing, and was thus bed-ridden. Although of course I'm sorry that she's been ill, in some ways it was a good thing, in terms of the development of our relationship. Hmm. It's all so good. I really have found someone so very special, someone who really was worth the wait. I know it's early days (3 weeks and 3 days) but the thought of spending the rest of my life with her doesn't scare me in the slightest.
You know, the day we got together also happened to be the day that my big brother got engaged. (and congrats indeed to himself and loubie lou).
Uni continues to be just mad. Soooooooooo busy with coursework, thus the lack of mumbles. No, honest, my scarcity in these parts of late is not due to *twinkle*. I actually work far better when she's here with me.
Gosh, you know this relationship is absolutely EXACTLY what I have wanted for so long, in so many ways. I can now jump over the fence and say to those long-term lonely hearts out there, "don't give up, your time will come..." oh shut up joseph, all this lovely-dovey drivvle.
Don't worry, I'll get back on track soon.
grumpy old man
It seems I wasn't the only one not best pleased with having fireworks set off just metres away from my flat last night. These notices have gone up all over the place today.
Threat of a fine seems to be the only thing that the ninkumpoops I live with will repsond to.
When I say, 'people I live with', I am not, incidentally, referring to my flatmates, coz they are great and I love them.
Ooohh I've been on the warpath today. Went to the library, upstairs to the Group Study Area which has basically been my 2nd home here at Sheffield for the past 13 months. It's a small area, seating 16 students.
It's the only place in the library where you can study and talk - a vital combination for us language students. It's a very popular area actually, always full... there's a good view out of the huge glass wall across Sheffield. Ok, so not the prettiest of sights, but nonetheless, something for your eyes to rest on when you get tired of grammar dictionaries. Also, it's one of the few places where you can eat your lunch without being seen by librarians.
Anyhow, so there I am, going up the stairs, turning left at the top, when...
*WHAT???!!* Where the HELL has my Group Study Area gone?!! It had been replaced by a bunch of bloomin PCs!
Well, I was absolutely fuming. There's bloomin PCs all over the place, but only one (ex) Group Study Area. I went straight to the enquiries desk, and after a lengthy coversation with the woman there (who gave me pathetic excuse after pathetic excuse) filled in a strongly-worded complaint form. Following that, I went straight over to the Union to see the Education Office, who represents all students at Sheffield when it comes to matters such as this - thus he holds quite a bit of power. He told me he'd get onto the library manager - watch this space.
Anyway, needless to say, all this meant that I didn't actually get much work done today which I'm pretty peeved about. Mind you, tonight I was able to complete my weekly japanese essay thing (something I don't normally get done until last thing on a Sunday). This week's is based on extracts from Lonely Planet England, and a few websites - all related to my home town of Herefordshire. I learnt quite a lot about cider and Saxon kings. Here's an example sentance: (written in Romaji so as not to upset you folks without Japanese fonts installed):
"nana saiki ni sakusonjin wo ue-ruzu no migaijinn ni mamoru tame ni shubitai ni natta."
This translates as
"In the 7th century, in order to protect the Saxons from the Welsh barbarians it became a garrison".
Exciting stuff hey?
Saw my *twinkle* today. Poor thing's still poorly. It feels funny her not being here. Still, it's important that we spend time apart as we need our personal space, right, and we need to remember that there are other people and things in this world than one another.
It's reading week next week, university's equivilent of half-term. No classes, just endless days in bed. Oh, except for Japanese language students of course. "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A DEPARTMENTAL READING WEEK" states the message on the internal internet bulletin board. Despite this, *twinkle* and I will attempt to get out of town for a day or two. I'd like to take her home to meet my folks and see my nephew, but that's a bit far away...
Ho hum, I'd better go to bed. It's 3am and teddy is awaiting.
it's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world
"...it's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst... And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life..." [link]
What a lovely day it has been today.
We slept until 12pm. Mmm, the luxury. Did a bit of homework, then went shopping.
