down on the farm yeah damn chickens

its so much cooler here near mt.fuji, who i see every morning unless its cloudy or hazy. Coolness is a good thing.

Swam in a mountain lake, where the water was so blue I could hardly believe it and fish swam round my toes. Swimming in water thats not freezing is also a novely for me.

Fuji eco park is not quite as expected ^ it feels a bit abandoned apart from the wwoofers its just one guy. but its saved by the great australian couple and japanese engineer phd student who are great fun and have shown josie and what to do.

mostly it involves the chickens, or weeding. i have run about chasing chickens, grabbing the bastards and throwing them back into their pen, feeding them, collecting eggs and allsorts. its all rather good fun or at least its outside with incredible scenery including those fantastic crows and now also eagles. weeding is fun because it usually involes long rambling conversation …the australians in particular have some great tales

there is also a black labrador here who is kept chained up, we let him off today and he ran about gleefully pissing on everything, and then out the gate. he came back eventually.

also, last night we killed a chicken..onenot laying eggs any more (they are all battery rescued birds so are not amazingly good shape) this morning i plucked it and helped cut it up, had its gizzards for lunch and stirfried breast. talk about new experiences!

eep have to go now, up early tomorrow for a fesitval or something. will be looking to move on from here soon if i can because it may end up just me, josie and 500 chickens in a couple of weeks..

Still here in Japan

This is amazing, I can hardly believe I am really here! Between the landscape, people, culture, environment, social conventions,history Japan is like nothing I’ve experienced before.

I am keeping a paper journal and occasional typed notes, so it will be awhile till you see anything substantial here. But the last couple of weeks have been packed. Temples and zen gardens through to shopping in Tokyo’s shibuya, karaoke with Mark and Hikari and sitting in an old Japanese tatami mat house by a river in Kyoto listening to Douglas playiing a guitar-esq intstrument from Hokkaido.

The contradictions in this place are as crazy as my mind – the culture permeates everything, sometimes ovewhelmingly and choakingly so, giving a japanese twist to the whole place (even McDonalds is totally different! :))

it is very very very hot here, this is a new thing for me, it never gets cold unless you go somewhere with air con – I never thought I’d miss english weather, though even already I’m forgetting what it is like not to feel sweaty and hot all the time 🙂 mmm! THE CROWS ARE AMAZING, huge birds that you find at the shrines, their cawing making a nice background music especially combined with the cicadas. The dogs are seriously cute, tend to be what looks like a kinda of minature husky thing. I don’t like how they are usually kept indoors the whole time though.

right now i need to rush to catch a bus to kyoto, then its a day of travelling to get to the eco-park. But I’m still here, doing well, lots to think about. Its a great place to go, though for god’s sake go in autumn or spring! 🙂 🙂

Time to go

Its a strange thing, packing a 55 litre rucksack and knowing this is what you will be living out of for the next 6 months. I will be leaving here in a bit to head to Reading and seeing Zak one last time, and then tomorrow morning up early for the airport. eep! It still hasn’t really sunk in.

I’m sure I’m forgetting something but ah well. I wonder if you can tell a person by what they pack? Along with the usual stuff I have settled on the following books and general extras

  • a rather old but hopefully usuable mp3-cd player, and many mp3 cds. MUSIC
  • some mp3 cds of audio books courtesy my friend Chris ranging from Asimov to the iiliad (book of the film ;)), to philosophy, northern lights trilogy, clockwork orange and Dune. woo! so much for getting away from too many books. Actually it will be nice to have some other english voices to listen to if I find it all too much
  • a GO Board. And counters. I am going to find the original temple in Nara where Go ‘started’ in Japan, and play Go there *g*
  • Japan travel book, phrase book, and ‘japanese for busy people’ just to study
  • For my other books I settled on the following:
    • Jame’s Lovelocks Gaia Hypothesis (v.small book with small print) – to study and hopefully give me things to ponder as I do weeding all day
    • Pocket I-Ching (also small and thin) for study, meditation and odd divination if I get desperate 🙂 (ok so I’m a bit of an addict..)
    • a really thin exercise book about human muscles, where they are, where to massage them..its a sorta study book for osteopath students. More stuff to learn and also maybe useful
    • The first book in the “Wolves of Time” series, because its the only book I’ve ever happily re-read, it’s about wolves travelling around the place and it tends to give me good dreams.
  • And – plain book for DRAWING IN, colouring pencils, and lots of lined paper to keep a diary in
  • last but not least – FOX’S ANISEED AND LICORICE SWEETS which I’ve been saving ever since Utlah sent them down *grin*.

