31 December 2012

The perfect end to the year

I got my first review for the Bad Girls' Club - a 5 star glowing review!  Sweet.

It makes me happy that someone else has enjoyed the story and can identify with the characters.

I'm having a quiet New Year, staying at home making sure Gemma-dog is not too freaked out, watching Japanese TV and drinking Virgin Mojitos.  I feel no need to get drunk at home any more.

In my younger days, I lived in Hobart and we'd go to the docks for NYE.  All the yachts would be in from the Sydney to Hobart yacht race and the docks would be teeming with people.  I'd have competitions with my friends to see who could get the most New Year kisses.  I always won.  My strategy - set your standards low (but not too low).

Hope you have a good and safe one.


30 December 2012

What Are You Looking At? Weekly Link Roundup!

Wow, what a week.  Christmas - which was very low-key, the release of my debut novel, The Bad Girls' Club (see the sidebar if you want to buy a copy) and lots of writing.  Our house has become a house of writing with my sister working on her previously-abandoned novel now.  But still lots of time for web surfing.



  • Wanting to write some hot erotica or a raunchy sex scene?  How to write Erotic Fiction is full of tips from some big name erotic writers.

  • In Melbourne and love burlesque?  Get down to see the Va Va Boombah show on the 18th.  You can't get much more awesome than that.

  • When my sister was young, she'd always ask how books and movies ended.  It'd annoy me so I'd tell her that the main character got hit by a freight train.  Then she read Anna Karenina... and got angry with me because she didn't think the main character would really get hit by a frieght train.  Okay, so now I've spoilt the ending for you too but the book has been around for long enough that if you planned to read it, you'd have done so by now.  Anyway, I'm looking forward to the movie.  It's either going to be really awesome or really horrible.  Not sure about Keira Knightley as the lead.

  • I have never been to the Melbourne Museum but I plan to go this week.  I'm really looking forward to their dinosaur walk.  None of those little kids better get in my way either. 

  • I love looking at old photos and the Nagasaki University has quite a collection online
 

What have you been looking at online this week?

28 December 2012

Love Manifesto


I wrote this a few years ago but, since it's that time for making New Year's Resolutions and thinking about what we want out of life, I figured it's a good time to repost it.

This isn't love advice.  Me giving love advice would be like having a blind man teaching you to carve a turkey.  This is more about the things I've learnt about myself when it comes to love and romance and all things messy and squishy.

  1. If a guy makes you feel like shit then you aren't aiming high enough. Sure life will never be one long string of snapshot moments but the good should outweigh the bad.  Aiming high isn't about income or looks; it's about being treated well.

  2. No guy improves as the relationship progresses.  If he's an arsehole now, you can't change that.  You can only get out before you invest too much time in de-arseholing.

  3. Sex is good.  Sometimes having a no-strings-attached fling is fine.  The danger is when you get into that murky grey area.  If it's just sex, it's just sex.  Don't start with the daydreams of roses and chocolates and weekends at a cottage near the beach.  Don't ever, even for one teeny moment when you are bored shitless running off 500 copies of a report on the photocopier at work think about white dresses and wedding bouquets.

  4. Related to this - if he just wants sex, don't give him anything else.  Don't listen to his issues with his workmates or the stories about how his mother forgot to pick him up from football training and he had to wait 5 hours in the rain when he was 8 years old.  People say women like to share their feelings but seriously, men are the worst at this.  They will load all their problems onto you so that you feel like you have take care of them.  And why?  It's not building closeness, it's just giving him someone to whinge at.  If it's only meant to be a casual shag, don't put up with the jibber-jabber  Tell him to shut up, get his pants off and get on the bed!

  5. In fact, don't give a man any creative, moral, business or emotional support that you aren't getting yourself.  Otherwise you'll spend an excessive amount of your life telling him his love sonnets are Great Art and totally unappreciated; meanwhile he's leaving your haiku notebooks to gather dust because he doesn't have time to read them.  That's complete bollocks.  Men will take all your support and ego stroking and eat it up like a pacman eats up those dots things.  Then he'll expect you to feel honored because he tells you your shit is "OK."

  6. "If I didn't like you, I wouldn't have sex with you."  Need I explain the levels of wrongness here?

