The Simple but Questionable Role of Japan’s Men in Blue

An eager young cop kits up, does his hair, knocks back a not-so-fresh brewed café latte from 7/11 and trots off to Tokyo Station, where a day full of adventure and enforcing law awaits him. By 3pm, however, he’s completed his fifth lap of the Imperial Palace gardens. His only dose of action saw him whistle and yell at an Australian traveller who j-walked, and was completely oblivious to everything around him. He also refined his tacky tourist photography game by taking the same picture of more foreigners in front of that same old gate.

Welcome to the life of a Japanese policeman.

Meanwhile, I wake to an obnoxious siren on a cold Saturday morning in Tokyo. Not quite sure if it’s an earthquake or if someone has pressed the siren button instead of play on their newest J-pop album, I look out the window to see another police car whizz past, as if The Tokyo Drift Club were back in town causing a ruckus. No need to get all worked up, I think. It’s most likely just an unchained bicycle stolen, without a trace, by some drunk Yank looking for a joy ride after missing the last train.

I make it to the historic Imperial Palace that day, and spend the morning taking it all in. I spot a young officer and wonder – like me – did he always want to be a cop, especially in a country with so little crime?  I then stop and, upon further inspection, realise he’s been staring down and kicking that same pile of ice on the ground for almost a minute. I watch the feud a little longer. Still puzzled, I eventually grow impatient, walk over and force conversation.

Officer Hipeo Kurata is colloquially known as Omawari-san (Mr Walk-around). His polite warm smile eventually peels off and grows emotionless after I ask what he would be doing with himself in another life. Hipeo had goals of becoming an engineer in school, but the 25-year-old found himself suddenly enrolling as a man in blue. Three years have gone by, and like his fondness towards me, his dream grows ever so faint.

Japan may well be one of the safest places on earth. It records among the lowest rates of street crime, drug felonies and violent crimes. No wonder poor Hipeo is depressing to talk to. So, no matter how stupid, bad at planning and keeping track of your belongings you are, you’ll be alright! Your wallet will have every last Yen you left in it as it waits for you behind the bar you left it in last night.

But are Officer Kurata and his colleagues really so bored they take it out on snow while on duty? Surely some of the ‘Mr Walk-arounds’ could get up to more than just strolling through parks?

Maybe. Japan’s Finest seriously lack efficiency when it comes to investigating in two departments: sexual assault and murder. Chika (perverts) are a huge problem, and are widely reported. Yet the few victims that actually report sexual assault, and even rape, aren’t always taken seriously by the police.

The Japan Times explains that their government figures show that more than 95 per cent of rapes aren’t even reported to the police, and until July 2017 the definition of rape excluded oral and anal penetration. However, when sexual assaults were investigated by Japan’s police, numerous international victims endured shocking experiences. Victims have been forced to reenact the scene, photos have been taken of them in their underwear and of the used condom, victim blaming has occurred, police have refused to take victims to the hospital, victims have been forced to accompany the police to find their rapist, and have even been given the advice, “If you don’t want to get raped, you shouldn’t invite men into your apartment.”

When these traumatised victims should be receiving care and support, they are instead forced and controlled by the police, who display an astonishing lack of compassion. No wonder no one reports sexual assault.

Inconclusive homicides are another grey area in Japan’s crime statistics, and are reportedly dismissed as suicides unless “fronted with clear evidence”. The National Police Agency of Japan (NPA) stated that only 10 per cent of suspicious deaths result in an autopsy. Some have linked this to the fact that Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. The cultural resistance to handle the dead and lack of budget for pathologists in police departments also contribute to the minimal investigation. But, in an article by the LA Times, former cops, doctors and pathologists all argue that police culture in Japan is all about keeping the statistics low and looking good to the people. Ex-cop Hiromasa Saikawa explained that you can get away with the perfect murder in Japan, as the body may not even be examined.

While these issues open a big fat can of worms, the police of Japan seem to concern themselves with pettiness.