There were two in the bed and the one with the long arms said "crikey, I wake up every morning with two limbs missing" - today a double futon found its was into our tardis-like shopping basket (and ultimately onto my floor). It was an absolute bargain, and as I understand mum and dad have recently bought a new car that's a lot bigger than the old Rover I can take it back home with me. I'm sure mum will appreciate having more junk to clutter up the house whilst I'm away in Japan.
We watched American Beauty this evening, from which the above quote comes. As I've said before, that film means a lot to me as I was experiencing a Lester Burnham-style revolution when it was released. Ironically, I saw it for free by virtue of the fact that the girl who wanted to shoot me was manager of the cinema.
However, my departure from the company that I was a slave to didn't follow the submission of a resignation letter that contained the kind of honesty that Lester's did.
"My job consists of basically masking my contempt for the assholes in charge, and, at least once a day, retiring to the men's room so I can jerk off while I fantasize about a life that doesn't so closely resemble Hell."
I shaved my beard off today. I seem to be following a regular routine now, which involves being bearded most of the time, but shaving it all off completely twice a month.
*twinkle* can't get over how young I look without a beard, as, for about 24 out of 30 days I have at least some hair protruding from my fair skin. In fact, she hasn't stopped laughing at me for much of the day. She said I look like more of a "good bloke" with a beard, and I must admit, seeing these photos I am inclined to agree. I actually prefer having a beard in any case, as a) it makes me look more mature (should the word "more" be in there?), b) I don't have to bother about shaving and c) it disguises the size of my great big nose. However, when it comes to kissing...
*twinkle* is helping me to get back on track with my exercises that were prescribed to me by a sports injuries specialist a couple of years back to deal with my dislocating tendon. I should do them twice a day, but have failed to summon up the dedication in recent months.
Until now. *twinkle* also has some excercises she has to do on a regular basis. So now we can do them together. (all together now: awwwwwww )
Well anyway it's sleepytime.
Remember to smile, because if you smile, then someone might just smile back at you. Then give you a million pounds. Ok, unlikely, but more likely than if you didn't smile at all.
I AM A FISH
"I AM A FISH"
Rimmer's reaction the first time he ever sat an engineering exam.
"Fish Fish Fish" also happens to be what I wrote on my 'A' Level theology paper, before walking out of college, and never going back.
Fish also happens to be what I've been studying all bloody day today. Or, to be more precise, Conflict over Fish in East Asia.
At least I'm not the only one. I note that at least a couple of my classmates also feel like they are going mad due to work overload, although they may not be quite as embroiled in fish wars as I am. A couple of quotes from them which I can't help but go along with:
another classmate can be heard saying to themselves
I have no idea how the hell I am going to get through all this work before the 10 million deadlines come around. Oh, did I tell you I've given up all ideas of getting a 1st for my degree? Yes, I'll be happy with passing thank you very much. No point in setting myself up for dissapointment.
Food parcel from a very kind friend containing very generous quantity of chocolate and snacks is keeping me going. Along with *twinkle* who is still here, about 10 days after she came round for tea. She's going home tomorrow apparently, although I'm sure she said that 7 days ago. Whatever, I don't mind, she's keeping me semi-sane and making me eat properly. I would say that she's making sure I get enough sleep, but that would be an utter lie...
Battle with library continues. Oh sh*t it's 10pm I really must do the kanji. Boy this is all so scary.
Ahhhdsjkfjd of dsofdojl;fvaolfv a oojd EXPLETIVE arrggsgdgdgdgdgd
Just had the most digusting curry. Bought some Pataks Korma curry stuff in a jar. My God it was so hot it just burnt your tongue. We watered it down with like almost a whole pot of yoghurt, water and loads of sugar, but it still tasted (and looked) like vomit with 300°C curry powder added. Just trying to get over the shock of it all with some stilton cheese biscuit things and chelsea buns.
AHHH go away kanji.
If I ignore you you will cease to exist.
Went on a romantic date tonight.
To Waitrose. Oh yeah, don't say I don't know how to treat a girl right.
Definition of date: a social or romantic aoppointment, often involving going to a public place, eating out, spending money, walking someone home ...the trip to Waitrose involved all of those things - walking home we tore chunks off the loaf of bread that we got for 10p (goes out of date today). Got 4 kilos of potatoes for 2 quid too. They go out of date this week, allegedly. As do the vegee sausages.
