Japanese Drama

Japanese Drama is great because it takes you away from your world where all achievement takes time. Where, there’s no guarantee of a conclusion, where despair is around every corner, where disillusionment is so easy.  

The characters are always forced to change. They’re put outside of their comfort zone, for example.

1. A broadway star goes to her rural hometown to teach a woman’s choir group. 

2. A hospital plastic surgeon must go to work in a commercial surgery. 

3. A detective who has worked in America (always portrayed as ‘exotic) goes back to tokyo to work in the first section investigation squad.

4. A self-centred fading rockstar is forced to live in a family. 

5. A security guard is forced to be the body guard of a film star.

The beauty of it lies in that everything is held in relief. They take an A and put it amongst Z’s, not just B’s. Each episode focuses on the lives and difficulties of one of the characters (And there are always problems). Apart from the theme of fitting in, the A character is always different, and is given the task of making the best of things, and bringing out the best of all the other character. 

In the last 3-4 episodes the main story arc takes centre stage and all comes to a conclusion. The conclusion will never violate the values of family. So if there are two single people, they get together. If there is a couple, they will get back together (even if the main character has had an affair with one of them). 

I am always reminded. How wonderful it is to have a conclusion. Compared to Japanese drama, conclusions in real life. are lacklustre and disappointing. Like a night that always has to give in to the day. 

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It’s a bad habit

To start something, stop it, and then take it back up again.

You don’t know where you left of, why you were doing what you did, why you’re back again. It’s confusing.

I seriously do not know why I was blogging. But I guess since I started it i’d better finish it.

I get up at 5am. I believe in destiny. Why? Because you must believe, or you fail. Keep things close to yourself, people are out there to hurt you, to kill you mentally and physically, if you’ve got something good, share it, but protect it with your life.

Peace.

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Further moments from Japan

1. A man waves a colourful fluro baton at pedestrians across a small intersection. Please, go this way, be careful, we are doing some construction work. He nods his head in a slight bow. And so it goes for the entire night.

2. Rain begins to fall and the baskets outside department stores (takashimaya, daimaru, isetan) begin to fill with umbrellas.

3. They sell handkerchiefs at takashimaya. And on the basement floor they sell all kinds of wonderful food, from packaged bento lunch boxes to new york cheesecake.

4. Staying on level 2, only 2 stories up. There is no G floor.

5. In the summer the residents keep potplants in front of their houses. They bloom, particularly the hydrangeas, all blues and indigoes. The soil doesn’t seem very acidic.

6. Vending machines along every street corner. I don’t have a taspo and therefore cannot by tobacco. However I can buy drinks like Royal milk tea and Calpis Soda.

7. Smoking inside a cafe.

8. Tower records. Where you can be shocked that cd’s cost $50 each. But where you can also listen to them for free on the instore computer system.

9. AV stands for adult video. There are many levels of AV in this building. And it is split into many sections. From mature, to schoolgirl, to gravure, to …

10. Vans mounted with PR systems blast out political propaganda, there is no escape, if only we could vote in the election. I would vote for the party for ‘greater happiness’.

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Recollections of Japan

I find lists easier to maintain than a recount, they’re pointed and eclectic and allow me to be lazy without risk of exposure. So here goes. Enjoy.

1. Clouds swarm down Mt. Fuji. What was a fair summer’s day, redolent with crisp beams of light that warmed the hikers on their way down from a cold summit. The clouds were more like fog, and suddenly enshrouded everyone on the slope in white moisture.

2. Sometimes they’d play songs I knew over the airwaves. Some songs were: Concierto di Aranjuez — Miles Davis (Sketches of Spain), First cut is the deepest — Sheryl Crow, Hey Jude — The Beatles (Orchestral), Beethoven’s Ninth,.

3. A chinese man, who I shared a hostel with, studying japanese late into the night.

4. The homeless men who never beg. Enjoying the summer weather in the park, out on the streets. They used cardboard between their bodies and the rough streets.