ok, signing off now.. may be able to update a bit when I’m out there but otherwise I’ll be back in November..

– Cat

Hobson’s choice/Pain management?

It turns out the problem with my ear is not an infection; it seems to be water trapped behind the ear-drum resulting in a pressure difference on either side. It was triggered by that stupid cold-fever I gave myself.

“it should clear up itself in a few weeks or so” says the Doctor.
“I’m going on a 12 hour flight wednesday.”
“In that case you’re in trouble.”

He advised me not to fly, although said it was my choice. The main problem is I seem unable to ‘pop’ them using that ‘pinch-nose blow’ maneuver. Apparently, if I do fly, and I can’t pop them, I could experience anything up to excruiating pain for the duration (12 hours) and the following days.


the only way i can guarantee no pain is if I stay here and wait however many weeks it takes for my ear to right itself. not much of an option.The doctor said the pain might not be -that- bad, so I think I will be going anyway.

recommendations for ear-popping techniques or alternatively decent painkillers would be much appreciated at this point….

(I will go back to packing and trying to pop my ears now..)

This year (1) in terms of frogs

A couple of days left till I am on my way to Japan. Right now – the calm after a weekend of friends and a big bbq event. I’ve wanted to do a sit and write about this year entry for a while; the problem with me is every day I can be somewhere slightly different. As Marc said today, ideas for Cat have a hour and a half expiration date. 😉

I want to be conscise in this one..

So I’m going to express this in pictures. It feels like the last year, since finishing university, I have effectively been doing *this* to my life and myself.

Dissecting it apart and finding all kinds of nasty squirmy things. Trying to figure out how it works, and whats the problem, and what happens if you stick this -here- (ooh the leg moves) and what I had for breakfast.

Trouble is this totally misses the point. It’s taken me a long time to realise this properly, but I am glad.

If you want to understand what the life of a frog is, it’s not enough to pin it to a tray and start cutting. That will give you a certain view, accurate perhaps, but it is only one angle. And anyway, how do you expect to understand if you begin with a -dead- frog? Maybe its possible to infer from the leg muscles that the animal hops, but it is far more fulfilling and immediate to look at a live one moving. What about how that frog sounds, the noises it makes? The feel of its skin, the temperature of it? Not to mention the environment it should be in or how it interacts with other animals…..gah…what was i thinking?! Lets sew this frog back up and put her somewhere new and just get on with it.

through gritted teeth and coughing today i exclaimed ‘must..stop..buying..self help books……self.” which sums it up. Without practice, the theory just lulls you into a false sense of security. A kinda armchair kid-yourself that you’re doing anything.

there is a point to all this somewhere. Yes, I’ve looked at myself and consquently had to see some rather nasty habits; on the other hand this myopic viewpoint does not help me see what I can do with my life in action, movement, living. ALSO PEOPLE ARE NOT PERFECT AND NEVER WILL BE AND THAT DOESN’T MATTER. I have had some brilliant, fantastic, wonder-filled moments this year as well. I have many good things which i just need to give a bit of time, effort and a fair chance to develop. I have realised that being overly seriously is more silly than being silly, and actually this whole life thing can be a lot more fun than I realised.

no more dissection!! (well for 4 months perhaps..*lol*)
because after all, who would have guessed that some frogs can do this?


Fever (a few observations)

Feeling progressively better after a lot of sleep.

