Archive for the ‘Real life stories about reality’ Category

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A poor, lonely, desperate Englishman, with nought but a dry bowl of rice and one chopstick has somehow survived a horrifying encounter with a ‘regular Japanese insect’. Unbeknownst to many foreigners coming to Japan, the monsters that appear in Godzilla movies of the 1950’s, 60’s and so on, are all based on factual encounters, and many of those inspirational creatures are still alive today.

I kid you not, the bugs here are pretty insano.

I like bugs, I have always liked bugs, and everybody goes on and on about how bad the bugs must be in Australia, and how scary they must be and so on, but here in Japan the bugs are so big that when you approach, you can literally see them turning their head around to look at you. Like a cat or a bird.
You sometimes see them in a field playing rugby or football, or digging holes or mugging/eating old people.

That is an exaggeration, but, it’s not too far from how I felt after first encountering one of them. The hot, subtropical environment of Japan, plus the varying degrees of radiation poisoning and pollution make this place the ideal incubator for giant mutated creatures. I don’t think Americans have realised that by using nuclear weapons to end a war, they have condemned the whole world to a far worse fate.

I was walking around a lake on my way to work, (a large-ish body of water) a pretty good lake too, filled with big fat carp and loads of turtles and ducks, and as I made it about halfway around, through the undergrowth to a clearing, a massive black thing flew past me. My immediate reaction was ‘WTF IS THAT’. I then tried to follow the creature. It was foraging around tree trunks, obviously not interested in me. When I got a better look, it seemed to be some kind of jet black bee or wasp. I’m not sure which. I was filled with a kind of wary fascination.

After that encounter, there have been more than a few occasions where I’ve stepped out of my front door into the blistering heat, only to leap back into the house at the sight of some small helicopter whirring around my tiny front garden. It’s always a surprise when there’s a helicopter in your garden, you know?
And like, the helicopter is still on. And nobody is going to get out, and the helicopter might not land anywhere and it might attack you too. It’s a very fast, erratic helicopter.
I realise all those things very quickly, and it is always a big surprise.

‘Woah there!’ I exclaim,’what are you doing in my garden?’
That’s how I react, except with more swearing, and more frantic searching for weaponry.

That black bee was just the first of many varying kids of massive beetles and wasps and bees and spiders and mantis’ and bugs that I would encounter. It is clear to me that Pokemon could not have been imagined in any other country. Even hundreds of years ago, a rudimentary version of Pokemon might have been a reality in rural Japan. You probably couldn’t get them to fight without one of them dying though. I can only imagine the fascination of the first explorers here!

As it stands, my bestiary is growing on a daily basis, but, I fear I will never complete it. Every foray into this dangerous new world is another roll of the dice.

One of the big bad guys here in Japan is called the Oosuzumebachi, which literally translates to ‘Giant Sparrow Bee’, or Giant Japanese Hornet, and it lives up to it’s name. Every year these big bastards kill 40-50 people in Japan. I’ve included a photo. Now you know what nightmare’s are made of.

James

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Japantown

Posted: May 20, 2016 in Real life stories about reality
Tags: ,

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Japan, or as the locals say, Japah; the place where I expected to find the craziest bunch of crazies that ever walked the big blue earth.

Turns out they’re not so crazy after all, but they do do some weird things.

I’ve been here for a while now, not sure how long. The first week was difficult. I quickly found that my usual preparations for visiting a new country were, on this occasion, woefully inadequate.
Without even knowing it, my travels had lulled me into a false sense of security, thinking, surely every being here on earth knows English by now. What a fool I was!
The places I’ve explored, they were merely former British colonies! Practically my own back garden.
I was not prepared for a place that does not use the Latin Alphabet, does not understand me or my noises or provide much assistance in doing so.
It’s taken me until the age of 28 to truly empathise with foreigners in my own country. I cannot tell you how isolating and lonely and frustrating it is to start a language from scratch, a language which shares no similarities with your own mother tongue.

After being dropped off at my place of residence by my new employer, with no japanese mobile phone number and no smart phone (in hindsight, not a smart decision), I was left to fend for myself, a task I have never found particularly difficult.

So, after a night of rest, I began my quest. The first thing I found was that my house was hidden away in back streets, and in fact, everywhere in japan is hidden away in back streets, even the cities and big buildings and trains, all in a muddled back street (unsurprisingly perfect for ninjas), and my house was difficult to find. It had taken my employer and me over two hours to find the place.

