The World According to Bush

July 20, 2006

“What they need to do is to get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit.”


Kicking the Habit

July 19, 2006

It really doesn’t do ANY good to write depressing things when you’re already depressed. Only a few opportunities in life present themselves with an excuse to shamelessly dote on yourself, so why not seize the moment? Let decadence rule tonight — especially after a hard day’s work!

Music of choice: Kylie Minogue’s “Fever.” Over and over and over again. Karaoke-ing to “Love at First Sight” while playing Zookeeper over and over and over again. Have you ever gone past level 8 or scored higher than 21,000? You play better than moi!

Friends are antidotes. They’re also a little like drugs. Friends far and near sheath me from pain and numb me from the unbearable miserable-ness of being. Thank you, Eli. Thank you, Kaoru.

And thank you, Usman, for the funniest postcard I’ve ever harvested out of my mailbox. It bears Piet Mondrian’s “Trafalgar Square” from the MoMA in NYC. God, I miss NYC. And it would be so lovely to visit Radhi in London again. Turning over the postcard I find, in lieu of the hackneyed “Dear XXX, How are you?” etc., four irregular rows of… O’s. It’s a very long and expressive “soooooooooooooo.” It’s part of the beginning of an enigmatic sentence to be continued onto postcard #2, and I am already expectant of its arrival. It’s Usman, my funniest Bhoma. Friends are also a bit like Bhoma. What is Bhoma??


Hanabi

July 16, 2006

Sometimes I feel like everything is about to crumble inside.

Usually it starts off with a lousy misfortune. A petty mistake at work, perhaps. Or a fiance gone AWOL. That starts the ball rolling, and a sense of crisis slowly starts building up. Usually I can’t help myself. I watch, filled with a mixture of subjective fear and objective anticipation, as I tumble deeper and deeper into depression.

The depth and duration of these depressions vary. I used to hurt myself in all sorts of trivial ways to make myself feel more sorry for myself, or to ask for help in a round about way. Sometimes I contemplated on neat, painless deaths. I never could commit to the final act, obviously. I am too chicken — too blessed a chicken to really bring myself to end it all. I own too many precious things.

These days I’ve settled on spasmodic walking journeys with no destination, no map. Last Sunday I walked from Odaiba to Meguro in the drizzling rain. Today I walked from Meguro to Shinagawa, which wasn’t where I wanted to end my journey but thank capitalism for all those commercial traps and thank JR for the nice train ride. I really couldn’t have walked all the way to Yokohama in one day.

Once I got there I settled on dinner at Jonathan’s and waited until 7:30pm. And this is what I got at 7:30pm.

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Fireworks. In Yokohama.

I wasn’t planning on seeing them at all. In fact, I had to turn down a friend’s offer to go see it together because I thought I was going to attend another friend’s spoken word gig in Harajuku tonight. I had to ditch that one too — depression does not make for a very reliable friend.

The view of the fireworks were distant and obstructed (I watched from an overpass above Shin-Koyasu station), but thankfully it made me forget that I had wanted to make myself miserable. I think I was actually happy while I watched those artistic bombs explode and die. It was cathartic. It felt good to see something else crumble to its death so brilliantly. Yet another sign telling me to go on and live my life.


A Hard Life

July 16, 2006

Living in Tokyo is a challenge — maybe more so for plants than humans. A roadeside sunflower still grows toward the sun even after some heartless scoundrel tried breaking off its stem. Signs like this give me hope.

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otona?

July 12, 2006

今日は新宿国際名画座に行ってきた。ちょっと大人になった気分。

今年の夏は、いろんな意味で大人になれと背中を押してくれている。大人として責任を持って対処しなければならない試練をいろいろ与えてくれている。

弟に「寿の便り」 なんて言い回しをされて、そんなフレーズを聞いたこともなかったこの姉としては、そろそろ本当に大人にならなければいけない。

いままで自力で生きていける自身がなくて、ずっとまわりの人に迷惑をかけてきた。実際、ひとりじゃ恐くて寂しくて、死んだほうがマシだと思える日もあるけど、それでもなんとか自力で生きていかなきゃいけないんだね。それがotonaっつうことですかな。そう自覚した理由は、もちろん国際名画座ではない。


For the Love of Dogs

July 5, 2006

It’s been roughly a month since I made the move to Meguro. I’ve finally come to call it my new “home”; a lot of that had to do with getting used to the new sounds around my new neighborhood.

