28 January 2006

Strawberry Fields








So I'm starting a business. I fell into the trap that every English teacher falls into: you get tired of running around and taking bullshit from people who pull your strings. I've said it once, I'll say it a thousand times: there's more money and security in just doing it yourself. So I'm full of good ideas. Damn good ones.

The Strawberry Fields English Club. I like it. I like it a lot.

Marriage set for July 15th. Ceremony followed by jazz show in Furumachi. Come, drink Mimosas with us and bask in the groly of love.

Yoko said I should blog about how Japanese people are obsessed with fecal matter and how every Japanese child has an "anus period" in which they're obsessed with their own anus and the anuses of others. This leads kids to poke each other in the ass for fun. I said that if that happened in the States, you'd get sent to the shrink. Since I missed out on my anus period, I'm going to try and have it now. If you get poked, blame the evolution, not the evolved.

Also, I think that means I can see Brokeback Mountain and file it under the "anus obsession" tab.

24 January 2006

Engaged

To Write a Love Poem

I.
Cite Solomon who said, "If
you were milk I would
bathe in you. If you were
honey,  I would eat you. If you
were wine I would drink you."
Cite Rick Jackson, love in time
of war. Cite Pynchon or
Bellow or Hemingway. Cite Plato.

II.
If fiction then turn to
this story of lovers running
through surf foam or falling onto
each other.
I prefer fact: You came down
stairs, drone beetle in hand, saying,
What I wrote about.

III.
I wrote kissing on Agano River
banks, I wrote children, a girl with
eyes dark like yours, and blue
ribbons pulled up black hair. I wrote
you and I bent in embrace. I wrote your
tears wetting my shoulder.

IV.
So here: weave our legs, it has been
said. Wet me with your mouth, it has
been said. Press your weight against my
weight and collapse like a star, pulling
my body taunt: closer and denser, denser
and closer until all that is left.


We're engaged now.

21 January 2006

Single Stephen is dying

I told Yoko last night that Single Stephen is dying. Right in front of you. I started pointing to things in my apartment: The John Lennon poster? You think Non-Single Stephen would own something like that? No, I don't think so. Christmas lights? Gone. Posters of favorite sumo wrestlers? Gone.

Yoko just laughed at me, He's dying?
Yes, I said, he's dying.

I also spent a good deal of this afternoon bitching about Japanese culture and closed- mindedness in older Japanese folk. You ever get the feeling that you're not going to be Japanese, no matter how hard you try? I've been getting that feeling a lot lately. It's good because last year I think I had deluded myself into thinking that I was going to become Japanese. Yeah, right, Stephe-o. You're an idiot. The result is less fu-an (or uneasiness for people who can't remember the Japanese they're been taught on this blog--I'm looking your way Tom) because now I can be at peace with who I am. You know, the dude.

The dude without a gut, by the way. That's right, diet trackers, dude is now down 12 pounds on the diet of the stars (tipping the scales at a husky 83.5 kg or 183.7 pounds for you metric illiterates out there). The last time I weighed this much, I was 14, with cut-off jean shorts, a Hawaiian shirt and even more fu-an than now. Things are turning around. No question.

Finally, the Catholic Encyclopedia writes, "When [St. Sebastian] was finally discovered to be a Christian, in 286, he was handed over to the Mauretanian archers, who pierced him with arrows; he was healed, however, by the widowed St. Irene. He was finally killed by the blows of a club. These stories are unhistorical and not worthy of belief."

17 January 2006

You like those cowboys, don't you?

Larry David on Brokeback Mountain:

I just know if I saw that movie, the voice inside my head that delights in torturing me would have a field day. "You like those cowboys, don't you? They're kind of cute. Go ahead, admit it, they're cute. You can't fool me, gay man. Go ahead, stop fighting it. You're gay! You're gay!"

Tom encouraged me to check out Bill O'Reilly on David Letterman. This is great to watch because it illustrates a fine point I was trying to make to my friend Neal last night. I don't know why Mr. O'Reilly takes so much pleasure in being an ass. I think he thinks the reason people don't like him is because of what he believes. This makes clear that it's just because he's an ass. Christians have this problem a lot too. If you shout the truth (whatever THAT is) at people and then enjoy the backlash in this sort of silly, pious way, you managed to prove that most people don't like assholes. I also like how Letterman tells him that he's just trying to scare people by quoting this list of issues about the "war on Christmas." It just proves that some people are hypersensative and doing stupid things. It doesn't prove that there is a "war" on Christmas.

Now, to be fair, Michael Moore fits into this category too. It's hard to complain about fat, rich, white men when, you know, you're one.

Nick Negicorte writes:


GROTTO TO SEBASTIAN

Resilient one, Namesake of my father’s mother, Patron of archers, Patron of recovery, against the plague against suffering—or the strength to eat it, you needed two deaths finally to reach Him whose love took, in your heart, from a whisper.

Patron of spreading fire to wet branches, confessor of martyrs, counselor of soldiers—.

Patron of faith answered with arrows.  Patron of the Lost Cause. 

Sealing pain in with swaddling, so blood pounds the joints into motion, then no more.  Patron of lifting her head.  Patron of tranquilizers.  Patron of being locked in her room.  Of blue eyes with no ancestry.  Being so beautiful once.  Of asking for just another hour. And another hour in her room but without me.

Our bodies floating in the sewer, and the one who finds us.  Being nursed back.  The Lost Cause.  Forgiving your friend-executioner.  70 times 7 faith answered with fists. Taking a beating once and for all.  Dying, listen to me:  for every arrow I have a prayer.  Whom do I seek?