The generally well-behaved people of Japan make any visit pretty stress free (aside from railway line navigation and choosing the right ramen place). Tokyo also has the largest police force in the world – a quarter larger than the famous NYPD. Their busy streets are flooded with ‘Mr Walk-arounds’ who are always on the lookout for something to do. But, be aware that baka gaijins (stupid foreigners) committing the common faux pas – J-walking, eating on the street, skating and walking on the wrong side of the path – are often easy targets for these bored policemen.

So, before you laugh off the slap on the wrist you received from an Omawari-san, consider this conspiracy, the people it has affected and whether it will ever change.

Cover by Alex Martinez 

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We're very excited about the opening of a new boutique hotel in town and we can't wait to hang out on the roof top terrace of the NoMad Los Angles this summer.
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I Was Afraid to Have Sex on an American College Campus

“I’m gonna fuck so many Fratties on exchange,” read the caption of my Instagram update.

It was the night of my going away. I was set for a semester abroad in the rural precinct of the Southern Bible Belt of western North Carolina, USA. I’d heard about all the sex you have on exchange. Those of my mates who had gone away to study always returned with exceptionally crazy and liberating sexual experiences. As a person who’s very open with their sexuality and eagerness to explore the domain of casual sex, I accepted my fate of the ultimate fuck fest.

A week before our semester began, the other international girls and I were pumping ourselves up for the babin’ jocks we’d soon encounter. The hype was real. Frat boys, geeks, rock-climbing enthusiasts – nothing was off-limits. Finally, classes began. The information gathering commenced. Who was who and who to screw?

And then our research was stunted. Our inhibitions materialised when we became aware of the unfortunate truths of our surroundings. Rape culture.

Within our first week, two claims of sexual assault came from the freshman dormitories. We were all notified through the security alert messages, a protocol following all claims of assault. This happened a lot, particularly within the freshman dorms. 17-year-olds resided in the freshman dorms.

As days passed, we learned of the female student body’s number one fashion accessory: pepper spray. Everybody had one; you’d be a fool not to. Rape culture was barely even hidden under the surface. One recently dissolved fraternity chapter even had a room nicknamed, ‘The Rape Room’.

My first interaction with some of the local boys was a day at the lake. The internationals were being inducted into the Alpha Sig crew. We were in our bikinis playing frisbee in the water. We were made to run, stretch and reach for the frisbee while we were unknowingly being photographed. I caught a camera snapping at me before being ushered over by a curly-headed guy kneeling on the sand, playing with angles, clearly an amateur photographer.

“You look so good here. I’ll send it to you and you can make it your DP.”
“Send it to me,” I said.

He never did send it to me directly. Instead, an album of the entire day’s semi-nude and suggestive photographs were disseminated through a private Group-Me chat made up of 80 strangers. I wasn’t in the group.

For the first time, I realised while I was here I wouldn’t have complete control over my body. 80 people had now conjured a first impression of me leaping around in a bikini. They didn’t know my name, they knew my body. This was the first time I’d ever felt victimized; the first time I truly felt exposed. I burst into tears.

Fraternities considered themselves the cream of the crop. If they spoke to you, lavished you, invited you to their Snapchat group chats and sent you the details to their exclusive house parties, you became their possessions. As internationals, we were bombarded by the like. Apparently we did wonders for their social status. Having us at their parties was a real crowd pleaser. Sleeping with us was even better. But I wasn’t into it. The desperation of constant booty calls and invitations to come over and smoke didn’t really appeal to me.

I watched the changes occurring to our fellow international lads. Boys who had refrained from perceiving women as objects were now tallying a score board. Boys who were committed to their girlfriends at home soon buckled to temptation. Boys who claimed to respect women were now complaining of the mediocrity they were surrounded by.

When one guy from our group started dating a local girl, he was shamed by his mates for being “whipped”. These mates were not locals; they were internationals who had adopted the mantra, “Here for a good time, not a long time.”

But the same liberation couldn’t be said for the girls. Within this college community, girls who wore lingerie in public and did keg stands were considered cheap, not to mention that if they’d slept with more than five men, they were labelled sluts. Girls marking frat letters on their bodies while on a drunken dare would be dropped from the guest list of their other frat mates’ social gatherings. So they just accepted this. Friends and parties were more important than individuality, the boys called the shots and they simply followed suit.

