28 April

30% increase in dating agency applicants since the earthquake - people wnat to make their lives count.

27 April

Muge has pulled out!

I ask Etienne (my co-driver who I havent met yet) as i recall him originally saying that he hasa friend. He later gets back to me and his friend can join, we are back to 8 people.

I receive a mail from Ricky, he had asked me if i would join his trip (to work on an island trip), and I had asked him if he would join my trip- both for the same reason - Chris had dumped us :-)

26 April

May confirmed that she cant go.

I ask Ricky, he cannot go anymore either

I advertise on FB and find someone called Muge

Chris apologises for pulling out, he has a genuine reason as he has been offered a two-month stint in Sendai. I can understand that, and wish him well, but I cannot forgive the way he pulled out. I have been informed that he knew of this trip a couple of days before he pulled out on me, but refrained from telling me. He works for Ricky so is familiar with what is involved. I feel let down from what was a good friend, I de-friend him on Facebook. Yes its childish I know, but I have heard of several divorces and cracked friendships since the earthquake, people are really re-evaluating their lives, friendships, relationships.

25 April

Chris has now pulled out ! - no apology either....

May says that she would like to join, but cannot confirm yet.

25 April - Yuko's mate

Lunch with Yuko

She tells me of her friend, whose husband has gone crazy since the earthquake. At the time of the radiation scare, he took the family to Singapore. it was there that he told his wife that he would leave her. He is in love with a younger colleague and wants to make life count.

A few weeks later he turns up on his wife's doorstep. He tells her that he wants to die, he had read online that this can be achieved if you starve your body of water for five days. He wants to do this in their old spare room - she allows him in...

Five days later he is still alive though, although not in the best of health. The Mother in law arrives and asks if he needs anything - he needs a pineapple...

He also now loves his wife again and will drink water....I really hope she leaves this nutter. I think that she is now just waiting for the cash that he has promised her & the kids. Apparently, he holds a senior position at an investment bank, and during his water starvation, he went to work every day, living a 'normal' life!

23 April

Shige is also pulling out as he needs to go to the same party. i have advertised on FB and have found two replacements, one is a French guy who has a driving license.

22 April

Dan has to pull out as he has a leaving party that he had forgotten about

20 April

Decided that I want to go back and do some more volunteering, so have decided to go on the evening of the 28th. Friday si a public holiday in Japan, so we can work on Friday and Saturday. Shoko will join and the guys I went with before are also kean.

I will take two cars as there are so many people who have asked if they can join.

19 April はしょふう

As we left the volunteer centre yesterday, I had a medic tell me that I should get a tetanus jab as I had fallen over in the zone. At first, i took it with a 'pinch of salt' as I was barely grazed. But on reflection, I learned how poisonous the zone actually is. The water not only contained dead bodies, but moreso, poisons from telegraph poles. Apparently the boxes that you see located high on one in every half a dozen telegraph poles contain highly toxic ingedients.

The medic told me that I had four days to get a tetanus boost, and so I spent the morning searching for a local clinic that could save me- which thankfully I was successful in my search.

17 & 18 April - Watari

I was lucky enough to be invited by a friend on a trip to Watari where we would be volunteering in the tsunami hit region of Sendai. I shared the driving and we left Tokyo after work, arriving in Sendai close to midnight, that did not stop us venturing out and finding a local bar, where we met & dransk with the locals until 2am.

The following morning we drove to the volunteer centre, and on our short 20 minute journey, I caught my first glimpse of the disaster zone. From the expressway, suddenly the fields to our left were brown, littered with cars and ships, this was 4-5 kms inland ! On arrival, we registered, were given insurance and then assigned to a team, totalling ten people. Other than my friends, the team comprised Japanese men, a pilot & a policeman from the murder squad among them. I was impressed at how well organized the centre was, we were issued with thick gloves and steal soles to put in our boots to protect from glass and nails.

Today's task was to clean the garden of a house that had survived the tsunami. On reflection, it seemed nonsensicle that we were tidying someones garden, when there were so many other more needy victims. However, the owners family had already cleaned the house and i suppose they were now utilizing their alloted volunteers.

