When you think the worst…

…sometimes you will be surprised.

I hate Thursdays.  Everyone who knows me knows this now, I think.  I have a bad selection of classes, and barely a moment to breathe, let alone pee. Some of the kids I teach are badly behaved, and most of them seem to come on Thursdays, just to make the day even worse.  One of them is dirty – he picks his nose and eats it in class.  One of them just likes to wind me up as much as possible.  Most of them like to chatter away in Japanese despite my efforts to stop them.  It’s not just the kids though.  Sometimes everything on a Thursday can bring me down.

Today was set to be no exception.  I had one of my bi-monthly meetings at head office to start my day, which meant a trip to a different part of town for a three hour meeting.   Then I had an hour, which was marked as my lunch break, in which to dash back to school, eat, and prepare myself to teach five lessons.  See?  It doesn’t sound good, does it?

So I woke up feeling blue.  I really didn’t want to even leave the house, but I put my suit on and dragged myself into town.  I went to Starbucks for breakfast, as an effort to put something good in my day.  There, I enjoyed a white mocha with non-fat milk (which I have recently learnt to ask for in Japanese!), a warm pumpkin scone (mmm.. autumn!) and a little quiet study time.  I was feeling a little better, until I realised I had to get ready to go to head office.

But then, chance started to intervene in my day, and I bumped into a new friend.  It’s always nice to see a friend when you don’t expect to, but even more so when that person is someone who always has something positive to say.  Almost immediately she told me she liked how I was dressed and that my suit really fitted well.  I suddenly felt a whole heap better than I had just five minutes ago.  Remember those old computer games when you have a health bar at the side of the screen, and it gradually goes down, but then you eat an apple or something and it goes up a notch?  Well it was like that!  Her positive comment was like a great big juicy apple, bringing up my health and happiness level.

So I went off to head office with a little more bounce in my step, but still aware that the health bar was going down with every minute, and that a three hour meeting was going to be tough.  But the meeting surprised me, actually.  Whilst I didn’t really learn anything new, I did meet a few new people and have some fun conversations.  It wasn’t so much like work, really.  I love talking, and I think having a few laughs or even sharing a couple of moans made me feel a little better again.  One more juicy red apple!

After the meeting I ran back to school, stuffing my lunch down me as I went, and I could feel my enthusiasm faltering again.  However, my first lesson was with one of my favourite students, who is usually my only little ray of light in a dark day.  And today was no exception.  Not only was she positive, entertaining, and lovely, she also gave me two persimmon.  Just because.  In my job I get a lot of souvenirs and gifts, but it’s something as simple as a piece of fruit which can really make my day. Two juicy orange persimmon to bring up my levels!

Then came the kids classes.  But… today they actually weren’t so bad.  I mean, nose-picker was picking (and making some terrible smells which actually made me gag!!), but a couple of kids were absent, which made it a bit quieter, and I tried a few new tricks which seemed to control them just a little bit more.  I don’t think I even raised my voice that much, which is a miracle for a Thursday.

Finally I had a couple of adult lessons, which were fine too.  Some interesting conversations and no questions that were too difficult for me to answer.

I didn’t leave work until very late as I had to clear up from my whirlwind of lessons, but I left school feeling fairly positive; certainly a lot more positive than I have for the last few Thursdays.

So, what’s the moral of today’s scribblings?  There are two.

1) If you think something nice about someone, say it! You never know how much they might really need that juicy red apple to bring up their health and happiness bar!

2) When you think the worst, you might just be surprised.  While it’s all well and good to go into things with a positive attitude, sometimes, if you’re too positive, you might feel let down.  Whereas, if you think the worst, maybe actually you’ll find that it’s not so bad.

Have a beautiful day tomorrow. 😀

Dreaming of a white Christmas…

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas… but I haven’t seen one for a very long time.

Today’s post is inspired by Blog Action Day, whose theme this year is ‘climate change’.  Initially I thought “I don’t have anything to say about climate change”, but the more I thought about it the more I found I did have something to say.

Back in December 1981, when I was born, it snowed on Christmas Day, which was the day I was brought home from hospital.  Of course, I don’t actually remember it, but having heard this story as I was growing up, I became convinced of two things.  (1) That’s why I love snow! (2) Christmas should be white!

