Q1 performance update

by admin on April 8, 2013

Yesterday was a beautiful day for walking around central Tokyo, and for moving boxes into storage. The storm which passed the night before left a stark and clear blue sky (the sky in Tokyo seems much higher than in Europe some for some reason) and a wind whipping up leaves in mini-twisters (“tatsumaki”). But before I could move any boxes, of course, I had to go to Starbucks. I left my paper on a table outside and quickly dumped a 1000 bill yen on the counter after saying Venti saizu awanashi no ratte (venti no foam latte – yes, I am a coffee luddite), and picking up a random phone call. When I came back outside, I started reading my iPad, and thought to myself “this is very much unlike Japan – why is there a newspaper blowing around in the wind? This looks as messy as London! How disgraceful…” And, after a second of trying to ignore it, and then doing a “hang on… but … is that…?”, I found myself engaged in the act of running around like a farmer in spirited pursuit of a free range chicken.

Daimon Starbucks Nikkei Shimbun Daimon Starbucks Nikkei Shimbun

And it still is the best season to be in Japan, even after the sakura have gone, because you can see all manner of old-school traditional stuff with guys in funny hats walking around as if it was 400 years ago. These chaps are commemorating the death of a minor family member of the Tokugawa dynasty – just imagine it! This would be like a procession in central London to commemorate the passing of a nephew of someone like Charles I.

Tokyo Zojoji Temple guys in funny hats Tokyo Zojoji Temple guys in funny hats

Nobody cares about who it was exactly that died, but the solemn chanting and drum banging do leave a pleasant electricity in your spine as you walk past.


As hinted in a prior post, Q1 was particularly tasty. And exhausting. I do not expect this to happen again.

The return in yen terms was 47%, despite under-leverage for some of the period. The main reason for this was the exposure to one particular stock, which, in the words of my former boss, was similar to “being handcuffed to a rocket launch”.

That stock was Techno Mathematical. Buying gold during the period with surplus yen helped a little bit.

I would like to write more about all the stocks I bought and sold, many of which have been featured on this site, but just thinking of the number of names I was juggling in this period is bad for my constitution, so perhaps I will do more of this next quarter.


Probably a more important thing for me was that I have managed to lose all of the weight I put on in London, Poland, and Russia.

Now, this is probably an area of enquiry where someone in the future will carry out a study, publish a book, and make millions, viz: why do people spend so much money weight loss products, when they could just become to Japan and be forced to eat small portion sizes, eat less bad things, and eat more slowly? I think I have, so far, between several rounds of being inside and outside Japan, proven to within an important degree of statistical significance that eating in Japan is better than any other weight-loss regime.

… and, after a long session of box-moving I think I am ready to put it all back on again.


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