As we drove into the zone itself, there was a strong miliatry presence, and we had to pass through several checkpoints, only allowed to pass through once confirmed that we were volunteers.

The garden itself was littered with mud, grass and other debris. The owner told us that the water had only lasted 5-6 minutes before retreating to the sea, yet the damage was indescribable. No houses in the zone have any water or electricity. All drains are blocked, telegraph poles down, literally everything had been caked with mud.

At lunch time we walked around taking photos, amazed at the sights that greated us on every turn of the head. Houses had been spun around, others up-ended, although many had disappeared altogether. Inside the houses painted a sorry picture; it was there that you were reminded that thsi was once someones home. Rooms were full of debris, all of it layered with mud and grass.

There was an electric railway near the house, yet the overheads were wrecked and a pantograph lay twisted on the ground.

Once we had finished working we drove around to see more of the damage. At one point we stopped by the road and saw rows of 'brand-new' cars sat on top of one another completely wrecked. this was 3kms inland, yet dead fish and crabs littered the ground, childrens toys, shoes, household furntiure littered the fields along with smashed cars and boats. Whilst we were looking around there was a lot of activity with the emergency services, and we were informed that a body had been found.

As we strolled through the carnage, one of our party who remained by the vehicles was questioned as to our intentions. The authorities are weary of looters, the most likely candidates apparently being foreigners.

We then headed to the beach and saw the smashed greenbelts. The trees were littered with clothes and flattened, all facing inland. A truck with a crane on the back lay on its side on the beach, this really did look like a Hollywood movie set. Tetrapods (weighing 50tonnes)were smashed and had been shifted hundreds of metres up the beach.

An outdoor pool on the beach was filled with sand and debris, the pool house was a horror story in itself and I cannot imagine hwo anyone would have survived being in there.

The remainder of our day was just as shocking, the constant frown of my expression later caused a headache. We saw the airport, and houses that had been 'domino-ed' into each other, the former occupants stood outside, watching with tears on their cheeks.

We saw a wooden temple, completely intact surrounded by flattened buildings, some make take it as a religous sign, although a sturdy oak tree just in front of it may have offered adequate protection.

I dont think anything can really prepare the human mind for such images. yes, I had seen the TV coverage, but to actually see the effects of such devastaion was a truly numbing experience.

The next days work was far more meaningful, we were clearing out a house that was within 1kms of the sea front. The water mark was visible and literally everything inside had been destroyed. our task was to clear the house and throw the contents on the roadside. Furniture, tatami mats (floor-boards), clothes, ornaments - absolutely everything was being discarded. I opened a shoe cupboard to start throwing shoes, every shoe was full of sea-water. The smell of sea-water was prevalent, although there were stronger smells emanating from the huge fridge-freezer (I managed to busy myself in other tasks when that wsa being thrown out). That was a nice thing about this type of work; it is easy to switch tasks. Maybe I shall go on wheelbarrow duty, or maybe I will take the curtains down, rake mud off the floor, or assist with clearing water from the drains....

At lunchtime, a stroll around the corner showed us just how lucky 'our house-owner' had been. 90% of buildings had been flattened, cars, boats and bicycles littered the area. The army had done a great job clearing roads leaving the debris at over a metre high either side (I know as I fell off it).

I was with a press jounalist, who at one point warned us to steer clear of a certain car. A bad smell was emanating from it, and my friend said that he was familiar with the smell of death.

As we got closer to the shore front, we saw some bigger ships, most were perched on and in houses.

10 April - hiking

I went hiking in the countryside today, as a break from the City was needed. It was a hike that I had previously trecked, although i had forgotten how tough it was. I took Shoko with me and she wasnt prepared for the narrow paths aided with chains built into the rocks to prevent falling down sheer drops :)

That said, it was an enjoyable day out coupled with good exercise and beautiful scenery.

8 April - another aftershock

We had another large aftershock yesterday which was a 7.1 (same magnitude as Haiti, although it was offshore and deeper).

I had had a few beers and was in a taxi on my way home. I was with Spencer and the car was stopped at the brow of a hill waiting at traffic lights; when it started rocking back and forth. Spencer asked me 'what it was' and I told him it was the driver's poor clutch control, believing that to be the case...I guess the beer is stronger with radiation.....

