They’re Coming For You

It doesn’t matter where you go, or where you hide. From your home, to the ends of the earth they will come for you. Even in a predominantly buddhist country they’ll find a way. You won’t ever see them until it’s too late. Until they’re behind your front door. Until they’re ready to pounce. They…

A Crowded Couple’s Holiday

The plan was genius in its simplicity. When Cece returned from Italy, she would arrive in Tokyo before changing flights for Sapporo. But why not delay the change over? I would come down to Tokyo to meet her, and before the first day of work, we would have a chance at a holiday just for…

A Good Sport

There’s always that flurry in the pit of your stomach when you know you have to impress someone. It’s what makes job interviews so nerve-racking for some of us; the knowledge that our future wellbeing is dependant on our ability to make a stranger like us. This is all the more worrisome if you live…

Mask of the White Death

I have survived the wars. Falling off mountain tops, being electrocuted by Japanese doctors in the name of medicine, breaking my hand, bearing blows from a tiny French woman, watching Twilight until the credits. I lived through all that and more, building up the myth that I, Poncho, may very well be un-killable (but more…

Nightmares in Paradise

Are you feeling down? The stress of work and debts getting too much for you? What you need is a break. The heat of the sun beating down on you. Crystal clear waters to bathe in, golden beaches to relax on. Plenty of culture and history for the inquisitive, stunning seas for the restful and…

A not so scary Halloween

I’m not from North America but I like Halloween in general, or rather I like festivals. I get sucked into the atmosphere and appreciate how everyone suddenly becomes willing to do something they’d normally find appalling. You wouldn’t normally see people dressed in ridiculous outfits (except for comic conventions), or go to fancy dress parties…

The Long Walk Home

After a hard day’s work, rest is easy to find. Your muscles tire, your body is exhausted and your mind wants nothing more than to forget the stresses it has churned since you got out of bed. That final rest after a proud struggle is what we desire and deserve when we step out of…

Sponsor a baby polar bear

There’s a joke I never quite understood as a child but now in adulthood, it’s so painfully true that it’s funny. Here it is:   A baby polar bear turns to its mother and asks “mommy, am I a real polar bear?”. The mother polar bear looks down and replies “of course you are my…

Volume

There’s something odd about recruitment of international teachers in Japan. One of the philosophies behind it, was not only to support English learning but also to help educate students about the world and foreign cultures. So many voices to consider, it’s easy to get lost in all the volume. If you don’t already know, the…

Brace for the Snow Festival

It’s the most famous event in Sapporo and tourists from across Japan flock to see the spectacle. Giant statues made from snow and ice. It’s amazing to see and it spans not only the length of Odori park but even extends beyond the city in smaller snow events within the surrounding towns. There’s just one…

The Engrish Bubble

Japan as a country is rather isolated from the world, but it’s mostly self orchestrated. The same way some vegans isolate themselves from the rest of us, mostly by giving annoying speeches on healthy eating and morality (eating meat is a form of evil you see. That’s why it’s so tasty. Om nom nom). Japan…

Ronin Teacher

On the last day of March, the King had fallen. The emptiness was deafening in the wake of the coup. The children were abandoned, teachers were lost and every servant waited in fear for the inevitable plunge into the ensuing turmoil. The king had been toppled.   More than seven years of loyal service to…