Exchanging conversation was now perceived as an attempt to woo. Boys would coerce girls with weed and pre-poured drinks. So I stopped going out, preferring to sit at home and binge watch Netflix, scoffing my face with carbs and talking to boys from back home.

While my sensitivities were at an all-time high, I knew that I couldn’t categorise all of my peers into the same air of domineering masculinity. There were sweet, introverted and respectful members of the pack too, but unfortunately, they were minorities, drowned out by the loud and uber masculine.

Cat-calling was a given. If you wore tight jeans, eyes were gawking at your rear wherever you turned.

For the first two months of my exchange, I was too scared to be myself. Back home, I was an overt extrovert who wore flares and dangling earrings with a tattoo on my side that read, ‘PSSY PWR’. I started realising the other international female students experienced the same trepidations that I did.

One was yelled at for leading a guy on; another was abused on a tinder date because she didn’t feel like having sex. She was later told by a frat ‘bro’ that she was the idiot for going on the date expecting nothing would happen. That was the consequence of her naivety. We stopped talking to these guys and the ones who supported them. We thought that we’d eventually be forgotten.

But the male supremacy never left. These jarring instances even followed me.

“Yeah baby,” he said to me as I exited the bar. It was the first time I’d been out in a few weeks.

He was a typical redneck bro: snapback, extra-large tee, baggy jeans and a knee hiked up on the table bench. A phallic asserting lean was angled in my direction.

Cat-calling. It’s never on. Why was I fretting? Why had I shrunk into myself, afraid of the pests who had no game, no style and no respect. Back home I’m empowered in my solidarity, not validated by the glances of perverts. No, fuck you mate. I don’t care where I am, it’s still not on.

“Fuck off,” I said it, looked him square in the eye.

He was taken aback immediately.

He looked to his left and laughed almost embarrassingly to his dirtbag mate.

I won. He might think he did, but in my eyes he didn’t. There she was, my voice, finally.

Easing back into myself, I coerced the local girls into wearing outfits they felt beautiful in. I told them to dismiss the guys that were using them. We compiled break up messages and went out on girls nights. We hooked up with boys and never texted them back.

It was easy to care too much around here. I’d lost myself in the fear of a male dominance I’d never before encountered. I was adopting a local mentality, forgetting that these men and their supposed power of social patriarchy didn’t actually have to impact me.

I finally felt accomplished when a frat boy named Storm – whose ‘great grandpappy was a civil war confederate with a tobacco farm’ – affirmed that my differentiation as a loose unit actually had no effect whatsoever on the social pecking order. This guy meant nothing to me.

“You’re not like other girls,” he said. “You just do what you want and you actually fit right in.”

It was odd hearing those words. It told me how rigid their framework of everything was, how ignorant they were of individuality or challenging the status quo. It also told me that he felt obliged to validate what I was doing so that I could feel better about myself.

But that didn’t matter. Instead I took away a valuable message for myself to recall the next time I was surrounded by men who took ownership over my presence in society.

Next time you travel, remember to pack yourself with you before you leave home.

Cover via girlwiththebeehive

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Don’t Be a (Big) Dick

It was any other Saturday night. I was at a gay bar, drinking too many vodka redbulls and losing my mind over Britney song after GaGa song, having a good time with my friends. I was wearing new clothes and I felt like I looked good, a confidence that helps in environments like gay bars.

I have a small bladder, so I told my friends I’d be right back and was just going to the bathroom. I peed, completely unaware of who was around me, and as I went to do my pants back up at the urinal, the 40-something-year-old man next to me told me that I shouldn’t bother doing them back up. He then proceeded to force his hand down my pants and grab my dick through my underwear.

I slapped his hand away, asked him what the fuck was wrong with him and told him he was a pervert. I washed my hands and went back to my friends. I was furious, yet my friends were not surprised – common practice in a gay bar.

“You’re gorgeous, you can hardly blame him,” one of them told me, wrapping a compliment around an excuse for the man who had just assaulted me.

