Later On, Somewhere Else

I said something I did mean.

Life and emotions can often turn in a heartbeat. For many, decisions made elsewhere have a profound effect on the lives and opprtunities of others. The world can seem chaotic, depressing and volatile. A sense of helplessness creates a need to make sense of it through reference to a supernatural power, be it a God of nature or of human creation. Refugees of war must wonder why they continue to be at the whim of instability, unable to know why their opportunities are curtailed and sanctioned by greater power, local, national or international. The local they can see. The national they expect. The international is beyond their control and comprehension.

I am fortunate. My decisions in general tend to be my own. Where I am, what I choose to do and live are within my own volation. I am aware of my fortune. As a disciple of Bourdieu, a student of sociology, economics and politics, a long-time traveller to the ‘other places’ and a conversation lover, I’m aware too that not everyone recognises their role in all of this whether it be benefical or negative. There are many shades of grey here.

Sometimes the decisions or choices we make are beyond our control and emotions creating a relative, major dilemma for the fortunate. Maslow would talk of the ‘need factor.’ The more fortunate we get, the shallower our needs become and yet they still seem urgent and essential. Recently a friend I’ve liked for a long time blurt out she felt the same as my unspoken thoughts. I replied in kind. We both sighed wth relief. But now we were somewhere else. Our world and thoughts transformed in a second. What does it all mean and where do we go? Is this viable?

Of course it’s never as simple as yes. Other people and consequences need to be considered and especially in this case. The right decision right now is often not the one you want to hear. And yet following the logic of your heart is not often the right way for the moment as lonesome as that could seem. So it goes on the backburner despite it being all you think about, despite it giving the long-absent logic to your fortunate life. The search continues.

Joy from Joy

I spoke to Jennie today for the first time in a long time. We’re going to Barcelona this weekend for a few days and emailed her to see if she is around. She is and she isn’t. For on the 19th she’s suddenly getting married to her boyfriend. The wedding is on Formentera, just off Ibiza. I’m invited but can’t make it. Yet, I was so pleased for her, a huge smile came across my face.

Her happiness as someone I cared a lot and connected with meant a lot to me. I still remember our husband and wife routine to get free drinks in Borneo in the 5 star and bars. That after I invited her to breakfast, the first morning we met. I knew i had to talk to her. We later spent the days exploring, hiking, hitch-hiking, drinking wine, eating delicious Japanese and Indian food, so delicious it stopped all conversation for the entire main course.

I’m going to Bcn with Ilo, staying at Riccardo for a few days before he goes to Italy for a wedding and leaves us the keys to a city centre apartment, its haunts and options. The grand Festes de la Mercee is on, the weather looks fine and we migh sneak a Barcelona game, plus The Kooks are playing for free. Ordinarily this would be enough, seeing old friends, getting round the city, using it as a gateway to San Sebastian and the North coast from where I try to get over to Rome and Naples to see Andy.

Whilst this stinks of good fortune, I’m aware of what more I have to do this year to realise the plans of next year. Enough is enough for me, a striver with no real idea of an end goal but some vague form of enlightenment. Its time to get back to work. Keeps a man and his plans alive 🙂 I am heading to sunrise before returning to sunset. Gonna be a long, long day.

Cardiff to Japan and back again

I managed to squeeze in a weekend to Cardiff with Dr Luke, Ro and Poppy at the start of August. Alex from Notts Uni came down as well as my old mate Si. Ever a pleasure to see them and a rare one too with Si. Life post-uni, as many from Notts are finding out is very different, and rewarding in others way. Gone are the days wasted with hangovers, watching daytime soaps and mulling over physically leaving the house. Hobbies and friends become near luxuries. Get used to it; it doesn’t change.



We spent the weekend wisely, catching two matches (Korea vs Japan and Newcastle vs Cardiff). Neither game were particularly satisfying or important. We spent the Olympic bronze medal match inside the stadium but near camped at the bar. Newcastle managed to produce a magnificently bad defensive display that killed the game off by half-time. But what was important was the symmetry involved.

I’ve lived in both Japan and Korea for over 3 years in total. I know each culture well and cherish those times. We all caught trains to meet in Cardiff and it reminded me of meeting Yukiko on the way to Hiroshima. She came down from Kyoto while I boarded in Osaka.

We arranged to meet in the  front carriage. It was the early train, maybe 730 or so. I remember Yukiko asleep, curled up in the corner, bag in hand waking with a blurry subconscious look and my smile.

We passed the days in Cardiffdrinking beer in the park, talking over times and memories. I’ve much fondness for Si, a guy I totally respect and whose opinion I’ve often sought from football, music, women and work.

I remembered meeting Si at Kansai International with four beers in hand for the short train ride to my place in Kyoto. There was no other way to toast his arrival and  our times together. Days later we were in Hiroshima in kimonos, singing karaoke and getting carried home after too much sake and Captain Q whiskey. Again we went to a game to  a game, Germany vs the USA and I don’t remember a single moment of it. But I remember Si was there.

Break Time

I’m writing this with a hangover after another great night getting blitzed with Oli. I wore a suit yesterday to attend a gala dinner at Hertford College. My students gave their cultural comparative presentations yesterday. They did very well. I was proud of them and then got offered a job in Japan during the break by a visiting Professor. That’s the third job offer so far. I haven’t asked for any of them! Once the dinner formalities were over, I tucked into my dinner (and most of Saki’s) and then the wine. Oh the wine somehow led to free drinks in a bar ( I somehow know the owner) and the jaegarbombs in a nightclub.

I’ve been away from this for a while, just overrun with work, friends, Oxford, plans and booze!! Its been a lot of fun. A real random summer of fun. I’ll update all this with various thoughts and muses next week when I’ve a free week and some down time. After that it off to Barcelona with I for the feste de la merce, a bit of Rome and Naples to see Andy, a catch up with Jeroen somewhere I hope, Leipzig and Dresden and maybe Poland to see Tomasz, Mirella and Sarah. Beyond that, Asia and Australia calls 🙂

However just got the small matter of my sister’s birthday in London and seeing Leanne, Wei, Cam and Ellen over the next few days in London.

hope to talk to you soon