After my last post, the various deadlines at the end of term began to pile up so I didn’t have to write anything. A few things happened in the interim though: a trip down to Leicester to see my mate Ed before he set to study in Germany, a conference at Leeds on East Asian relations where I listened to some very interesting discussions, catching up on the first series of the truly excellent TV show The Wire, and going to London to see the Hogarth exhibition at Tate Modern. The Easter holiday is going to end on a high note, as we set off for New York tomorrow. I’ll be back by next week, hopefully with enough photos to send my Flickr stream into overload.
Category Archives: life
So apparently my spur-of-the-moment decision to grow a beard about a month ago has coincided with facial hair suddenly becoming fashionable again. Glad to see that the mysterious arbiters of style in this country keep tabs on what I’m doing. And if you think this is strange, just you wait till next spring, when I single-handedly bring Elizabethan doublet and hose back in style.
Time was when I thought reading blogs (and writing my own) was taking up too much of my time. Then this summer a friend introduced me to Facebook, which started out as a social networking site for university students. Having no time for the vagaries and vicissitudes of MySpace, at first I didn’t really think it was for me. However, I got hooked pretty easily, and tracked down a load of international students I knew from Kansai Gaidai. I think the great advantage of systems like this is that it enables you to keep in touch easily with people you know but haven’t seen in a while. I don’t email that much, and it can be easier to leave a few words on someone’s wall than to compose a long letter to them.
Then, at the start of this year, our Japanese teacher signed us up to Mixi, a Japanese social networking site. I knew about it from a recommendation by the guys at Mutantfrog, which is certainly good enough for me. Mixi has gradually crept into my life, until it threatens to become a full-time obsession like Facebook. It’s a good way to improve your Japanese, as you’re navigating your way through a completely Japanese-language interface, and rather than, say, translating a news story that you can get from the English-language site of that newspaper, Mixi is full of stuff you want to read, from your friends and in the groups you can join.
Of course, does all this virtual socialising leaves little time for a real-world social life? I don’t know. I’ll answer that question when I get back from the Japanese Society Halloween party.
We now have broadband in our house, and I am currently tapping away at this post on my laptop. Makes posting a bit more civilised (and easier) when you don’t have to go out of the house and head to the computer clusters on campus.
In other news, Level 2 Japanese is working me very hard. I’m staying on top, just about. In translation classes, we are working on an op-ed piece by Shintaro Ishihara, governor of Tokyo, right-wing icon and lover of things robotic. It’s an unintentionally hilarious rant against Chinese immigration, featuring some unduly convoluted language which would be a real pain even if I was actually good at translating. We have a great teacher though. It’s a shame that I’m firmly in her bad books for missing lessons.
In happier news, I won my first poker game last night. My housemates are fiends for card games, and we play Texas Hold ‘Em for small stakes sometimes. Not sure what I’ll do with my winnings yet. Oh, who am I kidding, I’ll spend ’em all on booze.
What’s this? Another Moore Than This Photo Special to fill up space while Jim thinks of something to write about? Indeed it is!
While posting here has been very light as of late, I’ve been settling back into life at Leeds. My new housemates are a nice bunch, which is rather lucky considering I met them through a notice on a student housing website. I count myself lucky at having ended up in a big, comfortable room in a house with some fun people which is very close to campus. Anyway, settling in is all well and good, but it didn’t give me many entertaining things to write about, and my work schedule means I can’t comment on every bit of news I find interesting. Still, this weekend I had a bit of free time and managed to take my camera for a walk round Hyde Park (where I live) and the university area. Click each photo for full-size version.
I moved all my stuff into the house in Leeds this weekend. However, as my intro week seems a little sparse and my new housemates all decided to head back home over the weekend, I’ve gone back to Cambridge for a couple of days to bring back more stuff. Leeds looks nice – it hasn’t changed much. I keep bumping into people I know on and around campus, which was nice as most of them I hadn’t seen seem in a year or so. As the year goes on, I’ll try to hold to my resolution to not bore people too much about my time in Japan. (This blog more than makes up for that.)
So here’s the story. We are at the regular Thursday night pub quiz at local pub The Boot – the scene of some heartfelt political discussion last week. Despite being a few members down, our team valiantly fights on, and we end up scoring 33/40 on the quiz, our best yet. However we are tied with another team. Pete had promised Paul (our rotund quizmaster) that if we won he would sing. We win the tie-break due to “amazingly good luck” (no fixing here. Hem hem) and then Pete steadfastly refuses to sing. Paul declares the other team the winners, and then hands us two instead of three bottles of wine as punishment for Pete’s refusal to sing. Treachery to the cause or perfectly understandable behaviour? (Obviously I know which one is right, but I’m just presenting the facts without comment.)