I didn’t do anything. I didn’t tell security, I didn’t leave and I didn’t find him and punch him in the dick as hard as I could (as much as I might’ve wanted to); I just tried to forget about it and still have a good night. I didn’t do anything because, as sad as it is, it happens all the time and it is only one in a long list of stories that I could tell about sexual assault. Long since, I’ve been scared of confrontation.

I am learning what it is to be a gay man in an environment where we only view each other as bodies, or dicks, or holes, and what we want to do with that object.

Things you know about me so far then are that I’m gay, I’m subjectively good looking, I like vodka redbulls and I have been sexually assaulted — more than once. Other things you should know are that I’m tall, close to two metres; I like fashion (original, I know); I work in retail fashion and I have a dick that is above average size (bear with me).

I could talk a lot about having a large dick. It is desired, but can also be really fucking annoying. I know it isn’t something I should complain about, and so many people see having a big dick as amazing, but anyone who has to hold their genitalia when they sit down in a public bathroom lest it touch the bowl or toilet paper or god knows what else knows that it isn’t always sexy.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had plenty of good times with my dick too. But while men using my height to hit on me is an eye-roll-and-a-half, men asking if the rest of me is proportional is downright not okay. Sexual harassment is still sexual harassment; I don’t care if it is done in good jest.

Such behaviour penetrates every aspect of my life. I was at work once, wearing an outfit I loved and feeling good about myself, when a customer pointed out that outline of my dick was visible. He told me not out of kindness or wanting to spare me embarrassment, but out of arousal. Not even a week later, another customer slid his hand up my leg and cupped my genitals, asking me to join him in the fitting room when I was only trying to do my job.

Even in my private life there are problems. Sex is a wonderful thing, but when someone I adore is in pain from having sex with me, I find it hard to see having a big dick as a good thing. As soon as someone is uncomfortable, my dick pretty much crawls back up inside me. Sex could never be that important to me. I can’t look at someone and only see them for the body they live in.

So I’m pretty and I’m tall and I have a big dick, all things that are to be desired, that people like. But then my mind wanders back to that man at the urinal and I think about how he was almost definitely looking at my dick while I peed, and that brought out some animalistic tendency in him that he just could not control, excusing it because of my appearance, or my tight clothes, or my attitude or whatever else. I don’t care if you find me attractive, you cannot touch me without my consent.

Incidents like this make me wish I was something I am not. It has made me want my appearance to be different so that I’ll be left alone, so that I can have a meaningful connection with someone before I suck their dick in a bathroom stall, so that I have to fight less, so that I can wear what I want without hesitation, so that bad casual sex can fuck right off. If having a big dick holds me back from that, is it worth it?

Last year, I said, “I am not a body for your consumption,” more than I said, “I care for you,” because we have trained ourselves to dehumanise our companions and make them an object for us to blow our load over. And it isn’t my fault. I refuse to live my life differently, to stop going to clubs or to wear baggier clothing because people can’t keep their dick in their pants (quite literally) and I will keep standing up for myself. My body is mine and I make no apologies in protecting it, using it, or doing with it whatever I damn well please.

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The Clever Camper Cookbook – Review and giveaway competition

If you’ve ever taken a campervan away you’ll know that cooking quick, easy and tasty meals is not always as straightforward as it seems.  Those trusty staples from home might rely on that extra burner or grill that you’re lacking, or perhaps some spices or other ingredients that make it just a little too complicated.  Alternatively, keeping things too simple – relying on that favourite pasta-and-sauce combo, for example – might just become a little boring after the first couple of nights away.

Clearly, there’s a balance to be struck between a culinary experience and the ‘boy scout’ approach.  And I think the new Clever Camper Cookbook achieves just the right happy medium, featuring over 20 no-fuss but delicious home cooking recipes.



Megan Winter-Barker and Simon Fielding spent months exploring the world in their VW camper, and have honed their tried-and-tested menus into the  Clever Camper Cookbook.  All their meals can be cooked on just two burners, together with a small fridge or coolbox.  They know a thing or two about food too, with Simon’s family business, The Apple Pie Café and Bakery, located in the Lake District .