7 April

Workers at Fukushima are pumping nitrogen gas into reactor 1 because there has been a large build of of hydrogen gas.

With all the recent news focussing on No2 leaking into the sea, I had completely forgotten about No1.....

Once that is fixed I guess we can start looking at 3....4...5....6

The number of people known to have died in the earthquake and tsunami has now reached 12,494, with another 15,107 still missing, according to police.
Do they really expect to find any of the 15,107 alive? I wonder at what point, we have to acknowledge the tragic size of the deceased.

6 April

Success - the leak at No2 reactor has been blocked !!!!

Also, I saw a 2 litre bottle of water today...life is getting back to normal

5 April

Boss told me that he is off to London on business next week.

Workers at Fukushima are plugging the leaks with an absorbent polymer mixed with sawdust and shredded newspaper...Now I am really filled with confidence

# of foreigners leaving Japan soars 8-fold

An immigration official says more than 161,000 foreigners have left Japan since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that triggered an unfolding nuclear crisis .

Taichi Iseki, an immigration official at Japan's major airport, Narita, said Friday the number of foreigners flying out from March 11 to March 22 totaled 161,300 _ an eightfold increase from about 20,000 in the same period last year.

The number of foreigners arriving at Narita from March 11 to 22 plunged 60 percent year-on-year to 33,400.

Saturday 2

We partied in the park for hanami. it was really nice to catch up with many old faces. whilst we were there, we all felt a big earthquake, it was the first time that i have ever felt a quake when outside. Quite unnerving as the park packed with thousands of picnicers suddenly silenced. the quake was only a 5, but was close by in Ibaraki.

Friday 1st

There are many events taking place where the proceeds go towards people of the Tokoku Region. Friday was an all night karaoke-session at Fiesta, - similar to English karaoke where punters watch/ laugh at singers on a stage. The 'show' was streamed online and Wesley got to see 'Uncle Jeremy' being naughty dancing on the table

water water nowhere, & not a drop to drink

thank you Mr Coleridge...

I just popped down to buy some water from the cafeteria, I was being optimistic hoping to find water in stock - especially Evian.

Why are we drinking bottled water anyway? Its only tap water that has been filtered; the filtering process doesnt remove radiation, but we do it anyway.

Wednesday 30

Been chatting with Dan, who has been in Singapore since the 11th he asked me why I will be here when this is the current headline – I have to say, that I don’t know why I’m here either.

‘Seawater near Japan's crippled nuclear reactors is said to have a much higher level of radioactive iodine than previously reported. Water near the Fukushima Daiichi plant's reactor 1 contained radioactive iodine at 3,355 times the legal limit, Japan's nuclear safety agency said.’

Tuesday 29

`Trying to find the source of plutonium found in the ground’ - BBC
I notice that often newsreaders first question is ‘what is the worst case scenario?’

Ate at a fancy restaurant with Shoko in Ginza, I think it’s only the second time that we have eaten in a restaurant since the 11th. Ginza is usually lively and full of neon, but due to the power outage, its dark and silent. The streets are empty, and the expensive restaurant was even offering free drinks to entice customers - we started with a 1982 champagne - that tasted more like port.

Nice work lads

Mum has been asking her friends to look for geiger c'ters.....now apparently the Luton police force are scouting for me

Monday 28

For the first time since this started, I haven’t felt an aftershock today

Death toll is now 10,804 with more than 16,000 still missing

My boss’s boss is in Tokyo this week, a lot of senior managers have been visiting Tokyo over the last two weeks to reassure & praise the staff. It was clear that my boss’s lack of leadership has been noticed by senior management.

Helping hand

Woke up early and headed to Ayase to assist in giving food to refugees. We were told that there were approx 300 refugees in the shelter, although I don’t think I saw that many. Maybe only half that ventured outside for the food. When I saw the first few refugees, I felt like crying, as for the first time, the images on TV were now real. These people were wearing what were probably the only clothes they had, and likely donated clothes too. There were appreciative and humble and just wanted to keep their heads down.

There was a lot of media hovering around and that probably deterred many from venturing outside. The first people who came out just wanted to eat, but had TV cameras in their faces. I was interviewed and it was aired on TV on Sunday evening.

