Check out all of my holiday snaps (well, the arty ones anyway), on Flickr.
As well as the hastily written few ideas for things to do in London below, I’ll be thinking about how (and whether) to change my blog into something more viable now that I’m back in the UK. Obviously the intention of it when it was set up three years ago was to be a travel blog- to record my experiences abroad. Now that its back, I’ll continue with some things, drop others, and expand into culture a bit more.
Expect more stuff on the Hanshin Tigers (games beginning at 10am UK time), movie and book reviews (coming soon- 誰も知らない/Nobody Knows and Suger), and hopefully some attempts to capture London on camera in the photography section. Also I’ll probably blog a lot about my studies– as they are history, politics and Japanese language, it will basically be stuff I’d want to write and think about anyway!
As well as all this travels will continue when I have the time- very tentative plans for the next 12 months included trips to Istanbul, Turkey and/or Morocco, as well as a possible visit to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next summer.
Anyway early days- for now I languish in semi-boredom in Birmingham before things “begin”.
Apart from occasional (sometimes frequent) trips down to London in the past to get drunk with family and/or friends, I’ve never really explored the city that much. So I’ve started thinking about exciting and fun things to see and do in good old London, apart from the obligatory shopping / drinking / live events. So far I’ve come up with a number of things…
1. Shiny Museums- the British Museum, for example.
2. Shiny Art Galleries- like the Tate Modern
3. Markets- Camden, Portobello (I still have to buy an old friend a novelty present from an antiques market)
4. The South Bank
5. The British Library- seems to hold an insane amount of books, although I’ll probably have my fill of books from my course anyway.
This was my first encounter with “the other Murakami”, and I’m still not sure what to make of it. It is both a strangely conceived and eerily gripping story, centred around the relationship between gaijin tourist Frank and his guide to Tokyo’s nightlife, Kenji. The tension builds wonderfully throughout the first half of the novel, with vivid details of both Franks unnerving behaviour and the night world of Tokyo’s Kabuki-cho. Yet halfway throught Event X happens, after which the novel spins in new and bizarre directions. The meeting of the two characters is itself a plot device, and the Miso Soup metaphor is spared right until the end, at which point you are left exhausted but slightly unsatisfied. I loved the first half, sped through the second, and enjoyed the vivid charactersiation of those who end up walking the streets of Kabuki-cho at 3am with no place- or reason- to go home. Yet I didn’t expect the violence to be quite so graphic, and felt little lingering message from the short novella once the final page had been turned.