  7. If you have the choice between two guys, always go for the good looking one.  Women think they have to compensate for being less good looking by having a great personality, being fun and being supportive and tend to believe the same about men.  This is a trap.  The ugly one is not going to be more fun or even grateful that you picked him.  He's going to be a mean, arrogant shithead.  Trust me, every girl I know who has picked the ugly one has said this.  Your pity gets you nowhere.

  8. No one is ever too busy to send a text message.  Ever.  They aren't Jack Bauer.  They don't have thousands of lives at stake.  If they have time to put their football tips in, they have time to text you.  If they have time to eat, they have time to text you.  If they have time to take a dump, they have time to text you.  The reason they haven't called is because you are lower on their list of priorities than footy tipping, eating and shitting.

  9. If a guy doesn't want to see you again because you slept with him on the first date, he's got issues.  In one night, you got sex and got rid of a man with issues.  That is why sex on the first date is a good idea.  If he's a dud root then you also saved yourself time finding that out.

  10. If you walk away from something shitty, you'll be alone but you were alone anyway - that's why it's shitty.

  11. Never, ever leave a guy alone with your handbag.
And the most important tip, if a date ever feels wrong or icky or threatening, get out of there.  Don't worry about offending the guy.  Don't worry about looking like an idiot.  Make up some excuse, spend your last dollars on a cab if you have to, but get the hell out.

I don't know if it's true that there is someone for everyone.  Maybe my someone was really spaced out and got mowed down by a truck while he was crossing the road?  I guess the only thing to do is keep searching.  And wearing low cut tops.

24 December 2012

The Bad Girls' Club: Now Available



Three girls unite in their realisation that keeping themselves nice has got them nowhere. It’s time to take action. It’s time to rebel. It’s time to become Bad Girls.

Imogen wants to get laid but how can she be a bad girl until she loses a few kilos and gets her body into order?

Beth is happy to be a bad girl - so long as no one else finds out and so long as she is in control.

Juliette’s not really sure what she’s doing there, but it sure beats another Saturday night gaming with her geek boyfriend.

They band together to form the Bad Girls Club, a support group for recovering nice girls, and through a series of brazen dares, push the limits of their sexuality.

But are the girls ready to finally take the final leap that will have them branded as bad girls for real? To save the club, and each other, they each have to publicly acknowledge their darkest secrets.

The Bad Girls’ Club – it’s about sex, it’s about dares but most of all, it’s about friendship.



Click now to buy - on Amazon and Smashwords.  If you don't own a kindle, you can download the reader or buy from Smashwords in a cornucopia of formats.  And stay tuned for lots of fun extras to the novel coming up in the new year.


Any support in getting the word out, via tweets, facebook likes, blog mentions, gifting a copy to your friends etc will be repaid in gratitude and good wishes.

23 December 2012

What Are You Looking At? Weekly Link Roundup

This week has gone by so fast. I got a job (starting in the new year), did my Christmas shopping (I don't have many to buy for), went the movies and worked on my novel plus two short stories. In between, I still had time for surfing the net. I've been reading about marketing your self-published book. Here's a BIG tip - don't read too much marketing stuff. It just makes your brain go fuzzy.   Instead, here are some fun things to check out.


  • I've been reading so much about Japanese history, with a bit of Irish history thrown in, so the history of places not related to my novel is a welcome break.  I totally loved this post on Grace Elliot's blog where she visits St. James Street, famous in Regency novels for being on for gentlement, and compares what it was like then and now.
  • I watched the Korean drama, You're Beautiful, ages ago - I've actually watched it twice and one of the things I fell in love with, apart from Juen Keun Suk was the stylist/PR/bit of everything chick.  More specifically, her makeup.  She wears no eye makeup other than a line of brightly-coloured eyeliner.  It looks fantastic.  I've been wanting to recreate it myself but had trouble finding any eyeliner intense enough.  I think I need to invest in some Lime Crime eyeliner.  Intense enough?  Hell yeah!
  • I love drawing but I'm often stuck for inspiration.  I think in the new year, I'll head to some burlesque drawing sessions to cure that.

21 December 2012

Bad Girls' Club... Sneak Preview

It's my 100th post on this blog, which is pretty amazing since I actually started it quite a few years ago. To celebrate, I thought I'd post a sneak peak at the lovely cover for my soon to be released debut novel, The Bad Girls' Club.

