“What you need to know about Brandy,” —I was told— “is that his default mode is to stop. Your job is to keep him going!”
But here’s the thing. My default was to stop too. Brandy and I were kindred souls. Which would have been just fine if I wasn’t trying to learn how to ride. Movement is somewhat of a prerequisite. Read More
“According to legend, the very origin of the Japanese race depended on the outcome of a sumo match.”
It was 5:25pm and I’d dashed from my seat to catch the bookstand in the Ryogoku Kokugaikan —Tokyo’s sumo stadium— to buy the ¥100 booklet on the history and rules of sumo. Since the tournament ended at 6pm, I’d arguably left this a little late. Read More
Typing is hard. This is because moving my arms to the appropriate level for the keyboard is deeply challenging. And this is because I rowed the streets of Babylon, rings of Saturn and covered a decent chunk of Antarctica. Read More
You know when you go for a quick twenty minute drive in the countryside, park your car and forty-five minutes later it spontaneously combusts? Read More
Remember when your mother told you not to take sweets from strangers, don’t eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and never NEVER accept blue sushi handed to you from a mythological water demon? Read More
"I erased him from my world," the girl sat with her friends in a restaurant, discussing a failed date with one of her housemates. The outing in question was with a guy named Yuudai who had the tenacity of wet spaghetti and wanted a girlfriend who would do everything for him, down to putting on his socks. I knew these details because I had watched the entire proceedings unfold the week before. Read More
I took a bite of chocolate cake as I gazed out at the enchanted Medieval village. Overlooking the beige stone turrets, the evening sun was sinking into the snow-capped summit of Mount Fuji. I chewed thoughtfully. There were many aspects of my current situation that were surprising. Read More
“So here we are.” The samurai was robed in black, his dark hair tumbling over one side of his face, partially concealing the eye patch. He looked around the small chapel. “I’ve never been to a wedding like this... I mean...” he clarifies awkwardly. “This is the first time I’ve been married.” Read More
Like all the best legends, the story surrounding Gotoku-ji temple is somewhat inconsistent. The common elements seem to be a waving cat, one or more gullible rich dudes and an over reaction to rain. Read More
"I have never seen anything like this in my medical career."
This was not a reassuring comment.
"The MRI machine is free at 11am. Can you go then?"
Neither was that. Especially since I had only dropped into the women's clinic for a routine pap smear. Read More
"There has to be something we haven't completed in this town."
"But our last primary quest was the discussion panel yesterday!"
"... then there must be a side quest." Read More
The princess agreed to marry the prince if he completed a thousand temples in one night. By summoning a horde of demons, the prince completed 999 temples before the cock crowed. When the princess refused her hand, he turned her to stone and she became the 1000th statue. Read More
The conference in Indonesia was the strangest I'd ever attended. This was partially because it was a mix of scientists, artists and space enthusiasts. And partially because there was an alien in the foyer. Read More
Today, I got scammed in Yogyukarta. I knew I was being scammed because the method was described word-for-word in reviews I'd read just the day before. And I couldn't stop it happening! Read More
"But how does the mountain caretaker receive the message that the volcano will soon erupt?"
"... wouldn't seismometers be preferable?" Read More
"We land softly like a butterfly," the instructor told me. "We don't need to jump."
It was a gentle way of saying I looked like a sack of potatoes tethered to a stick in high winds. I supposed that might not be the look 'Pole Dance Tokyo' was trying to cultivate in its students. Read More
"This will hurt a little."
I have a general rule that if you have to hurt me for medical purposes, I'd much rather not know about it in advance. Read More
I waited for the Sun to set over the rice paddy fields surrounding the Kumano Shrine just outside Yokohama. As darkness fell around me, the people poured in. We were here to see a lot of insect sex. Read More
A story goes that hundreds of years ago, the hand of a princess was offered to the warrior who could defeat the enemies of a certain clan. This doubtless seemed like a romantic ideal until the triumphant victor turned out to be a dog. Read More
It is very hard to refuse an invitation to an exhibit that promises to be the juxtaposition of sake (yes, the Japanese alcohol), technology and art. Although I admit it was perhaps rather less necessary to illegally break in. Read More