I don’t think I’ve seen a white Christmas in England since then, but I do recall a rather shocking white Valentine’s Day in February 2007.

So What does this mean for our world?  Will our children’s children grow up wondering what the song ‘White Christmas’ is all about as they sun themselves in their gardens on Christmas Day and have a barbeque?  Maybe it won’t be that bad, but there’s no doubt that the weather in our world is changing rapidly.

But is there anything we can do about it?  Are we doomed?

Well, I’m no scientist (although I did use to work for a science journal!) but my guess is that we’re so far along now that all we can do is slow down the eventual destruction of our planet.  I think we need to be more aware of what we’re doing to our world, and try to help out wherever we can.

Here in Japan, it’s very cool to be ‘eco’ (pronounced ‘echo’) these days, and most of the major supermarkets (at least in my area) are trying to do their bit by stopping the use of plastic bags and encouraging everyone to bring ‘eco-bags’.  I know this is happening in England, too.  But what difference does this small action really make?

To be honest, I have no idea and, as I said, I’m no scientist.  But I’m happy to join in wherever I can and try to ‘do my bit’.  I’m still dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones we used to know.  I hope I can see one again someday…

What's your theme song?

In Ally McBeal, season one, episode 17 (“Theme of Life“), Ally’s therapist, Dr. Tracy Clark asks Ally to think of a theme song – something she can play in her head to make her feel better, when necessary.  In this episode, Dr. Clark says her song is “Tracy” (by The Cuff Links), like her name.

Ally has trouble choosing a theme song, but I think she settles on”Tell Him” (by The Exciters) in the end.

I really related to this episode (not sure if that’s a good thing…!) and have since been trying to come up with the perfect ‘theme song’.  I actually have a playlist on my iTunes called ‘Theme Songs’ which I regularly listen to.  I’m down to a top 5 now I think.  And they are…

What’s Up – 4 Non Blondes

This is a classic for me, and one I always sing at karaoke!


Ain’t Never Been Cool – Lucky Soul

I can just relate to the lyrics of this one – it reminds me of being a kid at school, and I’m disturbed to find that life doesn’t change as you get older!


Perfect – Fairground Attraction

I’m a perfectionist – what more can I say?


Dare – Stan Bush

Classic get-up-and-go song!


Vienna – Billy Joel

This one is probably more of a movie montage song than a theme song. It calms me down though.


So, what do you think?

(1) What should I choose as my personal ‘theme song’?

(2) What would you choose?

Please leave your thoughts and musings (and YouTube links) below! 😀

Oh, and by the way, you’ve gotta love John Cage’s theme song in Ally McBeal…


Wow!  I was overwhelmed to wake up and find that I already had 40 hits on my new blog and a couple of requests to subscribe!  I only started the blog about 8 hours ago!  Thanks guys! 😀

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I’d better write something interesting now I guess…

Time to write…

This evening I went to a talk by entrepreneur Caroline Pover, of Being A Broad fame.  The seminar was interesting and inspiring, and so was the informal dinner and drinks afterwards.  If there’s one thing that I take away with me tonight, it has to be something Caroline said right at the beginning of her talk.  Something I heard last time I went to a writing seminar, and the time before that.  And something that I’ve always known deep down in my heart.  If you want to be a writer, you’ve got to write EVERY DAY.

So, what was the first thing I did when I got home?  I started a new blog.  And here it is.  I already have a blog, Haikugirl, about my life in Japan and random Japanese stuff, so why start a new blog?  Well, this one is just about me: Ali Muskett.  Sometimes it might be about Japan, but other times it will just be about me, my thoughts, my scribblings, as it were.  So why publish it online?  There are a couple of reasons.  One: naturally I want people to read my writing, and no one is ever going to do that if I leave it all in a notebook.  Two: if I write online, and people do read this blog and leave comments, I might feel more motivated to continue writing every day.  And Three: whilst I do love love love print and paper and ink and all that old fashioned stuff, I’m willing to admit that we have to move with the times.  I can’t always carry a notebook and pen, but I do always have my cell phone with me, and when I’m not at home and able to blog, I hope I will be able to post the odd blog by email.

So, without further ado, I hereby present “Only me…”, a blog whose only purpose is to make me write and keep me inspired.  If you enjoy reading it, well, that’s a bonus for us both. 😉