I’ve titled the post as above because I can’t think of any other way to link a cockroach falling on me and a new ticket barrier at my local station. The first event traumatised me severely- I’d arrived back home in the dark of the late evening, slightly tipsy as I swerved into my bike parking space, when I noticed something moving on the floor. I saw it scurry away, then took my bike keys out of my bike to open my front door (put together to be truly “Steve Proof”). It was only then that I noticed a big buzzing cockroach on my shoulder!! Even writing this makes my skin crawl, but at the time I immediately swiped at it with my hand while simultaneously shrieking like a little girl at the top of my voice (I say this without shame- YOU try finding a big f*ck-off cockroach on your shoulder!) Once it was on the ground I stamped on it about 6 times before rushing inside.

This is only one in a series of cockroach incidents recently. They appear in my apartment on average at a rate of 1 per week, and every time there is much shrieking and throwing of things.

Anyway, onto the next bit of news, which is the new ticket barrier at my train station! It’s truly the most ineffectual ticket barrier ever. Picture a big wide open space, with about 2 metres on every side and no barriers except for this rectugular ticket checking machine in the middle. It was being watched today with beady eyes by a JR employee (one of Japan’s train companies). He insisted that, after we’d walked past the barrier to buy tickets from the ticket machine, we walk back, insert the ticket and somehow pretend to pass through an imaginery barrier before heading up to the platform. No-one looked impressed, and he was even less impressed by my grinning as we lined up to complete the process. If it led to slight amusement for me, many of the elderly residents of Kojima seemed genuinely shoocked to have to deal with such a piece of technology, and on returning home from Okayama tonight everyone gave the unsupervised ticket barrier stares of open disgust. I enjoyed the collective feeling of malcontent, and if I’d had a few more beers I’d have probably boo-ed it loudly. Obviously this saga is yet to be resolved, but I’ll keep you all posted.

Finally, I levelled the pool series tonight with a 6-1 win, before finally settling for a 7-4 victory. That leaves me and Phil at 5-5, having played a whopping 110 frames of competitive pool, and with just 33 more frames- 3 more matches- to play before he leaves these isles.

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