5. The band at Asakusa dressed to the nines, composed of Double bass, Accordion, Classical Guitar, Harmonica and lead vocals. The singer was a pale lanky fellow. They all wore top hats and suspenders as per the meiji style and sang music from the same era. The singer had a tough time raising his voice, and always faced the bassist, somehow I felt the sadness in his soul, though it was rather patently marked on his thin face.

6. Chinese tourists. In awe of the Japanese economy. Yet still proud. Who will always speculate on the purpose of a towel left on a wicker tray in a self-service restaurant. Is it to wipe one’s face with? Or one’s hands? It’s to wipe the table with.

7. The beautiful powdered women with orange hair who roam the streets. Those with the aspect of wolves especially. Where are they going? What can they be looking for? Happiness, pleasure, tomorrow? I Cannot tell.

8. The endless torrent of signs in Japanese and english. I had sign fatigue.

9. Getting tired of shibuya. I don’t really want to go back, not like this anyways.

10. The check out girl who laughed at me. It’s rare for them to even smile.

11. Finding a copy of Robert Grave’s autobiography — ‘Goodbye to all that’ at the hostel. And taking it home, after I finished the book I brought with me ‘An end to suffering ~ the buddha in the world’.

12. The korean girls who passed through our room in the 7 days. They spoke only korean. Were very fastidious and punctual. And brought home confectionary and makeup.

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Books I left with my ex-girlfriend.

In times of tyranny, famine, plague, divine reprisal, the people live in fear. In betwixt these events however, the people live in fear of other things — Warts, Acne, Flatulence, Scurvy, Dispepsia, Videogame Addiction, Dead pixels, Mono-Sodium Glutamate in their chinese food, and whether Rhino-therapy would be cheaper in Korea or Thailand (and whether it would be a better idea altogether to forego beauty altogether and go in for religion…).  Oh yes, and leaving stuff with their ex’s.

Here’s a list of books I left and my feeble attempts to remember their content.  (Is an obsession with lists another mono-mania?)

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1. Marcel Proust — By way of Swann’s

The first book of Proust’s 6 volume modernist opus A la recherche du temps perdu or In Search of Lost Time; in which the author recalls the moments of his childhood in ever more lucid detail, seeking to bring to us the hidden beauty of life. The pleasure in not receiving what one wants, the pleasures that can be taken in the defects of friends, the pleasures of art, the pleasures of dissatisfaction.

All the moments in her company are Proustian, they are eternal in time and in my memory. That I cannot reprise my role in them, Proust would say, only heightens their value. If I were to have them, I would no longer value them. This contradiction is captured perfectly in the example of a courtesan who has no power over man, because she cannot withhold exactly what he wants.

2. Milan Kundera — The book of laughter and forgetting

A series of inter-connected tales of love under a totalitarian regime. Humourous and written with sharp verve. We can forget anything, even the harshest injustice, if we let go, laugh and laugh and laugh and forget about it.

So let us laugh and laugh at the absurdity. This won’t happen again; in a world without eternal recurrence, where events can happen only once, events cannot have any significance. Hence we can laugh, and we can forget (about him/her)

I’m Bobby Fisher (the chess champion who played two games at the same time)! (You shout this over and over when your menage a tois with your wife and your lover is stumbled upon by your wife’s blind mother.)

3. Marcus Aurelius — Meditations

The Roman Emperor wrote this manual to his beliefs in stoicism. Some lines I recall (heavily paraphrased)… ‘A puff of breath and a drop of will, that is all I am’ ; ‘before you do anything, ask yourself, how will this make me a better person?’; ‘Everyone despises the friendship of the wolf’.

According to a stoic it is not better to have lost than to never have loved all. Rather, it is neither better or worse either way. The stoic doesn’t care what befalls him/her, whatever happens, a good stoic is ready for the worst! So no matter what happens, whether you fall in love, or fortunately don’t fall in love, keep your equanimity… keep your equanimity…

She dropped the book into a cup of water, or something. (keep equanimity, keep equanimity, keep….)

