Monthly Archives: September 2011

Japan or chips

But, of course, it’s the one you’ve all been waiting for. The catch up entry you had started to fear might not be coming – the one that’s going to change your life.

Well, no, that’s a lie. You’re going to get bored reading it. Anyway.

I ate food in Japan, and it confused my tiny northern mind. I am from a town in South Yorkshire. I grew up on chips, pies, gravy, mushy peas, more chips, chip-flavoured ice cream for dessert and pie-flavoured chips. With gravy. Naturally this means my tastebuds are what you would call ‘refined’.

Heading to Japan (I went to Japan etc) I expected to be confused by food. I was not let down. Now I am shit and picky and annoying like that – I don’t like fish and, while I will try lots of things, I don’t actually like a great deal of things.

I am aware of how much this irritates people, but shut up. At least I try stuff.

Anyway, fish. Christ. Japan: stop it with fish. Exchange it for chips. And the seaweed? Well it’s not that bad, but you might as well replace it with chips. All those cow guts and hearts and livers you put in stuff? Swap them for chips, it makes sense. Sake? That’s quite nice actually, but you might as well switch it with chips. Rice is delicious and filling, especially with some good soss on it, but to keep with some kind of theme you should probably switch it with chips.

In fact, swap the entire landmass of Japan with chips.


Those compacted mashed-up fish cakes with the feel and consistency of firm putty? Those were just weird. Swap ‘em with chips.

3 of 14 catch up entries to go.

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I used to watch the Adam West version of Batman when I was a wee ‘un. I don’t remember when it was on, but it was definitely on regularly and I definitely enjoyed watching it, because Batman is awesome and it was genuinely very entertaining.

It made me laugh, it made me smile, it made me worry for ol’ Bats when he was tied up in something with a really slow mechanism about to kill him (in about 30 minutes). But I never viewed it in any knowing, or ironic fashion.

Then I got to that age where you start hating everything you loved, and I ignored Batman (the Adam West version). I forgot about it, and wrote it off.

Then during uni Batman: The Movie (the Adam West version) was picked up. It was watched. With the benefit of the ability to discern between Things That Are Entirely Serious and Things That Are Not Entirely Serious, it suddenly became apparent to me that Batman (the Adam West version) was actually one giant knowing wink to the audience.

And it’s bloody brilliant for it.

I’m watching it right now and it doesn’t disappoint. The jaunty camera angles every time a bad guy is on screen, dealing in bright, vivid colours, Bats preaching the merits of checking – and re-checking – your bat-equipment (not a euphemism), biffzockpow, the way the Dynamic Duo run everywhere, the way Batsies is hilariously polite to everyone.

It’s just great. More like this please.

Makes you wonder why you need a grizzly-voiced idiot who is hated by the police fighting a smack-addled half-clown in an ill-fitting nurse’s outfit. Though that also has its place, obviously.

And Adam West is clearly having a hoot in every single episode. Of Batman. The Adam West version.

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I can barely speak English

I am not a person of language skill. While I was in the top set for French all the way through comprehensive school, it doesn’t mean I actually remember any of it or have managed to use any of it very successfully in my life.

At the same time, if it’s slow, or written down, or simplified in some way I can sometimes – sometimes – make some sense of it. I might be able to extract some kind of meaning by comparing words to ones I know, assuming a lot and guessing a bit. It works, sometimes.

But there are places (did I mention I went to Japan) where things are just on a whole other level. There’s no common ground between English and Japanese – aside from the odd western word thrown in to make you think you’re more comfortable than you are – and as a result it ended up being genuinely funny how bewildered I was on a daily basis.

That’s not a sentence, that’s just a stream of noise. I tried – I genuinely tried to listen to a conversation between a couple of people, each within a meter of me either side. I tried to get something out of it – to draw something, an inkling of what the sentence was, what the structure was, just a word.

I got nothing. And I found it utterly hilarious how totally crap I am at this stuff. And I know I’ll never learn another language, unless I piss off to another country and pick it up by accident.

Konichiwa, bitches.

4 of 14 catch up entries left to go.

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What’s with the weather? I’LL TELL YOU WHAT

Looks like we’re going to have to redo the seasons then, seeing as Weather has decided it’s not going to play by the rules anymore. Rather than being annoyed, like a lot of people seem to be, I have nothing but respect for Weather’s blatant disregard for societal norms and what would be considered ‘acceptable’ behaviour.

