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Ex-Tabula Rasa

I shall try to define myself in a sentence with a pithy comment at the end:
I'm just an English bloke who lives in Canada after marrying a Canadian lady he met while living in Japan. Yeah, that old cliché.

Shameless Self-Promotion:
My utterly hilarious blog is here
And another one is here

Wow! I'm on Twitter now!
Averaging three stars a tweet since the death of Favrd!

Still Want More?
Email me for fun and frolics*! My address goes along the lines of Japanese (dot) smoth (@) gmail (dot) com. *Actual ratio of fun to frolics may vary.
Apr 15 '14

Man, I wish I knew what kind of killer ebola is

Apr 13 '14


Supporters gather around 96 empty seats covered with Liverpool scarves in memory of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster, at Wigan Athletic and Arsenal match

Apr 12 '14
This asshole woke me up at 4:00.

This asshole woke me up at 4:00.

Apr 11 '14

Friday 5 of the best meals I can remember off the top of my head

  • Kyoto, under the cherry blossom trees during Hanami, with Mrs Fuiru and two friends. We’d visited Ginkakuji temple and then wandered along the Philosopher’s Walk to find a spot to eat in. The route was packed, and it took us almost the whole distance to find somewhere suitable, under the trees, next to the stream. It was a gorgeous spring day. Earlier in the morning we’d gone to a specialist foreign food store and bought all the things we couldn’t normally get in our small towns - Smoked meats, Pate, French bread, crisps that weren’t seafood flavour - and a bottle of wine, corkscrew and plastic glasses. It was the most glorious picnic I can think of.
  • Tokyo, in a tiny sushi restaurant called Daiwa next to Tsukiji Fish Market. Mrs Fuiru and I had been wandering around the market, and after we left we wanted a late breakfast. This was the first place we found. It was a little hole in the wall across the street with enough room for about half a dozen people. The set breakfast menu was amazing: fish that literally melted in my mouth. A few years later I saw that the Guardian called it the place to go if you want the best sushi in the world.
  • Canoe, Toronto, when my wife graduated from Teachers college and her parents took us out. I don’t remember exactly what I ate, but it had fish and foie gras. We all tried everything that everyone else ordered, and each taste was better than the last.
  • My wedding dinner. Friends still talk about the cake. I still think of the short ribs. I’m still bitter that we didn’t get any crab cakes.
  • A large commercial izakaya in Ena city, Japan, where the girl sitting opposite me (who I’d had a crush on since we first met) kept brushing her leg against mine and when I asked her about it she said “isn’t it obvious? I’m attracted to you,” and before I left we kissed outside long enough for me to miss the last train and I was forced to go back and ask if I could stay at anyone’s apartment and she said I could stay with her and a few weeks later when I told a friend that she and I had started dating he smiled and said “you’re gonna marry that girl” and he was right. I don’t remember what I ate.
23 notes Tags: food
Apr 10 '14
A pretty accurate portrayal of the average toddler.

A pretty accurate portrayal of the average toddler.

Apr 10 '14

Roll Up


The last month of Tim Hortons cups, with their indecent stench of futile hope and misplaced optimism, have been painful for me. Every afternoon, my daily coffee has promised potential riches - A new car! Gift cards! Money! Free coffee! A muffin! - before pulling them away from me, the carpet of possibility yanked away by the greedy hands of painful reality.

They don’t come out and say it outright, though. There is no ‘lose,’ or ‘lost,’ or ‘loser.’ Not even a “you haven’t won this time.” No, everything is insinuated. “Please play again,” it sneers, a contemptuous smile on the underside of my beverage container. My failure is inferred from the logical deduction of “if it’s not telling me what I won, then I must have…lost.”

"Please play again," they say in both English and French, lest my awareness of perpetual defeat be hampered by the vagaries of language.

"Please play again, you loser, you who can’t even claim a free donut, let alone a car, who probably can’t even drive, what with your inability to procure a caffeinated beverage without somehow becoming crushed in defeat by a cardboard vessel.

"Reessayez, S.V.P., you worthless sack of loss. Go on, reessayez and lose again. Go on, I dare you! Reessayez!"

Well, today my Tim Hortons store had run out of Roll Up cups. The familiar branded cup, with its charlatan’s promises had been replaced by the old familiar logo and brown background. My cup promised nothing except the leak-free safe storage of coffee before I maneuvred it to my lips.

But still, even when my drink was finished, I removed the lid and rolled up the rim. I rolled up the entire circumference of the rim. There were no messages. There was no imploring me to play again. Promised nothing, I had been given nothing.

And once again, my soul was at rest. My coffee cup was indifferent to me. It no longer judged me, a capsule of faded dreams that hated me for its own existence. It didn’t care. And I was free to not care too.

So it will go. I will continue to roll up my coffee cup rims, and I will breathe a sigh of relief, because I have not been betrayed by hope, I am not viewed with contempt by a harlot who promises everything and gives nothing, I am not a loser. And I will do this every day, until the next Roll Up the Rim promotion begins, at which point I will stop, because then the mockery will begin anew.

Or not, I guess. I might have won a car.

Apr 9 '14

A Slightly Exaggerated Account of an Actual Conversation

At lunchtime, my phone rings. I recognise the number as my dentist’s office. To my surprise, when I answer, I hear my dentist himself, rather than one of the office staff who usually calls me.

"Hi Phil," he says, "it’s Dr Freeman. How are you?"

"Fine," I reply. "And you?"

"No, I mean, really," - his voice italicises - "how ARE you? How are your gums? After yesterday?"

"Not too bad," I answer. "A bit sore, but I’m chewing on the other side of my mouth and it’s not too bad."

Dr Freeman pauses. “Oh. Okay. Good.” He sounds a little surprised.

"So doc," I say after a second passes, "you really messed me up in there yesterday, didn’t you?"

A long pause.

"Yes," he eventually replies, "yes, I did."

Mar 30 '14
Today I was sick and Mrs Fuiru was sick and so Audrey had to look after us.

Today I was sick and Mrs Fuiru was sick and so Audrey had to look after us.

Mar 30 '14


i need this


My boss has this umbrella. It’s the coolest thing about him apart from the fact that he expenses his curling league costs.



i need this


My boss has this umbrella. It’s the coolest thing about him apart from the fact that he expenses his curling league costs.

(Source: howmanyletters)

Mar 29 '14

No idea why Audrey’s latest catchphrase is “Baaaabe, coffee please!” or where she heard it from, but it still raises a smile every time.