I read that more than 200,000 people are living in temporary shelters

Saturday 26

Go to Akihabara and do some shopping for the house, buy cables, and rivets (to fix my snowboard bag) and some screws to fix the towel rail. I also buy myself a new PS3 game, as I seem to be spending most days indoors now.

Emiko comes over in the evening and I cook for the three of us, it’s good to give Shoko a break as she cooks 95% of the time.

Saturday night I receive an e-mail from Mum, the BBC says that the sea off Fukushima has reached 1,250 times over the safe radiation limit, I can’t read this now – need to get some sleep, will face it tmrw, send mum a mail saying that all will be fine.

Friday 25

My potassium iodide pills that I bought from the UK have finally arrived – yay. My sister also included a couple of picnic chocolate bars 

Thursday 24

Ok, it’s time to get back to normal, I call my gym as all this hanging around home drinking alcohol isn’t doing my weight any good – gym is shut until April 1st

After yesterdays tap-water headline, I can’t seem to buy tap water anywhere.

'Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore have all moved to ban certain Japanese food on fears of nuclear contamination’ – so what I am eating – does that mean more for me…?

Wednesday 23

Reply from my sister – think I made a typo in my family e-mail, I re-check – I asked them to look for Geiger c*nters!

I found water, only 500ml but at least its water, I try buying two bottles but am told I can only buy one

Lunchtime I head to the British Embassy and get my emergency dose of potassium iodide, they also give me a dose for Shoko. I read the accompanying pamphlet at least 3-4 times. It clearly says ‘take tablets as soon as you have finished reading this leaflet’ so I bosh them. I then get home and re-read the Govt website – it says to keep them as a precautionary measure and not to be taken now, uh-oh

Mail from Noel in England – just seen the headline `Tokyo's tap water now has more than twice the level of radiation considered safe for infants, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, black smoke was emerging from one of ...`

Tuesday 22

Back to work and the boss isn’t in the office, I was told that he was in Singapore for one working day; he will be back in Tokyo tonight. I wonder how much it cost to fly business class, stay in a hotel for four nights, and then work one day (which is quiet as Japan is on holiday), sounds like a productive trip, a – great example to the team…

The World Health Organisation says the food contamination in Japan is 'more serious' than first expected. This comes after concerns that the radioactive particles have contaminated food and water supplies.

None of the three kombinis that I ventured into earlier had any water, so I then tried stocking up on fruit juice. However, the assistant informed me that we are rationed to 5 bottles of fluid – I wonder if that includes shampoo?

I start research into Geiger counters and soon realize that they have sold out – globally! The mass panic has caused people in America to freak out and now all Geiger counters have been sold. I see some on EBay going for 10* the original price. I hastily send a mail to Mum, Dad and Lorna asking them to look out for such tools, in case a local merchant has one.

Monday 21

Public holiday in Japan. On the plane, I am the only non-Japanese. I feel like I’m walking the green mile.

As I’m filling in my arrival forms, an official walks over to me and questions me, asks me: why am I returning to Japan; why didn’t I leave like all the other foreigners?

I then face the same questions again at customs, my bag is also searched for the first time ever – maybe I am trying to bring water into the country – he only found dirty boxers & a toothbrush.

Sunday 20

Due to return to Tokyo, I head out to the airport only to be told that my flight has been cancelled due to the earthquake. I couldn’t understand if they were referring to the big one, or just some aftershock. I now fly at 6am tmrw

Receive a mail from my step-sister who informs me that the British Embassy is giving out potassium iodide pills, why are they doing that, and why haven’t they told me? I registered with them, so they have my e-mail….

Official death toll is now at 8,450 with 12,931 missing.

Saturday 19

A typical stag party, we were out drinking until 6am. More of the same again Saturday night too. I catch up with a few old faces, many of the guys worked in Japan, but a fair % are now working in HK & Singapore.

the picture is of our stag - Andy

I did manage to get a nice cheap 2 hour massage though which was great, shame the masseuse spoke zero English

Friday 18

British Govt has arranged for flights for British Nationals to fly to HK

I head for Haneda airport as I have a stag party (booked months previously). I feel like a traitor/ deserter as I make my way to the airport. I ask the station attendant which platform my train is on, he looks at me, a foreigner going to the airport, I feel embarrassed. The plane is packed and I felt a group sense of relief as the plane took off.

