A couple of times a week we have these ridiculously difficult listening exercises, whose only purpose seems to be the further annihilation of my already shredded confidence. One of the reasons why they are so hard is that we have to write down answers to questions as we listen, and as we aren’t given any time to actually read the questions, it is somewhat of a challenge for the less well developed students in the class (i.e. me). As such I asked the teacher if we could have a few minutes to read the questions before the tape began, a request that was met by blank stares and robust rebuttals from the rest of the class. I thought it was a perfectly reasonably request, but when Emily pointed out that I had been asking for half an hour to read five questions I realised my error, and could sympathise with my classmates; if only I could empathise with them as well then life would indeed be sweet.
Almost every food-based item in Japan contains far too much packaging, and a lot of them are just plain wrong (Royal Jelly flavoured isotonic drinks spring readily to mind), but every once in a while a product comes along that is pure genius. One such item is ‘Coolish’, which is best described as ‘disposable ice-cream’. At ¥95 (about 70p) and 125kcal a pop, these little beauties are fast becoming a staple of the Illingworth diet. Unfortunately though a lot of new products in Japan only have a very limited shelf life, before they are replaced with something new, so I envisage having to make several covert trips to the supermarket over the next couple of weeks, I can always say that they’re for a friend with an addiction problem. Or I could if I actually knew the word for addiction.