Yes, ethical shopping practices are suffering at the hands of my degree, as Beanies, the health food shop, is now considerably further away than the supermarket.
ok ok I'll do the kanji.
Oh, had a spectacular bike accident this week. Had finally got around to replacing front tyre and innertube.Had been to library, was late for a meeting at the Union. There's about 300 metres between the two, bricked paved bit of ground. It's been raining. I go round the corner rather fast and find myself presented with a huge crowd of people that need avoiding. I brake hard and try to manouvere around them. Bike gives up all ideas of remaining upright as wheels lock and give way... the result: joseph performing a very impressive routine that basically involves him sliding along the ground on his side with half of his bike on top of him. This was no normal skid though, oh no. My journey across the bricks took me a good kilometre or so across the pavement.
The hige crowd of students going from one class to another all stopped and stared.
"Woah!! You alight mate?" one guy asked.
Giggles were heard from elsewhere.
The girl whose legs I almost took off shouted "Wow! That was amazing!!"
"Well, I'm not doing it again" I told her.
Thankfully I was relatively unharmed. My hand bore the brunt of the impact and is badly bruised. I also lost a bit of skin off my thumb and leg. Nice.
Ok ok I'll DO THE KANJI!
There simply aren't enough photos of me around here, especially considering how cutting edge my dress-sense is.
This is my favourite outfit at the moment.
I know, you didn't realise I was such a fashion guru did you?
This is me and my favourite *twinkle* on our way to do some more shopping today.
I learnt those ten Kanji last night.
Now I must learn another ten.
When domain names go wrong
I tell you, I am SO tempted to flick the switch on the mains fuse box that's attached to the wall of our corridor. My flatmate has been playing "I'll Be There" by Maria bloomin' Carey for about 10 years non-stop. Oh, no, that's a lie actually, she alternates between that and "Endless Love" performed by (is it?) Diana Ross and Lionel Richie (couldn't it at least be the Bush and Blair version?). It is extremely EXTREMELY stressful, you have no idea. I suppose she IS young though. Wot, 18 or 19 maybe. Anyway, the fuse responsible for feeding her room with power may soon be flicked...
There was I thinking this morning, "hmm, about time I did the laundry. Getting a bit fed up with having to pound my socks with a mallet each morning to loosen the previous-week's cheese."
(...If ever I met Mariah Carey, I'd pretend to kiss her, then remove her voice box with my tongue).
No bother then, we have a laundry on site, and being a Sunday morning all the machines are free. I fill two of them, deposit about a year's savings in the slot and select the "coloureds"cycle.
40 minutes later and I'm back in there to put my clothes in the tumble drier. Hmm, slight problem though - all the machines have been moved away from the wall, and there's workman's tools everywhere. Oh, two workmen too. Not actually working, just sort of looking at the machines. I note that the washers that my clothes are in have been stopped mid-cycle. "How long do you think it'll be until they're fixed?" I ask. "Oooh, give it an hour mate, we'll have them running again".
Not standing there like that you won't I thought.
6 hours and 6 trips to the laundry later, my clothes are finally washed and dry. Taking them out of the machine, I note that my favourite white T-towel is now blue. And come to think of it, wasn't that sweatshirt a little less blue beforehand. Bemused I head back to my room.
It's only when attempting the impossible (pairing up my socks) that I realise that I have done something rather stupid. You may recall that a few days ago I had a rather stunning bike accident, which resulted in not only a lack of skin on my thumb, but also a designer streak constituted of well-engrained leaf-mould across my favourite blue jacket, the one that I bought a few years back in Camden Town and have worn pretty much every day since. I think, in all that time it's only been washed about thrice, and on those occasions it was done with love, by hand, with cold water, in a bath. This morning I completely forgot about it's care requirements and bunged it in with all the rest of my dirties to endure a rather hot and obnoxious machine "Super Cycle".
Oh well, I think, I guess most of my clothes were blue already so it doesn't really matter. At least the jacket itself is ok. Oh, or is it?
I try it on.
