Archive for the 'Life' Category

Year’s End

Sunday, December 22nd, 2019

The years do seem to move faster, now that I’m older, and I am still coming to terms with the fact that it’s nearly Christmas. 2019 has been a very full year.

I started the year visiting family in Northern Ireland. I made it back a few times this year, and it’s always an adventure catching up with friends and family. This year I also managed to go on two holidays, one with a friend and one with M. I absolutely loved Canada. It was so beautiful.

Athabasca Glacier

I’m finally at the stage where I tell new people I meet that I work in theatre. This year I performed and was part of the production team of a professional show, I taught youth theatre, and I directed community theatre. I spend most of my weekends and evenings working on some sort of theatre production. I’ve also been in enough recording studios that I can say that I sing professionally.

Cast & Crew of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

I continue to study and I hopefully by next summer I will have finished my vocal qualification. The oddest thing I learnt to do this year was rock scream. This is not something I plan to do a lot, but it was interesting to find out how this can be done without destroying my voice.

2020 is looking like it will be a busy year, but I’m hopeful that it will be a good one.

End of Year Work

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

The year will end soon and it seems that this causes companies in Japan to go mad and to try to get as much work finished as possible before New Year. So suddenly I find myself recording more songs in a week than I recorded in the last few months. Being asked to record musical theatre songs makes sense, but I never expected to be singing backing vocals for a karaoke track of Khalid’s “Young Dumb & Broke”.

I’m also busy casting Cinderella for Tokyo International Players. The first rehearsal is this Saturday, so that part of the work is nearly completed. It’s going to be an exciting show. I’ll be blogging about it on my other website.

I have 10,000 words to write for my current module, but I’m struggling with getting started. I much prefer doing the research and the practical work, to the writing it all up part. But I will start soon. I’m looking forward to April, when this course will be completed.

Failing at Christmas

Friday, December 21st, 2018

This year, I am failing at Christmas.  My little Christmas tree is sitting forlornly without ornaments, none of my presents are wrapped, and my cards are not written.  Living in a place where Christmas is not a major holiday does not help as I have many other distractions.  I did manage to buy a turkey, as I do want to eat turkey on Christmas day, but given how expensive they are in Tokyo I did consider doing without.  I’m hoping once I finish working this evening that the Christmas spirit will kick in.


Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

We are moving apartments.  After being in Minami-senju for over 8 years we decided it was time for a change.  Shinjuku is certainly going to be that.  It’s loud and busy, but it’s also much closer to all the places I spend my time.  Google maps claims it will take me 22 minutes to get to Our Space by train, instead of the 55 minutes it was taking me.  I can also walk in 45, which is amazing.  Our Space is the rehearsal space used by Tokyo Comedy Store, Tokyo International Players, and TIP Youth, so at times I feel like I spend my life either at Our Space or travelling to Our Space.

Packing was a bit of a disaster, and far too much of it has been left to M.  I won’t be at home during the actual move, as I arrived in the UK this morning to study for a month.  It’s going to be strange when I arrive back in Tokyo as I’m not quite sure where the new apartment is.  Shinjuku is a big place.  I did see the apartment once, but I have no sense of direction so won’t find it again without help.  Life certainly feels strange at the minute.

New Goals

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Since it’s the start of another year I decided to update my “101 things in 1001 days” list.  I have reduced the number of travel related goals, as I don’t enjoy travelling as much as I used to.  I have removed everything to do with programming languages and tech conferences.  I will admit that it feels strange not to be planning to attend YAPC, but I want to attend different things in 2017.

I’ve added lots of new goals involving music and theatre, and kept all my writing, reading, and organisation goals.  At some point I really will tidy up all the cupboards in the apartment.



Thursday, January 12th, 2017

I forget that there are people who don’t enjoy reading books.  I was given a book recommendation at a course with the comment, “If you only manage to read one book this year, make sure it is this one.”  I read 132 books last year.  It wasn’t as many as I had hoped to read, so I will try to be more disciplined this year.  30 of those were non-fiction, showing my clear preference for fiction.  I’m hoping this year to increase the amount of non-fiction I read, helped by the large stack of non-fiction books I was bought for Christmas.


Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

I love traditional Christmas food. Tomorrow I’m going to roast a turkey, even though they are expensive and hard to find in Japan. Tonight I had mince pies and custard. I had to re-order our Christmas pudding from London as I couldn’t help but eat the one I had in the cupboard, which I ordered too far in advance. Thankfully the replacement has arrived in time for Christmas Day. I would make my own but the fruit is so expensive that it’s much cheaper to import a pudding than to attempt to make one.

I’m going to miss eating roasted parsnip but I did manage to find fresh brussel sprouts. We aren’t going to have ham, as it’s expensive and I’m not that keen on it. I also didn’t manage to find cranberries, so no cranberry sauce.

Japanese Christmas food is a little strange. There is a tradition of eating roast chicken from KFC, and we did do that one night this week. Our local supermarket is selling whole chickens, both fresh and roasted. I had never seen a whole roasted chicken in that shop before. They were rather small as Marty was able to eat a whole one himself for dinner, but it was really nice.

Christmas cakes aren’t fruit cakes, they are white sponges with strawberries and this year I saw quite a few chocolate versions. The little one I bought was lovely.

Japanese Petite Noel Cake

Japanese Petite Noel Cake

Merry Christmas!

Strange Day

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

I’ve been trying to rehearse today, but I’m struggling with the lyrics of the song.  Today does not feel like the day to sing songs about the American Revolution.

One more star, one more stripe
Til this bloodshed’s finally through
One more star, one more stripe
Til they come back home to you
One more star, one more stripe
When there’s nothing you can do
If they take all the things
That define what you were, and are,
One more star

— “The Flagmaker, 1775”, Jason Robert Brown

Tim Burton Cosplay

Monday, October 31st, 2016

We didn’t bother dressing up for Hallowe’en this year, but we did put a lot of effort into our costumes for the Danny Elfman concert we went to last weekend. I wasn’t sure what characters we should choose, but in the end I settled on “Beetlejuice” as Marty looks more like Beetlejuice than he looks like any of the characters that Jonny Depp has played.  I was able to buy a costume for Marty, but I made my own.  I ended up feeling like I was drowning in tulle. The 20 metres I bought isn’t really enough for anything other than a fake wedding dress, but it took over my apartment.

Beetlejuice & Lydia

Beetlejuice & Lydia

The concert was wonderful with music from many Tim Burton movies including “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Beetlejuice,” “Batman,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Edward Scissorhands,” and “The Corpse Bride”.  I love the music from “Edward Scissorhands” and it was great to hear it performed live by a choir and orchestra.  Sandy Cameron, the violin soloist, was amazing.  I didn’t know that Danny Elfman sang and was very impressed with him singing the role of “Jack Skeleton”.  I also liked the multi-media presentation that was shown along with the music with many beautiful concept drawings of the various characters.  It was a great night out.


100th Book

Friday, September 30th, 2016

I read my hundredth book of the year last week.  Last year I saw this milestone coming and picked what I thought was an appropriate book, but there was no planning this year.

As The Beast Sleeps, is a play by Northern Irish playwright Gary Mitchell.  I didn’t find it easy to read.  Not because of the writing or the language, which is wonderfully authentic, but because the play is set in loyalist North Belfast after the peace process.  The play deals with brutal in-fighting between members of the loyalist paramilitaries as they struggle to deal with the changing environment in Northern Ireland.

Living in Japan I can often forget about Northern Irish culture.  I don’t dwell on certain aspects of my childhood, but this play brought back memories of living in North Belfast, some of which I had buried.