Having tried out some of the recipes I have to say that these are exactly the kinds of meals that we often eat at home and would happily eat away in the campervan.  Forget those cookbooks that require you to go foraging in the woods or on the beach before you could contemplate settling down to a meal.  Megan and Simon’s recipes for risotto, bolognese and pasta and bean stew are not only filling and tasty but very straightforward. But what about a one-pot Mexican breakfast?  I’ve never cooked something like this but I found it really yummy and a doddle to make. 

I particularly like the ingenuity and waste-not-want-not attitude in this cookbook.  Whatever’s-in-the-fridge Risotto is practical and self-explanatory.  If you’ve ever fancied making your own fajitas and wraps from scratch, it’ll show you how.  Curry with homemade naan bread … no problem.  And you don’t need to take the proverbial kitchen sink away with you to create these delicious meals.  As you can see in the picture at the foot of this post, something that most campervanners will have in their cupboard can double up as a very handy cooking utensil!


Giveaway competition

The Clever Camper Cookbook is published this week by Dog ‘n’ Bone and is available to buy for £8.99.

However, I also have two copies to give away to two lucky readers.  If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a free copy please share a favourite campervan recipe in the comments box at the bottom of this page.

To enter, please describe a trusty recipe that fits the ‘clever camper’ theme of this new cookbook.  Ideally I’m looking for a meal that’s no-fuss, delicious and with just a hint of ingenuity.  It can be a meal or snack for any time of the day.  All I need you to do is to name the recipe and leave a short description of the ingredients and cooking method – just enough that would enable someone else to easily follow the recipe.

The two winning recipes will be selected by Megan Winter-Barker and Simon Fielding personally and the winners will be notified shortly after the closing date.  Please read the competition rules below carefully.

Good luck!

The rules
  • Entries must be received by 10pm on Friday 30th March
  • Entries must be submitted as comments to this blog post
  • Two winners will each receive one copy of ‘The Clever Camper Cookbook’ by Megan Winter-Barker and Simon Fielding
  • The two winning entries will be chosen on merit by the authors personally, selecting meals or snacks that are ‘no-fuss, delicious and with just a hint of ingenuity’
  • Open to UK residents aged 18 or over
  • Only one entry per person
  • The winners will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date, and must respond within 7 days to claim their prize
  • The prizes will be sent out by post within 28 days of receiving the winner’s address.


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The Catalonian city is always worth the visit. Great food, people and amazing architecture. Find here our 24 hours guide.
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The Real “Know Before You Go”

There’s nothing better than taking the path less travelled. Our intrepid hearts strive for niche experiences that stray from the cliché, and yank us right out of our cosy comfort zones. We push boundaries and cross borders – both literal and metaphorical.

But what about when those borders are dangerous?

A high school friend of mine recently competed in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. A small group of my mates went to support him, brave the sub-zero temps, and live it up in the athletes’ village after his inevitable podium finish (Shout out to Matt Graham, the most successful thing to come out of Narara). I’d been banking on going too, but my bank account said otherwise. I wanted to go to the Games, check out Seoul, and hang out in a region of Asia I’ve never visited before. Maybe head up to North Korea, too. When I floated the idea with the group, it went over like a lead balloon.

“North Korea?”
“Yeah, why not? It’s just over the border.”
“Nah, I’m right. All yours.”

I couldn’t wrap my head around why they didn’t want to go. We’d be so close – you may as well, right? What were they seriously worried about?

In 2015, 22 year-old American tourist, Otto Warmbier, was detained in North Korea, for allegedly attempting to steal an item that featured North Korean propaganda. After 17 months, Warmbier was released on humanitarian grounds after US diplomatic intervention. He died just days later.

Warmbier’s travel companion, whose name has not been released, said in an interview with the Guardian that you’d “have to be a lunatic” to travel there. I’d heard tragic stories like this involving foreigners. Wrongful detention, strict laws and naive tourists. But I wasn’t yet put off. I still wanted to visit North Korea.