"Hmm, interesting crop-top you have there", remarks *twinkle*.
I suppose being 100% cotton it wasn't really cut out for a prolonged spell in a very hot tumble-drier.
Initially I tried to resign myself to the situation, but then recalled that apart from my white jacket (pictured above) which has a tendancy to make me look like a tent (in certain situations), this organic blue darling of a coat was the only thing between me and goose-pimples all winter. Being broke, buying something to replace it with was out of the question. Something had to be done.
I racked my brain for information on returning shrunk cotton garments to their original size, and recalled an incident last January which involved me wetting my favourite cotton trousers and hanging them over the bath with 5kg weights strapped to the ankles. That worked - I'm wearing them today (no need for socks either...).
The next problem though was how on earth was I going get a uniform stretch? I mean, trousers are easy, you just tie a weight to each leg. But a jacket? It has a metre-long edge that needs to be pulled on for a prolonged period of time.
Enter Joseph's amazing idea.
Yes, you got it. Bog-standard re-usable staples (or 'pinch-clips' if you want to give them their official name. The very same ones as those that were holding together a load of pieces of paper on Fish Wars. Until this afternoon).
So, the jacket is suspended from the curtain-rail that I have removed from my window, and in it's hood below is a big bottle of laundry detergent, to help the stretching process. The whole jacket is then saturated using the shower, to get those fibres groovin'.
Oh, and the arms:
The right arm (pictured above) has a bottle of apple juice concentrate hanging from it; the left,a bottle of toilet cleaner. These were the only two waterproof-and-heavy objects I could find, apart from my girlfriend. She may be petite, but she started struggling a little when I was halfway through wrapping her up in string.
I shall let you know of the outcome as soon as there is one.
Right, well, must go and have a shower.
We bought an Apple and Blackberry Pie today.
Opened up the pack, inside was the most delicious looking pastry-encrusted creation.
We tucked in.
"Hey, hang on a minute! This looks like rhubarb!"
"Is it? Let me try a bit!"
"mm, yes, definately rhubarb. It says Blackberry and Apple on the pack though."
"Yeah.. we should take it back!"
"Yeah, we should...."
you know, I look at her ironing my socks, and I think, wow. I am so lucky.
(the bit about the socks was a joke by the way.)
Global Sex Survey: results are in
Durex have just released the results of their annual Global Sex Survey, which involved interviewing over 300,000 people from 41 countries.
Whilst there are no surprises regarding us Brits, there is some rather shocking news for nymphomanics (n.b. see update below regarding my use of the term 'nymphomaniacs") who are considering a future in Japan.
You'll have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the Frequency of Sex chart to see what I mean.
What?! 45 times a year?!! That's like, er, once every 8 days! That doesn't make sense in itself. I mean, once every 7 days is understandable, what with the kids having after-school activities that go on to 10pm every Tuesday, but once every 8 days?
You can just picture it. Mr. and Mrs. Yamamoto lying on their futons one Thursday night. Mr. Yamamoto attempts to shuffle over to Mrs. Yamamoto's futon, only to be told,
"No darling, we had sex on Thursday LAST week, so you'll have to wait till tomorrow."
Crikey though. 45 times a year? That's almost a third of the UK figure. No wonder the suicide rate remains problematically high, and that inventions such as this are, erm, invented [TGW is not responsible for the content of external internet sites]. This also explains Japan's extremely low birth rate. What is it they say? Oh yes, if it carries on like this there'll only be one person left in Japan by 2300. I suppose that would solve the problem of urban overcrowding, and you'd be guaranteed a place on the train, not that the train would actually go anyway. Unless you drove it.
So what's the cause of this lack of hanky panky in the park (or bedroom, hotel, stairwell, lift, electronics store etc)? My view (which is based upon entirely subjective non-scientific experiments conducted using a jar of honey, a straw, a hamster and a piece of blue string) is this:
- Japanese men are, in general, much more effeminate than their non-Japanese counterparts. Thus, when Mr. Yamamoto is told "not today darling" by Mrs. Yamamoto, he rolls back onto his futon without complaint. This is in contrast to his Western counterpart who on being told "not today darling" hears "yes honey! let's go for it, nevermind the fact that I'm obviously sooo not in the mood".
