At its current rate of lazy, never-ending cheap self-one-upmanship it calls a plot, Heroes probably won’t make it past mid-season before its characters have all been made into equally indestructible super-human beings with god-like abilities. What then? Do they settle it with a tickle fight.

Is this show written by teenage nerds on ritalin, or did they just post a poll on the back covers of sci-fi mags?

Walking home in the morning, cursing the pre-monsoon rain that forces you to spend all 30 minutes of the way back, hunched under a cheap plastic umbrella, suddenly hearing a loud thump above the noise of rain falling, lifting your head up and noticing that some bird just plopped all over your umbrella; a bird that, judging by the radioactive hue of the goop dripping from all sides, had some serious digestive problems…

And then realising that, at this very moment, your life could be much shittier.


Aside from a brief emergency trip to an eye-specialist last Summer (literally a mom-and-pop operation, whose office was approximately half the size of my current bedroom), I have never, during my stays in Japan, been afflicted with illnesses serious enough to mandate a trip to the hospital. At least nothing that couldn’t be treated with a self-administered treatment based on quinine-rich tonic water (aptly sterilized and base-neutralized with proper dosage of gin and lime).

This morning, though, I had to check in at my neighbourhood clinic and undergo a whole series of health exams. Not that I was feeling in any particularly bad shape (nasty lingering chest cough and faint hangover from previous night’s gin&shochu outing aside), but the Japanese Ministry of Education and Research insists on making sure that I don’t have tuberculosis, cancer or bubonic plague before even considering shelling out some Yen toward my World Domination Plot research, otherwise known as PhD.

In the grand tradition of furthering cross-cultural enlightenment that has made this blog famous in the greater Shin-Nakano Sanchome area, I figured I would share some random observations about the experience:

  • Stuff I emptied out from my apartment: 56 sq. meters’ worth of furniture, art, daily life crap and assorted paraphernalia.
  • Stuff I still owned after distributing everything else to friends, family and random strangers: 6 small boxes (books and some clothes).
  • Stuff actually in my possession and not currently sitting in a basement until I have a home again someday: 1 suitcase.

The first metric tonne is always the hardest to part with… After that it just comes off naturally.

This morning, I sat through the last written test of my life.(*)

(*) Don’t get all excited now: I am far from done… Still got a couple reports and projects to hand in, not to mention thesis defense(s) in the coming months/years. Not to mention JLPT in December and any other such certification test I may ever be foolish enough to apply for… Still:

The last written test of my entire existence!

Things I officially cannot — or shouldn’t be able to — do at work without my magic magnetic ID card:

  • Walk past security in the lobby.
  • Get on the elevator to my floor.
  • Go to the bathroom after 7pm.
  • Walk in or out of my office after 9pm
  • Access the building’s gym.
  • Access the lab room and play with my little robot friends.
  • Access the lab room and play Wii Tennis on the lab’s 20 mile-wide plasma screen.

Damn you Big Brother…