Thursday, January 31, 2008

japan's wonderful englishes*

* with apologies to our dearly departed friend, gianluca di milano.

i've worked out a way to blog about the trip without boring everyone, including myself, senseless.

i hope.

i will pick a photo from the holiday and use it as a springboard to get myself started.

and let's start with japan - osaka to be precise, and creap.

"for relaxing coffee time your guest can enjoy its stylish design

stick creap will give you a splendid time"

creap is powdered cream that you put in your coffee, or tea. we saw this when we stayed at my japanese friend's parents' "retirement village" down near kobe. the place was called charming square, and let me tell you, no chance of even one bed sore in this place.

we stayed there a night in one of the guest apartments, it was very luxurious, and we visited the onsite onsen (japanese baths/hot springs) and the dining room, where the food was very kai-seki -traditional kyoto food, presented most beautifully.

in the onsen, i was surrounded by tiny naked old japanese women, one of whom was asking questions to me, through my friend mayumi. i hadn't bought a correct wash-cloth, and i was standing there with a tiny fabric skerrick of nothing, trying to remain as modest as possible while this cute little button of a 90-year-old was asking me about O-su-tu-ralia. you'd think my almost 3 years in japan in the early nineties would have sufficiently cultured-me-up enough to avoid the embarrassing gaijin gaffs that foreigners make in the land of the rising sun.

not so. it took about 3 hours of being in the country before i started feeling that old feeling again. big. awkward. clumsy.

we were there only 4 days or so. we packed in so much. we ate. we drank. we walked, oh god we walked. and we sweated in the humidity. we visited bearing gifts. we nodded. we bowed. princess told me she wouldn't "bow for anyone". then after a few hours of being in a land where everyone bows, she told me she was doing it without knowing, and couldn't stop herself. it's like that there.

we went crazy in a toy store and came home with a whole bunch each of tiny tiny miniature plastic things, like trays of sushi with miniscule chopsticks, all different types of food.

i even bought a plastic display case.

random diary excerpt from japan - friday 17-12-93


Stayed in front of the heater all day, reading Shogun. The descriptions of the courtesans and their "practices" are fascinating. One quote re:

Always remember, that to think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If you leave your mind to itself it will spiral you down into ever-increasing unhappiness. To think good thought, however, requires effort... So train your mind to dwell on sweet perfumes, the touch of this silk, the tender raindrops against the shoji, the curve of this flower arrangemenr, the tranquility of dawn. Then, at length, you won't have to make such a great effort, and you will be of value to yourself...*

I like the idea of being simple and aesthetically aware. Japanese are very aesthetically aware, eg. hanami, moon viewing, ikebana, kimono, rock gardens etc.

It feels like the most civilised country on earth; everything is very ordered and precise. But I find it soulless: I like passion and a touch of chaos, emotion and energy. Japan is not like that for me...

Tonight I met Takashi at NHK. We took a taxi to Shinsaibashi, to Hozenji Suji, a famous street of traditional inns and restaurants - narrow cobbled paths, lanterns. It was gorgeous. Our restaurant was a well-known place - we had a private room upstairs and ate mini nabes, fried oysters, sashimi, flounder, wild duck. The food was delicious. After, Mr Ogami had to go home as he's playing golf early tomorrow. Takashi and I went to Hozenji Temple and ate a special dessert - sweet bean soup with mochi - which is said to bring married couples happiness (if shared together). **

At the temple, we prayed*** and I got a fortune. Takashi translated. It was full of warnings. To be careful when travelling. To be careful not to desire something beyond my control. That if I or a friend is ill, it would be difficult to cure. That if I try to take care etc etc I'll be rewarded with limited happiness.

Great. So I tied this piece of paper to the rope to improve my fortune. Then we went and played Pachinko, 1,000 YEN bought maybe 40 or 50 balls. They all disappeared pretty quickly. I saw some people with trays of balls under their seats. The professional Pachinkas (as they're called.)

Hitoshi called today and asked me if I'd sing at his wedding. I firmly declined. He asked me to make a speech so I said I'd do that. But god only knows why - token whitey? - and it'll probably all be Japanese people, don't know how many will be there or anything. I'll have to learn some appropriate Japanese phrases.

