Special Mention

Last September, the true crime anthology “Crimes of Passion, Obsession & Revenge” came out with an article of mine about the notorious case of Sada Abe. I mentioned it before on the blog. Recently, a friend of mine from Tokyo expressed interest in the book, so I sent her a link to it on amazon Japan. So far, so uninteresting. But on that amazon page, besides the usual blurbs and reviews, there are also short excerpts of two stories. One of them is mine.

I had no idea! I guess the publisher chose to do this as a way to drum up interest – after all, the crime I wrote about took place in Tokyo. But it is also included on a few other amazon pages in different countries, even if they have their own notorious case in the book… I have to say, I’m pretty excited about this!

Anyway, in case you haven’t bought the book yet, I highly recommend it. Especially the “Revenge of the Nagpur Women” case moved me. And if you did buy the book already – thank you very much – there’s another one in the pipeline with another article of mine., this time about an Austrian case. It will be out in September, and no worries, I’ll tell you more about it when the time comes.


Do you have those days, too, when you just don’t want to go home? You don’t really want to go out either – in a “getting drunk” or “meeting people” kinda way – you just don’t want to go home.

I had one of these days today. After meeting one of my English students (the one who survived 10 days of COVID-quarantine-induced boredom), it was already 7 pm, but I didn’t feel like going home. I just wanted to go somewhere quiet, have a snack and do some writing; but mostly: I wanted to sit somewhere warm and cosy and just stare vacantly into space.

And I tried, valiantly. My favourite place for these evenings was too full, so I went elsewhere. But of course, they kicked me out from there at 8:00. Because we’re still having Corona, and you can only get sick if you stay out after that.

My student would strongly disagree. And let’s face it: with Omicron rampant everywhere (despite closed borders, mind you), we’ve lost that war already. And people don’t even get tested anymore – Kyoto city didn’t even bother sending test kits to my student’s family. Apparently isolating them all for 7 days (he got 10 days at home) and everything would be fine. I’m so sick and tired of all this. And I’m an introvert.

So, I had to go home after all. And I spent a lot of money shopping at a convenience store for food (greasy, sweet, and deliberately unhealthy) and drink (alcoholic), so that I could drown my sorrows at my own home from 8:30 on.

It’s just not the same. Grump.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, wherever you’re reading this!

I finished this year’s work today and I’m quite exhausted. There are so many little things to do, not just at work, but in the house as well… For next week, I’m planning to get things done, mostly diy house improvements. Heck, I still have stuff in boxes!

So, I’m not sure if I find the strength for a post (I know I promised you the step-by-step of office renovations with photos…) but I will be online again in the New Year. I hope I can show a few more pictures, including some of the beautiful house-warming presents I got from my friends.

Until then, I hope you can get some rest over the holidays. Take care!

No Post Today…

…it wasn’t always so….

Sorry, I just got a huge chunk of work on my table (yay!) plus some other things I’ll need to finish either by this weekend or the end of the month. So: No post today. Not much happening here anyway – Kyoto’s back in a state of emergency until September 12. For the 5th time now, if I counted correctly…

So, nothing to see here today, move right on 😉

Going Down, Down…

You’ve probably noticed my rather erratic posting schedule lately. Well, I’m not at all feeling well. For the last month at least, I’ve been in the depths of a serious bout of depression and things are not going well.

This is nothing new. I’ve had depressive episodes since I was a teenager. At several points in my life, things got so bad that all I wanted to do was stay in bed and read all day. A stack of books and a large jar of Nutella, and I was set. (To be honest, I still believe this is the setup for a perfect weekend at the best of times.)

But this time, it’s different. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to read, and eating – even chocolates – is optional. I’ve saved almost a quarter of my food budget last month because I didn’t feel like eating much beyond a sandwich or two a day. I don’t feel anything right now, there are no highs, no lows, there’s just apathy. I lie in bed, stare at the ceiling and that’s all.

It’s the first time I’m down quite so low and I wonder why. Maybe, because the other times, I still had a 9-5 job that forced me out of the house and among people five days a week. Many people do perk up with daily routines; not so much because it makes them happy to be among people, but because it keeps them from brooding too much. However, if you’re working from home most of the time – and there’s not much work to do right now, still thanks to Corona – it’s easy to fall into holes.

I’ve been thinking about what to do. At least, I’m keeping the handful of appointments I have every week. Even though I often just want to cancel, I make an effort to show up, and I usually am glad that I did, afterwards. I also try to do things I usually enjoy, on days I can muster the energy. I mentioned the Dainenbutsu Kyogen plays I say two weeks ago (final report is forthcoming, promise), and last Sunday, I went to the big “Ancient Egypt” exhibition with items from the Berlin State Museum. Tomorrow I’m planning a shopping spree – well, I am going to order shoes and a book. It’s nice to focus on something else every now and then.

