When I grow up, I want to be Yayoi Kusama. At 87, the Japanese artist wears her hair a shocking orange-red and paints psychedelic scenes of abstract polkadot landscapes you suspect you may once have seen in a high fever.Read More
Travel between Japan's two largest cities can be done in a mere two hours via the Shinkansen bullet train, which rockets through the country at speeds up to 200 mph (~300 km/h). Alternatively, you could pay more and take seven and half hours and ride a bus.Read More
Japan's obsession with organisation has led to the country stuffing all their foxes up a mountain.Read More
When it comes to historical truths, Japan does not have the best reputation. School textbooks are notorious for glossing over the nastier of Japan's wartime activities, while the government is periodically caught in verifiable lies worthy of Trump's inauguration numbers. But how does this feed into the daily news coverage in modern day Japan?Read More
The rise of Daesh has resulted in a huge increase in hate crimes against Muslim citizens. This is due to claims by the terrorist organisation that their abhorrent actions are supported by Islamic doctrine, despite being repeatedly and strongly contested by the Muslim community. In a backlash to anti-Islam rhetoric, a steadily louder claim has emerged that all religions are a source of evil. This seems to have upset a large number of Christians who believe that Christianity is fundamentally a force for good.Read More
The Hokkaido Sun Guest House was right in my neighbourhood, situated between my apartment and closest supermarket. The fact I couldn't find it was therefore perturbing.Read More
I arrived back in Sapporo just before Typhoon Lionrock smacked into Hokkaido.Read More
On Sunday night, I fulfilled all of my deepest fantasies.Read More
"If we could not confirm your arrival by 1:00 in the midnight, we consider the guest as NO SHOW CASE."
What did that even mean?Read More
For two nights after the movers scooped up my worldly goods, I stayed at a friend's apartment. I would rate the "Heidi Hotel" with an 8/10Read More
I climbed up the metal ladder to the wood and concrete box and launched myself onto the mattress. The space was a cross between a shipping container and Hagrid's hut. It even had a window. I loved it.Read More
"What about tomorrow?" The three men in the blue uniforms of the Sekai moving company were crowded around a cupboard containing shoes. This is a standard feature right by the entrance of any Japanese apartment: the movers had not yet got further into my home.
"It's fine," I assured them in my limited Japanese. "You can pack everything."
"But... tomorrow..." One of the movers looked across from the cupboard and gaped in shock. "Aahh!" he pointed at my feet. His two colleagues crowded close. "She's wearing shoes."Read More
Even with earplugs, the noise was loud.
Click. Whir. Tic tic tic. Klonk.
I stared up at the plastic contraption holding my head in place and thought: How does anyone have sex in here?Read More
I was in my Japan apartment holding a bag of rice and haggling like it was a market place in Delhi. Both of these facts were unexpected.Read More
On my last day in Canada, I attempted to break into a high security deposit box and steal a priceless antique diamond.Read More
If you switch on your phone to discover that weather conditions have stalled a bunch of trains, do what I didn't do:
Roll over and go back to sleep. Your plans are on ice.Read More
"I would never do a PhD! It's completely useless. An utter waste of time!"
So. This was awkward. I looked down at my plate. It held a cookie decorated with a green duck.Read More
“It’s too late to use the toilet. They’ve been announcing that for the last 40 minutes and now you’ve missed your chance!"Read More
"Are you here on holiday?"
The answer was bound to be 'yes'. I had fallen into conversation with the elderly lady sitting beside me as we had sought out the shuttle bus to transfer to the airport's domestic terminal. I was connecting from Tokyo to Sapporo, she was bound for Osaka. Judging from her accent, we had both just stepped off the London Heathrow flight.Read More
It has long been on my bucket list to be captured in a glass by a giant joker.
Well seriously -- whose bucket list ISN'T that on? No ones.Read More