The reason for this was that the street numbers here make no sense whatsoever. The ward (like a suburb) I live in is separated into large square-looking areas, which have a given name, then within that area the houses are given seemingly random numbers, which do not relate to the house next door to it or the street. They seem totally random. There do not seem to be any street names, except for main roads. So, I was worried to stray too far from my house, fearing that I would not be able to find my way back. But, I had to get food, and on top of that, I found that there were no adaptors available for australian plugs that have three prongs. Some australian devices have two prongs, and there are adaptors for those, but my laptop charger for example, had three, and so I had no means of contacting anyone or finding anything or looking at google maps.

So, I picked a direction and started walking. I was tempted to leave a breadcrumb trail, but had no bread at the time. I walked for hours looking for a place to buy a map or a dictionary or a computer shop, (not knowing that there was a massive shopping centre 5 minutes from my house in the opposite direction). Eventually I found a place to buy a map, but all the names on the map and in the directory were in japanese script, and so, the map was useless. It took me the first week to find out where the hell my house was on the map of Nagoya. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I became lost many times and have had great difficulties due to not being able to read anything around me. It truly is crippling not being able to read.

Going to the supermarket for the first time was like going to a tropical zoo. I knew only a few phrases in Japanese, and one of them was ‘kore wa nan desu ka?’ which means, ‘what is this?’ I must have said that twenty times on my first visit to the supermarket.
Even now my supermarket trips take me atleast an hour as I try to figure out what the hell things are and whether I can or should eat them.

I live in a town called Arimatsu, which, as far as I can tell, does not get many foreigners. I figured this out rather quickly, due to the gawking stares and gazes of wonderment. I’ve had some rather extreme reactions though. I’ve had two occasions now where a person has seen me and fled, presumably for their dear lives. I’m sure it wasn’t the Godzilla t-shirt I was wearing. I’ve also had students who have burst into tears upon realising that I was their new teacher, and/or refused to enter the classroom.
I’ve actually got one class who have cried for the last four weeks straight. Every time they line up for my lesson they start to tear up. I’m really not strict or mean or anything, I’m just huge and white and terrifying!

You don’t have to spend much time in Japan to see the effects of the hundreds of years of isolation. For a long time the military leader of Japan, the Shogun, made it illegal to leave Japan, or for foreigners to enter (punishable by death), and this law only ended in the 1800’s at the intervention of the American navy.

One unpleasant experience I have had recently was at an onsen, or public bath. It’s quite normal here to go to the public bath on a regular basis, and my housemate was excited to bring me on my first try.

You strip off completely naked and get into a bath with a bunch of other dudes.

Me and my housemate, Dae Ho, went outside to the hot bath area, and I had two japanese guys sat on either side of me, not even trying to hide their awkward staring, and one nine or ten year old boy stood at the edge of the water staring down into my crotch. Previously I had been under the impression that everything down there was rather normal, but apparently not.
It was very uncomfortable, so I just had to close my eyes and pretend they weren’t there. Maybe I should have jumped up and down and shown them the dance of my people.

People in Japan are very polite, and will often try to help, and when you do meet a Japanese person who can speak some English they are always super keen to speak with you. The people are so polite that you can often find yourself having bowing/thankyou matches with shop staff, just seeing who can out-bow the other one. It’s a little ridiculous. Sometimes it is quite nice though, like, even people in cars will often bow to you while driving past you, and they often give way to pedestrians/cyclists. In fact, I’ve liked every Japanese person I’ve met here. But, you never forget that you’re a foreigner.

There is so much more to say, but I don’t get paid to stay up late writing long blog entries, so it will have to wait til next time. If you have any questions in particular, or anything you’d like to know, feel free to ask me and I’ll address it in the next entry.

Sayonara

Suzuki

A few years ago I bought a motorbike. A 250cc Suzuki Intruder, 160kg, not the most amazing motorbike in the universe, nor the biggest or loudest, but it looked pretty cool, in jet black and chrome.

I learnt how to ride on that bike. At first I was too scared to even go on main roads, I stuck to side streets and the block of houses in which mine was located. It took some days before I resolved to bite the bullet and go for a long ride, which for me was an hour or so. I used to drive to a place called Chirnside Park to see my friend Michael. He was always working, so its not like I even did much when I got there, but it was the journey that I craved; the mission. My confidence began to skyrocket. Afterall, I’d been riding for over a week and hadn’t even crashed or stalled once. Needless to say, my winning streak was short lived and I made a right fool of myself more than a few times.

