My 2014 in Review

This is the time of year that most people take time to be with their families and spend time with people they love or haven’t seen in a long time. As for me though, I’m spending time in the office working hard (or hardly working) which is the first time in my life that I’ve actually not spent time with my family or friends on Christmas day itself. Of course I’ll be spending time later tonight with my in-laws and wife so it’s not all bad!

It’s been a rather crazy and exciting year all told for me. I travelled back to South Africa in February, changed schools in July, got my Japanese drivers license in and got married in October. It’s only now at the end of the year that I have finally gotten into a rhythm of sorts and feel like I’ve got a handle on my job and new life. Continue reading My 2014 in Review

Let it Snow!

For me December has always been a time of warm sunny days that are spent relaxing at home with family or hanging out with friends at the beach. Japanese winters though are a beast of a different nature.

Especially now that I’ve moved to central Japan where snow is all too common during the winter months I’ve found it pretty tough to drag myself out of my warm futon to try and brave the blizzards and icy walkways on my way to school in the mornings. Continue reading Let it Snow!

Staying Fit in the Cold of Winter

One of my main gripes with the winters here in Japan is that I lose the chance to get out for regular jogs. It’s exacerbated by the longer commute I do at my new school which sees me arrive back home when it’s pitch dark and freezing cold, not exactly the most wonderful environment to go jogging in.

So with my much needed jogging sessions not being viable any longer and the threat of good home cooking and too much kotatsu time adding up to a potential gain in winter fat I was desperately searching for other ways I could stay in shape during winter without having to brave the cold of winter. Continue reading Staying Fit in the Cold of Winter

Testing the Jawbone Up24

About a year ago I took to using a Fitbit Flex in the hopes that being able to see the raw numbers behind my daily activities would spur me on to exercise more and to lead a healthier life. Fast forward to now and my Flex is sitting in the dusty confines of a drawer as it sadly sobs in its loneliness.

That’s always been the problem with wearable tech for most people, it’s only as good as the advice it gives you. My Fitbit collected tons of data on my daily steps and sleeping habits but it gave me no feedback on how to use all that data to improve my habits. Continue reading Testing the Jawbone Up24

On Being Sick in Japan

One of the main drawbacks with working in schools here in Japan is that you’ll be exposed to a multitude of germs and viruses that almost every kid seems intent on spreading on to you.

Especially during the winter months from December until February there’s usually large outbreaks of influenza that see many schools shutting down in hopes of stopping the illness in its tracks. Continue reading On Being Sick in Japan

The End of Summer

With the end of August in sight it means that in the next few weeks classes will start up and the summer holidays will be a thing of the past.

It also means that I’ll get to start teaching at my new school and get an idea of what the teachers and students will be like. So far my main school seems rather high level compared to where I taught previously and it also looks like I’m going to have to be far more active in terms of creating materials and activities rather than relying on the lessons I did over the past three years. I think that’s a good thing though, because if there is no challenge to your job then your motivation to push yourself begins to wane a little. Continue reading The End of Summer

Back in Black

Well hello there! It’s been almost an age since I’ve last had a chance to grace this site with any sort of update. You can’t say I didn’t warn you though!

Thankfully now though most of the niggles that come with changing jobs and moving seem to have been wrestled to the ground and I can finally start adjusting to my new circumstances and environment. That also means that I can finally get back into the groove of typing out the odd blog post and maybe also getting a bit more proactive in terms of my other sites. Continue reading Back in Black

Hitting the Pause Button

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to sit down and knock out a few hundred words for this here blog. With good reason though as I’ve been rushing to and fro in my quest to obtain a visa extension for give me another few years in Japan as my original visa is about to reach the end of its usefulness.

And as anyone who has experience with bureaucracy will know, Japan excels at making you sweat with paperwork of any sort. Luckily it seems like I had everything they needed so I spent a brief 15 minutes handing over forms and waiting for them to check that everything was in order before I was given a receipt in my passport and told to wait for about 2 to 3 weeks before heading back there to pay ¥4,000 and get my new Resident card. Continue reading Hitting the Pause Button

A Life on the Run

A few years back if you’d asked me if there was any chance of me becoming a regular jogger I’d have probably died from laughter. Fast forward to now though and most days after I get home from school I strap on pair of trainers and take to the roads winding through the rice fields near my apartment.

It’s gotten to be pretty much an obsession with me, to the point where I’ve actually bought a heart rate monitor and log all my sessions on Runkeeper. Continue reading A Life on the Run