Weblog's new background imagery source 'AWOL'

Sources close to weblogger 'PIK' have revealed that plans for a background image 'laced with wit and artistic merit and not a little irony' have fallen foul of 'obsessive and intrusive' housekeeping from 'the strange old lady on the third floor'.

Bitterly disappointed

'Three months of planning have come to nothing' said PIK in an oft candid, sometimes emotional statement.
"I had collected a remarkable amount of phone sex fliers in my mailbox, some of which had kindly been donated by friends - it was a cooperative effort...Obviously, to now find them missing... Leaves me bitterly disappointed'.

An empty mailbox, yesterday

PIK, real name PIK, had intended to create a collage with the fliers which would have been imbued with, what he terms '...A sympathetic feminist angle' apparently emanating from '...The humour arising from the selective juxtapositioning of tens of images of naked or partially undressed women, some of whom are arranged in desperately un-erotic bodily contortions. If we are laughing, we are undermining, yes?'said PIK, apparently unsure.
This would have then been digitally scanned using newfangled technology, and incorporated into the website.

Bloody intrusive

Immediately after a brief excursion 'for a few days', PIK arrived home to find his collection 'missing'. It appeared that his mailbox had been 'cleaned' by the 'strange, but always cordial' old woman from the third floor.
'She seems to have appointed herself my moral guardian', said PIK, 'it's bloody intrusive, is what it is'.

Appropos of nothing

'When I go bowling, I favour a size 12 ball' said PIK, appropos of nothing.

Another subheading

'When I found the mailbox devoid of pornographic advertising, my stomach turned'

'What gets me is that when I see [the strange old woman from the third floor], she's always ready with a nice 'Konbanwa' even as I watch her go down and intrude upon my box...I'd like to take this matter further, but how?'

'Stomach turned', yesterday


Apologies for any inconvenience

Moichido is in the process of changing. From July 1 there'll be a different sort of content and a different sort of tone*.

Moichido is dead. Long live Moichido.

* Not better or anything, just different.


Recent search engine inquiries directing unfortunates to Moichido:

"Complete Manual to Suicide"
"waribashi issue"
"hama mike"
"is eating in bangkok safe?"
"doctor put his finger up my ass" (second appearance of this!)
"the complete manual of suicide"
"suicide how to kill yourself painless"


私の庭には二羽鶏が居る is a novel Japanese sentence, which I seem to have had no trouble committing to memory, probably because it's a sentence I will never need to use, ever. This is the way my brain has always seemed to work - I can't remember how to give directions to Japanese taxi drivers (as I discovered today) but I can say the above, (which is also below, in Romaji).

'Watashi no niwa niwa niwa niwatori ga iru'.

'In my garden there are two chickens'.


'It's fucking hot!' exclaims Kusumi sensei, several desks away, across a full staffroom.

I'm the only person to turn around in shock.

'Fucking shit!' he says.

I look about. Surely someone must realise what he's saying? No. Even Kusumi sensei doesn't really realise what he's saying.

'Do you know 'shit' in Japanese?' he asks me.

'Actually, yes, I think so' I reply, casting glances about the room.

He tells me anyway. '"Kuso". It's ''kuso"'. Kuso, kuso, kuso'

Now the other sensei are starting to look up, since, basically, Kusumi sensei is saying 'Shit, shit, shit' a lot. At me.

I resolve to stop teaching adverbs to Kusumi sensei since it seems he likes to use them all as a suffix to 'fucking'.


Teaching is great right now, really very great.

Today, in class, I somehow managed to slap myself in one of my testicles midway through an explanation of a worksheet. All student eyes upon me I stolidly took the diabolical pain, and subsequent stomach cramps, on the chin. 'Get them looking at the worksheet' I thought, 'and I can have a leisurely few moments to clutch my stomach and grimace'.

And I realised that choosing to use the name 'Susan' in an aural exercise spells folly for Japanese students. Answers ranged from 'Mr Su' to 'Miss Su' as well as the accurate 'Susan-san'.

It's all good.



It is hot and slightly humid, the weather. Yonder (yonder?) mountains are indistinct behind a haze of sorts which might be moisture, or carbon monoxide, or smoke from the bombs of the ninja who live there which is true and not a lie at all. Non-yonder mountains are not hiding. They are verdant, and proud, and wearing their power cables coquetteishly.