I remember once, I was sat at the traffic lights waiting for a green arrow to turn right, on a steep hill. The arrow turned green, and I stalled, by the time I realised what had happened and started the engine again, the arrow had turned red. I looked around and waved at the other cars waiting, trying to demonstrate my apologies with various head bobs and hand movements. The driver immediately behind waved an ‘it’s okay/no worries’ and smiled.
So, waiting for the arrow to turn green again, and would you believe it, I stalled a second time. This time I got the engine going and got through just before the arrow turned red, leaving those cars stuck there. Poor shmucks. It was then that I realised I had been sat in second gear the whole time, so it’s no wonder I kept stalling.

I’ve since had plenty of bumps, crashes, hits and knocks, and as you can see, if you meet me in real life, none of them have proven fatal. In fact, both myself and my bike survived with minimal scars and few broken parts. This has mostly not been the case for the things on the other end.

The motorbike I bought back then was a dream to me, it was a key to freedom, it was a transportation device to another dimension, where my throne glides above the roads, above all the clunking metal boxes packed into every street, the heaving, grunting, bumbling squares, chugging around like little fat trains.

Now, my bike is a lot more than that. The glamour and pride of riding is meaningless to me, the chrome is scratched and faded, the exhaust pipes are rusted, the dream is mishapen and battered. I no longer identify with other bike riders. The dick measuring has ended. I ride alone, where nooone drives, where noone is, where noone see’s.

I used to want to get a bigger bike, something louder and heavier and faster. so I could fare better with the dick measuring, so I could sit alongside other bikers and snort. But this bike will always be the sledge hammer used to destroy my dungeon prison.
The only reason I’d change hands now, is because there are other prisoners.

On that note, I intend to place an ad on gumtree for the bike. You’ll probably think, after what I’ve said, that the bike is not roadworthy, but it still runs surprisingly well, and I intend to fix it up as good as can be for the next worthy adventurer.

The ad will talk of how great the bike is, how shiny it is and how it runs and starts and goes.

But there is a secret which I will not disclose in the ad.

Beneath the thin layer of black paint is no peace, no calm, there is a war machine, that drips with the blood of clumping cars, signs, traffic lights, barriers and any other foolish obstacle.

This is a secret I learnt, and it is a secret that the next worthy adventurer will learn as well. Until one day, the bike will transform into a fiery incarnation of destruction. A true transformer, whose sole purpose is to obliterate careless, texting drivers and selfish rich royalty.

Anyway, on another note, please watch out for motorbikes. My bike is bulletproof, but most riders are not. If you don’t check your blindspot, then one day you might finally get me good.

I wrote this while listening to: Queensrÿche: Operation Mindcrime Full Album

I’ve been sat here for a little while now. Not a whole month, cause that’s how long it’s been since my last post. Not a month. Just like, a little while.

I couldn’t think of something super witty and funny to write, I’m feeling a little flat. Like a flat slap of spam. Slapped down onto a pavement.

However, after thinking about what to write for a little while, I thought I’d tell you about sweets.

I have never felt richer or wealthier than when I have been walking home from school with my pockets full of sweets. Walking through Central Park, with the sun shining through gaps in the great big trees, and my feet covered in mud. Yes, I felt like the richest boy in the world, despite having no money.

By sweets, I mean, small, varied, sugary, gummy or chewy or sour bits of tastiness.

In the UK, when I was a kid, you could buy penny sweets at lots of places. Sadly, this is not the case anymore, probably cause they take so long to create a profit and cause of the hygiene problems, and cause they were such a pain in the ass to count. Basically you’d go into a corner shop or paper shop, and they’d have about ten-twenty clear cube containers lined up in a row around the chocolate/sweets section, each filled with a different sweet. They were called penny sweets because each one cost 1p. They were perfect for schoolkids with only a specific amount of 27p, or something like that, in their pocket.

And I was definitely one of those annoying kids that would buy exactly 62p of penny sweets, or 47p, or 38p. So they’d have to count them all. The only reason why they counted is because most kids lied about how many they got, or they wouldn’t bother counting them at all, so the person at the register would have to do it.

