Thursday, 19 May 2011


I feel like I’ve sold out. An English girl in Italy is a fairly typical path, but for me, it’s like Bjork singing duets with West Life. At least I didn’t follow anyone to Italy. However, spring has now arrived, and I’m glad I was the cricket who worked all winter, in order to play all summer. Though living in Italy is not without a price to pay, and a painful one at that. Keeping my pale skin is more than an aesthetic choice; it’s a thoroughly sensible one.

Most British people go to sunny places and lay out their milk-white skin to cook, like sausages under a grill; they are surprised to later discover their red faces. I stopped doing that many years ago; I learnt my lesson the hard way. After a day at the beach, realising I was burned, I desperately tried to find a place which sold yogurts. There were only a few shops open on that Sunday evening, so instead of natural yogurt, I bought some Ski yogurt, probably strawberry. It wasn’t very useful and not much fun to wash off. It’s not very sexy either.

I’m also too impatient these days to lie down all day at the beach with the intent of cooking myself. I managed to survive most of the Japanese hot weather without any problems with thanks to my trusty umbrella. If I had gone without it on a hot day, Japanese girls would have stared at me. But I think the fashion police would arrest me if I did the same in Italy.

The only time I get caught out is when I’m too occupied to notice. I rode my bike all around Kamakura near Tokyo and I knew by the time I’d reached the Daibutsu, (a giant statue of Buddha which has survived many natural disasters) that I was going to suffer for the next week. The same thing happened this week; I came across a cemetery with thousands of tombs, and I spent much of the day there. It reminded me of Buenos Aires, without the tourists and without a few famous guests.
I’m normally wearing a reasonable amount of clothes at the time; therefore the effect is like a matchstick. A white body with a red head, with all of the heat to equal a match stick when struck.

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