I arrive in Taipei, check in at the hotel, and head for a kombini before I even go to my room – I buy 4 bottles of water

Thursday 17

Woke up to read my emails and see that the British Embassy has told its citizens to evacuate. What has changed since last night?

I mail the office and tell them that I am going to take today off as a vacation (as originally planned), I then mail Jenny asking her what is going on, then make a call to the Foreign Office. They inform me that the risk has not changed and that they are just advising that people should leave Japan if possible for logistical reasons, as there are anticipated food shortages and transportation problems.

Jenny later phones me and says she was just as surprised when she heard the news; she thinks it maybe a political move, also we have to be aligned with Australia & the US.

The US has now chartered aircraft to help Americans leave Japan and authorized the voluntary departure of relatives of diplomatic staff. I decide to stay though, aslong as there is no threat to my health, I can’t leave Japan. I have discussed it with Shoko, she would lose her job if she left Japan, and she would also be leaving her family behind.

The confirmed death toll has risen above 5,000

Thursday evening I get a call from Jason – he just heard that my boss has just booked a flight to Singapore.

Wednesday 16

I should have had a holiday today, but I decided to go to work instead. I don’t feel like snowboarding right now, besides, Ricky told me that the gondolas at Nozawa are damaged and that they had two avalanches.

Radiation has leaked from the plant, though it is not clear from exactly where. Reactors 2 and 3 are thought to be the most likely candidates.

In the evening we meet with Senior Management. It is nice that they spare the time for us, and we are finally informed that engineers have checked and confirmed that our building is safe.

Tried to buy 2litre bottle of water, but it can’t be found anywhere, can only buy 500ml bottles.

There's increasing uncertainty about the radiation levels at the Fukushima nuclear power station in Japan, as what appears to be white smoke or steam, has been rising from the plant. The aftershocks are still huge, a few over 6 every day. I feel as though I am living on a ship and am constantly rocking

I have a good reassuring conversation with my friend Jenny at the British Embassy. She is great, and reassures me that there is very little chance of any radiation threat. She had a pre-booked holiday to Australia but cancelled it, as she is needed in her job right now, and she has no fear about radiation in Tokyo. I feel good after our call and sleep well.

Anxiously watching the news

Another day, more of the same, constant aftershocks and being scared watching CNN. I speak to more friends who are either already out of the country or have booked flights to get out of the country. Friends and family back home send me links and news items from a range of sources all conclude that Japan is going to have a nuclear problem, and that I should run whilst I can. I phone a travel agent to get an idea of prices; I can still get a flight to the UK, although the price has doubled.

Mailed the Embassy to inform them that I’m safe & I updated my details on their website

Drank beer and wine at lunchtime with two colleagues, and the discussion all centered on the same issue. I decided that I would be in Osaka by tonight, especially as so many people seem to be heading that way.

After lunch I have a long chat with my boss, he asked me where his report was. I tell him that I’m working on it but I am having trouble concentrating with what is going on, I ask him what the possibilities of working abroad are. He tells me that, if I leave and try to work offshore, there will be consequences, hastily adding that he is not threatening me. He then goes on and tells me that I would be like a front line soldier deserting the troops. He also likens it to a rat leaving a sinking ship, and says that I have a duty to the team, and lead by example. I tell my boss that the French embassy has recommended that its nationals leave Japan, to which he replies ‘they are always the first to run’, I tell him that I will leave Japan if my Embassy tells me to evacuate. Begrudgingly I walk back to my desk, the UK is now open and I receive more mails from friends and relatives abroad telling me to escape – I send out the same ‘please don’t worry’ e-mails

Monday 14

Back to work, and there are constant after-shocks, the building is swaying, the door swinging, and my Starbux Americano seems to have a whirlpool. But, I’m pretty used to it, we all are now, and we just work – or try to. I am watching CNN most of the day which is making me age far faster than any potential radiation will do. The news varies every day, something new happens to one or more of the six nuclear reactors, we can only sit and watch and pray for the people working on the plant.

