Yup, it’s time for an update.

My mum came to visit for 10 days this month which was a lovely time. I had to work, so she did some solo travelling by the train system. She did really well for someone who speaks no Japanese! It was her 4th visit though, so at least it was familiar to her. We did some sightseeing around here, went to the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge then 2 days in Hiroshima and Miyajima.

I managed to break my Miyajima curse! The 4 previous times I’d been it had rained, but this time the weather was perfect!

I’ve also been in the wars again as far as my health is concerned. Gastritis is not fun at all.

Also we had our kids’ picnic at work yesterday. We had about 200 kids with their parents in a huge park in Ako, which was pretty frantic! We did all sorts of games with them and finished off with piñatas. My group of six-year-olds were having trouble breaking open mine; it was pretty sturdy! It gave me untold pleasure to beat the crap out of Anpanman! The kids went nuts grabbing as many sweets as they could. A very good end to the day. Afterwards our boss shouted us coffee and cake, but we all wanted the free water!!

The beer at home afterwards was VERY satisfying!

And now, memory hole, here it comes…

IKEA are opening a store in Kobe, and to celebrate they’ve decked out a train – hideously.

Apparently I brought some cocaine back from Vegas…

Flowers are losing their scent, thanks to air pollution. Now it could be linked to the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder which is still affecting hives across Europe and the UK.

Shock! Tokyo Disneyland doesn’t cater for foreigners! I guess if they’re after the lucrative Chinese/Korean market then it makes sense. I still have strong memories of watching Ron Howard et al. speaking fluent Japanese at Universal Studios Japan in 2001.

It is a sign of how the times are changing though. China is becoming a dominant world culture – not just an economic power.

On a more serious note, this changing of the locus of world power, plus a number of other factors (including my pet hate: biofuels) is causing the price of basic commodities and foodstuffs to soar. The price of rice has skyrocketed in the past few months, leading to food riots in some countries. It looks like we’ll all be growing potatoes instead before too long.

Some may say that we could just start popping vitamin pills to get what we need, but recent research has indicated that people who do that are probably creating more risk for their long-term health than they realize.

It may all not matter since an asteroid could hit us in 2029. If it doesn’t we could all be living in the stars. Or we could just be living forever.

Sounds like we should all try to do something to make us happy. You could try some things from this list made in 1829, or move to Denver.

As for me, during Golden Week I will be going one better than having a digital day of rest – and going for a week without my computer, e-mail, mobile phone and maybe even TV. I’ll likely get out of my apartment and head off somewhere quiet(er).

How about overseas? At least check out what’s happening in airline security to make that part of the process as smooth as possible. Europe is always beckoning me, but once there it looks like trains are best for the short-haul trips and planes for the longer ones – that’s despite the air tickets going for next to nothing.

A Sakai experience is not out of the question either…

I’m glad to see that Robert Forster has released a solo album.

I’m not happy at all that the new Astroboy looks like a sumo wrestler.

Mmmm… good taste is somewhat lacking