I am sweating freely. My fingers skid across the slick keyboard pressing keys I didn't intend them to. I am eating peanut butter. I am asking myself why I do this - eat peanut butter. I am clawing at the roof of my mouth with both index fingers, desperate to dislodge the peanutty bolas welded there. The tongue often proves inadequate.
I am on the balcony, hot-boxing a cigarette. A little kid in the park down below is lying on a bench staring up at the clouds, or perhaps trying to think of which wine would go best with mutton. I do not know. He sees me.

I wave.

He waves back, and our little communication has begun. Next I present the 'fox' type hand symbol popular at the 'rock 'n' roll' concerts I understand teenagers like to attend. He returns the gesture. In a literal sense. Next I do thumbs up. This is no problem for him. Thumbs down. Ditto. Two thumbs down. Just double the last one - easy. Must up the ante. I do the Vulcan greeting (for which I have to look at my hand to check) and he counters with a double. I am unable to do that, so I parry with a complex sequence of gestures, taking care not to flip him the bird. He is equal to it, then he is superior to it. A vast string of digital signs is presented to me. He gazes expectantly. I wave and come back inside.

I am thankful for moments like these.


The black jumping spiders are back.

I think, probably, that they are not a threat to humanity. But they are black, and they are spiders, and they can jump. And they will jump anything - maybe just to enjoy the sheer glee of jumping. I watched one jump all the way up a flight of stairs in my housing block. It went one stair at a time - it was only a small black jumping spider so this was impressive enough. I could hear it giggling and shouting 'Yayyyy!' as it went, and this is why I think that jumping must surely be a gleeful activity for black spiders of the jumping sort.

Also there are lizards, and I like to take photos of them on my keitai. They are very rewarding sitters for my photographic art. Sometimes they do not even blink for very long periods of time. Naturally, their eyes become very dry as a result and they say 'Pik, please hurry'. In Japanese. They are Japanese speaking lizards which is not unusual at all. If you live in Japan.

Of an evening, mosquitos carpet the walls of the stairwell. I intend to speak to the landlord about this. I fear the rent may go up to finance this enterprise. If there is going to be carpeting I would surely like an Axminster in the living room. Although this initiative is to be applauded since it finds work for mosquitos that would otherwise be loitering in the streets spearing flesh with their noses (or probosci. Also they are Aedes albopictus. And if they spear flesh then they are female. And now entomologists will arrive at this blog through Google and will not find the rich volume of academic research they'd hoped for).

I think David Attenborough would really like this apartment block. There is a lot of material for wildlife programmes here. David, if you have vainly Googled yourself (or, indeed, Aedes albopictus) and are reading this now, then please come round for tea if you are ever in the area. I'm anxious to hear your thoughts on Salticidae and the suchlike. See you soon.

None of the animals used in this entry could actually talk. Those were terrible lies. The carpeting is true.
David, please still come round even though I am a dirty liar.


蛍 or maybe, 螢

Hiroko-Sensei, the Japanese teacher, decided to postpone tonight's lesson in favour of firefly viewing up in the mountains east of Wakayama City. Some Japanese folk tales hold that ほたる (Hotaru - fireflies) are the souls of the dead.
The dead have beautiful souls.


In the mountains at night, above the river running along between ricefields on this side and cedar covered mountains barely visible under a shy sliver of お月様 (moon) on the other. Seeing the tiny glows of fireflies for the first time and listening to the frogs and cicadas and the repeated sighs of '奇麗’ ('pretty') from Japanese who must experience this every year.

Is nice.

And the night and the warm and heavy air and the fire in the fly's insides hid anything I wanted them to so that, for a couple of hours, Japan was everything I thought it really must be back when I was a kid wanting to be Mifune Toshiro.

And for this I would have whispered thanks to the firefly I held for a short moment (a firefly held in the hands is called 'Genji Hotaru'. No one knew why. Something to do with 'Genji Monogatari'. Probably a reference to some stunt he pulled in an attempt to get laid) had it not been released and flown into the path of a Toyota, upon the windscreen of which it glowed briefly fierce.

Ah, there was beauty in that death, sad though it was.


Appearing to be slightly eccentric is an integral part of life these days. Rather than fight against this however, I’ve decided to embrace and nurture it as one might a dog, or a lesser panda.

It is sometimes fun.