I'm not allowed to put water down the sink or use the shower. Damn. Some pipe problem. Did I write about this oilier? Yeah, I did. God I'm boring. I really wonder if anyone would ever manage to read all their way through the entirety of all my scribblings. I'm sure they'd commit seppuku about 1/2 way through.

* lesson here - do not be dismissive of clavell.

** at that time I was not married to Takashi. I can't even remember who he was, but probably a student of mine from NHK. I remember Mr Ogami. I'm reading this and wondering whether Takashi had hopes of a romance with me? If so, I was completely unaware at the time.

*** this would have been me being polite and "culturally immersed".

Thursday, January 24, 2008

when god people are so nasty, it's just so sad

why would this woman think that she can say this shit about a man who has just died?

WBC [Westboro Baptist Church] will picket this pervert’s funeral, in religious protest.

why would a god lady, a woman who follows jesus who said to be kind to others and don't judge and first stone and all that, say this?

God hates the sordid, tacky bucket of slime seasoned with vomit known as Brokeback Mountain – and He hates all persons having anything to whatsoever to do with it.

"tacky bucket of slime seasoned with vomit"

why would a god lover, who supposedly is meant to be a good and kind and loving person, say this?

Heath Ledger is now in Hell, and has begun serving his eternal sentence there.

why would anyone say that? why would anyone think that? what a sad mental case she is. i'm sorry this is so badly written. i am speechless. i am without speech. not because heath is dead, but because of this stupido woman opening her mouth and presuming to speak like this. i hope someone kills her.

when i said i hope someone kills her, seems i'm not the only one.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

holding pattern

remember the old test pattern i think it was on the abc because they didn't have enough money to "put more television" on?

well, just think of that happening here.

i'm all kinds of concerned with a myriad of things at the moment, and just don't seem to have time to satisfactorily contribute here.

what i am wondering about:

- wondering how to solve certain bedding issues in the secret life of them flat

- wondering how to get my beloved to see atonement with me on our date friday night

- wondering, indeed, where to go for dinner on our date night friday night. suggestions?

- wondering how hard it's going to be to get my beautiful, wonderful and entirely necessary cooking books out of storage.
- wondering who graham kennedy is on facebook.

- wondering where to store gigi's other bed that we are not using. see, more fucking bedding iss-ews.

- wondering how to approach blogging about the trip. to be honest, it seems old news now. i like to move on, man. but i've promised and i will work out a way.

- pondering the golden compass and the negative reviews etc, nay religious propoganda, that it has attracted. geeze you can't win. "offensive" religious pieces get damned, and then an atheist, yet spiritual and human, movie gets panned as well for being anti-christian. what's wrong with being anti-christian? really, it's not as if atheists want to kill christians and eat them. why can't atheists have a fair go?

- wondering if leo's spaghetti bar really has gone bad or whether it was just an off night on nye?

- wondering whether i should have a martini party and invite just 3 people because i only have 4 martini glasses out of storage. people could bring their own glass?

- wondering whether nicole's pregnancy will go all right. i really hope so. she's so vulnerable.

- wondering which series of books to get princess onto once she finishes the narnia chronicles. suggestions?

what i am reading:

- phillip roth's memoir of his father's illness, patrimony.

- the third in the golden compass series, can't remember what it's called.

- the age newspaper

i am off the trash mags. trying really hard.

what i am cooking:

- soba noodles in dipping sauce

- spaghetti bolognaise

- toast

- coffee

what i am waiting for:

- fegari seafood in hampton to re-open january 21st i think it is. i need, NEED, one of my spaghetti marinaras. with buckets of chardonnay.

- d. chirico bakery to re-open, ALSO january 21st. i need, NEED, some of their bread. but in the meantime i am making do with greg brown's rye and sunflower seeds 1kg bread. a very worthy replacement. may even out-do chiricos. i will do a bread-off when chirico re-opens. anyone care to join me?

- school to re-start. it's always an exciting time of the year. plus then i get my days to myself.