The apartment consists of wooden frames and thin walls, and thus carry much of the sounds my immediate neighbors make. My downstairs neighbor gets kicks out of her heavy bass music. Most likely, though, I am more of a nuisance than anyone else in this apartment building, given my penchant for baking cakes at 1 AM or taking karaoke showers.

The surrounding houses are built quite tightly together, and from the sounds I hear I can deduce a day in the life of most anyone who live nearby.

There is a woman about my mom’s age who lives in an apartment building directly opposite mine on the other side of a narrow street. She lives alone and loves her TV. She also loves her air conditioner, and keeps her windows shut during most of the day so the incessant chatter of TV voices reach me only during the cool of the evening. Curiously enough, she is a fan of K-1.

An elderly couple’s two-storied home stands a few meters away from my dining room. I’ve never seen the woman, but she is a bit overweight. I can tell because she hangs her laundry on a miniature set of railings outside her second-story window, which features daily a different set of socks, briefs, and woman’s panties twice as wide as the briefs. Each morning I descry two ceremonial rings of Buddhist bells at an altar. Their solemn tones remind me of my grandfather’s temple, and the smell of incense.

Most disturbing, though, is the case of the perpetually yapping dog. I’m not quite sure where it lives. I’m not sure if I want to find out. All I know is, that pooch definitely ain’t happy because it yaps away like mad during most of its waking hours. At the current time of 2 AM, it’s still going on strong — actually, that last one sounded more like a scream. It must be one of those petite, fragile, prim-and-proper-attired dogs my friend and I refer to in bad taste as “kickable dogs.” (Jokingly, for sure.)

What I imagine in horror is this: The kickable dog being kicked. Or worse. I don’t know, and I don’t wish to know, how cruel a human can mistreat an animal to make it cry out like that. Sometimes the dog wails just like a woman in uncontrollable misery. Sometime it lets out short shrieks.

If this truly was a case of abuse, what in the Japanese legal system would potentially lead to an indictment, and therefore help to deter animal cruelty in the future? Since I didn’t know, I looked it up on the Web.

Wikipedia states that “…In Japan, animal cruelty laws historically were lax and seldom enforced.” Another online source explains that this is due to a dire paucity of animal shelters in Japan that can safely gain custody of abused animals. I read about government-run “animal protection” centers that are, in fact, more like Nazi concentration camps for strays and pet animals who are no longer wanted by their human masters. Injured and otherwise captured animals are held at the centers for 5 days before they are sent to the gas chamber for a very painful death by carbon monoxide poisoning. Unwanted pets who are brought in by their owners get killed that very day. And the owners who bring in their former pets for disposal do so with impunity, because the government situates this as a public service. Since our tax money goes into killing the animals, we are all guilty of having a hand in this mass murder.

Abusive owners seldom go punished, but one case in 2002 left its mark — the first animal cruelty case that ever resulted in a felony conviction in Japan. The case of Jun Matsubara who mutilated, tortured, and killed a kitten at his Fukuoka home and posted 7 photographs of the carnage online, garnered enough public attention to be successfully prosecuted due to its digitally ubiquitous nature. The photographs posted on the Web were there for the whole world to see. But this is not necessarily the case with domestic violence against pets. In fact, that’s the root of the whole problem. Who am I to stomp into my neighbor’s and whisk away the yapping pooch to safety? The police won’t budge without proof, and stealing pictures of someone else’s domestic life borders on a completely different kind of culpability.

For the love of god, I really hope it’s not a case of animal abuse next door — just a nutty, brainless kickable dog with the worst tantrums. Alright, I’ll stop calling them kickable dogs. That’s terrible. I would never, ever kick a dog, or any other animal for that matter. Except maybe myself.

References:


ノウゼンカズラの日

June 30, 2006

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音楽の恵み

June 29, 2006

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こんなラッキーなことがあっていいんでしょうか。
ヤマハのクラビノーバをタダで貰っちゃいました。

CVP-69のダークローズウッド調。
ハッキリいって、かなり物凄くカッコいいんですってば。もうホレボレです。
ということで写真もUPしてみたんですけど、どうです、なかなかでしょ?

キータッチもかなり本格派。ピアノのトーンだけで8種類もある。
もちろん88鍵あるので、ハノンだってざっと6オクターブ弾けちゃう!(弾かないけど)
あこがれのドビュッシーだって自由自在!(弾けないけど)
ピアノ禁止のアパート暮らしでも、電子ピアノだったらノープロブレム!
ヘッドホンを着用しながら練習すれば、どんなに下手でもまわりにバレない!!

