Graphic of the outline of Major Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell

Subbed, dubbed and the wider question of what gets lost in translation

October 19, 2021

Subbed or dubbed? It’s an important question for those of us who enjoy “Foreign Films”. On the one hand, dubbed is easier to watch as the audio is in a familiar language. On the other, dubbing often sounds forced and lacks the nuance of the actor’s delivery in their native tongue.

My first encounter with foreign media was through dubbed translations. I saw many films, from classic Godzilla to Das Boot, with English voice actors speaking the dialogue. Sometimes it felt stilted, but I accepted this as a small price to pay for enjoying a well-made piece of entertainment.

Photograph of a river plain with tall green grassed in the foreground, a ridge with houses in the midground and mountains looming in the background

A walk along the river plain

September 22, 2021

This is where I live. If you squint hard, you can see my house.

I’ve been looking out across the valley every morning for the past 9 months. My ambition has been to walk around along the river that winds its way from a lake up in the mountains to meet the Myohoji river. I tried it once, only to find my way blocked by Japan’s obsession with turning every riverbank into concrete.

Black and white photograph of a shopping alley in Japan with bright lights and no people

Memories of Osaka

August 29, 2021

I lived in Osaka for a couple of months. We holed up in an AirBnB, a terraced house out in Tennoji. It was two rooms: one downstairs, one up.

Since we closed the door on that place back in January we've not been back. Passed through a couple of times on the way to Kyoto, but not visited.

KLM airplane at the stand in Kansai airport

A flight to Japan: my experience emigrating in the middle of a pandemic

June 21, 2021

In October 2020 we finally realised our long-term plans and moved to Japan. This is peak pandemic, Japan was closed off to most of the world, and there was no vaccine to speak of.

At the time I tweeted my experience, which a couple of people found helpful. Things have moved on a little, although my understanding is much of what we experienced is still in place today. I hope these notes are helpful.

Graves in a church graveyard with the closest being freshly tended

What to do when your boss dies

June 18, 2021

A few weeks ago, an acquaintance found out their boss died. Aside from the shock of the loss, they'd been left in limbo. Who was paying their wages, and what were they supposed to do about the suppliers calling up to renew contracts?

I've been in this situation, albeit with a client who passed mid-project. The amount of money owed was small, but the pain of getting it huge once family politics took over. Fortunately, I'd dealt with life insurance claims early in my career, so I had a vague understanding of what was going on. It was helped by talking to a lawyer.

The Japanese city of Kobe seen from a high aspect

Kobe: the city I now call home

April 30, 2021

I took this photo from a temple about 1.5km from where I live as the crow flies. This is Kobe, the place I now call home, a city crammed into a strip of land barely 8km wide between sea and mountains.

What you see down there is a few tens of metres above sea level. Where I was stood was more than 300 metres.

Image made of 4 different portrait photographs from this web page

Photography revisited

April 27, 2021

Photography has been a passion of mine for more than thirty years. It started with a simple "point and click" and film that had to be sent away to be processed. In late 1999 I got my first digital camera that took stunning 640 x 480 pixel images. More cameras followed and I started working with models, bands and designers.

Then came the decision to immigrate to Japan and everything went on hold for a while. Cancer and coronavirus delayed plans by more than two years until, finally, my wife and I arrived in Osaka in late 2020.