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5104824.Kathryn_O_Halloran
The Bad Girls' Club - available soon

Three girls unite in their realisation that playing by the rules has got them nowhere. It’s time to take drastic action. It’s time to rebel. It’s time to become Bad Girls. They band together to form the Bad Girls Club, a support group for recovering nice girls, and through a series of brazen dares, push the limits of their sexuality…

The Bad Girls’ Club – it’s about sex, it’s about dares but most of all, it’s about friendship.



Coming soon!

For more information, you can follow my blog (please follow my blog - I only have 2 followers and it looks a bit pathetic!) or join my facebook book page or any of the other social media type options on the side there.  I am also on Goodreads.  Because if you don't whore yourself on social media, where do you whore yourself?

20 December 2012

I want to write Wolf Creek fan fiction



It's no secret that I have had a crush on John Jarratt for many years and love Wolf Creek.  It wasn't until the other day that I thought to search on the internet for some Wolf Creek fan fiction though.

Sadly, there isn't enough and the few stories I found are just alternate endings (where Mick Taylor ends up dead).  None of them are hot and steamy sex stories.

If you don't know the movie, you really should watch it.  It's the story of three really annoying and stupid backpackers who's car breaks down as they drive across the Australian desert.  They get help from a friendly man who just happens to enjoy a bit of serial killing.  In a really freaken amusing way.

I'm not sure if the film is quite as funny if you weren't familar with John Jarratt's role on Better Homes and Gardens as you wouldn't realise he describes killing and dismembering in exactly the same way he told you how to make a handy coffe table.

When I get some time, I'm so going to write me a hot Wolf Creek fan fiction.  In the meantime, I hear a sequel is being made.  Woohoo.

18 December 2012

Research: Haunted Tales of the Tokugawa

Earlier this year, I went through a phase of reading samurai books.  I wanted to write about the Bakumatsu period so I had to know what was out in the market.  Did you know there are whole sub-genres of samurai fiction?  Samurai detective novels are a big one!
Haunted Tales of the TokugawaAfter reading a whole bunch of these books written by Western writers, you'd get the idea that the samurai were a pretty awesome bunch of guys: all going around protecting the bushido code that made them manly warriors.  Not showing any emotion unless they were holding their sword, the one named Dragon-slayer, or fondling their favourite geisha girl with a heart of gold.  They had been trained to withstand extremes of cold and heat, to be at one with their spirit when fighting, to give their lives to their siege-lord.  Money was beneath their notice and they were prepared to face death at a moment's notice.

Then I read Haunted Tales of the Tokugawa.  A book about real samurai.  See most samurai weren't nobel warriors.  During pretty much all of the Tokugawa reign, Japan was at peace.  Sure there must have been some who worked in security at Edo castle and the like but the most, to be honest, were pretty much just public servants.  Tax collectors, administrators, yes men - the forerunners of the modern day salaryman rather than great knights fighting battle.

I have to admit that's the first story is all I've read (and I'm writing a review) .The book did start to spiral into some kind of illegible nonsense after that but I should perserve.  It's worth reading just for that first story though which is a long and twisted tale.  This is a tale that has been told in many forms throughout the years.

The people in this story aren't honourable or noble.  They are vile and self-serving, carrying only about money and sex and drinking.  They are the kind of people who'd screw you over just for shits and giggles.  They are the kind of people you've probably met in your own life.  Absolute cunts.

Random Japanese ghost
The basic run down is this  (may contain spoilers) - a high ranking samurai/public servant has a daughter who is butt-ugly.  Not only is she ugly, she's had smallpox so her face is hideously scarred.  She can't get a man, however a young (not samurai-class) dude works at their house and she fancies him.  Sneaks into his room at night and he, being a typical bloke, thinks stuff like you don't look at the mantlepiece while stoking the fire and one you knock back, is one you miss out on.  So he puts one in her.

She gets knocked up and her father kicks her out of home - of course she can't marry him because he's not samurai.The non-samurai dude goes to work in a fancy house to support them (you have to give him kudos for not just dumping her, I guess, although he does think about it) and gets enbroiled in some nasty business.  His boss has killed a debt collector and non-samurai dude finds out.  He agrees to get rid of the body (or maybe just the head) for some quick cash.

The next bit is hilarious.  He tries to dump the body but can't find a nice secluded spot to do it, so he takes the head home and hides it.  His wife goes into labour and, just as the baby pops out, the head rolls out it's hiding spot, looking like she's given birth to an extra head!  Everyone freaks out and general hilarity ensues.