Anyway, I used to know all the best places in Plymouth to get penny sweets. I knew all the haunts. I was familiar with every dealer. I knew when there was a strange new penny sweet from Italy at a particular shop, or a super sour gobstopper, or anything hard to come by. This was before you could just order anything on the internet. We didn’t have the internet at our house til I was about seventeen.

My prime sweet career probably went from about nine to fifteen. The reason why I call it a career is because my unique knowledge ended up bringing in some dosh. I would go on foot all over Plymouth to find the good stuff, and, being a paperboy, I was on foot all the time. Soon, at school, people knew about the good stuff that I brought in for myself, and I began to sell it off to my schoolmates for basically double the acquisition cost.

It became so lucrative that I began taking orders. I even hired some mock staff, and paid them 5% of the earnings. The business was called James Merchandise.

Being a child, the first thing I did, that I considered to be most important, was come up with a theme tune for my business. Being an adult I have come to realise that most businesses don’t even have a theme tune.

Well, they’ve got it all wrong. I used to drum up a lot of business by my enthusiasm and theme tune. And also the delicious sweets I fetched.

Whenever I found a promising new sweet, I’d bring it in to school and let everybody try some, as a taster. I’d then take orders. I can’t remember all the different kinds, or hits, but one of them which is still around today, which isn’t technically a penny sweet, but did drum up some profit, was called Gum Powder. Which is a kind of sour-ish chewing gum that you get in a small black card container, with a big explosion picture on the outside, and the gum was in the shape of small black/grey nuggets.

When I was that age, I believed I could be the next Willy Wonka. Or, the first really. I was absolutely positive I knew what sweets were bad, and what were good, and had some ideas for absolutely amazing sweets. I also wanted to be some kind of dental scientist who came up with a miraculous formula for a toothpaste that you’d only need to apply once, and it would protect your teeth for life, against any amount of chewy sweets. I also dreamt about being a mutant, whereby my superpower would be that my insides had changed so that sweets are the equivalent of a healthy and nutritious diet. Basically so that I’d not have to eat any vegetables or savoury things ever again, and could just survive very healthily on sour and sweet sugary things forever.

Anyway, James Merchandise eventually died about because I told my mum about it, and she didn’t really approve of me doing two things.

Firstly, using my bus money to buy sweets, instead of catching the bus to school.

Secondly, ripping off everyone in school by charging double the price I got them for.

I wasn’t in the habit of obeying my parents, but I wasn’t a bad guy, so that kinda slowed my aspirations. And it was around that time that places stopped selling penny sweets. Nowadays, most places that do sell penny sweets call it Pick and Mix.

The only difference between pick and mix and penny sweets is the price. With penny sweets, you are charged by each individual sweet, but with pick and mix you are charged by the weight, which is substantially more expensive.

So those scumbags at village cinema and warner village and vue and all those other scumbag cinemas led the way in introducing sweets being charged by weight.

Anyway, I’m sure if you spoke to someone who bought and sold penny sweets on a large scale they might give you a different opinion about their rise and fall, but this was my perception as a boy, one which I hold still today. They were very much one of the highlights of childhood to me.

I won’t end this on a low note, so one thing I will say, is that today I had a really amazing dentist appointment 🙂

I hope you are feeling very good today also,

James

Good evening friends, I’m writing something now to you from my computer board. I am not trapped inside it. I am outside it right now, it is on my leg, and I am pressing the keyboard all over the place to make words that I like appear on the screen, then I’ll let you know that you can see it on your screen too, by email or facebook or something, and you can decide whether you like the pressing of the keyboard.

Anyway, I’m writing about Smiley McGee, who is the man I met tonight very briefly, he’s probably not called Smiley McGee, but I imagine him to be.

He was very old, maybe late 70’s or mid 80’s. But had good muscles. And he was exceptionally happy.

I met him because I responded to his Gumtree ad. He was selling an electric chainsaw sharpener for tuppence.

When I handed over the $30, he was so distracted with gleeful happiness that he stopped talking about the machine and just stared and rubbed slowly together the two notes. A ten dollar note and a twenty dollar note.

His smile was so genuine, and his happiness so truthful, I feel like going round his house in a week and offering him $30 for one of his spoons. Or a piece of paper. No doubt he will think he’s fooled me into spending a whole massive thirty dollars on something that is not worth thirty dollars. He’ll think he’s the very King of Crooks, which will double his joy at receiving the thirty dollars.