There is a somber mood in the office, I’m told that my boss departed at 16:30 on Friday without telling anybody, whilst other people could not get home and had to sleep in the office, it sounds as though the team have lost respect for him. I speak to more friends who are all anxious for their safety and they are leaving the country.

It’s not until 19;00 that we receive an email from the company acknowledging the earthquake, nothing to reassure us that the building is safe though.

Sunday 13

Today’s Iron Maiden concert cancelled, can’t say I’m surprised, although I think it would feel good to sing ‘Run to the Hills’ with a bunch of other metal heads right now.

Watching the news & seeing the live tsunami is overwhelming, I don’t think a tsunami has been filmed live before, not one of this magnitude anyway. The footage shows boats crashing through streets and cars trying to flee the oncoming waters. You just hope that the crew, drivers & residents survive. To watch the footage and know that you are seeing people being killed is something that you put to the back of your mind – I’m sure they escaped.

The emergency cooling system is no longer functioning at the Fukushima No. 3 reactor, an official from Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has told journalists.

the day after

Feeling pretty null by the whole thing, spend most of the day watching BBC, and NHK. The contrast between the type of reporting is interesting. TV cameras capture a massive explosion at the power station, it’s unclear what caused the blast. When I first saw the news yesterday, the no of dead was 17, and that increased before I went to bed, but now the number is in the hundreds.

I receive a phone call from work, they want to check that I’m safe and ask why I didn’t return to the office after the earth quake…where do I start? Apparently the six ‘I am safe’ e-mails that I replied to, and the registering ‘I am safe’ website failed to register – great to know we have a solid BCP plan!

Shoko and I leave it late before we venture outside, the streets are dead as we head to the supermarket and the shelves are bare, no meat at all in the fridge, but there are vegetables and some water.

March 11

Well no need to explain what happened at 14:46, but I wasn’t in the office. Just like 7/7 2005 (I was taking a sickie that day). This time, I was working, just having a late lunch in the area of Kanda close to my office. I was with Mieko and we were in a nice French restaurant when the quake struck. As usual, you ignore it at first, then as it gets bigger, everyone looks around at each other. No-one moved, but I knew this was bigger than anything that I had experienced before, and I was in an older building, so I got up and moved to the street. Outside it was chaos, people running and screaming in various directions, and women crying huddled together pointing at the swinging telegraph poles and noisy creaking buildings. By now Mieko was behind me and I suggested that we run to a more open space, she grabbed my hand and we ran through the mayhem, it was just like a Tom Cruise movie, running from danger but unsure where the destination was. We arrived at a main road that seemed to be wide enough to avoid debris should it come to that, and there we waited for 10 minutes until things died down, I tried to call Shoko but could not get through. We went back to the restaurant, paid for our food and started walking back to the office.

We arrive outside the office (20storey building) and there is a crowd of colleagues outside, many wearing the white helmets issued by the company, others donning the aluminum jackets that are also included in the earthquake kit (that we all have underneath our desks). We exchanged some banter and discussed going back into the building, some people were talking about massive cracks that they had seen in the stairwells, I wasn’t too keen to go back inside.

Then, a massive aftershock strikes, we are stood in a plaza surrounded by skyscrapers, that are really swaying. One has a few cranes on the top that are just flapping in the wind, if anyone is inside those cranes, they must be bricking it. The lower building to my right is visibly shaking from side to side as if it were alive and its making a racket. At this point, a few people state that they are going to head to the Imperial Palace – which was the evac point for my last company too, so I knew it’s probably the safest open space in Tokyo. As we are walking out, I decide to record some of the mayhem on my phone, I start running ahead to catch the scene, but that starts everyone else, and soon like wildebeest in the Mara, everyone is running – which made my footage even better 

Once at the Palace, there were many people congregating, the traffic was at a standstill, and there were lots of sirens wailing as police, fire and ambulance drove past. I bumped into Bacon and a few other UBS people, aswell as many of my own colleagues. I tried calling Shoko many times, tried sending an ‘I am ok mail’ to my family but nothing was going through – just like London on NYE.