Something I noticed yesterday in the midst of my feverishness was how it was affecting my mind. The interesting thing was the distinction (or perhaps loss of coherance?) between by body, mind, and that-bit-which-observes (soul?). It reminded me a lot of some meditative experiences when you find yourself ‘watching’ your mind.

What seemed to be happening was my mind was trying, as usual, to make sense of what was going on, but suffering from an overload of mixed up random thoughts and memories. It was a bit like observing a small hyperactive child. Some more salient part of me occasionally interrupted with soothing noises or sharp “stop that, it’s nonsense!”.

The other thing I noticed was just how incredibly scared and frightened I was of this strange state. (I don’t get ill very often). But then I realised what I needed to do is not fight against it, but just lie down and embrace it; let it engulf me and see what happened. Like going down the rabbit hole I guess. This turned out to be a very good move.

I saw a lot of strange things, and amongst the madness found some important things about myself (though I’ll be damned if I can remember them on coming out of it); when I did eventually come out the other side i felt not exhausted but strange refreshed (despite being still obviously ill).

why do I note this? well I just found it quite interesting, and a point to remember. Once again it makes me feel that, even if you want to explain it all with the brain and neurones, there are definitely different levels to a person.

Being ill does offer the chance to gain some new perspectives. Maybe this is partly why shamans are wrapped up in the concept of ‘wounded healers’. Also, in the same way that thinking a lot on death can enhance your value of life, being ill is a wonderful way of valueing the health you never appreciated when you were well.

Also, when I tried going outside for a bit looking for fruit, I encountered a busker playing some of my favourite classical pieces on the flute (Faur̩ РLugebat David(?)). This was to the background of roses and pigeons flying about the place. I made me want to go home and start playing my flute again; it both touched and uplifted me despite the feeling of haziness and disconnection in my body and mind.

Finally I feel kinda pleased with myself for conquering another, if minor, fear over being ill and feverish.. I’ve been tackling a number of small fears this year, ranging from going down ‘death slides’ to the child-fear of vomiting (again, when I thought of it as a way of purging, I almost started enjoying it, bizarrely enough). I think these small fears DO help with some of the bigger ones, even if its just in training up the mindset.


last thursday i was sitting in a coffee shop dumping emotional angst upon Jon and bemoaning my lack of somewhere to rest.

I then spent the following few days travelling about the country, feeling rather disconnected and panicky, saw the fabulous Bill Bailey at readingwith Zak, visited friends in Exeter, lots of fun exciting stuff, late nights and early mornings.

so when it comes to having my second japanese encephelitis jab tuesday, the nurse asked me how i was feeling.
“well, I’m recovering from a bit of a cold, nothing too serious I don’t think.”
“as long as you’ve not been feverish”

in it goes, to the excitement of my malnourished immune system. The following day I didn’t eat enough because I was rushing about shopping for a whole variety of things. I found myself craving pot and accupuncture. Or just to sit down for a bit. I headed over to Jon’s on the premis I owed him one last evening of non-emotional angst dumping before I left, and basically, my whole system just crashed.

This kind of scared me because, despite my low energy levels i don’t get ill very often. I have spent most of the last day and half swinging through different temperatures, and every time i close my eyes this strange fevered reasoning kicks in. Stormrider joked about defragmenting my head, well thats pretty much how it felt. Strange aches in my legs, knees, rib cage and for some reason my left ear… i could hardly move just felt so drained.

still, this has driven it home to me how it’s not enough to just SAY how important it is to look after yourself, you have to actually DO it as well. It was nice to have Jon looking after me for a day, lots of soup, drinks with honey in and hugs.. i have always found his house to be a place to relax in the last 6 months so it’s no surprise this happened there. I wonder if i’d have been able to keep pushing myself all the way up to the flight, only to break somewhere between london and narita.

it is slightly scary. I hope i can get back to the more usual genki-cat in the next few days. If so i am going to really really try to take better care of myself!

(speaking of which, I brought some intense multivitamin tablets the other day. I asked the shop keeper “you know, I always wondered how you manage to fit all these vitamins and minerals into one pill” to which her response was “have you -seen- the size of them?” 🙂