Sunday, February 09, 2003
I've been getting a few hits from people searching for Gloomy Bear on Google (along with more hits from, I assume, guys typing in 'naked girlfriend' - hey, if I put those words on here every day I could soon be up there with blogger Tony Pierce, who's had more hits than Madonna) so I've written a page all about Gloomy. Read it here:

Claws Out For The Lads

It's Valentine's Day this week, of course. The Love Hotels will be heaving. Valentine's Day is celebrated differently in Japan. While it's a two-way thing in the west, over here girls give presents to guys, and guys don't have to reciprocate. And even if you don't have a sweetheart, your sweet tooth needn't suffer, because Japanese women dish out giri (obligation) chocolates to their colleagues, boss and, I'm hoping, teachers. However, men, before you start grumbling about how great Valentine's Day sounds over here in Japan, March 14th is White Day, which is when we chaps have to repay the favour and buy sweets or cookies for the ladies. I'm not sure how Butter and I are going to celebrate Valentine's Day. Perhaps she could buy me a big present and I'll wait till White Day, by which time we'll back in the UK and, of course, Japanese customs will seem a bit...pointless.

One of my students isn't going to be doing much loving this February 14th. He came to his lesson late today:

Him: "Sorry, I'm late. I had a quarrel with my girlfriend."

Me: "Oh... Is everything okay?"

Him: "No, everything is really bad."

Me (floundering): "Um... so what happened?"

Him: "We said goodbye to each other."

Me: "How long had you been together."

Him: "A year and a half."

Me: "Er... OK, let's change the subject." (In a bright, cheery voice.) "Today we're going to practice ordering a taxi."

I've joined a link-exchange site called Blogsnob, which is why every time you visit this site you should see a different link directly beneath 'Routes Outta MarkCity' on the left. And while we're talking about this site, I've been informed that if you view this page on a Japanese computer you see Chinese characters in the 'Ten Things I Miss About the UK' entry below. They're not meant to be there. It's just weird computer shit.

Here's another hotly recommended blog: The Reverse Cowgirl's Blog, in which a writer tried to justify the size of her porn collection.