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03 Jul 2004: Countdown

Right now, I'm taking it easy.  Leaving BGI on June 30 meant that I had a fixed, immutable deadline for all of my tasks. For the last couple of weeks, this translated into a lot of long days. I breathed a sigh of relief this Wednesday when the big push was finally over.

Aki and I had planned to go to Disney Sea on July 1 and then Nikko on July 2. However, as we were so exhausted from completing our work commitments, we decided to postpone our Nikko trip until later in the Summer. I have, however, some photos from Disney Sea for you.

So we have around two months before we leave Japan. First things first, we're off to New Zealand from July 6. After that, we'll be sorting out the moving arrangements, including a short scouting trip to the UK at the end of this month. I was going to start applying for jobs before I reached the UK, but with so much to do, I've decided to put this off a bit. I also have some decisions to make about my career direction before I can do anything.

Hmm, I suppose this is the eye of the storm.

Book Corner

Nothing is worse than being a gaijin who is trying very hard to look like he's into Japanese culture. So when I received a copy of Helen DeWitt's The Last Samurai a few years back, which has nothing to do with that Tom Cruise film, it sat on the shelf for a long time. I wasn't in the mood for reading a patently English book called "The Last Samurai" on the train amongst the Japanese masses.

Which is a shame. I did start reading the book but got bogged down very quickly, as it seemed to be going nowhere. However, if you persist, as I did in recent months carefully hiding the book's cover from my fellow Japanese travellers, it's quite a remarkable book. Stylistically, it's uniquely loose and rarely obeys any of the rules of grammar. Yet, it's intensely packed with strong literary and philosophical references, which means the book is quite an intellectual powerhouse, so much so that I needed to take time out occasionally to understand exactly what I had been reading.

The book is clever, engaging (after a while) and funny. It's difficult to summarize the book without giving anything away, but it's the story of a boy called Ludo being raised by his single mother Sybilla. She has different ideas about raising children, for example, Ludo starts mastering Greek at the age of four. Looking for something different and challenging? Try this.