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Random rants, raves and ruminations

Readers seem to enjoy my rants, so here we go again, with arbitrary stochasticity. Might as well show off my vocabulary. Which is of a somewhat unusual size thanks to my compulsive-obsessive reading habits. If you want to test your own vocab, here you go: http://testyourvocab.com/

The best thing about shamelessly admitting your chocolate addiction is that others equally shamelessly feed it. This is Studentská pečeť, a chocolate from the Czech Republic that was given to me by a Tokyoite who hails from Slovakia. It's beyond sinful: very sweet, and it contains an unusually high percentage of raisins, peanuts and jelly pieces. I refuse to tell you how quickly I finished a very big bar. I'm not THAT shameless. Thanks, Adriana (again)!


It's incredibly irritating to watch YouTube in Japan, because very single video starts with a stupid Japanese ad (or CM as it's known here) featuring a stupid helium-breathing woman flapping about some stupid irrelevant beauty product. Godsdamnit. Why are Japanese TV commercials so abysmally, ghastly, sickeningly bad? Actually, why is Japanese TV so abysmally, ghastly, sickeningly bad? As a matter of fact, why is 99% of TV with the exception of thankgods the BBC so abysmally, ghastly, sickeningly bad?

The other day I was talking to a businessman who's studying English because he has to participate in international projects, and I realized that he's genuinely scared of foreigners – worried about interaction, communication, misunderstandings, just beingdifferentness. I cannot imagine being scared of someone primarily because he's different. I. Just. Cannot. Thank you, South Africa, for surrounding me in your rainbow colours and for making me happy in and proud of diversity. Scared of difference? Ye gods, I'm terrified of the same old thing/person/belief over and over and over again, ad nauseum. Why is Japan so scared of outsiders? Never mind. You don't have to answer that one. Encyclopaedias have been written about it.

Why are some eggs white and others brown?

Why do women with the ugliest legs always wear the shortest skirts?

Why do old men shove past you at a red traffic light, and then walk in front of you as slowly as a sloth? I know only two people who walk faster than I do, omie, so butt out!

Why are British actors so sexy?

Why can't I buy bras in Japan that are NOT underwired, padded and festooned with pink ribbons? Hello? Not all women need and/or want padding?

Why can't we have summer 12 months a year?

Why can't I get paid to read books? Wait, I did, when I worked in publishing. Sigh.

Why am I wasting time with questions that can't be answered? The eggs one is easy: it depends on the species. Hens with white feathers = white eggs; hens with brown or red feathers = brown eggs. I can't answer any of the others, except the books one, but I also know why I left publishing: I was tired of being poor. So I started working in television and earned an obscene salary, but that eventually killed body, mind (it was not the BBC) and spirit, so here I am. Teaching. Poor. Happy. Except when listening to Arvo Pärt.

Do not listen to Arvo Pärt's "Spiegel im Spiegel" and at the same time think of Africa's wide open spaces – the joy, the sorrow, the beauty, the pathos that is Africa. Therein lies madness. You can feel your heart splinter apart with every note that falls into it. (This is Massimo's fault.) {He knows why.} [Don't worry. It so happens that I thanked him for making me cry.]


Egad. This was supposed to be a rant, and now it's turning into an elegy. Kbye.

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Have you noticed that Japan has a thing about bells?
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I would not to mine own self be true if I didn't include a little history lesson. Here we go:
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C…

This is what my language sounds like

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Call it remorse

Something out of memory walks toward us,
something that refutes
the dictionary, that won’t roost
in the field guide. Something that once flew
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like a burnt flag. Call it ghost.
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Donald Keene mentions in hi…

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How in heaven's name did Edo travellers walk long this road …


over this pass …

wearing straw sandals?!


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Why Kanda Myōjin?
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I'm lying. Exaggerating. It's not hiking; it's walking.

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Hi, Keanu! Here's the real story of the 47 rōnin.

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