Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Peruvians in Japan

Thanks to Katie for this link to an article in The Guardian online:,7792,1659724,00.html

I thank my lucky stars that Tito is over here in multi-cultural England with me today, rather than still in a Japan which is developing increasingly hostile opinions of the barbaric foreigners in their midst... especially Peruvians, of whom there are many. Peruvian and Japanese cultures are worlds apart - in fact they are pretty much the polar opposite of each other in terms of behaviour and customs. It's easy to see how the expressive and excitable Peruvians can become scapegoats for the ills of modern Japanese society. When I left Tito in Japan in the summer of 2003 I was extremely concerned as I knew that the police had begun to stop visible (non-white) minorities in public places to ask for their 'gaijin' foreigner card - something that Tito didn't have. He had to travel repeatedly down to Tokyo and Yokohama to apply for permission to leave (as an overstayer of over 10 years!) and thankfully had no dealings with the police before leaving in February 2004. However, I feel for his friends who have felt the attitudes of their host culture grow steadily more suspicious due to the flagrant scare-mongering of the media. True, the persecuted Peruvians choose to remain working in Japan of their own free will, but when they are supporting, feeding and educating their families back home, what choice do they have?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005



Term time at David Game College has finished. I am now teaching just two and a half hours a day - a private class with a charming Iranian girl called Shirin. She is absolutely scrumptious (aptly, Shirin means 'sweet' in Farsi) and, frankly, it is just so nice to have a break from repeatedly urging monosyllabic youths to refrain from using their mobiles/drawing on the desk/drooling on the desk during class. Shirin is working really hard as she wants to enter the University Foundation Programme in January, and at present her English is pretty poor. She's very motivated, which is delightful. So, what am I doing with the other twenty-one and a half hours of free time each day? you may well ask. Well, I am expecting my first ever laptop to be delivered any moment now, and thus am currently working on my outlines in order to finally type up my short stories. It's really exciting to be getting on with them at long last. I am certainly not short of ideas, I simply need to mentally spew them onto paper! Ahem. Other than that, I am very much enjoying existing in Fulham. Our gym, Fitrooms, is superb (never thought I'd hear myself say that!) and we are relishing trying out the local bars, restaurants and curry houses. Tito has just put up some Christmas lights in our room, and I bought a nice pointsettia. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in our cozy attic room. Right, I'm off to write Christmas cards...

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