After all, Weather had got itself into a rut over the last however many centuries we’ve been paying attention to it. Never mind us getting used to it – taking it for granted – Weather itself must have been bored of the routine. When you’ve got fat, bespectacled, nerdy men on TV easily and correctly predicted what you’re going to do tomorrow.. it’s embarrassing, frankly.

Fortunately Weather has more credibility than that and has decided to fuck with the heads of those that expect the most from it. It took a while to pluck up the courage, true, but I like to think maybe Weather was just using its off time – you know, when it’s overcast (so most of the time in the UK, ho ho) –to make some in-depth and cunning plans.

And now those plans are coming to fruition. We expect Weather to be nice and not kill us all, but instead Weather decided to just go against that whole thing and blow people through walls and stuff (note: I’m not sure if that actually happened, but hey).

Then it decided that the end of September, when it’s autumnal and approaching the winter (WINTER IS COMING HA HA HA I LIKE REDDIT) that it would actually pull the greatest swerve of all time and provide us with the summer it completely ‘forgot’ to give us at the normal time in the year.

Either that or we’re all going to die of Instant Onset Climate Change.

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Inane shit at 2.25am

My collection of books (it’s called ‘a box full’ technically) has finally had a dent made in it for the first time in months since I bothered to actually read one of the papery wads of words contained within it.

Unfortunately the book I read has had that effect that so much of a certain Doctor of Journalism’s work has on me, which is to make me want to fuck it all off and do something real – something that matters.

Then again, I stand by the notion that nothing anybody does actually matters, the pursuit of wealth is a pointless undertaking and those motivated more by money than by enjoyment of what they do are idiots in the extreme.

But that’s also veering away from the concept of doing something that matters, as something that matters can indeed be something that you enjoy. For example, if I was to get a job as Superstar Broadcast Journalist Covering War And Shit, I would probably enjoy it (bar the massive fear of death and inability to speak to locals in anything other than Embarrassing Idiocy).

No point to this, I’m just thinking out loud and annoying the world with entry 618 or something, though I still have a few more catch up entries to complete, all about my time in Japan. As if it matters or you care.

They’ll come tomorrow though, because tonight I have to rest and dream of a world where anything I did mattered. Here it doesn’t, and I’ve just deleted a load of text there that was too whiny even for here.

Welcome to any newcomers – get used to this inane shit.

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And I thought sorry was a British thing

I made a hilarious quip, as I am wont to do, about having been apologised to about 335,824 times after about two hours of being in Japan (did I mention I went to Japan etc etc). Thing is, I don’t think I was that far away from the truth, such is the culture there.

Now, I knew it’s a polite place before I went – I just wasn’t ready for the whole ‘apologise fifteen times and bow twenty’ thing. Oh, you were a little bit in my way causing momentary awkwardness? Okay, it’s perfectly reasonably to bow eighteen times. You forgot to put a glass in my room when you were cleaning it? Okay, just give me the glass, I’ll put it in the room – no need to apol… ah. She won’t give me the glass because she’s too busy bowing and apologising.

Now I’m not one to slate the culture of another place – and that’s not what I’m doing – especially seeing as I’m one of the most uncultured oiks in the world. Just ask anyone who’s spent any real time with me (twice in two blogs, BOOM). I don’t know how the world works and blah de blah.

It’s just strange enough for me to highlight, and it happened enough that I could eke a couple of hundred words out of it to fill the gap here. DOUBLE BOOM.

Still, it does make you feel like you’re the BAWAS every time someone goes so utterly subservient. Like a bawas.

5 of 14 catch up entries to go.

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Boredom tries to take over… DEFLECTED!

I officially have nothing to look forward to right now, and it’s getting me down a bit. Not in a terrible ‘I require Prozac’ kind of way, nor in any way that I’m thinking about it non-stop. But the fact there’s no real event coming up for me in the near – or far – future is making me develop cabin fever, or something.

That’s what happens when you do a bunch of stuff in quick succession though, I suppose. You get used to how actually Doing Things manages to take your mind off how Boring things are normally. I am accustomed to boredom, as I have pointed out many times, and I should probably run seminars on how to deal with it – how to embrace it – as I am sodding brilliant at that. Ask anyone who’s spent any real time with me; they can vouch.

