Monday 31 December 2012


I feel I should at least try to do some sort of Year End Post. Mark the passing of another wall calendar in some sort of appropriately retrospective manner. I promised there wouldn’t be any mawkish retrospective posts, though, so I’ve made a pretty sturdy rod for my own back there.

What’s left? As others have noted, the posts that get the hit-counter whirring are the ones ragging on some sort of deficient aspect of Japan or the Japanese, so let’s talk about the election!

Friday 28 December 2012

A History of the World in Twelve Maps

Jerry Brotton, 2012
(December 2012)

Maps? History? You’d better believe I’m all up in that shit right here.

(The vernacular’s just so wonderfully expressive, don’t you find?)

Monday 24 December 2012

364 nights a year

...he stands a lonely vigil over the barren Arctic wastelands of his home. Waiting. Always waiting...

Friday 21 December 2012

Flagrant Copyright Violations

Christmas lessons are, as I’ve previously hinted at, tricky little fuckers. Quite apart from all the cultural baggage which you may or may not bring to the table, the timing is generally a bit awkward as well; sandwiched as they usually are around end-of-year exams and the end of term itself.

Wednesday 19 December 2012

China in Ten Words

Yu Hua, 2011 [Allan H Barr, 2011]
(December 2012)

I’ve recently touched on the effects of Japan’s rapid industrialization and Westernization since the end of the sakoku period. My exact words, in case you've forgotten, were, “in barely five generations it’s gone from being essentially medieval to one of the most economically and technologically advanced nations in the world, and frankly it’s not surprising that social change hasn’t kept up with that hectic pace.” China’s in much the same boat now, but instead of five generations, it’s only been five decades. It’s been a fairly bumpy ride.

Friday 14 December 2012

The Mayor of Toytown

In addition to the frankly embarrassing lawnmower, I’m also now having to contend with the fact our entire house looks like a kids' ball pit in a shopping centre. We’re right next to a little park as well, so we’ve even  got a load of stressed-out mums regularly standing outside the door screaming at children who don’t want to go home. Fun times.

Monday 10 December 2012

Date and Walnut

No punning post title or tenuously connected video below the jump because, well, look at it will you? No point gilding this particular lily. Yum yum yum.

Friday 7 December 2012

You’re not from New York City, you’re from Rotherham

Bright lights, big city.

I had a Jewish friend once. Well, more than one, and I still have some. Friends, that is. And Jews, of course. I don’t ‘have’ Jews, I mean. Jewish friends. Some of my best friends are Jews. No, christ, not like that. I didn’t mean it like that. And ‘christ’? Bollocks, that’s even worse. Err…

Wednesday 5 December 2012


Kameron Hurley, 2012
(November 2012)

So, those Bond parallels. Within the first five chapters our main protagonist has managed to screw two separate women immediately prior to screwing them over. Fortunately though neither has a pathetically transparent innuendo as a name, and this first is ‘older, and plumper’ and covered with scars while the second ‘truly was unremarkable in every way’. Not exactly Slavic supermodels then.

Monday 3 December 2012


Kameron Hurley, 2011
(November 2012)

The sequel to God’s War, which I saw described on another blog as a book, ‘in which Space Muslims are endlessly violent’. This is a lovely turn of phrase, completely accurate, and an almost perfectly enticing sales pitch. Seriously, they should put that on the cover of the next edition. I mean that with no sarcasm whatsoever. Anyway, round two of Angry Space Muslims coming up.