Monday, 8 December 2003


Golf playing brother will no longer 'just' be golf playing brother. No.

Now he is golf playing brother who is having a kid!!!!!!!

That's right, you read it correctly. Julian and Katharine are pregnant - one or both, I don't think it matters really - and are due to have bouncing baby something at the beginning of August next year. So congratulations to you both, great news as it means I get to be an uncle and (strong hint here guys, are you paying attention, not really a hint, more of a direct statement etc) a god father. This is cool as I can be the weird uncle/god father who lives in a foreign country with a foreign wife and gets great manga and who pops up about once every two years and who eats weird food and tells corrupting stories and says things like 'don't tell your father'. Cool.

Actually I think I might by vying with the man who will be granddad for the last couple of things there. Julian is going to stand no chance with the two of us working on the youngster, I expect granddad is already in the planning stages.

This is especially good news as this will be the first child of its generation in the family, so extra special kudos to you guys for having dome the family proud.

What also made is nice was that Julian, when he called up to tell us the news, wasn't actually that pissed! Or at least tried not to show it... No, what made it even better than that was that he apologised to me after all the stuff I've written here about Minako and I trying to make babies. Taking your thunder, or something, as if that matters at all! No way mate, this is your moment in the sun and you guys should enjoy it as much as you can.

And be nice to Katharine!

Other news

Shame this gets relegated to 'under the fold' as it were, but you can't argue with big news. In a first, Arakawa Riverview has been linked to another blog! As you can probably tell from the sidebar about 'other blogs' we are now linked to Bondibooks, a blog that is part of a bookshop run by a chap called Josh in Kichijoji (that's in west Tokyo, for those who aren't in the know). Anyway Josh fancied a link and who am I to refuse? So take a trip to the blog, and go to the bookshop site as well. And if you live in Tokyo, why not pop over to the shop itself, it seems there is usually a cup of tea on offer, especially if it's raining. (OK, now I realise there is probably only about one other person in Japan that actually reads this blog and can therefore get to Kichijoji (hi Steve), but you never know).

That's it for today. Perhaps more observations on Japanese life to follow soon. Like shutters. You think shutters and you imagine slatted wooden things on the side of a house in Provence or something. But Japanese do shutters as well. Big, strong, ugly aluminium (or even cast iron, by the weight of the noes in my first flat) things on all the windows of a flat. Why so strong? I once remarked to Minako. Well, something to do with typhoons, which I can understand, and also for security, which I cannot. Very dangerous place, Japan, she opined, lots of burglaries so we need to protect ourselves. Now for anyone who has lived in Japan and England this is patently untrue. So I have come up with an alternative.

I reckon that it is deep seated need of the Japanese pysche to shut yourself off from the rest of the world and be in a self contained little environment, totally introverted, not concerned with the outside at all. It started with the Tokugawa shogunate closing off the whole of Japan (except Dejima in Nagasaki) to outsiders until Admiral Perry sailed into Tokyo bay 300 hundred years later and in the minds of the Japanese, nothing has changed. Japanese schools' idea of teaching geography consists of, this is Japan, the rest isn't. Tourists wander about in herds in any foreign country, safety in numbers etc. And wherever you go at 6pm, you will see the shutters come down on houses all over the neighbourhood, even when it is 35 degrees in August. Weird, if you ask me.

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