Sunday, March 09, 2003
Hello Blighty!

I'm back! And, predictably, it feels like I've never been away. I'm back at my parents' house while Butter and I look for jobs - we've both applied for a couple today and I've got an interview this week (I think). We've eaten roast potatoes, quiche, backed beans on toast and Branston pickle. Not all on the same plate. And we've watched loads of football on TV, read the real, papery versions of The Guardian and The Sunday Times, and I've bored everybody stupid by going on and on about Japan.

The flight home was soooo long. We went 26 hours without sleep, after getting up at 4 am. It was raining in Tokyo, raining in Seoul and - guess what? - raining in London. We transferred in Korea, and it was amazing to see the startling difference in customer service between Japan and Korea. In Japan, everybody at the airport is polite, kind and welcoming. In Korea, they yawn in your face while running the metal detector up your leg. The Korean Air flight attendants are pretty miserable, too. We had the vegetarian meal, of course, and we were heartily sick of steamed veggies by the end of our journey. I think it must have been mental fatigue, or possibly an allergic reaction to chewy Korean Air mushrooms, which caused me to leave the bottle of sake I'd bought for my dad hanging on the back of a trolley at Heathrow.

So... I'm back in my hometown, the eleventh most violent place in England, according to the local paper. It's certainly crime-ridden. We got new mobiles yesterday (yeah, the mobiles here are rubbish compared to the ones in Japan), and the guy in The Link told us that every day somebody steals one of the fake display phones. They don't even work! Dummies stealing dummies. And all the shops here are either charity shops or the equivalent of 100 yen shops with names like Nice Price and Pukka Prices.

The pictures above are of my sister's garden, and my other sister playing football today. She's ordered me not to write the score on here, but I think her expression says it all.

I will catch up with my emails this week, and send the Emily postcards to those of you who are waiting. Plus I need to call loads of people in England. Just give me a few days for the jet lag to recede...