Both of them die and the grandparents take the baby in.  Again she is butt ugly but they go to desperate measures to get her married off, not wanting history to repeat itself.
The only guy who will marry her is a down-on-his-luck samurai, taken to telling fortunes on the street to earn some cash.  The marriage brokers manage to broker the marriage without him laying eyes on her but everything goes okay for about a year until he meets his long-lost courtesan love at the home of the head samurai of the neighbourhood.

Pandas are cute
Random onigiri panda - just because they are cute!

The head samurai wants revenge on ugly chick's family - her being the only remaining one now after her grandparents' death - and the husband wants to be free to get it on with the courtesan.  He still wants his wife's money and home though.  So the group of them concoct a scam to cheat her out of everything she owns.

This ends with her being tricked into being sold to a brothel, where she's beaten and tortured for not putting out.  She still believes her husband is good and that she's doing this to save him until an old peddlar tells her the truth.

She goes totally nuts, having a fit and cursing the evildoers, then throws herself into the river.  Her ghost comes back to take ghastly but fitting revenge on the dudes who screwed her over.

The moral of the story is pretty much that, if you are a woman and you are ugly, you are going to be screwed over and no one is going to give a rat's arse that you are a good and caring person so the best you can do is fucking them over in return.

Haunted Tales of the Tokugawa is a strange book.  The writing has a weird flow that can be hard to get into at first but, when you do, it is quite lovely.  The copy I read also had screwy formatting for the Japanese names.  Still it's worth making the effort for this insight into Edo life and the evil in men's (non-honourable) hearts.

This is available on Amazon for $2.99.

16 December 2012

What Are You Looking At? Weekly Link Roundup

I spend a lot of time on the internet doing research for my writing.  It's research, okay, not piss farting around.  That makes for some pretty ecletic web surfing - facts about life in Victorian times, random info about Japan, writing articles, where to buy polka dot dresses (oh that might not be research) and much more.



Can't keep theall  good stuff to myself though, so here's some of what caught my eye this week:
  • Nothing tells you more about how the Victorians dressed than looking at Victorian sewing patterns.  I have no skills in sewing whatsoever but it helps to know what's going on under those fancy dresses.
  • A Batman t-shirt is pretty blah, right.  But a Batman t-shirt with Batman written in katakan, that's pretty damn cool.  I saw a guy wearing this Japanese batman teeshirt at the Japanese Film Festival and instantly decided I needed it.  
  • I love Fiverr.  The idea of getting people to do crazy shit for $5, well that pretty much sums up my mothering technique for most of my son's life!
What are you looking at this week?

15 December 2012

She Lives Alone

This story was first published in Got a Minute? Sixty Second Erotica.  It is erotica but probably safe for work.  I let my mum read it.  Maybe you could call it erotica lite: more sensuous than sexy.



She lives alone. She likes it that way, a dainty dollhouse with ornaments dusted weekly and realigned with precision. But sometimes she misses the smell of a man. It haunts her at night when a ghost of smell licks at the edge her olfactory senses. She lies awake, gulping in air, drawing it to her but never quite succeeding.

She doesn’t miss the taste of masculine skin or the feel of fingers drawing patterns down her body but she yearns for that bouquet.

Sometimes she presses tight against a stranger on the train on the way home in peak hour. She inhales deeply. But it is unripened, this scent of city-bred suit wearers, manicured and cologned. She craves a certain mix of sweat and sex and man.

She hunts through neon, guided by her need. She feels exposed, alone and female. She sits alone on an uneasy stool. She stares ahead at a bubble gurgling through a bottle behind the bar and picks at her fingernails.

She orders another drink.

The music becomes louder, the lights brighter. Flashes of red and pink and green. She wonders what she is doing here. Stares ahead.

She orders another drink.

A man stands beside her. She thinks he is going to speak but doesn’t. He mumbles something as she turns away. She turns back and he is gone. She clinks the ice in her drink with her straw.

She orders another drink.

She sits in the toilet cubicle, pants around her ankles, paper in her hands. Her head spins and she tries to focus on the writing on the back of the door. So many people, so many loves. Who does she love?

He is standing at the basin when she comes out. She ignores him while she washes her hands but she knows he is watching. Their lips lock before their eyes do. He is diesel and pine shavings and sweat from productive labour not pounding on a treadmill. She will succumb. She will abdicate. She will grind and moan on cue.

Dressing in the half-light, she knocks a glass off the bedside table. She pauses and hopes it doesn’t wake him. Clothes askew and hair unravelled, she is ready for flight. She snatches something off the floor.