But it will all be worth it for me cause he was so damn happy about it.

Part of me thinks he was going to have to sell it to me hard, or be in for some serious haggling. Like he knew I was only in it about 20%, and he had to lay on me his most professionally deadly sales pitch. But when I rocked up and handed him the bucks and took off within two minutes, he croooned with happiness. Crooooooned of the sky and the sun and love and laughter and all things good.

Right now I imagine him sat in his kitchen, at the kitchen table, with a cup of tea, just staring at the thirty dollars as it lay. A few metres across from him next to the kettle. Just thinking to himself at how bloody successful his amazing financial adventure has been.

I was very glad to have been a part of it. Long may his ambitious ventures continue. Maybe I’ll follow him on gumtree and make sure all the stuff he’s trying to sell gets sold. You can send me a private message if you like and I’ll tell you his username. It’s not fair to hide Smiley McGee from the rest of the world

Oh,

hello there.

I didn’t see you.

I was quite preoccupied thinking.

What was I thinking? Well, that is a rather personal thing to ask. But I will tell you, because we are personal friends who share all sorts of deep and meaningful things with each other.

I ride a motorbike around the place. Not in a gang or to look cool. And not for practical reasons either.

Lately, a thought crosses my mind when I ride my bike.

I’m not a morbid person, and I’m not depressed, but as soon as I cruise along down past the cars stuck in a queue. I wonder if today will be the day I crash.

Lots of people have told me how dangerous riding a motorbike is, and how much more likely it is that you will be involved in an accident. I’ve heard all the horror stories. When I get on my motorbike I wonder if it is now.

I wonder if I will be lying on the cold pavement ten minutes from now. I try to imagine what it would feel like to fly off the motorbike. To tumble and crash and rip like a computer being thrown from someone’s window. Will my legs break like the computer monitor cracks and shatters. I picture it all in my head.

I don’t ride my bike dangerously, most of the time. And I don’t speed. But it doesn’t stop me from wondering just if today is the day. I’ve got kevlar jeans I wear whenever I ride my bike. I think about those jeans. Will they last.

I’ve never experienced extreme pain before. If I could choose, I would like the pain to be awful. But without leaving me unable to do the things I like to do. Like, climb trees and run and play sports. So, I wouldn’t want any long term injuries. Although, having said that, one thing which I wonder is, if I were to somehow become paralysed from the neck down, or the waist down, would I become very productive? Would I lead a more meaningful life? My natural talent is creating things. Like stories and ideas and pictures. But I am not very productive. If I were paralysed, or even if I was just hospitalised for a long time, would I create things more often than I do now? Would I really dedicate my time?

Have a think about it. If you were hospitalised for a long time. What would you do? Are you happy with your honest and truthful answer? You don’t need to tell anyone but yourself.

Anyway, thank you for reading my ramblings. I really have been thinking about crashing a lot lately, and I just had to spit it out of my head.

Good night

p.s here is a photo of my bike.954766_10151648495914292_107828134_n

This morning I am sitting at my computer with a funny hat on. I’m a little bit tired, and a bit cold. And I cant imagine any other circumstance in which I’d be sitting here wearing this hat. Since I’ve had it, I’ve worn it less than ten times. I’m not going to describe it to you or put a picture of it, you’re just going to have to imagine in your head a silly hat that you wouldn’t really wear in public. And voila. Since the last time i posted on this blog lots of things have been going on. The news has been on EVERY DAY, and theres been newspapers published, loads of newspapers, every day too. And its probably been 60 days or so since the last time i wrote here, maybe more. And, assuming the newspapers and news shows weren’t always talking about the same event, atleast sixty things have happened. So I’m going to list sixty things that have happened, going backwards from this day. Today is the 7th of March 2012. I’ll tell you the news for today at the end of this overview.

6th March: An urgent evacuation order has been issued for central Wagga Wagga in southern NSW as floodwaters threaten to reach a 159-year high.

5th March: Officials in Kostanay, Kazakhstan, were shocked when Ricky Martin’s pop hit “Livin ‘la Vida Loca” played instead of the national anthem at a ski festival.

4th March: Emperor Akihito, of Japan, was discharged from hospital today after undergoing a heart bypass and rehabilitation.

3rd March: Ören village in Turkey has been quarantined after rabies was found in a goat and dog.