4. Friedrich Nietzsche — Human, All too Human

Along with other Nietzsche books I read for kicks but don’t really understand. This one was my favourite, a bunch of epigrams sympathetic to my plight of being an Under-Mensch! Of course, the Ubermensch (superman) is probably not even mentioned in this early work, which predates ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra).

I never got to finish this, nor even make it half way. Human, all too human… My weakness and her’s — because she probably didn’t finish it either.  Thus, I can unlike her by dwelling on her faults; and speak nothing of mine.

5. Mao, a history — ?

I read this on a trip to China. A biography of Mao. It was not until 2 years ago that it finally struck me how awful his regime was and how much better things would have been had Mao never existed, and how awful the world would have been if he were to exist over and over again. He wasn’t even original! Burning history and memory and culture wasn’t even his idea!

It was mine. Hahaha…

6. Alain De Botton — The Consolations of Philosophy

I liked this book. Now I have to read it at the bookstore. How can I possibly buy two copies of the same book? Or even a copy of a book I’ve already read? Things can only happen once, to have them happen a second time would be a farce! (But what if you get back together a third time? Isn’t that just the biggest farce!!!)

Keep your equanimity, keep your equanimity, keep your equanimity.

This was harmless, wasn’t it?

N

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Many ways to say ‘I love you’.

I branch away from my usual cryptic and self-absorbed material and try to write some interesting material.

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There are many ways to say those three words ‘I love you’. God knows how many I have experienced personally to no avail, but let us investigate the context and circumstances of this most over used adverbial participle (my grammar is circumspect…).

To be clear, chances are when one says I love you, all of these are encompassed.

With sincerity

Always, this sincerity is exaggerated due to intoxicating the effects of lust. If you ask the lover who speaks sincerely after the affair, they will declare, dejectedly, “I never loved her!”. Yet in this sorry reply there is always an unmistakable tinge of indignation. As though the lover had loved sincerely. A pity the sincerity is only exuded when it is of little use to anyone.

With intent to ensnare (ie, with strings attached)

There is a sense that in every I love you. Or even in every act of loving, there is an intent to ensnare. To draw the lovee into the lover’s ideal of the world, to make the lovee like the same things, dress and speak in the same register, meet and greet the same people, live the same kind of life, sleep in the same bed, live in the same house, and have the same children. You might conclude that love is, therefore, not for the individualist among us! And that is entirely right. A base thought might be that only those who feel an inherent deficiency (or in the case of the man, an extra appendage *wink*) feel the need to find another. If we were perfect as ourselves, then why love for? But of course, the deficiency may also be emotional, and hence, we must ensnare the lover when we say — I Love You — because they must not know that we are weak in any respect! It is war!

With Confidence

Often said by those who believe that saying anything confidently, no matter how unsure they are of the truth, makes the listener believe in the statement. It’s a real hoodwink this one. Few people are sure of love without the mutual commitment of the other. But this happens to be so commonly practised that it’s the oldest trick in the book. I, Love, You. Da da da. Said with clear piercing barotone lines, without a flicker in the eyes. Eyes that might turn you to stone! Yes! They love me! I am sure of it. I love them! I am sure of it. Oh what tomfoolery. Go rob a prison.

With desperation

Is there a more pitiful situation? Your lover is leaving, you are devastated. You love him/her! You love only him/her! There is nobody else in the entire world of 6 billion people like him/her! They’re almost like him/her, there are people almost identical, there are people with, admittedly, even better features than him/her. But they’re not him/her. They have not have spent the self same time they have with you. They have not even met you. They haven’t led you into some mistaken assumptions as he/she has. And so you plea and plea, you wring your heart and your sleeves.

With longing

Inevitably this is said when he lovee is not there. In my books, if you speak to somebody who is not there, you are a) under the effects of a hallucinogen in which case you should stop; or b) completely out of your mind.