She runs through unfamiliar streets, giddy with flight, stunned at her gall. At the bus stop, she waits breathless. She unballs the tee-shirt in her hands and holds it to her nose. She inhales deeply.





14 December 2012

Facebook Author Page

I have created an author page on facebook - if you want to "like" me and keep informed with my doings, go to this facebook page and press the magic button. 

I've posted a sneak preview of the awesome new cover for my book that is coming soon.  It's overwhelmingly awesome!

You can also follow me on twitter @projectkathryn or follow my blog.

Or you could just not do any of those things.  I'll still like you.

13 December 2012

Photo Thursday

nagasaki

I think Nagasaki is one of the most beautiful cities I've ever been to.  I hope I get to go back there one day.

12 December 2012

The Bad Girls' Club

I'm taking a break from my novel in progress for this week. 

A few years ago, well more than a few now, I wrote a novel.  I didn't just write it, I worked my guts out on it.  When I was about half way through, I entered a novel pitch session at the Melbourne Writer's Festival and had two major publishers interested in it.

For about a year, I worked with a mentor to finish it while the first 3 chapters were being considered by those publishers. 

I ended up getting replies - thanks but no thanks.  The main issue was that the book is mainly chick lit but has some very raunchy sex in it.  And, like they told me at the time, books with hardcore sex won't sell to mainstream readers!

Even with the hot sex, it's too chick lit to sell to erotica publishers.  It's not erotic romance, it's not hardcore porn.

 It's a funny, sex story about three girls, dissatisfied with their lives, who form The Bad Girls' Club.

The Bad Girls’ Club is a “chick lit” novel with a difference; clit lit!  An erotic adventure story for women who prefer steamy action to shoe shopping; who aren’t looking for Mr Right but Mr “Right here, Right Now, Do Me Baby”.

Three girls are united in their realisation that playing by the rules is getting them nowhere in life.  It’s time to take drastic action.  It’s time to rebel.  It’s time to become Bad Girls.  They band together to form the Bad Girls Club, a support group for recovering nice girls, and through a series of brazen dares, push the limits of their sexuality…
After a few rejections, my laptop died.  A glass of water will do that to a laptop, especially if your first instinct is to grab a cloth and wipe it!  Learn from my stupid.

At this stage, I'd lost more of my novel but had so much of it in my web mail account (my "cloud" before the term was invented -- you look like a slackarse writing your novel at work, but writing an email or word is work related) I could piece it together.

However, after nearly 2 years of working on it, thinking about it, pitching it I never wanted to read it again.

The other day I opened the file, remembered the password and started reading.  I thought I'd 
 I read through it the other day, thinking I could raid it for some short story material when I realised it is really funny and good.

I need to polish it up a bit.  Mainly update pop culture references to something more relevant, rewrite one lost chapter and clean up the ending a bit.  I figure I can do that this week.

I am trying to bribe my sister with dog walking duties to proof-read and hope to get it self published by Christmas - when everyone has their shiny new kindles are dying to buy books to put on them.

Maybe those publishers were right, women don't want raunchy chick lit.  Or maybe they want stories where the characters live happily ever after with their Prince Charming rather than happily ever after with themselves.  I'm willing to test that.  I've got nothing to lose.

09 December 2012

My Next Big Thing

With a title like that, I'm really having an inner battle to keep it clean!  I've been tagged by Alan with a fun meme about my work-in-progress.  Work in progress suggesting a level of not dicking around on the internet that I may not have!

Megane Bridge, Nagasaki
Megane Bridge - Nagasaki


1. What is the working title of your book?

The Awesome Novel of FORBIDDEN Love - which suggests a level of forbidden love far greater than it has at the moment.  The forbidden love is getting less and less as time goes on and the eating of cake seems to predominate.  I mean eating cake is far more interesting than love, right?

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?

When I watched the awesome drama, Ryomaden, I became fascinated with the Bakumatsu period of Japanese history.  Japanese history, to my mind, is like tra-la-la-la nothing happening for centuries than *bam* all kinds of shit happens at once thenback to tra-la-la-la.  Of course it's more fun to write about the 'all kinds of shit happens' periods.

I also wanted to know what would happen to a Western woman in that environment.  Why is she there?  What is her life?  While every white man had at least one Japanese mistress, what would happen if a woman had a romance with a Japanese man?  And what if that man was part of the sonno joi movement, the movement to expel foreigners from Japan?

