Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Thank you for asking

Kenju, you are a darling for gently reminding me in comments that I have not written for a long time. I really do want to start blogging again, but the longer I don't the harder it gets. It is encouraging to know that at least one person will notice when I start again properly.

I am keeping well, just very, very busy, especially now. (It is exam time.) Life in Japan, I am discovering, is not quite as comfortable without The Man, and blogging in particular is not as much fun when I don't have the knowledge that at some point he will read what I wrote and snort.

Being snorted at was one of my favorite things, I have learned, and I still miss it. Not nearly enough people snort at me these days. Being snorted at kept me on my toes, and I suspect the lack of snorting is causing me to take myself too seriously.

What I have been up to recently: work, work, and more work. Also, last month I visited Nagasaki with a couple of friends.  l loved Nagasaki. I did not visit the atom bomb museum (because it was New Year and and I did not want to dwell on sad things, and besides, I've already visited the Hiroshima one) – but I did visit Dejima, which turned out to be my favorite place in Nagasaki. I totally recommend it. The reconstruction is coming along nicely and it is fascinating to think, as you wander around and check out the exhibits, that this tiny place was Japan's only point of contact (almost) with the outside world for 250 years. Especially interesting, for me at least, was looking at the photographs and realizing PROPERLY how recently Japan  opened up to the world. I have a photograph somewhere of my grandmother's father, which looks of the same era. It was really very, very recent, and understanding that explains a lot about Japan.

We also visited Gunkanjima. That was interesting, too, but resulted in some fairly wild conspiracy theories due to the extremely controlled tour we were forced to take. I THINK the controlled and very carefully watched-over nature of the tour was actually because the buildings on the island are in a dangerous state of disrepair, but it was hard to hold back on the conspiracy theories when one of us (not me) noticed that one of the guides had a Mitsubishi logo on his cap.

From the week after next I will be visiting Bali for a week (to stay with a friend there) and then NZ for a month or so, then I will be back here for another year. One of the things I plan to do before classes start again is to photograph and catalog The Man's extensive record collection. I want to sell it, but it's hard when I don't even know what is in all those boxes. There are HUNDREDS of records.

What I am reading these days: Non-fiction, mostly. The only novel I've read in the last couple of years is The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, and that was before and during my visit to Nagasaki. I enjoyed it very much. Right now I am reading a history book about the Black Death, and finding it far more interesting than is healthy, probably. I found this book at a second hand bookstore recently, and then on Monday noticed that one of the professors at a university I work at had added a bunch of books to the collection we gaijin teachers keep on a shelf outside the teachers' room, and one of these books was Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year. Naturally I picked it up, and that will be my next book. (Tomorrow I will go through the other books the Japanese professor left behind. There are a lot of good ones there, and they are in pristine condition, having clearly never been opened. I bet they looked impressively academic on his office shelves, though!)

Right, that's it. Much longer than I intended, and unedited because I'm in a hurry, but it will have to do. 

Good night Kenju! This one was for you.