I received a call from the Japanese embassy this evening, to tell me that my application for a visa has been accepted. I’m coming to Japan! (Or going; depends on your perspective.) That’s a big relief, considering that I already have the £500+ ticket. Strangely enough, you have to get the ticket before you can apply for the visa. Quite what you are expected to do if you application fails, I don’t know.

I’ve also got a persistent sneeze, but hey! It’s OK. Must be hayfever or something like that, I suppose.

Mongolian throat singing has always sounded really cool to me, and at a party last week, a friend of mine said that she had actually taken classes! She explained how to do it, and I’ve been practising since then. I’m finally getting there—I can do two notes at once. Actually, all you are doing is emphasising upper harmonics of the low sound produced by your vocal cords, achieved by making a second smaller chamber in the roof of the mouth with the tongue. Of course, an acoustic explanation doesn’t really explain how to do it, but there are a few good websites out there (I had them open when my computer spontaneously crashed the other day, and I haven’t found them again yet). I’m sure that my neighbours must wonder what is going on, hearing these unearthly noises coming from my room. Still, being thought weird is nothing new to me!

Today, I discovered that I have been nominated for the “Friends of the University of Birmingham Centenary Prize” for the most excellent student of Japanese. Which is nice :-) I just hope that I get a decent grade of degree to go along with it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed; I’ll find out on Wednesday.

I watched the Japan v. Russia football match on Sunday. That’s pretty uncharacteristic for me, as I am not known as the world’s most ardent soccer fan. However, I really got into the game and enjoyed the emotional investment: rejoicing as the team I was supporting (Japan, of course) scored; feeling nervous when they were playing near their goal; and relief when the final whistle blew on the result, 1-0 to Japan. Maybe I understand this whole football-supporting business after all! My main complaint about football has always been the uneventfulness of the game. Ninety minutes, which turns into two hours when you include half-time, is a long time to sit watching a game that seldom produces more goals than can be counted on the fingers of one hairy-palmed hand (or is that just the point...?). I certainly found Japan to be a much more exciting team to watch than, say, England. Perhaps it’s the variability, the uncertainty, that adds to the entertainment. As I am a gentleman of leisure these days, I might just watch a few more matches in the interest of academic curiosity and psychological self-study.