Felt my first earthquake today, it wasn’t overly strong but nonetheless unsettling. It is somewhat of a surprise that I’ve spent almost 3 years in Japan (over various visits etc.) that this is the first time. Lasted about 20-30 seconds, of gentle shaking, most folks were unperturbed, but my wife looked pretty rattled.

Happy to wait another 3 years or more for the next, thanks.

There is a Shogun movie coming out in 3 days time?!?!?

Right then, time to watch the original TV series! It is after all probably the reason I eventually ended up living in Japan.

Well our youngest daughter has tonight learned how to say “please, Papa” , so that’ll be game over then.

After waiting for months for my wife to have time to cut my hair, I have this evening, the day before my 47th birthday decided to commit to long hair.

If I unfurl one of the fire locks it now reaches under my chin, my hair is pretty curly so it doesn’t necessarily look as long as it is but for the first time we were able to tie it up at the back and it isn’t an unpleasant look. It needs a few more months before the sides can be tied into so I maintain a straggly rogue-like appearance, which is a little different than the full on barbarian look that I have been wielding of late..

.. it remains to be seen how my DPS fairs but I am looking forward to my enhanced stealth skills.

I am currently reading a book on craft beer packaging design and trying to design templates or drafts for a proper designer to interpret once we are happy with the general look and layout etc.

The core beers will have some sort of vector art landscape background (Scottish or Japanese themed) on the label and I have been trying to simplify the logo and info panels. Definitely making forward progress. However..

My wife, whilst being happy with the general designs asked a good question. Do the designs highlight the inclusive ethos we want our company to be based upon and I guess they partially do (they highlight that they are vegan and gluten-reduced) but I am wondering how we can incorporate inclusion for groups of people. Obviously we could use the colours of various pride flags for different designs and it is one option of course..but I think we could do more. We could include images of varied people within the label design but hoping to keep the design somewhat uncluttered.

So, does anyone have any recommendations on good websites or literature on inclusive graphic design? I’ll also search of course but would be grateful for suggestions from more knowledgeable folks than me.

Just checked the Visit Kochi draft about me, it’s short of course, it’s a FB/Instagram post but it feels good to be included as part of the ‘We are Kochi-ke’ series.

Kochi-ke basically means the Kochi family, Kochi being the name of the prefecture where we live.

This is the spiel from the Visit Kochi website is ’ “We are Kochi-ke (Kochi family)” is all about highlighting the stories of the people who make us proud to call Kochi our home. Whether you are living in Kochi now or only visited once, you are part of the Kochi family.’

It’s a short piece about me living here and chasing my dream to become a brewer, and has some nice pictures that our friend Aiko took.

My wife wants to study for a Japanese beer qualification in an effort to learn more about beer, it’s core ingredients, production processes etc. She also wants me to do it, despite my own qualification somewhat superceding it. I agreed as I definitely need to improve my Japanese, especially in relation to beer and brewing. Also studying together will give me practice talking about it in Japanese.

There are 3 levels, and we are going to study for levels 3 and 2. Level 1 is unnecessary, it involves writing sections and I don’t have time for that level of study again but from levels 3 and 2, I should be able to more effectively talk about brewing in Japanese.

So, I spent about an hour or so fiddling with my once presumed dead kindle to wipe it and align it with my JP account. Bought the text book for the course and spent about 4 hours slowly reading through the first chapter of the first part. It is only 5 pages long but I am very rusty so much of it was looking up new kanji, noting the readings and key points. I am now ready to study this part with my wife..

This is the part that doesn’t appear to be considered.. 4 hours for 5 pages.. during February we will study chapters 2 and 3 of part 1, that’s 43 pages.. based on today, that’s about 35 hours of study on top of us studying together, March is the biggest month at 44 pages.. there will be repetition of kanji and I will become less rusty but.. it is pretty daunting.

Just composed an email to a brewer way up in Hokkaido to introduce myself and to ask if we can visit for a chat.

This chap built his brewery in the gym of an unused former elementary school.. and he received masses of government funding to do so. Reading some interviews and learning about his setup, his brewery is MUCH bigger than we ever plan to be but seems fascinating as the gym building looks about the same scale of the two gym halls that we are currently considering (read: perpetually waiting to hear about) both of which are also attached to unused former elementary schools.

Anyway, it will be the furthest, most rural and certainly coldest brewery that we will have visited, should he agree.

Also completed paperwork, just awaiting checking by my wife, to seek approval for a business trip to the Shizuoka prefecture. It is jam-packed with breweries and has a very vibrant craft beer scene. Exciting times!

A thought just crossed my mind..

.. as someone who may at some point in the future have a brewpub

.. as someone who would like some live music events on occasion at said brewpub

.. as someone with over a decade and a half of working in pubs, most of which had live music

.. as someone who loves karaoke and has been known to sing with some bands at pubs he worked at in the past..

.. as someone who owns an acoustic guitar, though doesn’t know how to play it.. yet..

.. maybe I can line up a gig or two for myself, on occasion..

Now, when I should be sleeping, I am thinking about what a set list might look like.. most of the bars I worked in were (varying degrees of) Irish and so was the music.. I can think of many Irish songs to fit the bill which is fine, my heritage includes Irish lineage.. but I want to have more Scottish songs.. I have some ideas but want to shift responsibility to you so that I may sleep..

.. so, throw your acoustic suitable Scottish song suggestions at me!

.. incidentally, I have sang both Caledonia and The Braes o’ Balquhidder, acapella at a university event in Okayama many years ago.