This morning I was greeted with stifled giggling and the occasional spastic guffaw from the counter staff at the local Family Mart. I experienced a veritable kaleidoscope of emotion commencing with embarrassment and settling on mild anger. I think the cause for the hysteria was the fact that I buy exactly the same products at exactly the same time, at exactly the same store, everyday. Understandably, this is hilarious. As well as exact.

In the interests of completeness, I here present a list of products purchased in riotously humorous regularity:

One (1) salmon onigiri.
One (1) bottle of fashionable mineral water.
One (1) carton of vegetable and fruit extract, or ‘juice’ if you prefer.
One (1) ‘American’ chocolate chip ‘scone’.
One (1) box of twenty (20) Lucky Strike Lights.

Were I able to form complete, grammatically correct and witty ripostes in Japanese we three should no doubt have had a merry little scene in the convenience store this balmy morn with knee slapping, ribaldry and shrieks of ‘Oh me! Oh my!’

However, I cannot.

I desperately wish I’d had a monocle about my personage or some trinket that lends a fellow an air of polite sophistication.
I particularly wanted to say ‘So that’s how it’s going to be eh? Well then, I shall take my business elsewhere forthwith!’ but was slightly concerned that the meaning would be taken literally, as if I actually had some sort of movable enterprise. Like a tinker. Or the old guy who used to come and sharpen our lawnmower blades for inordinately long periods of time when I was a kid.

Alack. The staff will never know that the reason I buy these same things everyday is because I am invariably late, leaving no time for the ponderously slow reading of product livery, therefore increasing the chances of selecting an item that does not, in my opinion, taste of poo.

More stupidity at school also. Arising from my constant insistence on confusing the verb ‘to drink’ with the verb ‘to read’. It’s for this reason that fellow workers think I am able to read tea, possibly foretelling the arrival of tall dark strangers and such. I have also been known to drink newspapers, books and other forms of literature.

Will the fun ever stop? Not likely. As the Japanese vocabulary increases, so too does the likelihood of saying something unintentionally comedic. To wit:

The English teacher who gave several self-introductions informing attentive staffrooms of her home country’s ‘small penis ‘(‘jinko’ is population, ‘chinko’ is penis).

The English teacher who, smelling mould in the wardrobe, requested a product from the chemist that would put a stop to his ‘smelly bottom’ (‘oshiri’ is bottom, ‘oshiire’ is closet). So it was that a haemorrhoid treatment was later discovered in his cupboard by a friend.

I feel secure knowing I will imminently add my own experiences to the never-ending list of anecdotes. Experiences that, it is to be hoped, will feature a similarly scatological bent. Joy. Sweet joy.


What a thoroughly lame blogger I am.

Truth is, too much has been happening, and not always in a good way.

The good things are these: I have two Japanese classes a week now - a conversation class and a vocabulary/kanji cramming class. Reason being; I've decided to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test in December. I'm going for level 3, which means I'm skipping the beginner level. Rather arrogant of me perhaps, but my reasoning is that studying for a level that may very well prove to be beyond me is will force me to learn things I'd otherwise allow myself to avoid. It's true, I'm a lazy student. Solo study often sucks so this is the motivation I sorely need.

Also, I'm maybe falling in love. In a different language. 志穂美 is a great girl. I can't fight cynicism any longer. There's a thousand reasons I can't ever leave Japan now, and she's almost all of them.

And besides, I've realised either age, or Japan, or the ongoing battle with mosquitoes and cockroaches, or the recorded voice at the ATM, or the tune the rubbish truck plays at 7am, or all of these things, have conspired to chip away at my long cultivated aloofness.

I have no clue what point I'm making here.

And it seems I might never have to leave Japan, or at least, not soon. A recent conversation over ramen suggested that, should I wish to stay and teach after the JET contract terminates, a visa sponsor might be available. Good to know. Will now mull.

And the bad reasons for my constant failure to update? Here's one for your respective pipes - smoke it at your leisure. A couple of nights ago I was detained for 7 hours in the company of Wakayama's finest for an incident it would be unwise to describe here. I did a dumb thing. Some would say, a very dumb thing. But perfectly correct at the time. 'My' statement ran for six pages. If there's a next time, I was told, it's the first plane back to England for me. No charges were pressed.

Think I'll stay home and study a bit more. Maybe.