Similarly, I’ve always wanted to visit Egypt and the Middle East. How magical to see the Pyramids of Giza and float in the Dead Sea. But, it always seemed so far away, and so, the idea was shelved. That was until I finished a semester of study in London. Tel Aviv was five hours away, and flights were cheap enough. I’d had the idea in my head all semester long, telling people with certainty, “yeah, then I’ll head to Egypt, Jordan, and Israel” – which always made them think I was a lot cooler than I really am. If you looked up smug in the dictionary, you’d find a picture of me.

Then, whether it was the law of attraction, or that I just started paying more attention, I saw a lot more of Israel in the news. I’d been aware of ongoing conflict in the region, and liked to think that I was not ignorant to social and political issues. But, I really was. I didn’t know that since 2000, a recorded 10,000 Israelis and Palestinians have died at the hands of their opponent. I don’t know the intricacies of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, nor why exactly the Gaza Strip has been subject to blockade for 11 years. I knew a lot of states supported a two-state solution for the conflict, but I didn’t really get why others didn’t.

Current US President, whatever his name is, made waves in December 2017 when he called for the international community to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The UN put forward a resolution calling for the US to drop its claim. The resolution was backed by 128 states. Only nine UN member states supported the US. Trump then took matters into his own hands, and made steps to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, and out of Tel Aviv. His actions were not met with great reception. Trump is fighting fire with fire, and has since threatened to cut all foreign aid to the region.

In late 2017, Kiwi sensation Lorde cancelled her scheduled gigs in Tel Aviv, citing human rights violations. A full-page advertisement was taken out in the Washington Post to berate her decision, and label her an anti-Semitic bigot.

These were the things that made me reconsider.

Which sounds shallow, Western, and mostly just dumb, but only because it is. I didn’t – and don’t – know enough about the history and the future of Israel and Palestine. And the more I learn, the more I realise how much there is to learn about it. The same goes for North Korea. I’m not sure I could travel to a country in the throes of unrest, and be a tourist, taking happy-snaps and flaunting my naïve privilege. I don’t want to inadvertently support a system that in reality, I probably morally don’t.

But where do you draw the line? St. Petersburg is definitely a place I want to travel to. The FIFA World Cup is in Russia this year, too. But what about Putin and his involvement in nuclear warfare? Surely I can’t support that. I have friends in the United States that I want to go visit, and I’m a sucker for trashy Times Square and super-sized snacks. So, the US is on my list too. But the US is currently lead by a misogynist, who doesn’t support universal healthcare, free immigration, or women’s’ reproductive rights. His recent solution to gun-violence is nothing short of sickening. I fundamentally disagree with Trump’s stance on all of these things. So how can I go and spend my tourist dollars supporting his economy?

But what about at home? Australia is breaching international law with the mistreatment and detention of refugees and asylum seekers. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths are 25 times more likely to be incarcerated than their counterparts. Australians that menstruate still pay a luxury tax on tampons and pads. And we still choose to celebrate January 26 as our national holiday. But I still call Australia home. I’ve not renounced my citizenship – and have no plans to, and I’ve not moved to Iceland (yet).

When people express their concern about someone they love visiting a certain place, it’s because they are worried about their physical safety. For nihilistic reasons, I don’t worry much about that. Where and when I travel is increasingly becoming more and more about understanding the country’s history, politics, and social and economic issues.

When you travel, make sure you pack your awareness, and keep your eyes and mind open. Do your research – and not just about how to get to your hostel from the bus station. Don’t be fooled by tourism commercials and Lonely Planet. I’m not claiming to know it all. The opposite, in fact. But I think it’s important we strive to know a lot more, and have an educated opinion on issues in places we choose to travel to – as well as at home. It can’t just be about curating an excellent Instagram feed and adding that country to your “done” list. It can’t even be about voyeuristically exploring a place that none of your other mates have been. Pull the wool off your eyes, and get over yourself.

Cover by Ozan Safak 

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When Soho House & Co and New York's Sydell Group met to work on a hotel with a collection of restaurants, member's club and spa in the city of London, the outcome of that partnership would be just fantastic: Welcome to The Ned.
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The Australian Working Holiday Visa: A Memoir

I am currently on a one-year Working Holiday Visa that allows me to work for up to six months with a single employer in Australia. I will accept any and all positions.