ちょうど職場の後輩がお引越しということで、さりげない会話のなりゆきから「じゃあ、どうぞ」っていうことになって、本当に無料で貰ってしまったのです。なんていい人なんでしょう。世の中捨てたもんじゃないな、とこういう心の広い人にしみじみ教えられます。ほんとにホントに、感謝です。

ボストンで愛用していたRoland FP-3をバンド仲間に譲って以来、まともにピアノと接していなかったんだけど、最近ヤマハの雑誌に寄稿する機会が多かったなかでピアノの魅力を再発見。そんな矢先のクラビノーバは、なにかのご縁で結ばれているような気がします。

生活に新たな潤いをいただきました。多謝!

~追伸~

待ちに待ったNTTの「ひかり電話」が導入されたので、電話FAX買いました♪
その名も FAPPY (シャープ謹製)。
…びみょーなネーミング………FAX+HAPPYということなのか?


The Color Green

June 26, 2006

It’s been AGES since I last uploaded anything here. I blame it squarely and bitterly on NTT, whose sluggishness and tediousness have so far thwarted my blogging attempts at home. I’ve been Internet-less for a month now. As my friend Frank’s grandma puts it, NTT is “slower than molasses going uphill.”

Many curious events took place in the meantime. My brand new Magniflex mattress arrived and drastically ergonomized my life. My days of camping out in my apartment loft with nothing but a sleeping bag and inflatable sheet are GONE! Bye-bye back aches.

I also went through a grueling 5-day training session at my new workplace that just about sapped my life force out of me, partly because the job itself proved intricate and challenging, but mainly because I was faced with a level of animosity heretofore unparalleled. I have never, ever in my previous work been left out of a lunch crowd! On purpose, too! I’m not talking elementary school here. These are mature (older!), sensible, perfectly logical women who opted not to offer me a chance to join them for lunch because they hold grudges against a younger, newer, altogether less qualified office girl coming in and assuming a managerial position. I’ve expected unfriendliness, but not to this detail. It really sucked to have to eat lunch alone at my desk and feign nonchalance. Will the storm eventually pass? I have to either play dumbass clown or total bitch, and I have until August to decide.

On a brighter note, we finally formally got engaged! The date has not been set yet, but it would have to be sometime this August. All the details are up to me and His mother — plus Eli and J’s summer plans, of course. In Osaka, my parents met His parents, shared an exquisite Japanese-style lunch at a breathtakingly beautiful hotel, shared laughs, shook hands, bowed innumerous times, etc. Some highlights: 1) Ten minutes into lunch, my daddy-O spills hojicha all over His daddy-O’s plate; 2) The rice came with green peas mixed in — just the kind He hates the most; and 3) I was ushered into a hospital immediately following lunch due to a rotten toe.

I had to get my left toenail ripped out because I killed it while running in sneakers too small for my feet. My poor toenail first went red, then purple. When I tried trimming it, liquid oozed out and my toenail turned a ghastly white. It eventually settled into an alarming shade of chartreuse. This is when His father, who happens to be a surgeon, gently but firmly led me to his hospital chair and had it yanked out. It sounds worse than it actually was — it really wasn’t all that painful. Plaque cleaning was way worse.

My toenail won’t grow back for another 3 months, and I don’t know if I can resume my morning yogas until I recover fully. In the meantime, in the spirit of a young and wreckless Hina on summer va-cay, I’m having the most fun out of this rare opportunity — Japanese style, of course!

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妊娠!?

June 8, 2006

仕事場である幼稚園は、あたりまえだけど母親だらけ。当然妊娠してる人もいるし、みんな一度は妊娠を経験しているわけだし、そういうことに関しては恐ろしく勘が鋭いらしい。

そんなわけで、今日の昼下がり、コピー室で遭遇したお母様二人組に前置きもなくズバッとやられた。

「ひなさんって、もしかして妊娠してます?」

私のどこがどう妊娠してるんスか???
カオむくんでる?
それともハラが出すぎ?

なにがなんだかよく分からないけどものすごくショーーックなんですけど!!

しかも、そう指摘してくれたのは正真正銘のお医者さんママ。 医学的にも個人的にも妊娠という生理現象を熟知しているワケで。でもそんなことはないはずなのだ。現在私はまったく正反対の生理(現象)中なのだ。

要するに太ったんだなっていう結論に達したとき、脳内に浮かんだ自画像はずばりミシェリンマン

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