Last week, I decided to go and watch Thor: Ragnarok at my local cinema. It was a late showing but there was a fairly sizeable audience, especially for a Marvel film here in Japan. I bought my popcorn and melon soda, found my seat and proceeded to enjoy two hours of brainless entertainment. But as I laughed at the jokes and the entire stupidity of the spectacle, a middle-aged man in front of me kept staring back with a look of distain. It was clear that I was somehow in the “wrong”. Continue reading “Watching “Thor: Ragnarok” in Japan”
Today was Halloween, and while I’ve already discussed the festival’s growing popularity in Japan’s modern “culturescape”, I was introduced to another recent addition to Japanese life. At 9:30 this morning, the local emergency sirens and a guff voice could be heard through the speakers. It was a clear day so it couldn’t have been about a typhoon or tsunami. The ground wasn’t shaking and there wasn’t a raging inferno. Instead, the word “missile” was continuously used throughout the 3-minute period. It turned out that the city’s “Incoming Missile Alert System” was being tested. Continue reading “Halloween and North Korean Missiles”
I recently had the ordeal of renewing my Japanese driver’s licence. In fact, during the summer I actually had to renew my UK Driver’s licence too. Unlike Japan, the process is a lot more simple over there. You can actually do it online. I chose to renew mine at the post office, where they took my soon-to-expire licence, took a photo in a “special” booth, and recorded my electronic signature. After paying a fee and waiting a couple of weeks, my new licence arrived. Continue reading “Fun Times at the Driver’s Licence Centre”
After being back at work for a couple of weeks, my girlfriend and I took a day trip to Ōkunoshima, also know as “Rabbit Island”. Located between Kure and Mihara, you have to take a 10 minute ferry trip from Tadanoumi to the island. Ōkunoshima has become increasingly popular over the last five years with the help of social media. My Facebook page is constantly being littered with the likes of BuzzFeed and other similar sites showcasing the “cuteness of Rabbit Island”. With it being in the same prefecture as us, we bought our lunches at the convenience store, along with cabbage and carrots for the rabbit, and headed there. Continue reading “Journey to Rabbit Island”
“What popular foods does the UK have?”, asks the same teacher every month. And I always respond with “Fish and Chips, Roast Beef and Indian Curry”. Curry has become a quintessential dish for British people stemming back to the 1800s. In fact, Chicken Tikka Masala has been labelled as “a true British national dish” by many with its origins in Glasgow. Strangely, I didn’t really enjoy spicy food until I was about fifteen. Some would call it blaspheme especially since my birthplace has the title of 2016’s Curry Capital of the UK. Takeout nights would be a pain for Dad, as he’d have to make two stops; The Bharat for curry and Casa Pizza for my solitary pizza. But now Indian food is one of my favourite cuisines.
Go into any Japanese supermarket’s “Fruit and Vegetable” section and I guarantee that you’ll find a stack of kiwifruits larger than that of cherries, apples and oranges combined. Over the last couple of years overall fruit sales have fallen by 10% in Japan. But according to the Fresh Fruit Portal, kiwifruit sales have grown by a third in two seasons. In fact the Japanese market accounts for 16% of global sales.
In Japan, fruit isn’t cheap. It’s actually a bloody ripoff. A single apple can cost anywhere from 150 yen (£1.02) to 400 yen (£2.72). Meanwhile a decent melon can cost up to 3000 yen (£20) and even higher. But do these steep prices account for a tastier fruit? Not really, and that’s why many Japanese people don’t buy much fresh fruit these days. Even cakes topped with strawberries are noticeably more expensive than those without.
We’ve just had our first typhoon of the year. Nothing serious, but this entire week has been so bloody humid and wet. This is typical of Japan’s wet season (tsuyu 梅雨) and its the absolutely worst. After living here for four years, I’ve yet to get accustomed to the country’s summer climate. And I don’t think I ever will. From June to September, Japan experiences everything; increasing humidity, heatwaves, tropical storms, typhoons and migrating jellyfish.
Yesterday was absolute nightmare. The trains were delayed by forty minutes, even though it wasn’t particularly raining hard. I missed the school bus, which normally gives me a lift up the hill to the school. So I arrived as if I’d just climbed Mt.Fuji and trekked through the Amazon Rainforest ; a sweaty, wet mess. The teacher greeted me with “It’s a bit hot today, right?”, I sarcastically replied with “Ah, no. I’m fine, thanks”.