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Historical fiction.  Not erotica.  It might have sex in it though.

4. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

11 days- I wrote it as part of Nanowrimo and was very strongly motivated.  I think the second draft will take much, much longer.

6. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

After getting the original idea, I read a bit about the history of Nagasaki.  It's all stories of men in the foreign settlements.  The only women mentioned are as "wife of..." or "daughter of..." apart from a few missionairies and other interesting characters.

I visited Nagasaki this year and did more research and loved the beauty of the city.

7. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I mentioned cake already?  Other than that, one of the minor characters is a cheeky Japanese boy who says some really funny shit.  He's winning my heart.  Oh there's a puppy.

8. Which other writers will take over from you next week and tell us about their Next Big Thing?

I am tagging Heidi because she writes awesome books and is a great chick (for a Geelong supporter).

07 December 2012

Research: Unbeaten Tracks in Japan

I've been doing a lot of research for my novel (as yet still known as the Novel of FORBIDDEN Love) and figured since I've been reading some interesting stuff, I should post reviews. Mostly my reading as been centred around Japanese history of the Bakumatsu period, general Victorian history and historical fiction.

I might make this into a semi-regular Book Review Friday.

Unbeaten Tracks in Japan - Isabella L. Bird

Unbeaten Tracks in Japan: book cover


I'd  never heard of Isabella Bird before I found this book but now she is one of my personal heroes.  Born in 1831, she was all frail and sickly like many women in Victorian times.  Apparently the reason for all the sickliness back then was that women had to totally repress their smarts and be all domestic and that is not good for your health.  But Isabella was having no truck with that.

She got 100 pounds off her cleryman dad and headed to America for an adventure instead.  Then published the tales of her adventure and, with the profits, funded more travels to become a well-known travel writer of her time. 

At one point she hooked up with a one-eyed gold prospector in the States.  How awesome is that?  I'd love to have that on my bio!

In Unbeaten Tracks - series of letters to her sister back in England, she lands in Yokohama and hires herself a translator, Ito.  A young Japanese boy who adds a lot of entertainment value to this account.  At one point he mistreats his horse and Isabella tells him he is a bully and the worst kind of coward so he whips out his notebook of English words and asks her for definitions!  He does stop mistreating the horse though.

He thinks that Japan is right in availing herself of the discoveries made by foreigners, that they have as much to learn from her, and that she will outstrip them in the race, because she takes all that is worth having, and rejects the incubus of Christianity. Patriotism is, I think, his strongest feeling, and I never met with such a boastful display of it, except in a Scotchman or an American.

After leaving Yokohama, she heads firstly to Niigata then overland through Akita to Aomori.  Now I've done this trip myself in modern times and I've really got to admire her.  Even catching the local trains, it's a hard trek!  And being stared at by the locals is nothing compared to Isabella's sufferings - having locals poke holes in the paper screens of her bedroom to watch her sleep.  Many of them believe, probably rightly, that they will never get a chance to see another foreign woman in their lives.

From Aomori, she heads to Hokkaido (Yezo as it was called back then) and spends time living with the Ainu people.

Of course, being a Victorian, expect no political correctness from Isabella.  She describes the Japanese as "mannikins" with yellow skin and concave chests. 
So lean, so yellow, so ugly, yet so pleasant-looking, so wanting in colour and effectiveness; the women so very small and tottering in their walk; the children so formal- looking and such dignified burlesques on the adults, I feel as if I had seen them all before, so like are they to their pictures on trays, fans, and tea-pots.
Once she gets to the villages of the North she is horrified by their lack of hygiene and living conditions.  She can't eat the abominable local food and her rooms are usually crawling with fleas.  Luckily she took a stretcher bed (as well as a rubber bathtub with her).

Still, within the mindset of her times, she has a fairness in the way she describes the people.

In Hokkaido, she seems to take an ambivalent view of the Ainu.  She sees them as savages and "adult children" but admires their good looks and is charmed by them.  I think she actually has the hots for one of the Ainu men - she mentions him sitting at her seat and, when she leaves their village, he comes after her to give her a gift he has carved for her!

I found the section on living with the Ainu much more interesting than the first part of the book when she is travelling.  Many of the details of travelling are complaints about the travel conditions, the horses with their straw shoes and the filthy, flea-ridden state of her accommodation.