The poor translation further complicates matters: for example, when Cleese says THIS the Japanese subtitles state " So before the class rushes to the cat, there are many other things in life that must be pursued."
- In addition to poor education within Japan, Japanese men are seldom exposed to more exotic tecniques practiced by women from countries with a more liberal attitude towards sex. Please see below for more on this.
The figures speak for themselves: " In 2003, Japanese women marrying American or British men outnumbered Japanese men marrying American or British women by 8 to 1". According to one of our lecturers who has written numerous books on Gender & Japan, there are currently under 100 couple in the UK where the man is Japanese and the woman non-Japanese. In all my time in Japan I think I only ever met one such couple. When it comes to Japanese women and Western men, my God, they're everywhere. Oh, that includes me.
The reasons behind this are complex and numerous (probably; good get-out clause don't you think?). My theory is that they are not so attractive to western women because they are rather too polite and nice, and seldom make the first move. Unlike their British counterparts who do away with any thoughts of decency or respect once they have downed a pint of two. All this perhaps also ties in with the historical inferiority complex (vis-a-vis Westerners) that many Japanese have inherited, based on flawed ideological theories that have been around for far too long. Oh, and then there's the thing about the size of their willies, but we won't go into that just now, except to say that if you're a Western guy going to Japan make sure you take some condoms with you if you are planning to sow your seed, as the native equivilant won't cover you all the way.
Naturally, things are changing (not sure about the willies bit though, I understand that one's going up and down), but it's a slow process.
Well anyway, that's my reading of the Sex Survey.
I would make some predictions re. future Durex research results, but as I'm not sure they would allow non-natives to take part in the study, my selfless aim of helping Japan out it's current position and into a far more exciting one on top is probably irrelevant.
Global Sex Survey - UPDATE
Since I posted that story about the Global Sex Survey a few days back I have had quite a bit of feedback on my view as to why people in Japan only choose to participate in the most enjoyable activities on planet Earth (and probably in space too, where the lack of gravity would open the door on a whole new catalogue of positions previously considered impossible) once every 8 days.
The first comment I received was a little disturbing. It concerned the sentence
"Whilst there are no surprises regarding us Brits, there is some rather shocking news for nymphomanics who are considering a future in Japan."
I have referred to myself as a nymphomaniac for quite a few years now, although not usually in a "Hello everyone, my name's Joseph and I'm a nymphomaniac" type way. More in a private, not-on-the-internet type way. Essentially, my defination of "nymphomaniac" has, until now, been something along the lines of "Someone who loves to shag".
A regular subscriber to The Daily Mumble pointed out that I may perhaps be better off if I choose not to employ this term in the future when referring to myself, as the The Concise Oxford English Dictionary contains the following definition:
Likewise, Princeton University's Wordnet resource gives the following definition:
ah. I wonder how many times I have used that term and my audience has thought, 'what a fool'. A bit like I did when having asked a colleague if she had any siblings she replied, "oh no, I'm much too young for that!"
So what's the male equvilant of 'nymphomania'? There must be a word for it ...or is it just considered unnecessary as all men think about sex once every 6 seconds in any case? I suppose the word 'man' could automatically carry the meaning of "uncontrollable-or-excessive-sexual-desire-carrying-human-being-with-a-penis."
Ah, one of life's great mysteries, like how do they get huge cranes off the rooves of towering skyscrapers when construction is complete, a question that continues to bug me 3 and a half years after I first put it to you when on top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building looking down on that new hospital complex in Shinjuku. How is it possible for my *twinkle* to be so utterly gorgeous no matter what time of day or what the situation, is another.
Which neatly leads us back to the Survey.
Another question I was asked was "how small is a tiny willy?" Quite why I was asked this question I'm not sure as I don't have all that much experience of measuring other men's penises (is 'penises' the plural for 'penis'?), and it must be well over 12 years since I was able to find a ruler long enough to measure my own. To answer your question, oh Mumbler, based on what I saw in Japanese public baths I would say that yes, 2" could probably be considered 'tiny'.
