Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Season's greetings from Dronfield, UK! Here I am in the family home, for the first Christmas in six years ;)

It's been great so far, and the scent of roasting turkey wafting up the stairs makes me think it's going to stay great.

Hope you are having happy holidays, whoever and wherever you are.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Open the sesame!

Open the sesame!, originally uploaded by sendaiben.

This is a new shop I just noticed in Sendai...

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Apple store opening, originally uploaded by sendaiben.

is turning up at 11am for the 10am opening, and meeting people you know who have been there since 6!

Apple is coming to town...

Or rather, came today. The store opened at 10am, I figured if I sauntered down there around 11 I could have a quick look around and maybe get a free t-shirt (the first 1000 customers were to get them)...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Extra animals

It's winter, so our friend Meekeh is back. For those of you just joining us, Meekeh is an extremely intelligent and very independent stray cat that lives in our area. She doesn't get on with our cat Tiddles (who is a very stupid and dependent animal) so during spring, summer, and autumn she happily lives outside.

Once it gets cold though, Meekeh rejoins our life and deigns to hang out in our living room by the fire eating Tiddles' food. She comes in as it gets dark and usually leaves by morning.

Monday, December 05, 2005


I have this theory that the divide between people that like snow and people that hate it is possession of a driving license...

I used to love snow, but now that I have to drive on the stuff I find it a lot less exciting.

Sendai was a fetching shade of white this morning, and of course we hadn't changed our tires over yet (to snow tires, which grip better but kill your fuel efficiency). Needless to say, there were three hour queues at service stations all over the city to get it done. I have very much learned my lesson on this one, and will be changing the tires mid-November next year.

Less than two weeks before we are in Spain.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

And I'm Spent...

Just finished booking the last of the hire cars, hotel rooms, and flights for our trip. When you take five people, the numbers add up to a scary amount.


Oh well, I guess this is the last time we're going to be able to do this for a while, so it's worth it. Going to fit a lot in, too!

And most importantly, I'm going to get to eat Christmas dinner. Hopefully more than once :)

It's a holiday... so let's celebrate...

Apparently today is "be thankful to workers day" so we all have the day off ;)

For a country that is so serious about work, Japan has a surprising amount of public holidays (one or two a month, for a total of about twenty a year). Of course, to balance this, everyone gets ten days paid leave a year if they are lucky、and if they are REALLY lucky they actually get to use some of them...

It's a nice day today though, so I'll stop with the bitching ;)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Cold... So Damn Cold

Okay, it's been a while (again!). Apologies.

It is now getting towards real winter, and real cold. Every year I forget just how cold it gets here (with the lack of central heating and insulation) and every year I am unpleasantly surprised...

In other news the trip back to the UK is looming, and things are afoot in terms of promoting Cambridge English and enjoying the success we so richly deserve!

I'll keep you posted.


Sunday, October 30, 2005


Halloween is over. At last...

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Is it normal to have your 11 year old stepdaughter whaling on your leg? And for your wife to get all competitive with her, trying to be the one kicking you hardest?

'Cause that's what happened about ten minutes ago. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to walk tomorrow ;)

On a seasonal note we had a Halloween party at one of our classrooms yesterday. The best costume was a kid called Nobu who came in a Nixon full face mask and spent the whole time shouting: "my name Bush".

It was great.

Friday, October 28, 2005


I walked into a doorframe today hard enough to draw blood.

In my own house!

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Been shopping for office gadgets. This motivated me to clean the office up. Sections of desk and floor that haven't seen daylight for fifteen months are blinking in the sunshine, and the cat is striding around on top of the desk looking puzzled.

Of course things aren't spotless, but it's a pretty good start (and we now have a fax machine).

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Your credit is no good here

We just got told that the travel agent we were planning on using doesn't take credit cards. Hmmm. Then we found out the other one doesn't either. WTF?

Even after five and a half years, Japan still has the capacity to baffle me. I guess everyone else here has the kind of cash reserves to pay for 600,000 yen's worth of tickets just lying around undere a futon somewhere.

Kind of threw a spanner in the works regarding our holiday plans, but we'll scrounge some money out of somewhere -I already told my Nan we were coming over, so the trip IS going to happen.

Very tired today. I think the two hour bike ride yesterday is catching up with me ;)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Suffering of the Sleep-deprived

Today feels like treacle. Everything is kind of one step removed, and moving very very slowly. It doesn't help that I am sitting here surrounded by the office hum.

Was up late last night calling the UK and generally being excited about our travel plans. It's shaping up to be a good trip, even though I just heard I'm going to miss Mark at Heathrow by about an hour!

Chiho may have found us cheaper tickets. That would be a very good thing :)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Homeward Bound

Well, I managed to find some flights to London for 83,000 yen, so it looks like we might make it over for Christmas after all. Still need to check with everyone back at home to make sure that they will be around (it would be just my luck to fly back just as everyone is off to spend Christmas in Chile or something).

Luckily we're not taking the cat, so I reckon a cool 600,000 yen all in for the first (and for the forseeable future -last!) family trip. I think it's worth it, 'cause I think I should go and see my two grandmothers and it's probably one of our last chances to drag the whole family off as one (before the player gains her independence!).

Found out she spent the whole of today sleeping instead of studying the way she promised to... so she's grounded next weekend.

The power of the petty tyrant ;)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Short Bride

Okay, so I just went to see The Corpse Bride with my family (all except the princess, who was working, and the cat, who just isn't into Tim Burton films). Hmmm.

Let's just say it was short, and had some good bits, and seemed to be lacking about 37% of its plot. Not the best thing I've seen from the BurtonDepp team.

Still, it wasn't bad. Just not very satisfying.

In other news, still trying to figure out if we can take a big trip to Europe over Christmas. Exciting stuff.

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Week off

Here in Japan there is a chain of second hand shops that all have the word "off" in their names. Thus we have "Book Off" and "Hard Off". Next week is week off for me. I have finally got clear of the October meetings and next week will be a well needed period of consolidation and planning.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the October meetings. We had some good presentations and a really good vibe on all three days. The only thing is, they are tiring, especially held on Wednesday and Friday, my manic "go and help my wife teach for four hours after work" days!

So we got home about 11pm tonight, flushed with ideas on how to improve Cambridge English. We're going to get a sign for the Shiogama classroom, and I had some ideas on how to improve our elementary and junior high curriculums. We're also going to have a special meeting with the parents once a year where I will run through our philosophy, materials, and methods. Hopefully that will get us more students...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Old stomping ground

Finally managed to meet up with a really cool teacher I used to work with at one of my previous schools today. It had been about a year and a half, but luckily nothing really seems to have changed so I spent a good couple of hours chatting to her...

I am really looking forward to getting out of the kencho and back into a school!

In other news the last October meeting is tomorrow, then I get a week of sanity before the next set of meetings begins.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Try again: Reboot: Reload

Okay, I'm going to try this blog thing again...

Think I managed five posts over nine months on the first one ;)