Haiku reflections on Japan

Spring cleaning is a

great mind cleanser ahead of

another new year


So I haven’t made it to the cinema yet to see Silence but apparently it’s 3 hours long and, much as I like the book it’s based on, which I’ve recently re-read, I don’t know if a 3 hour film about faith is what I’m looking for.  It’s quite a deep topic but 3 hours is almost too much.  Well, I’ll see.

2017 resolutions anyone?   I have started by sticking to a plan to cull more items from my space.  Actually I started before the new year so I wouldn’t change my mind but I finished up yesterday.  So college notes have mostly (bar some interesting items I foresee needing) been sent to the (recycling) bin.  They’re really the only things I was humming and hawing about.   I have some language learning textbooks from my college days and evening language lessons which I’m trying to get rid of. Ones I am truly finished with.

I’ve mentioned Marie Kondo before.  Well, I hadn’t actually seen her book in any shop until just before Christmas.   I’m sure it was there all along.  I just wasn’t looking for it.  And nor was I this time.  It was just because of the holiday season and coming up to the new year that the particular shop had it displayed where people might easily find it for their new year spring clean/cull.   I had a quick flick through it, just so I can say I did. Another book beside it was more specifically related to culling your wardrobe only.  Now that I have a handle on.    I still think Marie Kondo is a bit too anal for my liking and while I agree that some things can bring you ‘joy’ which I suppose she says to make herself sound a bit less clinical, they are still only material objects.  I’m not going to go in to a lecture about that but it is true that experiences are more valuable and are what you remember more.  Ok, reading a good book can be an experience as can watching a great film but for me nothing beats travel, either to somewhere totally new (which I aim to do this year whether or not I also make it back to Japan) or returning to a place you liked.  I was thinking maybe I’d go to a Baltic country this time.  One out of maybe Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania. I hope they’re cheaper than Scandinavia which they face across the Baltic sea.

What are your views on spring clean/culling of unwanted or unnecessary things in your house/apartment or wherever you live? Do you go gung-ho on your place? I don’t like clutter but I hate clinical looking empty living spaces at the same time so a good balance can be achieved by having what you want to keep, after your culling session, at reach in nice storage units is a happy medium I think.

Regarding other resolutions/goals/aims though, mine are mostly people-related.  It sounds harsh but people-culling if you like.  Those who don’t add anything to your life or might be nice (enough) but don’t make any effort.  Or people who just put you down, or try their hardest to, for their own sad reasons.  Unfortunately, for some, these people can originate from their own family so it’s harder to ignore them (but contact can be minimised nonetheless!!).  I managed to achieve this to some degree in 2016 and plan to keep it up.  On the other hand, the stress you have to take from people who don’t react well to being avoided almost cancels it out!  Keeping myself fit and healthy, in terms of mind and body, is another resolution I think I can stick to, which should assist me in all that.

Well, good luck with your new year resolutions whatever they may be. If you’re thinking of travel, and can afford it, go ahead.  Life is too short to worry about threats from certain sources.  As for Japanese learning, stick at it and learn from different sources.  And if you plan to cull then have fun getting rid of your stuff (and then buying more haha…).


Haiku reflections on Japan, International or other matters

Happy new year 2017

Less earthquakes, poor weather

more gems in cinema and

happy blog writing


Well, 2017 is fast approaching, just less than half a day left for me here but just a couple of hours away for Japan.   How amazing it would be to celebrate New Year’s in Tokyo.  I might try for next year.  Apparently, the countdown is going to be a second or more longer this year to ensure that world clocks match up with atomic clocks.  Sounds odd to me but I guess we have to make sure those atom seconds aren’t running ahead of us!  It will be odd for people who don’t know of this – they might be thinking ‘hey that was way too silent why isn’t everyone celebrating! Oh ok here we are!’

Speaking of silence, I’m re-reading the novel by Shusaku Endo and am finding it as brilliant as when I read it first.  The film Silence is coming out tomorrow in the UK and Ireland so I’ve got that in my diary to go and see.

Glad to see Shinzo Abe made his visit to Pearl Harbour.  That went as expected.   I saw an interesting documentary this week on a British television channel, known for good quality and credible documentaries, alleging that Pearl Harbour may just have happened with the prior knowledge, via newly discovered intelligence, of Churchill and Roosevelt, both hoping to bring the US into the war.  They apparently just let Japan get on with this attack much to the shock of certain senior navy staff who were unaware of this going on and genuinely were shocked when they found out (so Tora tora tora still is factual in depicting the shock of certain senior staff)

Meanwhile, Abe also has to keep on the good side of Russia who they are trying to negotiate with over the Kuril islands.   Putin is arrogant as ever in his negotiations.

While I don’t think it takes much to antagonise China, you can’t blame China and South Korea for wondering why Abe stays silent on apologies or at least expressions of ‘condolence and regret’ for Japan’s treatment of their two countries during and prior to World War II.  Maybe he thinks he does not need to given the fact that prior, less hawkish, Japanese prime ministers have done enough apologising which he maybe didn’t agree with at the time – ‘Right! That’s enough apologising to you two – we’re done!’   I know he needs the US on his side considering North Korea is threatening and China are always on the ready but I find his behaviour all so obsequious when it comes to the US, and now Russia.

I hope 2017 is a good year for people in Japan – less earthquakes, threatened or real, less freaky weather, less threats from their neighbour North Korea, more equality for women in the workplace and hopefully more good films come out of Japan (over anything else in my opinion as someone looking in).  I hope to make this a year I get to travel to Japan by which time I’ll have improved my Japanese a whole lot more.    Even if I haven’t, I’d survive no problem on what I have.

I hope 2017 is a good one for you all blog writers out there !!



Haiku reflections on Japan, International or other matters

Abe and Pearl Harbour

First visit by a

Japanese PM to Pearl

Harbour a big deal


Following Barack Obama’s visit to Hiroshima earlier this year, news has come of an impending first ever visit by a Japanese Prime Minister to Pearl Harbour (真珠湾 in Japanese) to honour the victims of Japan’s World War II attack, which officially brought the US into World War II.  Shinzo Abe will visit in late December.

I think this is fitting as Barack Obama is about to leave office and you-know-who will be officially in place in January.    Though I think Barack Obama should have apologised during his visit and did not, I still think it was an important visit (preceded by John Kerry’s visit of course) which should be reciprocated while the same president is still (technically) in office and now it will be.  Shinzo Abe’s wife is already said to have visited by herself which I think was a good idea.

Anyway, over to the rest of the world and keeping in mind what I said before about a possible domino effect in Europe of the wrong kind of people getting into office, good news has come from Austria at least where the far-right party have been defeated by an independent party politician who has grasped the reins of power.   One less country to worry about in that regard.