Actually, come to think of it, I do have a bit of experience of (erect) male penises. Some of you may recall that a few years ago, once again whilst in Japan, I set up a website called Hot Babe Tokyo, on which I purported to be a sexually frustrated Office Lady (or 'OL' as girls who work in offices in Japan are known). I placed an ad in Metropolis, a widely read magazine for foreigners in Tokyo, a no-strings-attached offer.
Now, before you start wondering if my habit of slipping into a skintight red-rubber catsuit at weekends isn't hiding some Wild side of the Tame previously kept hidden from the ranks of TGW readers, let me explain the situation.
One of my female colleagues in my office was the very definition of nymphmania... It was heartbreaking to see her so in need of attention, and so I thought I'd help out by finding a man who could satisfy her every desire. Her ex having been a Westerner, I knew that Metropolis was the answer. The ad, which for some reason I still have on my computer read
"Bored attractive OL, in Tokyo, seeking that special man who can light up my nights with his imagination and skill. No serious relationship, just sex friends. Email email@example.com"
Initially it was quite funny. In the hours following publication I received about 40 emails from men wanting to know more about her.
2 days and 800 emails later it had all got a bit out of hand. The replies were coming in so thick and fast that my inbox was at risk from collapsing under the weight of western guys who were all far too sure of their abilities, and so I put an auto-repsonse on the account. It instructed people to meet me at a certain place at a certain time, and to be carrying a red rose. "I'll be wearing a red coat".
An hour or so after the 'meeting' took place (which I had not attended), I received an email from one chap saying, "I went there, but I couldn't find you. It was a bit strange though, as there were about 50 other men with red roses there too..."
I later published a little website explaining to my unwitting participants what exactly had been going on. Quite a few people were very angry, threatening to track me down and do all sorts of things to me, which I couldn't list here for decencies sake. There were, however, a few who absolutely loved it, and thanked me for what they thought was a very funny practical joke.
Incidentally, my colleague is now very happily married, and entirely without my help.
Oh, but yes, along with those 800 emails I did receive some rather startling photographs, which I swear have been Photoshopped. If one was to take them as average I think anything under about 15 inches (38cm) would be considered tiny.
So that's the answer to your question.
Anyway, enough about sex for this month. Must do some more reading about Environmental Security in East Asia.
p.s. except for this story - a Japanese doctor explains why masterbation is bad for your health.
I'm dreaming of a Christmas without commercialism
Yesterday, my darling sexy gorgeous funny and rather cheeky *twinkle* (not pictured below) and I were invited to a secret underground Chinese restaurant. It was full of Chinese people, always a good sign. Unless one is in a French restaurant, then one knows that either a) something is amiss, or, b) you're in China. Anyway anyway, I didn't come all this way to tell you about Spring Rolls (one of only two vegetarian options on the menu. Very nice spring rolls though). Oh no, I wanted to tell you about Humphrey the two-humped camel (he lost one in a motorcycle accident). There he was, down on The Moor, the Chav shopping precinct not far from where
You can buy a camel here, and make a huge difference to a family who is struggling to survive: http://www.oxfamunwrapped.com
Humphrey wasn't the only exotic sea creature to be enjoying the Christmas spirit. Rudolf's brothers, Rucky and Randy were also smooching around the pavement, pretending to be eating straw so as to be be inconspious.
They were looking terribly horny, so I was very glad that there was a six-foot metal fence between us, bearing in mind my magnetic charm.
It was, I must say, lovely though, walking down The Moor hand in hand with our wooly hats on feeling all cutey and togethery. I swear we were on a Truman show set, as just as we passed the big Christmas tree under which a brass band were playing Christmas carols, a girl came up to us with a big tray of mince pies and asked us if we'd like one.
Now that's what Christmas is about! She didn't have a single logo on her person either!
Remember folks, us in the wealthy West don't need any more tack. Rather than support some sweat-shop making plastic rubbish in China, why not buy someone a gift that will have a huge, positive impact on many people - and it won't just be for Christmas. http://www.oxfamunwrapped.com
In other news, winter is here.
I walk through the park on my way to uni every day. Amongst the needles and broken beer bottles it's possible to make out a few fallen leaves, edged with a delicate frost.