But overall, those are just tiny islands sticking out of a vast ocean, and I’m mostly struggling to stay afloat in between them. So, forgive me if my posts remain a bit unpredictable for the time being. I am thinking of not forcing myself to write on Wednesdays and Sundays, but just when I’m feeling up to the task, and then scheduling the posts accordingly. But to be perfectly honest, I’m not even sure I want to commit to even that much right now.

Don’t worry. I’ll be fine. This too shall pass. Like all the times before…

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sorry for not writing this week, I have been quite busy with a big deadline looming… I hope I’ll be on schedule again next week. For now:

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Have some choccies like we do here in Japan and enjoy some quality time with your loved one – provided you’re allowed to meet them in person…


Merry Christmas everyone!
I wish you all quiet and peaceful holidays!

As you can see, this year’s Christmas cards come from my stash of ancient goodies. I hope my friends liked them anyway. 😉

As I am almost done with my work for this year – one more meeting plus the What’s up in Kyoto newsletter (which you definitely should subscribe to!) – and with Christmas Eve tomorrow, I’m calling my Christmas holidays already! I will take time off over New Year, and post again on January 6th with an update.

Please take care until then, stay healthy and safe, and I’ll see you next year!


Today, I thought I’d whine a bit about the weather – it’s that time of the year again after all! And then I woke up to something else yesterday…

On Monday evening, at around 20:00, there was a terrorist attack in Vienna. Four people were murdered by open fire on the streets of the inner city, 25 were injured, among them one policeman. One attacker, a 20 year old member (?) of ISIS was killed. Whether there are any more is subject of investigations. 

I’m happy to tell that all my friends who live in Vienna are safe and accounted for. But somehow, I don’t feel like writing about the weather today. Or anything else much, really.

You too, my beloved Austria?

Getting Old…

This year I’m turning 45! Even if you wouldn’t know it, my body certainly does, and it is hitting me with all sorts of ailments. A little one is that I’m getting gray. I have dark hair, and although my hair dresser says it’s not bad at all, I have days when I feel that I can see every single one of the white whiskers and I need to start dyeing rightaway.

A much bigger one has been causing me problems since last Christmas: I have pains in my left hip when walking. As such that’s nothing new, I had that pain already back when I was at university, although not as badly. The pain is such that it pulls “inside” into my groin; it gets worse over time, and I need to stand still and take the weight of my left leg for a while before I can walk further again.

I have never seen a doctor for the pain, it just seemed normal to me. Some 10 years ago, a Korean friend took me to her “bone-setter” and he performed a miracle and fixed it within 10 minutes or so. I had been completely pain-free all that time – right up until last Christmas, when I could almost feel my muscles cramp up and the pain came back within a minute – and with a vengeance.

But now, of course, I’m a proper adult, so it took me only a few weeks until I went to a specialised orthopedic clinic nearby my home. After a total of 13 x-rays (made in 2 parts), 1 MRI (made in 50 minutes) and some 10 visits to physiotherapy (where I burned through 4 therapists so far), I finally had an appointment with a hip specialist at that same clinic last Saturday.

The diagnosis comes in several parts:

1) I have hip dysplasia, where the hip bone does not cover the head of the femur as much as it should. I have it on both sides, but it’s more pronounced on the left, it’s congenital by the way.

2) I have a tear in the left acetabular labrum, which is a cartilage and part of the joint capsule of the hip, and essentially keeps it all together. How this came to be, we don’t know, but it looks spectacular on the MRI, as if something had burst right out of my hip bone (think Alien)!

3) I have osteoarthritis in my left hip, a degenerative disease where the cartilage inside the joint that cushions the friction between the two bones is slowly wearing down. It’s probably caused by 1) and 2) together, and this is what actually hurts.

While the doctor was polite and explained everything to me in great detail, he also said there’s nothing he can do, really. Technically, the tear in the joint capsule could be repaired with arthroscopic surgery, but he says that the long-term outcome is generally poor, so there’s not much point in doing it.

What he suggests is a conservative treatment with physiotherapy. The idea is to strengthen and stretch the muscles in the hip so that they keep everything in place – hopefully in one that doesn’t hurt quite as much. So far, therapy has indeed been successful, in that the pain has diminished. What pain is left is also not focused in the groin area but more in the center of the leg, which is more bearable for some reason.

The doctor also prescribed some pain killers for the time being, I am not sure how much they are helping though. In the long run, the very long run, we’ll be looking at a hip replacement, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon, thankfully.

So yes, I’m getting old. We all do. Although the pain will probably stay with me, I’m not worried too much about it. In the worst case, I’ll just try to find another miracle bone-setter…