Fiji-san

In the Ainu village, she details their crafts, their religion and their way of life.  She also shows how they have been oppressed by the Japanese - many of the people she talks to beg her not to let the Japanese government know they have spoken of their way of life.

This journey was unique in its time to places that few foreigners, even today, visit.  Her observations are sharp and she seems to have an immense knowledge of so many areas - geography, botany and boating to name a few.  Her observations are coloured by the times, some being obviously untrue but showing the mindset of Westerners of the times, but no less so than much of the writing I've read about Japan today.

This is a free download on Amazon (plus a few other places) so if you are interested in Japan history, definitely worth a read.



01 December 2012

The Love Hotel Experience





You can also read my beginner's guide to love hotels but I thought I'd repost my real life experience.

Okay so the place we went to was nothing like the bondage Hello Kitty room or any of those other wacky themed places you can read about on the internet.  It was a very plain, neighbourhood love hotel run by a very momsy woman.  Like if they did a version of "the people in your neighbourhood" on Japanese Sesame Street, they'd be singing "the love hotel owner is a person in your neighbourhood..." along with everyone else.

He seemed pretty familiar with the place, which was a bit offputting at first but hell, the dude is 40 years old and lived in the same area all his life and definitely not a virgin so it isn't that surprising really.  It's not like he had a points card or anything.

So we go into the lobby and wait to get served.  There is a nice a basket of candy on the reception desk.  Such a nice touch.  There was a rack of shampoo and conditioner bottles.  I'm not sure if you can just help yourself and take them to your room or if they are for sale.  If I go there again, I want to find out because they have Tsubaki on the rack which I normally use but the shampoo in the room is just generic and crap.

So anyway, I'm standing there with him and a couple comes out of the lift and I'm checking them out because I'm a total stickybeak and they are a couple coming out of a room at a love hotel.  Who wouldn't check them out?  Just like when you see dudes in Melbourne coming out of the discreet back entrance of Club X, you check them out, right?  And maybe sometimes, in a loud voice say "OMG you are coming out of the discreet back entrance of Club X!!!"

Maybe that's against love hotel ettiquette or something.  I don't know.  They don't teach us that at Japanese school.  Anyway he leads me into this little room with lace curtains.  It's the discreet waiting room.  It looks like it was decorated by the CWA.  There is a couch and a dvd player and some magazines and you are all hidden away so that while you are waiting for your man to get the shit organised you aren't standing around looking like a dirty ho that's gagging for it.  Well I assume that's the purpose.

As I'm sitting and waiting, I notice a display case filled with bulbous objects.  I'm trying to peek around the lace curtain to check them out.  Of course, being a love hotel, I assume they are some kind of wack vibrators or other sex toys.

He comes to get me and I ask him about the display.  He tells me they are rocks.  The love hotel owner collects rocks from around the world and displays them in the cases in the foyer.  That is so sweet, it makes me want to cry.  That is also the point were I realise he's been here before (okay I kinda realised that when we had to get a cab to a specific love hotel when they are on practically every street).

We get in the lift.  I'm starting to wonder if our relationship is getting jaded because the first time, we were making out the whole time in the lift.  This time he asks me what I'm chewing and I tell him one of the lollies from the counter and he punches me on the arm for not getting him one.

I'd have taken photos to show you the room but I didn't take my camera.  Also I think, "just wait while I take photos to post on blog" are NOT words a guy wants to hear before sex.

As I said before, it was a very basic room.  We got a bed, a small table and chairs, a sink and a unit bathroom.  We didn't even get a genkan - we had to take our shoes off in the room.  The bar fridge had a bottle of oolong tea and you had to phone for anything else you wanted.

In fact, the only difference between this and a regular hotel room was that the ceiling was painted with clouds.  Oh and there was porn on the TV.  But it was really, really bad porn and all the rude bits were fuzzed out.

The unit bathroom is particularly fun because you can splash around and shower without having to worry on account of the entire room being waterproof.  I did get to have a bath massage which was incredibly nice.  And sweet.

But there were no sex toys, no bondage equipment, no kinky stuff at all.  And only TWO condoms.  If you want more, you have to call down and ask for them!

The next morning, he tidied the room.  Every time I start thinking he's a jerk, I remember that he tidied the love hotel before we left ...

The next morning he paid and we took off down the street.  He put his hand in his pocket and pulled out two lollies he'd gotten out of the basket on the counter and handed me one.