With tedium

Ah, my favourite. When you no longer mean it but say it out of obligation only. Is there any greater lie? Do you really believe you won’t be crawling on the floor if they walk out the door? A testament to the human’s ability of self-denial!

The outright lie

Praise be to you, you Machiavellian! I’m unsure whether Byron said I love you to any of his many reputed lovers but if you were him you would have, because you can lie without a prick in your heart. Surely this is the highest achievement, but only if you looked them straight in the eye! You are destined for success in love, and life.

The silent I love you

You might mistake this for a lack of love. But as in a certain Sherlock Holmes novel (I think), lack says more than existence. The fact that two people need no longer say some hackneyed phrase for reassurance sake really says more about their relationship than any thing else (apart from dying for the other person but that’s an entirely different story and comes with it’s own exceptions and riders… which I shall visit another time). This is the most common of i love yous I’m sure, because people are lazy and indolent. But that change the fact that this is part of Louis Armstrong’s song ‘What a Wonderful World’. ‘They’re really saying I love you’ when they’re saying ‘How’re you’.

This saves a lot of trouble doesn’t it? Beautiful. Life is love.

Indeed. It’s not all bleak. If you don’t have the guts to say it. You needn’t say it. if you did you’d be buying into a really gutteral culture that requires certainty. Let me tell you there is no certainty, even with those words said, your incessant mind will ask, how much? In what quality? They’re endless. We must learn to cherish the inherent ambiguity in it all; and to notice the love and care that others show in their motions, in their speech, in their bodies. Only that secret love, that dwells beneath the surface. Only that, and that only, is not worth mentioning. (Please forgive my style and my cynicism. This is just a bit of fun)

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God it’s so cold and I’m growing tired of poverty.

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So I make it sound like it was a conscious decision

That’s the idealist. Poverty was a conscious decision. Yes, it must have been, it can only be this way. I have so much time. But not much money. And it couldn’t have been otherwise, because I chose this. Certain people and opportunities have passed my way and I chose consciously to spurn them. What is it to me that the consequence of those decisions resulted in this, which I may or may not have foreseen. But if a decision loses it’s quality of having been consciously made just because an unforeseen result occurs, then that is absurd. Absurd I say. I am the cause of my own poverty!

And I’m also tired of it.

Saw a movie about God

It made me believe less in God. ‘God is in the himalayas’. Some Kid decides to go to find God, after being told that he’s in the mountains. Then God appeared. And that’s when I started to doubt a few things. I’m a real believer in averages (a real hater too), but how can a kid just see God. Leads me to believe that he was suffering from serious delusions of the mind induced by exposure to cold and extreme altitude, and extreme thirst (these kids didn’t even have water bottles for the trip into the himalayas *sigh*).

In any case, there are no certain pronouncements. Time beginning is time end. But in the middle lies the shadow. Eck***.

The library is for bums only

A bum decided to use the kids corner in my local library for a nap. He smelled. There were no kids, thankfully (or not?), as it was 2pm. But why didn’t we stop the bum? Because it’s a public institution. But the man doesn’t pay taxes, he doesn’t even have shoes. Yes I’m being acerbic. Truly poor people are truly dirt. Forgive me, but my statements apply, of course, only to the bums who decide to sit in the kid’s corner. At least go to the astrological reference section. Then you will escape my rant which you will never see because you can’t afford to go on the internet.

I feel like my dog. Lying on the bed. Eyes balls swishing around. Looking at any movement. But not moving itself. What a lazy animal.

Symphony of sorrowful songs

Gorecki sure knows how to pull the heart strings. Really nice symphony I heard on the radio. I wish I could tell you more but wikipedia can probably do that for you.

I wish I could provide you with a link but I’m too lazy and there’s no money in it for me.

So, anyways, I’m tired of this.

What Symphony will heal my pain, rather than multiply it and broadcast it throughout the airwaves until the suffocates me through the air tracts.

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