2nd March: 2 trains collided head-on in Warsaw, Poland; 8 people died, dozens were injured.

1st March: FIFA have confirmed that they will will conduct a routine examination into Bahrain’s 10-0 win over Indonesia (football)

29th February: New research from the University of Liverpool has found that the Tyrannosaurus Rex had the most powerful bite of any creature that has ever lived on earth.

28th February: A monster saltwater crocodile has been caught near a popular swimming hole in Darwin’s rural area.

27th February: The creator of the children’s character Fireman Sam, has been detained by airport security at Gatwick after he made a remark about a woman wearing a hijab.

26th February: A man from Quintong, Philippines, thought to have been dead and buried weeks ago turned out to be alive. His wife found him in a neighbouring province, claiming she slapped and punched him to make sure she was not talking to a figment of her imagination.

25th February: America has a new sporting hero. Jeremy Lin is a 23-year-old basketball player for the struggling New York Knicks, who until just a few days ago, was officially homeless.

24th February: A British magazine said finalists for a prize given to books with bizarre titles include “Cooking with Poo” and “Estonian Sock Patterns All Around the World”. Horace Bent, diarist for the magazine The Bookseller and custodian of the Diagram Prize, which is given annually to books with strange titles, said this year’s finalists include Saiyuud Diwong’s “Cooking with Poo,” which refers both to the author’s nickname and the Thai word for “crab,”

23rd February: Slovaks have been voting overwhelmingly in favour of naming a new pedestrian and cycling bridge near their capital after 1980s US action film and TV star, Chuck Norris. The actor’s work has become a popular source of kitschy fun among Slovaks and a mainstay for local jokes about macho strength and invincibility.

22nd February: Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has resigned amid what looks like a power struggle with the woman who took over from him as prime minister, Julia Gillard.

21st February: Police in San Diego said a would-be robber who armed himself with a fluorescent light bulb was foiled when a clerk refused to hand over any cash.

20th February: The hotel chain Travelodge surveyed 6,000 Britons, finding that thirty-five percent of adults in Britain admit to sleeping with a teddy bear to help de-stress and sleep at night.

19th February: The residents of the island town Grand Isle, Vermont, have been struggling to catch an emu that has been on the run for the past several weeks. The Grand Isle farmer has posted an ad into the paper that has said, ‘Free emu if you can capture it’.

18th February: An unprecedented investigation into hibernating bears has provided scientists with vital insight into the state of “suspended animation”, which might one day allow space travellers to sleep for months at a time.

17th February: According to MI5 files released today, Nazi counterfeiting during WWII was so effective that it destroyed confidence in British bank notes in Europe after the defeat of Germany. The forged notes, made by prisoners at Sachsenhausen concentration camp, were so skillful only an expert could spot they were fake.

16th February: Researchers at New Mexico State University said they have identified the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper as the hottest pepper in the world

15th February: A North Dakota man who admitted shooting a TV because he was angry about the volume has been sentenced to six months in jail.

14th February: A Wisconsin grocery bagger took home the $10,000 grand prize at the National Grocers Association’s 26th Best Bagger Championship in Las Vegas.

Okay, so thats lots of things. Not sixty things I know. Still, this should be evidence enough that lots of stuff has gone down. I had to make a conscious effort to not put bad news on every day. Not because I’m a miserable person. But because nearly all the news stories I came across were negative. And so the question remains, is good news worthy news? How should we go about deciding what news is worthy and what is not? By the extent to which a person is moved to action? Or to tears? Should news be disconnected from feelings/emotions altogether? Anyway. these are questions I’m asking myself now in my head. Today the news is that I am still alive in Australia somewhere. If you want any further information on any of the news items I mentioned, pm me and i’ll provide links.

I hope you get a good share of good news today. Bad news is informative and helpful, good news is too. But good news can also create hope. Which is one of the most powerful things in the world. With it a normal person can accomplish incredible things. Hope can determine the direction of your whole life. Until you have hope, you won’t know how much of a struggle it is to keep it alive. It is fragile and our minds our fickle, and for some people, they cannot even comprehend hope. They don’t know why they have none. Keep your hope alive by feeding it good news. That’s my advice for today 🙂 Also, one more piece of advice. Go to a sweet shop or department store, ask the clerk what her/his favourite chocolate is, buy two, and give the clerk one. Then walk straight out the door. Don’t even wait for a response.