I received several ‘Safety Confirmation’ mails from work, they are auto-generated but don’t seem to be acknowledging my safe status. After chilling at the palace I decided that I wasn’t going to go back into the office building, so I headed home on foot. The roads were packed with thousands of others doing the same thing, everyone walking home as the metro was down. I walked past bus stops with queues hundreds of meters long, thankfully my house was only a 90minute walk – I was lucky. I stopped by at Taka’s (hairdresser) on my way home and exchanged stories with him. I was home shortly later and was relieved to find Shoko safe. The news mentioned a few casualties, but we had no idea about the devastation that had been caused in Tohoku.


I went to Hakuba for the second time this season, on thsi ocassion I used Tokyo Snow Club. Emiko shared a room with myself, Jody and the Earl, and I fear she saw too much testosterone, farting and AC/DC. We went to snow splash party in the evening and saw some great performances, particularly a Japanese ska band.

The snow in Hakuba was not as great as recent weeks, but the beautiful scenery made up for that.


My second time in Zao, and I was still just as overwhelmed by the snow monsters as i was the first time - simply awesome, anda great way to spend my birthday


thanks for all the pressies - i love this mug from lil sis

Scissor Sisters

Simply brilliant - make sure you see these guys.

As usual, the polite Tokyo crowds allow you to easily work your way to the front of the stage. So yes, i should have taken some good pictures, unfortunately i was too busy dancing, but took thsi with my phone for nostaglia

Happy Birthday Shox

I dont recall drinking so much quality wine before...but then again, you wouldn't would you...

Farewell Yuka

Another good friend leaves for foreign shores. we celebrated in style on a ski trip in Hakuba, the evening entertainment was brilliant, we found a live band who played the likes of AC/DC & GnR...awesome !!!
All the best Yuka - you will be missed

The Shadows

I havent ridden a 'big' bike since I took my test probably 10 years ago. dan and I recently hired a couple of shadows to 'test the water' and cruise around Tokyo. IT was so much fun that we extended the time period and are now planning a boyz bike-camping trip in the coming months.

ふじ さん 4かい め のぼった

After watching a lot of the world cup recently, and therefore drinking more than usual, I decided to get out of Tokyo and do some exercise. I helped Ricky out as a hike guide on one of his climbing trips. Its the fourth time that I've climbed it and i thought it would be relatively easy for me, but the conditions made it a real challenge. Eighty kmph winds along with constant heavy rain made it a miserable climb. My socks were squelching they were so wet & thermals soaked through - it was certainly a challenge.

World Cup

Its not been a great WC for England fans, especially when it required staying awake until 6am to watch a pathetic performance. That said, a merry group of friends watched most of the games together and remained in positive spirits at the start of every game. Overall I really enjoyed following this WC, I watched more games overall than previous WC's and Im glad the winning team was one that hadn't won before.


I recently translated my drivers license to Japanese allowing me to drive in Japan. So I hired a nice yellow car and headed off for the countryside. I found myself in Sendagi and Matsushima. A truly beautiful place on the East coast packed with lots of small islands. The locals were friendly too, I managed to find a bar that was playing the Villa game and then got the entire population of the bar to support Villa, all in vain though as we lost...


Ive lost many good friends since Ive lived in Tokyo, its all part of ex-pat lifestyle and something you get accustomed to. That said, we recently said goodbye to Kumar - who is one of the old-timers and one of only a handful Ive known since my arrival in Tokyo. Kumar has been my best friend here, always willing to help others, and never critical. He is moving on out of love and everyone wishes him well. Sayonara buddy

For Those About to Rock

Ive been to a lot of gigs this year, but AC/DC are a cut above everyone else. Considering their age and that they are often negatively perceived as 'heavy metal', its surprising how long they have lasted and can still sell out huge arenas. At the end of the day, they are just 'lock n loll' - and experts at it.

Winter 2010

Ive done a lot of snowboarding this winter, with trips to Naeba, Myoko, Minakami, Zao and Hokkaido. One the whole, the snow has not been good and I have not enjoyed boarding so much. I also took a big fall in Zao, and 6 weeks on, I'm still limping with my injuries, no damage just bruising. Whilst the boarding itself has not been "brilliant", its always fun getting away with friends, and spending some time in the countryside.