The Italian Restaurant July 10 – July 11

When a restaurant has a banner across their storefront that reads “Best thin crust pizza in South Yarra” – Dave, you bloody well know it must be good. Unfortunately, when the chef demanded I tell the woman who received raw chicken in her meal he would not be giving her a refund, and she could either eat it or he would make her another one, I knew it was time to get out.

The Company that Sold Major Appliances for Campervans July 20 – July 31

Didn’t realise this was even a thing until I stepped into this office.

The Staffing Agency Aug 20 – Nov 30

One of my longer positions. I actually got the opportunity to make some friends and I almost made it to the holiday party.

My list of duties included creating a resume for the Director’s son, who seemed to be somewhat of an underachiever, and giving the Director’s shirt and pants a weekly size check, so presumably he could order more? Still not quite sure of the reason.

The Modern Office in the City Centre (No Idea What They Did) Dec 12 – Dec 12

I was left entirely alone in the office and was asked to answer the phones while everyone attended the holiday party – but not before someone had the opportunity to complain about the odour of my lunch. I genuinely didn’t realise parmesan cheese smelled so bad when it was put in a microwave.

 The Hearing-Aid Office Jan 15 – Jan 16

My instructions were simple. Answer the phone and book people in for appointments. Make sure to get their personal details if they aren’t already in the system. What I thought would be an easy day’s work went something like this:

Me: “Hi, thank you for calling […]. How may I help you?”
Patient: “Yes, I would like to make an appointment for next week to get a new hearing aid.”
Me: “Okay. Are you a current patient? Can I please have your name?”
Patient: “My phone number is 0-3-4-5-8-2 – “
Me: “No, sorry. I need your name to look you up in our system.”
Patient: “My number is 0-3-4-5-8-2 – “
Me: “No, your name, what is your name?”

Overheard from the doctor on the phone in the room adjacent:

“Hi! This is Doctor (…) calling from the (…) office to discuss your hearing aid.”
“This is Doctor (…) calling from (…).”
“This is Doctor (…).”
“DOCTOR (…)!”

The Bank Jan 20 – Jan 20

The reception station was a tiny room patrons would enter to receive a badge, allowing them into the financial office upstairs. I was trapped inside with one other woman who smelled like she had attempted to drown herself in perfume.

While wondering if a person could wear anymore, she proceeded to open her drawer to reveal about 20 bottles inside.

I’m allergic to perfume. One day was more than enough.

Update: My partner’s company made the decision to sponsor him. I was free to work wherever I wanted, for however long I wanted.

The Traffic Management Company Feb 3 – April 1

While my official job title was Administrative Coordinator, I personally referred to myself as Ted’s Unknown Nemesis.

Direct quotes pulled from personal messages:

“Ugh, Ted is having breakfast.”
“Ugh, Ted is eating lunch.”
“Ugh, I think Ted changed the password for the Superannuation site.”
“On Wednesdays, we leave at the same time, so I found a different bus that takes me longer but I usually take that one on Wednesday.”
“I took a sick day yesterday and it was at least 50% to not have to spend the day around Ted.”
“TED IS HERE TODAY! I got on the bus this morning and HEARD his noises so I turned around and there he was. UGHAKSJDFAISJDFLAJSDFK”
“Ted is on the phone spelling his name and you know how someone might say A, for apple? He said T, for ticketed.”
“I found these shoes I really like and was about to order them but turns out they don’t ship to Australia… and Ted has not stopped talking to himself for the past 2 hours.”

Thank you for taking the time to read my employment history. I hope on reflection, you will be convinced of my abilities and keep me in your considerations.

Cover by George Gvasalia

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Carillon Glockspiel in Berlin-Tiergarten


Carillon is a Bell Tower (Glockspiel) located in Tiergarten, near Haus der Kulturen der Welt, at the former location of Kroll Opera House.


The tower is 42 meters high and consists of 4 pillars covered in black granite. The instrument itself is controlled manually and consists of 68 individual bells, the heaviest of which weighs almost 8 tonnes.


The Carillon was built in 1987 to commemorate the 750th birthday of the city of BerlinDSC09318

You can hear the bells playing daily, on 12, 18 and 19 o’clock.


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