I wish many love messages and happy thoughts to whoever you are inside,

JAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMMES

Greetings brave adventurer,

My name is James, I sometimes inhabit these parts. Today I’ll tell you about Singapoor. I KNOW RIGHT. Funny wordplay. It’ll make sense by the end of my story. Or perhaps you’ve managed to grasp what I might perhaps talk about just from the title?

Anyway, I’ve been in Melbourne for about five days now, looking for a job, looking for smiling faces, blooming clouds and fruit bats. Before I came here myself and my family stopped in Singapore for two days. What a fascinating place. Since coming to Melbourne I have had the opportunity to talk to a few native Singaporeons/Singaporites/Singapese. Their stories shed some light on what I came across during that brief stay.

The heat is pervasive. It immediately clings to you like stepping into a sauna. Any exposed skin becomes sticky within minutes. And yet, there are no insects. The country is wholly tropical in terms of weather and location, yet there are no flying bugs whatsoever. In the time I was there I saw loads of fish, a turtle, and maybe ten rats. But no bugs.

I think, out of all the races of the world, the one that looks the most alien and strange to me is probably really dark skinned indonesian people. Second to that is probably really dark skinned Indian people. Anyway, though Singapore is a tourism-run city, I and the rest of my family were aliens there. I finally understood how the very few black people in West Wales felt walking down the street and in crowded places. Feeling the gaze of strangers.

The city had the most amazing architecture I think I’ve ever seen. Yet it struck me one day, not the architecture, but a thought. Me and my brother spent a whole day walking round the city, and at one point we went to an incredible shopping mall where I did not feel comfortable going into a single shop. Not because the shops were dirty but because they were rich rich rich. It was filled with the kind of clothes shops that have only three items of clothing in them. A bag, a hat and a tie. or some other assortment. As if they were some kind of cloak room for a particular wealthy chap. The aforementioned thought that struck me occurred ten minutes later when we continued our walk through the city. I thought Plymouth (my previous home) had poor people, beggars and such. Turns out I was wrong. The poor people in Singapore looked like they were too sick to be begging. I felt like calling an ambulance for one or two of them. I dont think I’ve ever seen such a gap between the rich and poor in such close proximity. And the real beggars don’t have the energy to sing songs or play instruments. The real beggars there are at deaths door.

After hearing some stories, it turns out that the government who restored order after the british left decided to get rid of all farming, all wildlife, and harvest all the natural resources they had, which wasnt much. Essentially it worked. As a tourism hotspot it makes more than enough money to feed its 5 million inhabitants. Everything gets shipped over from Malaysia. And its growing. Thousands of tons of soil gets shipped over from Vietnam every year to effectively turn what was once ocean into ground for more skyscrapers.

A lot of the T-shirts and holiday items have ‘Singapore: the fine city!’ written on them. The reason for this is that there is a hefty fine for doing almost anything remotely rowdy. And the default fine is either 500 or 1000$. I’ll give you some examples of things that would get you a big fine – cycling on the paths that go under bridges, eating or drinking on a taxi/bus/train, littering (pretty much anywhere), and then there’s a truly severe justice system for things which are of a more serious nature. The government is pretty much a dictatorship, with the same family running the country since 1965. If you don’t work, the government will train you in a job. If you are disabled/handicapped or lazy, then get out of singapore. If you are a citizen and you get sick, the first month of medication is free, then it gets very expensive. Basically, singapore is a country for non stop work,  with most jobs starting at 8am and ending at 9pm. There’s no time for breaks. 778km² of squeaky stamping business men carrying a thousand tons of steel girders up mountains of rats. Trying desperately to reach the sun.

Who knows, maybe they’ll make it. Or maybe the sick and the poor will pile up enough to topple one of those skyscrapers.

I’ll write something more upbeat next time.

Hello friends and adventurers, I apologise for the lack of posting lately. It is because I was mistaken for a mangy dog on my way home and put into the dog pound. At first I was annoyed and angered, but anybody who knows me knows that I can only stay angry for short periods of time. And so, when it sated, I began to ponder the pros and cons of staying in the pound as a mangy dog.

Pros – I like dogs, so it was cool meeting all of them. i.e- good company

– free food/accomodation

– 24hr irregular massages from a wide variety of masseuse’s

– lots of time to think – this could be a pro or a con

– total freedom to scream and shout as much as desired.