I have a telephone interview tomorrow night at 8pm, and I must say I am not really looking ofrward to it. Telephone interviews are bad at the best of times, but this one is something else completely, as it will be conducted entirely in Japanese.
Wish me luck.
telephone terror II
I asked my lecturer today if they'd be so kind as to phone me tonight at 5pm for a trial telephone interview. There I was, 5pm, waiting for it to ring.
5.05pm. Still waiting. I turn the phone upside-down to check that the ringer is still on. Yep, it's on.
5.10pm. Still no call. I write an email to a friend to distract myself. I'm sweating with nervousness.
5.20pm. I decide to call my own phone from my mobile to make sure that the phone is working.
5.21pm. The person who now lives in the house that I in lived in last year answers the phone. They sound a bit pissed off, as if someone has been calling them speaking Japanese...
That'll teach me not to update my mobile's phone book.
I've been advised not to practice too much. Might make it sound scripted. I was also advised to check out a few bits of vocabularly. There was one sentence in particular that my lecturer picked out to demonstrate how this could be a problem:
I said: "In Japan I worked voluntarily for an organic organisation."
My poor Japanese resulted in this coming across as: "In Japan I worked voluntarily for an organic funeral."
('soshiki' being 'organisation', and 'soushiki' being 'funeral').
Let's just hope I don't stuff-up like that tomorrow night. Mind you, at the end of the day I'm not actually expecting this interview to lead anywhere. I am just treating it as a learning experience, in preperation for something I'd like to do in 2008.
In other news, today we (that is those of us doing Japanese Studies) were told which universities we are going to be studying at in Japan next year. I'll be going to Rikkyo University ("St. Paul's College"), in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. Founded in 1874 when Japan was trying to catch up with the West, it looks pretty groovy...
There are more pics of the place here, although most of them seem to be of random secretaries...
There are about 300 international students there, and I understand that the average total amount of monthly living expenses for Rikkyo students who live in private apartments is 155,400yen. That's, er, about 760 pounds.
Good job there are two scholarships on offer at Rikkyo then isn't it? Still absolutely no guarantee of getting one though.
Well, I suppose I'd better get on with War and Peace in East Asia.
telephone terror III
If I forget about it, it will have never happened, right?
There was me thinking it would be a maximum of 10 minutes. How wrong could I be?
20 minutes. Twenty minutes of completely embarrassing myself by attempting to speak in a language whose rules flew out of my head the moment I said "moshi moshi" (Hello).
Those of you wondering what this interview was all about can find an explanation here. Alternatively, you can read the following: The British Association of Teaching Japanese and the Japan Foundation are holding a speech contest, the final of which takes place in London in January next year. Participants must be Undergrad university students studying Japanese as a foreign language. I wasn't going to enter as of course being only a 2nd year student (and most participants being 4th year students) I have absolutely no chance of getting through to the final, let along winning. But, well, I was sort of cajoled into it. Nothing to lose you know.
Anyway, it's over, done. If by some miraculous miracle I do make it through to the final, I will be told by email by the 16th December.
Watch this space.
Rainbow, as seen from AT6.01
Christmas Tree, as seen from about 6 metres in front of it.
The pressures of a degree in Japanese Studies
One of my classmates quit uni today.
It was quite a shock, as despite his persistent grumblings of late (the likes of which can be heard everywhere you turn at present due to the excessive workload) he was one of the most dedicated students within our year. Last year he put in a tremendous amount of work, and achieved excellent grades. It’s a great shame, as he was a good friend (and a member of the small clan of five ‘mature’ students on our course).
He’s not the first to drop out of this degree course this semester. Only last week, another student whom I didn’t know so well decided to call it a day, the pressure of it all being the primary factor I believe.
I curse myself for not having done more earlier this semester. It’s not that I’ve been lazy. In fact, I’ve been running around like a headless chicken pretty much ever since I got back up here in September. I am so looking forward to the holidays. Those, incidentally, being the ones that commence next summer – Christmas and Easter are already written off to study!
Well, mumbling away won’t get my translation piece done.