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!

Or let’s not. For once my world-weary disdain for the whole process is entirely genuine. I really, honestly couldn’t give a fuck. And even if I felt like it, I wouldn’t be able to muster up the time and energy to do so.

Because here’s the thing about having kids – note the plural – it destroys your free time. I mean absolutely decimates it; rips it limb from bleeding limb, mashes its skull into a pulpy red mess and takes a shit on what’s left of its still twitching, oozing corpse. It’s no coincidence that people such as Corrine and Mr Salaryman have dropped almost completely off the radar after their second children arrived. The only reason I’m managing any sort of posting at all is because I have a long commute to a job which is demonstrably less taxing (in all senses). I definitely earn my money in the classroom, but outside of it the actual work comes in fits and starts. And it’s noticeable to me, and the few of you who comprise my regular readership as well, no doubt, that the quality of what I have produced in the last few months has been pretty variable. To put it charitably.

Raising children is also, on occasion, a little bit difficult. You may have heard other parents mention this. There are frequent, wonderful highs but just as frequent, screaming lows. In the light of all that, why would I want to spend what little time I have for my own devices on something I know is just going to piss me off?

So basically anything which isn’t immediately, obviously rewarding has been expunged from my schedule more ruthlessly than a mob enforcer rubbing out snitches. Just gone, deleted. Sentiment can play no part in the enjoyment of the parent. We shall Have Fun. We shall Relax.

This inevitable recreational Darwinism has revealed that what I really like doing, when all’s said and done, is reading and writing (about reading, and other stuff). The first of those comes as no surprise to me whatsoever. The second actually does.

I hate New Year Resolutions. If it meant that much to you then you’d have started doing it when you thought about it, not waited for some arbitrary date in the future. But part of the reason I write this blog is to help get my thoughts in some sort of order. It strikes me as I write this (well, as I wrote that last paragraph) that I should put my money where my mouth is with the writing thing. Hmmm…

I know. Every arsehole with a blog fancies themselves as a real writer and has a book to push. Except you, obviously. You’re not an arsehole. And I genuinely wish you every success with your various projects. I’m just trying, in my own clumsy way, to apologise for the slightly clichéd nature of what I’m about to say. ‘Cos I’m going to write a book this year. Of some sort, and of reasonable length.

Once it’s written I don’t know what’ll happen. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, but by putting this ambition out there in public hopefully it’ll be more likely that I’ll actually make it to the riverbank. I shall, of course, try to keep this place ticking over because it turns out that blogging survived the fun cull as well. Who’da thunk it? I’ll also try to avoid tedious updates on which chapter I’ve just finished. It’ll happen when it happens, but feel free to ask anyway. And rest assured I'll get back to ragging on Japan all too soon.

Lang may yer lum reek.


  1. I wish you all luck in the resolution. One I have been thinking of making, but I have never quite figured out:
    - who my readers would be, if any
    - what I have to say that Orwell, Vonnegut... (those just the start of a loooong list) haven't already said better
    - do I believe fiction is the right vehicle
    - do I give a shit enough about humanity to throw something for them to catch
    I hope you are in possession of these answers for your own writing. Again, best of luck.

    1. Thank you. All valid points, but while I'd like to think that whatever I end up with would be fit for public consumption, that's not really the point. It's purely personal, which has the fortunate effect of rendering three of those concerns moot (and worrying about not measuring up to Orwell et al does strike me as rather like not exercising because I'll never run as fast as Usain Bolt).

      As for whether fiction's the right vehicle, well, only one way to find out, eh (that's a lie. There are probably many ways. But I'm choosing this one)?

      All the best for 2013. Hope you deal better with the second than I'm managing thus far ;)

    2. Oh, I wouldn't measure up to those two, so that's much of why I'd need to say something different.

      Yeah... The second one's coming (am flattered you remember). I have to admit much of what I am looking forward to is the month the J-wife and hybrids go stay at her mother's.

  2. So, this IS about a book. Kind of thought so. Anyone who reads and writes so much, relatively speaking, has got to have a book in there somewhere. When it claws its way out, I'll be interested in getting my hands on a copy, adding to a very small collection of books written by people I've sort of met while they were alive. Gives my own life a sort of relevant, almost cozy feeling to imagine being able to say, "Yes, we were contemporaries on that archipelago".

    Wouldn't that be interesting, Kurt and George having lunch while discussing Darwin...

    Anyway, congratulations and good luck.

    1. Thank you. We'll see how it goes. For once the process is genuinely more important than the outcome.

  3. Sounds like a great idea. Approach it like meditation, forgot any end goals or expectations and simply enjoy the now of writing. If you don't like it at the end, then burn it, simple. Or keep it to yourself, whatever you like.

    I used to have the urge to write a book when I was younger, but it was just the image of having written a book. I don't think I have anything useful enough to say to write one, so I will stick with reading. I would much prefer to translate one to be honest with you.

    Good luck. And i enjoy your updates, no matter how trivial.

    1. Thank you. If whole 'write it but don't show it to anyone' thing was good enough for Kafka, then I'm sure it'll serve here too.

  4. I wish you luck in your book writing endeavor.
    Maybe one day the writer in me will want to break out with a book too. For now I am quite content with my 'dear diary' type blogging that I am comfortable with. For now, I wish you luck and look forward to your book.

    1. Yeah, I was quite as content as well but now I've thought of it it's become an itch that really needs scratching. I didn't ever real expect to feel that way, so you never know. Thanks for the good wishes.

  5. I am one of your new readers (hi!). I am totally intrigued by your lovely writing style and the interesting topics (on this blog). The prospect of reading an entire book by you is a delight (consider me a sure buyer).

    I am dying to know what it will be about. Are you willing to disclose any details at this point in time? A piece of fiction, I gathered. Will the story take place in Japan? Will it have strong autobiographical elements in it? How many pages are you expecting (100, 500, 1000)? Do you have the main ideas already in your head? How about the ending? How many pages have you written by now (and how far are you into the book)? Do you have a title for the book (or a working title)? What event or thought triggered you to write THIS book (and when)? You sure know what great undertaking it is to write a book, yes? What exactly is your inner motivation and goal in writing this book (in more detail please - you wrote already that your reasons are entirely personal)?

    Many questions. Answer as you please. Actually, we should do an interview-style post (on your blog) with your answers. I am sure I will come up with more questions in the process. I am up for it. Interested?