Cons – mostly unpleasant smells

– no en-suite shower/toilet

– slight chance of going completely insane

– can get pretty cold if you dont have half an inch of thick fur all over your body, which, surprisingly! I do not.

– not-so-total freedom to roam around.

And so, after weighing up the argument in my head I decided to stay for a little while. The deciding factor was mainly that it would be a terrifically interesting experience for me. One which would no doubt lead to an excellent short play.

The best part was the freedom to scream and shout as much as I liked. Now, if we leave my fantasy excuse for why I havent written any blogs for a little while, I will tell you a true story.

When I was in Canada I experienced this kind of freedom. I was staying in Banff, which is a little mountain town in the Rockies, about two or so hours drive from Calgary. Whilst I was there I had a number of near death experiences and to this day I have a great deal of beautiful memories of the land round there. One day I decided to climb a mountain called Cascade Mt., which is just over 10,000ft. Not very much for a serious climber (which I am not btw). But my experience is not about the climb as such. I decided to walk to the base of the mountain from Banff just to check it out and find a good way up. I underestimated how far away it was! And also how soon it would become dark. So there I was yomping away (yomp is a word which means to ‘walk vigorously’, usually for some kind of quest) along the highway, in total pitch black, with nothing but enormous trucks whizzing past me with their blinding light every ten minutes or so. It was really awesome. Quite scary, but so peaceful. The sky was clear, and there was not a soul to be found for hours of walking. So I decided to sing to myself. Singing as loud as I could. Nearly every song I could remember. And shouting and howling and really seeing just what noises my lungs could make! And I can tell you, that was a such a release. It felt great.

If you have not done it before, I highly recommend walking along your nearest highway and shouting and singing your heart out. It must be healthy for some part of your body too. Dont know which part. The bit that controls all the good stuff 😀

Anyway, back to me in the dog pound. What most wardens working at dog pounds do not expect. Is to have clever dogs. After two days of seeing how ill treated my compadres were, I freed them and we ran together into the forest. Which I can tell you now, had a whole load of pros and cons too. Anyway, I’m back now. Go scream someplace and tell me about it.

Note: I will not be held responsible for any injuries sustained from taking my advice.

Have a wunderbar day

Is that not what is happening here? And on Facebook? And Twitter? I beg to differ.

Please forgive me, if you are expecting a coherent argument you are probably going to be disappointed. There will be no references and no quotations, this is just a subjective perspective that may or may not connect with yours. I am just going to write down the words I want to write down and let it flow from there.

Hello friends and browsers, silent eyes that are counted everywhere they look. Today, I am writing this just to express myself. This is the first time I suppose, that I will be open to you strangers. I am doing it here because facebook is such an empty place. Devoid of depth and meaning. I find facebook is much better at meeting strangers than it is at reconciling friends. What about not judging a book by it’s cover? Where else will you find the face? I don’t even put my face on there very often at all. I dont want them to find it! They will have to do that long forgotten act of meeting in person. In the past I have considered facebook to be a good vent. A little space where you can tell the world that good and bad things are GOIN DOWN in YOUR LIFE TODAY! And I am most fond of it because it is a nice online storage facility for photos and images of family and friends.

But lately it has shown its true colours. I read an interesting article on how facebook puts a certain pressure on people to perform, to ‘be funny’ or ‘deeep’. Dont get me wrong, there are plenty of deep and funny small sentences to create, even now. This pressure can lead a person to better themselves in the social scale, I count it as a pointless and ultimately miserable pursuit. Will you feel attention when you are dead? Will you crave identity?

It is my opinion that facebook is just another construct for us to build a person we wish we were. Lately, I have been feeling the pressure to be funny, the pressure to make myself known, to tell people who I am. But, and you may disagree, I have found that words, are just not enough. This mat not even be a universal thing. Sometimes I feel terribly empty. Like every word I have ever said was a lie. That there is no chance now for anybody to really see me. And the only way to live up to this created image of who I am is by removing myself from the people I know and wander to a place where words are not so necessary.

I suppose this must look like the title now, all the feeeeeeeeelings. I did say I was going to express myself though, and you dont know for sure, but I have a heart that beats, and lungs that breathe, a tongue that licks, teeth that bite. I have all these things, they are true. And if I have all these true things, perhaps there is hope that I can add more true things to the pile.