But it doesn’t stop me from yearning, and right now I’m yearning hard for some plan – any plan – to do something. I don’t think it helps that, for the first time since about 2006, I actually have a little bit of money to my name and can afford to do something more interesting than buying a small bottle of Chekov vodka and drinking so much my brain decides to take a leave of absence (only to return in the morning and kick the shit out of the inside of my head for being such a dickhead).

But I’m sure it’ll pass. After all, I got Dark Souls today, so that can keep me occupied for a month or two. I don’t need the outside, people, experiences, travel or activities – I can slay the undead in the comfort of my own hovel.

No, really – I am actually looking forward to this.

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Tokyo: the definitive review (7/10)

The thing is, I saw pretty much everything in Tokyo that I both expected and didn’t expect to see. I’ve grown up on comics, sci-fi, videogames and whatever else that has Tokyo in it, and it’s all painted a pretty vivid picture of the place. So when I get there and I see much of it is true, from the fact it looks like you’re in Blade Runner some of the time to the way that yes, there are vending machines with girl’s underwear in them – it makes me a wee bit giddy.

Alright, less the crusty keks, but that’s because I’m not a weirdo. Well, I am, just not in that sense.

But then there’s the stuff you don’t think about. There’s the people who, aside from the natural salesmen trying to get you in somewhere to sell you overpriced whatever, are friendly, pleasant and welcoming. There’s the beer, which is good. The language, which is confusing. The food, which is also confusing (WHY DOES IT LOOK AND SMELL LIKE A DOUGHNUT BUT HAVE MEAT IN IT?).

Then there’s the toilets – OH! – the toilets. They are the best things in the world by a long, long way. That potential massive leap towards curing HIV they revealed recently? Bugger all compared to Japanese toilets. You know what I’m talking about, if you’ve ever read anything about Japan.

Anyway, Tokyo is massive, which scares me – as do all massive places. People there get drunk all the time, which is brilliant. The subway didn’t feel dangerous. We went into an area of Shinjuku we were warned was “a bit dodgy at this time of night” only to be confronted with The Least Dodgy Place I Have Ever Been (bar all the titty bars, obviously).

Also there was a random petshop, which was aww well cute sweet etc.

And we saw a Yakuza girlfriend. She had nice tattoos.

Possibly the best city I’ve ever been to, now I think about it, and I have to go again at some point. I’d just have to save up about £3,000,000 for a week’s worth of food and drink. Expensive isn’t the word.


6 of 14 catch up entries left to go.

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Musical interlude

Here is some music. Here is the first music, in which Final Fantasy X has been turned into a band and all genres ever have been fed into an automated music-shatting-out device. This is the result:

Here is the second music. It is more of a classic track from some years ago and involves the best dancing known to man:

Here is the third song that I actually, unironically do like:

And this is what happens when I’ve been so busy doing things I can’t be arsed doing a proper blog that I haven’t pre-thought of a topic for. BOOM.

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Portuguese clementines: the definitive review (7/10)

One of the main reasons I was looking forward to our jaunt to the Algarve was to see the lobster-skinned English folk roaming the region, trashing bars, fucking everything that moves and generally trying to ruin the world with our collective Small Man Syndrome that we as a small island nation seem to suffer.

No, wait – what I meant to say was: the fruit.

Fruit on the continent always seems to be better than back here at home, for whatever reason. I’m sure it’s very obvious reasons, but hey – let’s go with “whatever reason”. But now that always has to be changed to ‘usually’. Or sometimes, or rarely, or whatever I want to knock it down to.

Not always. Never always. The Continente supermarket in Loule made sure to ruin that particular dream.

In hot, sunny Portugal where would you expect their clementines to come from? We tend to get ours from Spain, possibly South Africa and a few other places between. But Portugal is sunny enough, surely? Even if it isn’t, they can literally get a truck to drive a few hours from across the border to bring some fresh, juicy deliciousness with them.

That was my logic.

What I was met with was a heap of dried up, tasteless and 40% inedible pieces of orange-coloured shit direct from – I kid thee not – Uruguay.

What’s the fucking point in that? At all? It makes no sense. Surely that can’t be cheaper than just growing them down the road and having an oxen pull a cart full of the bastard things straight to the market?

Anyway. Portugal: your clementines are shit. Because they’re from 5834 miles away. Sort it out.

(N.B. Clementines in Waitrose down the road from me travel 6146 miles and are delicious, so it’s clearly an issue with how they’re transported or ultimately stored at the market in question. But that’s too close to analysis, and I’d prefer blind reaction to thought any day of the week.)


7 of 14 catch up entries to go.

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