Since the beginning of the month, I have been enjoying my hard-earned unemployment (technically: the long-programmed end of my two year post-doc fellowship) by travelling around Europe, visiting friends, family and new locales. I literally cannot remember the last time I had an entire month off (it would have to be at least 5 years ago, before that stint in indentured servitude commonly known as “PhD”) and the only downside is the incredible speed at which it has flown by so far. I must also work very hard at reminding myself that regular life, whether in Europe or Japan, does not usually entail spending days on end lounging by a pool overlooking the lush mountainous French countryside, evenings eating cheese and sausages bought fresh from the village market and a casual hop to the next region/city/country by plane, train or car, every couple days… But it’s nice to know that it’s there, were I to relocate westwards one day.

Featuring: sun, south, mediterranean sea, wine, more wine, wine&cheese, wine&sausage, dessert wine, mountain wine, Paris, Catalunya, Lozère, Côte d’Azur, Berlin, TGV, speed boat, airplane…

Not featuring: awesome clubs, DJing and miscellaneous moments of fleeting debauchery, because don’t we all have enough of that in our lives. Also because (good) Berlin clubs are still awesomely against any mobile-phone use indoors (anyway: if you really need to post a picture of your night out, you obviously aren’t having enough fun when it occurs).

Before repair: looks like it was attacked by a wild beast.Cat couldn't resist the temptation of a last few scratchesBit of water...... and it comes right off!Cats: not helpingFinal result!

It’s not that the cats specifically target the shoji… It’s just that said shoji happen to be just behind their favourite indoor climbing equipment (aka “curtains”). Not that these shoji were all that intact to begin with (couple small tears and a few individually patched cells, not to mention 30+ year-old paper).

Anyway, now that the household’s feline population has been taught to (mostly) stay away from curtains, I felt it might be time to get rid of the “just-survived-a-tiger-encounter” look of the bedroom sliding screens, while partaking in the time-honoured Japanese tradition of replacing shoji paper.

This time, however, I opted for the supposedly cat-proof plastified version, which comes with the added bonus that it is heat-reactive and can be applied with a press iron, without separate glue.

It took moving away to Tokyo (being back on my semi-regular weekend trip to Kyoto), to finally get to see a traditional dance show at Kaburenjo. With the extra awesome bonus of hanging out backstage and watching Tomi-san (who invited us) get ready.