Chapter 23 – April 2020

Hi! Welcome to Chapter 23.

Become evil. Rule the world. Maybe drink tea first and sit down for a bit.

“Don’t you just hate how many quotes are incorrectly attributed on the internet?”

— Genghis Khan

I tried to give away 1,000 paid subscriptions to my newsletter for free.

I gave away over 100 but the process is such a pain and fraught with unexpected complications, like accidentally subscribing people you offer it to, that I should probably give up and go home.

If you don’t want this newsletter please just unsubscribe and forgive me for being blonde. I still love you.

My plans for world domination, or at the very least making a living as a writer, aren’t exactly going to plan.

Had I not left my job to focus on my writing I would now be getting paid to work from home. The end result would have been the same — me sat in my underwear staring at a laptop and questioning my life choices — but at least I’d have money.

In unrelated news I discovered that my financial papers had two moths living there.

How are you today?

This month, I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so.

The best photos I took in Japan

These are some of my pictures of Japan from a trip I took many moons ago. It wasn’t the first time I’d been abroad, or the first time I’d picked up a camera, but it’s how I got started with travel photography. It was the first country where words failed me and I absolutely had to take photos. It’s also the first time my travel photos were picked up by bloggers and travel and photography websites.

I took hundreds of photos when I was in Japan with a camera that I’d procured the night before. I didn’t steal it so much as borrow it at gunpoint. I taught myself how to use it on the plane and I’ve been breaking the rules of composition ever since. Don’t worry — I gave the camera back upon my return and bought one of my own.


This was taken outside of Senso-Ji on my first day in Japan.


This was taken from a speeding Shinkansen. Probably about to stop in Akihabara – I can’t remember. I love it precisely because it’s such a random image, and I couldn’t have possibly taken it if I’d deliberately ‘tried to.’ I only got it by taking shots at random as we whizzed passed different stations and my camera’s batteries kept running out or falling out of the camera.


This is my absolute favourite shot of Japan. I took it whilst wandering the streets in one of the wards of Tokyo. Whenever I look at it, I’m right back there. It’s not about tourist attractions or national monuments; it’s about real life and real people. I didn’t know the beautiful woman, she was just there when I turned round and put her bags down for an instant before crossing the road. I wanted to know her story.


This is my best picture from the beautiful Nara Kōen (Nara Park) in Nara, often called the Deer Park for obvious reasons. There are over 1,200 wild deer in the park, and they’ve complete run of the place. Some regard the deer as sacred, and they’re protected as National Treasures. You can buy little pancake shaped biscuits called Shika-Senbei (Deer Crackers) from street vendors to feed the deer in the park. This is great fun for everyone involved, but it turns out that deer also like to eat tourist maps. As I found out in Miyajima, where a deer mugged me for mine as soon as I stepped off of the ferry.


My camera battery died as I took this shot. I had to recover it from the SD card in the camera when I got home.


The Hiroshima Peace Memorial, once Hiroshima’s Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, and now commonly known as the Genbaku Dome, Atomic Bomb Dome or A-Bomb Dome, is part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.


I spent hours trying to photograph the famous Buddha statue in Kamakura. Eventually, I gave up trying to do it justice. This is one of my most beautiful failures.


This one was taken somewhere on the grounds of Senso-Ji. There’s a number of temples and shrines in the same location, and off to one side near one of the gates, I stumbled upon a little cat shrine. Outside, not too far from there, I found this stray cat trying to talk to a statue. A friend of mine told me it’s the spitting image of her wayward cat – we’re convinced that it somehow found a hole in time under the bed and has secretly been teleporting to Japan on a regular basis.


This is my favourite shot of Shinjuku taken from high up inside one of the buildings.


I have a habit of wandering round with my camera at night. I love to take street shots and candids.


This is a picture of the Children’s Peace Monument, taken on the grounds of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. When I was younger I folded paper cranes that were sent here and displayed as a symbol of world peace. Years later, it was very moving to pay my respects in person, and to see with my own eyes the overflowing glass cases where cranes from children all around the world are on display.

Friend Links

Here’s some of my stuff to read on the interweb. They’re all Friend Links so anyone can read them.

I Love Music More Than I Love You — A love letter to music from a misanthrope

My Corona — Never gonna stop? Give it up.

Make Money on Medium — Build Your Audience and Grow Your Income

Exploring Zuihitsu — An informal style of Japanese personal essay

How to Make It on the Misogynist Dominated Tedium — It’s not satire when you mean it, stupid

A message for young people from a grumpy old man — Get off of my lawn

Friend Links for Medium — All my Medium posts to the end of 2019

One Minute Reads for Writers — 30 posts in 30 days — My website has links to most of my writing

Note: If you have a problem opening any of these links just try to view them in private browsing mode and that will probably do the trick.

What do you need?


I will grant each of you three wishes.

You can legit ask me for any three things and I’ll do my best to make it happen.

Maybe you want me to send you a handwritten postcard from a particular place, give you some travel photos, review your book, or write something for you about your favourite subject.

Anything specific that you want? Just ask.

As I’m not a genie it probably helps if it’s something that’s within the realm of possibility but you never know!

What are your three wishes?

Thanks for reading.

As always feel free to #AskMeAnything