Monday, 28 March 2011

Coffee morning at Paul's

This seems a little after the event, but the disaster in the Tohoku area later in the same day has overshadowed everything that we are doing. However, I thought I should just report that the people who came had a good time chatting, and I think they enjoyed all the goodies! We had a very short "class" on pronunciation and how to spell out words in English. Please look out for news of the next coffee morning at

Thursday, 17 March 2011

British Red Cross Donations

I'm not really sure how to start this... six days after we sat for hours watching the initial horror of the earthquakes and the tsunami that followed. Now, of course, the situation seems to be even more precarious, if that were possible, because of what is happening at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Even though we haven't been directly affected by what has happened, people all over Japan, as you can doubtless imagine, are very subdued. The general feeling seems to be, "We want to help", but not many of us can drop what we are doing and physically go and help. Donations are being asked for, and are flooding in. My impression is that Japanese people are overwhelmed by the depth of feeling and generosity of people from all around the world.

Just in case you want to help, but don't know how, here is a link to the British Red Cross, where it is very easy to make a donation.

For those of you not in the UK, I'm sure you will be able to find the Red Cross link for your country.

On a more personal note, many thanks to everyone who has called or sent messages asking if we are OK. We are, and I'm sure we will be.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

From my website

A very belated “Happy New Year”, and my apologies for not writing for so long. I hope that you all enjoyed whatever you did over Christmas and New Year, and the start of 2011 has been good to you.

I hope you followed Kayo’s blog about her time in Scotland – see link below. If you did, you have already read about my 97-hour marathon from Kure to Dunfermline. I’m trying to forget it!

Our journey back was perfect except for one small hiccup. Unfortunately we couldn’t fly from Edinburgh to London Heathrow together, but our shuttle flights with different airlines were close enough that we could check in at the same time.

Our suitcases were packed with our winter clothes and lots of Christmas presents we had been given, and were right on the weight allowance. Because of that our hand luggage was probably too heavy for Kayo and the children to manage easily. I helped them carry their hand luggage to their departure gate (gate 6), and boarded my plane, which was leaving slightly earlier from gate 11. Being a helpful sort of person I offered to take the computer with me, so Kayo wouldn’t have to carry it.

My seat was right at the back of the plane, and after sitting down, I took out my telephone to switch it off before the flight. I was a little surprised to see that I had missed a call from Kayo who, after all, I had only left some five minutes before. I called her back to find that she had slipped her and the children’s passports and boarding passes into the computer bag… which was now in the overhead locker above me!

I quickly reported this to a flight attendant who was in the attendants’ area at the back of the plane. She picked up the phone and spoke to the attendant manning the door at the front of the plane, and another attendant took the passports and boarding passes and rushed the length of the plane through the last few passengers who were still finding their seats. The passports and boarding passes were handed out of the plane, and in the same instant the door closed and we started moving away from the gate. Oh goodness, what a panic!

The flight attendant tried to assure me that everything would be OK, but it was only on arriving at Heathrow, and meeting up with Kayo and the children again that I knew for sure that their passports had reached them in time.

Tadashi, in particular, suffered some travel sickness on the way home, but our door-to-door journey of 22 hours was a considerable improvement on the outward leg of my trip.

For Kayo’s version of this little drama, please check her blog -


Welcome - 15 years after...

9th March 1996, Paul arrives in Japan. Fifteen years later, I am still here! Welcome to my new blog. I'm not sure what shape it is going to take, yet, but hopefully that will take care of itself...and I look forward to hearing from anyone who wishes to comment.