February saw the departure of a close friend Tatjana, more good friends are leaving in April with Kumar and Mikey Mike amongst them. With others also following, I have to now decide where my future lies.

I celebrated my birthday with an impromptu party at my apartment, which had a good turnout of people, especially as many were only given a few hours notice.

  • Winter Pics
  • New Year in England

    Later than expected I finally made it to
  • England
  • only to experience more cold weather, I was greatful to be in time for my Granny's 90th birthday, where I caught up with family. New Year was spent chilling with Mum, Roy, Lorna and Wesley. I then headed West, and met Dad, we drove to Birmingham to watch an entertaining Villa beat Blackburn in the FA Cup. London and Hatfield were my next destinations, where I caught up with Dads side of the family, all in all clocking up 1,000 miles in the car and 19,500 air miles in total

    Christmas in the US

    My Christmas adventure commenced in LA where I hooked up with Kayo. It was great to catch some sun, meet Kayo's friends and do Xmas shopping. After a few days, we headed out to South Dakota to see Mt Rushmore and surrounding National Parks. The climates could not have been any more extreme as we moved from 23c to -12c. We were due to fly back to LA on Xmas day, but winter blizzards caused the airport to close. Xmas day was spent in an empty hotel, at least the vending machines functioned. Luckily we caught the only flight on Boxing Day- thanks to a very determined Lady Pilot. Had that not flown, we would have been stuck in Rapid City for another week !
  • America Pics
  • The Argentine came good

    Congratulations to Martine & Rie - my third wedding this year and a very enjoyable one too. Martine was introduced to me when I first came to Tokyo by a mutual friend from the UK (Daz the Spaz) so we've known each other for 4 years now. This wedding was real tear jerker, Rie looked lovely and the speeches were very emotional - especially from Martine's Father.

    City break

  • Kawaguchiko pictures

  • A bunch of friends and I stayed at a lovely cottage near Mt Fuji for the weekend pursuing fresh air and relaxation. There were 13 of us in total so maybe relaxation wasn't always going to take place, but it was certainly a fun weekend. Having hired bicycles we cruised through the local village & farmers market before embarking on a gentle ride around the lake. On return to the cottage, the owners served us steak followed by beer and snacks whilst we rested in the outdoor jacuzzi.

    The following day, our bodies were tested again as we hired canoes and ventured around the lake. That was followed by a couple of hours on quad bikes. It was my first taste of quad biking and I LOVED it. So much fun was to be had as we scrambled up and down hills. I was a bit over-eager at one point, I took a sharp corner too fast, my bike didn't turn and decided to go straight over the edge and head down the mountain which was at least 60-70degrees. Survival instincts told me to jump and catch the nearest tree - which I did, and luckily the bike didnt go more than a few meters further solo.


    Where has the last year gone !!!!
    It wasn't that long ago that I was looking for bras and accessories. This year the costume was a bit more masculine. Emiko did a great job making Musketeer costumes for herself, Kumar and me. There were many great costumes and maybe the economic climate caused people to be more creative and make their costumes this year.

    Naomi & Chris

    Congratulations to Naomi and Chris who wed on Saturday. Naomi entered the room in true style to 'Always' by Bon Jovi. Naomi is one a few people remaining who was around when I first came to Tokyo. She first met Chris on a Niijima trip, although their romance did not k/o until 18months later.
    It was my first wedding in Tokyo and a good chance for me to catch up with friends who I haven't seen in 3 years. All had a wonderful evening, especially Masae who caught the bouquet.

    Japanese Wine

    A bunch of us recently hired a car and hit Yamanashi prefecture to check out the local grape. Japan is not renowned for its wine and maybe I should have reminded myself of that fact before wine-tasting. I tried a good 20+ wines - all were disgusting. I didn't see a single person purchase any wine throughout the tasting session.

    After lunch we went grape picking. Under the local farmers guidance we chose the grapes we liked and could pick as many bunches as we liked. We then returned to the seating area where we had an hour to munch through what our pickings, any surplus would need to be purchased. Naturally we had all been a tad greedy when picking the grapes and were in a spot of bother forcing as many grapes down as possible.