Friday, October 23, 2009

Ho hum

Well, since my flight's been delayed by three hours (so far) and I've got nothing better to do than hang around Heathrow all night, here's a blog for you.

I'm not short of good books to read, at least, having gone on a shopping spree this morning and bought anything in the Oxfam bookshop that looked like it might be interesting. And also one brand-new book that I couldn't resist - "Return to the Hundred Acre Wood" by David Benedictus, all new Winnie-the-Pooh adventures in the style of A A Milne. I picked it up, thinking 'sacrilege!', but opened it to a random page, found a conversation between Christopher Robin, Pooh and Rabbit that was perfectly, 100%, in character and very funny too, and now I'm looking forward to reading the rest of it.

Hopefully I've still got enough reading matter to keep me going until I eventually end up in Tokyo. This flight is the only one that's been delayed, you know. Apparently the plane's broken down or they forgot to put the wings on or something like that. Still, I get a free meal voucher.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Or words to that effect, anyway. My grasp of Japanese isn't anywhere near sufficient to have a conversation or to read a road sign, but at least I can entertain people by making an attempt.

Rather than planning what sights I'm going to see (I understand Tokyo has a lot of really cool department stores, and that's what I always gravitate towards when I'm in a foreign city - I can see the historical landmarks on telly, thank you very much), I'm wondering whether I'll be able to watch Liverpool play Man Utd in my hotel room. The match starts at 10pm, Japanese time, on Sunday night, and we're doing what they describe as 'the experiment' at the university on the following day, so staying up late at night on top of the jetlag probably isn't a good idea, but I'd quite like to be able to watch a big game like that with Japanese commentators, if possible.

Ooh, I'm excited! Probably won't be blogging while I'm there (haven't decided yet whether to take my laptop - it does mean buying some kind of plug adaptor, and I'm not sure I can cope with all that hassle), so I'll see you all in a week!

PS Nyah, I'm going to Tokyo and you're not.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I demand a recount

The memory-championship rundown won by two votes to one, so I promise I will eventually get round to that. I can't tonight, though, because I need to talk about my alarm clock.

I've been going through alarm clocks at a rate of knots since I moved to this new flat a year or so ago. My trusty old alarm clock (which was bought for me as a joke present by my work colleagues after I was repeatedly late in to work because my previous alarm clock had broken) stopped working shortly after I moved in here - or at least it kept working in the sense that it told the time and the date and temperature and no end of other nifty things, but it stopped making any noise, and I find sound to be an important part of an alarm clock's function.

So I dug out my old clock radio, which sort of works, but has a loose connection so it sometimes makes noise and sometimes doesn't. Which isn't ideal when you want to be woken up every morning, not just every other morning on average. So then I bought a cheap analogue alarm clock from Wilko's, which worked for a while but then stopped, possibly as a result of being crammed into my rucksack so tightly that the front cover broke off and the hands bent. And then I bought another of the same kind of cheap alarm clock (only in a more stylish black, rather than blue-green), which has now also developed a tendency for the second hand to get stuck until you hit it.

So at the weekend, I was in the gadget shop in Nottingham and decided to buy a new alarm clock from the range they sell there. I eventually went for a groovy lighting-up clock that glows a different colour for each hour of the day. It's extremely cool, but unfortunately the beeping of the alarm itself is much too quiet to wake me up. I'm going to need to buy another alarm clock, or possibly just hook this one up to an amplifier of some kind.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So, who IS going to win the thing?

That 'who will win the world championship' post last night got me a surprising volume of comments and emails, considering it was such an insubstantial thing. So, would people like me to do a full run-down of all the top competitors, analysing how I think they'll perform in the WMC next month? I'm not going to do it tonight, obviously, since it's late and I've been up all night learning how to ask for a Godzilla T-shirt in Japanese, but maybe tomorrow I could go into sports commentator mode.

Or I could write a story about an innkeeper and a motorised fishing-net instead. Whichever you prefer.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Who will win the World Championship?

There's a poll on, and at the moment I'm winning it, ahead of Johannes Mallow. Personally, though, I voted for Simon - I couldn't vote for myself, obviously, because that would jinx it and ensure that I finish last with minus twelve million championship points. But I suspect he's going to be the one to beat this year, based on the German championship. Still, I expect it's going to be a really close and exciting competition, and I just hope it doesn't turn into a complete disaster for me...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Flying away

I don't remember actually saying here on my blog what dates I'll be in Japan. I'm flying out on Friday evening, arriving on Saturday, and then flying home again the following Thursday. I've got the day off work on Friday, and I've got all sorts of excessive plans for the day, like getting a haircut, acquiring a guide to things to see and do in Tokyo, doing lots of memory training, learning to speak Japanese, and so on. If I was a better-organised person, I would have remembered to do some of these things before then, but I'm not, so I didn't. And it's too late now, unless I also manage to invent a time machine on Friday.