Thursday, 23 February 2017


The world really IS a small place.

A friend in the UK met her new neighbor the other day. Discovered that she'd lived in Japan. Had missed Japan after leaving. Had started reading a blog about life in Japan as part of her reconnecting.

A blog by a British woman living with her Japanese mother in law.

Who has dementia......


me! here!

Hi Erin!!!  ;-)

Isn't that strange??? There are many, many blogs by expats living in Japan. I know quite a lot of people in the UK. Sarah was an old colleague from my journalist days in the UK 25 plus years ago. I haven't actually met her for years, we connect on Facebook now.

And her new neighbor is a reader of this blog.


And in other, less happy news.

I did one day of volunteer work for the Asian Winter Games. Then quit in disappointment and anger. And exhaustion.

My volunteer place, the VIP and event executive HQ hotel. They had too many volunteers and the staff (civil servants from many places around Japan) didn't USE the volunteers for much at all. Just made us stand in the hotel lobby....for hours. Decoration volunteers.

I directed a few people to the breakfast room. I helped a Chinese women with a suitcase. Showed two businessmen (not AWG people at all) the way to a lunch place. Err. I held up a sign "Observation Tour" for 20 mins.

Errr. That was it.
I didn't escort ANY VIP to a waiting taxi. Didn't share any local knowledge with anyone. Just stood for 5 hours. Then lunch. Then stood some more...

So I quit. Told the Volunteer Center why. They offered more work in a different place, but I'm already hearing tales of boredom and frustration fro students and old friends at other venues. So - No thankyou.
I'd rather have my life back.

So. Here is a picture of me as a brief volunteer at the Asian Winter Games..


Dear Son is home and looking after everything. Best of all he provides a bit of dinner-time chat to enliven the evening.

One thing. Okaasan and pee smell. She really really smells strongly of pee. After she's been to the toilet it even wafts up to the 2nd floor.
Is it her body? Her urine-soaked clothes? I must do a major laundry blitz.
Or does her actual pee smell so strong???

I have to investigate.

Oh, and the cat has a lump on his neck. Have to take care of that.

No time to dwell on volunteer disappointment!! Got Pokemon to catch, pee to check, cat to attend to....onwards.

Hi Erin!!! I am thinking to come to the Uk in September - we can meet!!


  1. Well, shoot. What a terrible disappointment for the volunteers. Your heart was in the right place! Good for you!

    I agree, the world can be very small to be so large. Glad the two of you cold reconnect!

    Okaasan might possibly have a bladder infection or developing infection if her urine is so strong.
    Is she having any dramatic cognition issues apart from the ones she already has?

    Poor Kitty!! He's been through quite a bit already, as have you. I hope you catch all your pokemon!

  2. If she doesn't drink enough water she may be dehydrated causing the urine to become overly concentrated. Try to make her drink more water for awhile and see if that helps.


    1. Hi Francesca - yes, I am giving here glasses of water a lot more now. "What's this? Sake?" she said 9 am yesterday.....

    2. sake!? LOL!!! :-)

  3. Hi!!

    Seriously spooky world! Couldn't believe it when Sarah said she knew you.

    And I'd love to meet up if you're ever in the area :)

    1. We will! I am planning a UK trip in strange to think of this connection! Did you live in Hokkaido before?

    2. Nope! Can't even remember how I came across your blog, think it was through another one I was reading at the time. Just thought it was really interesting and genuine, obviously kept reading all this time (left Japan in 2010, eek!) :)

      To make it even crazier, I'm not even British - American married to a Brit and moved here a few years ago!

  4. Sorry to say, but that type of volunteer activity is all too common here. I call it the "gaijin as decoration" style- it makes an organization look cool and internationaly if they have some foreign members and participants. However, all the "real" work needs to only be done by certified members of Team Japan.

    God forbid that one of the delegates actually interacts with a non-Japanese person! Who knows what that person will say about Japan, life here as a foreigner, etc. It is a situation that I've seen numerous times. Plus, if the volunteers actually do real work, it makes the paid civil servants seem superfluous.

    1. Oh I know...TV programs have a lot of that - the decoration gaijin. But even sadder to say - this wasn't that situation because I was the only foreign volunteer that day. Everyone else was Japanese. After our orientation on Saturday we thought we would be escorting VIPS to their cars and making sure the right VIP got the right taxi. But most of us didn't even do that. We literally just stood in the hotel lobby. The civil servant event staff took VIPS to their cars...and we stood and watched, mostly. They had hugely over-estimated how many volunteers they needed.