Lastly, Yoko celebrated her "19th" birthday with me, this banana, and a shitty piece of cake I bought. For every arrow I have a prayer:

13 January 2006

Hemorrhoids

You give me a line-up of six people, any age or gender or race or creed, and tell me that one of them has a hemorrhoid and I gotta pick out that person, I can do it. No question. It's the person who looks like they've lost the will to live. He or she is the one with the dark eyes, the eyes that are trying to conceal incredible pain and dreading the next time they have to make use of their anus. I would pick that person out by gently kissing them on the forehead and saying, in Latin, "All your troubles are held in the wings of a dove."
Hey, so Stephe-o is now down 7.7 pounds on his diet of the stars. Working out hard everyday has gotten a lot easier. I'm not really out of breath when I finish. I'm like my own personal hero.

But I gotta stop eating so much spinach as it's not digesting well and deciding to hang out inside of me for weeks at a time.

I would encourage you to check out the new Frontline entitled "Country Boys." Do you remember being a teenager? I do. This film is so awkward to watch at times, but the most honest thing in the world.

It made me remember my first "band" in which me and Chris Nanda jumped around in my room and shouted bad hardcore lyrics. I had big pants and hope and awkward, passionate faith and a crush on Jenny Roth. My mom caught me mid-jump one time, screaming a Focal Point lyric that started out "When I die." She was terrified by this, "I come up to your room and you're jumping around like a maniac, screaming, 'When I die.'" This was "spirit-filled" hardcore so the rest of the lyric was "I live" and I quickly told my mother this. Of course, she couldn't really say anything to that except that it was frightening, but that was the point, you know? It was like rebellion without rebelling.

Also, all this adolescent love, this trying to keep things hidden, this wondering, this fear of the future.
I'm also taking a swing at Biblical inerrancy. More on that later.

07 January 2006

Killing the car

Well, they finally killed the dude's car. That's right, some careless individual rear-ended me at a stop sign on Thursday. Although this might be easily explained by the 6 inches of ice and snow on the roads, this particular accident was one hundred percent careless individual not paying attention. He said his brakes cut out. ::rolls eyes:: Whatever. Anyway, after the accident I had two immediate thoughts: 1) this is going to be a pain in the ass to do in Japanese and 2) I'm probably going to a shitload of money. Neither turned out to be exactly true. Explaining that you have been rear-ended is a little difficult, especially on the phone with your insurance agent who kept asking me, "Where are you?" and I kept saying, "No you don't understand, it was earlier today."

The cops were polite, but I think they should have ticketed the careless individual responsible as his lame-ass "brake" excuse was obviously wrong. But it was icy so I think they just assumed that was the problem. I went to the hospital and my car's getting fixed. I guess I'm going to get about $200 cash for my car as they have to fix it with used parts and as I have to file my doctor's report with the cops, I may get some compensation for my trouble. I had a good time practicing my Japanese in all of this and am pleased that I was able to do about 50% of it by myself. I probably could have done another 40% of it myself, but it was just easier to ask the lady and my friend Kouhei.

I mentioned that there is 6 inches of ice on the road. This is not an exaggeration. The Japanese don't believe in plowing the snow because everyone has snow tires. This is fine up to a point, but when we've gotten like 200 cm in the last couple of days, it's like, this is not a good way to run a transportation system.

I guess I should complain. There are places up in the mountains that have gotten 3.5 METERS of snow. People climb up the snow banks unto their roofs and shovel because the weight of the snow is causing buildings to collapse. I was watching a report yesterday of some folks who had died when their roof collapsed, but they were like 96 and 88 years old. That's gotta suck to make it that far just to get killed by a shit-load of snow.


There are lightning storms with the snow sometimes.

I know many of you are following my diet closely. Well, I'm down 6 pounds in about 11 days. The combination of dropping my calorie intake by about 300 calories a day and increasing my cardio-exercise by about 25 minutes a day did the trick. I no longer have a gut, but this sort of silly ring of fat right at my waist. Gotta work that out.

My plans to travel to Paris have been cancelled in favor of (drum roll) going to Rome for three weeks. Also, it looks like the lady will be joining me for seven of those days. Yeah, I'm pretty damn stoked about that.

The Kafka book was fabulous. Apparently the door to the spiritual world is deep in forests of Kochi Prefecture, where my ladyfriend is from. It's guarded by two WWII-era soldiers that deserted the Japanese army during the war.

Lastly, something I hate. When someone says to me, You should totally read this poem I wrote, and then the poem turns out to suck. Like,

This year was a happy year,
and I don't think there will be a tear
for you and me to see on the cheek
or on the farthest mountain peak.

What do you say? Yeah, man, that's, you know, really good. I've stopped complimenting stuff I don't like. I just say, Thanks. That's all. Thanks.






02 January 2006

神の子供たちはみな踊る

For those of you interested in what might come to pass in the coming new year, I am predicting, among other things, a large earthquake in Mongolia, an abnormally high occurrance of conjoined twin births, and a 7% chance of the world ending. All these things might seems unrelatable to your current life situation, but I assure, they will affect you. The 7% chance of the world ending is rather low, I think, and means I can sleep more soundly this year than I did last.

I am currently riding a wave of productivity that finds me nearly done with my Madonna paper, finished with Murakami's _After the Quake_ in English, half-way through Murakami's _Kafka on the Shore_ also in English, and a page and a half through Murakami's 神の子供たちはみな踊る (kami no kodomotachi wa mina odoru) in Japanese. I am again on a Murakami kick mostly because I think he teaches me to love Japan and look at Japanese women as they are. There is more to be said there, I'm sure.

The translations of Murakami always intrigue me. I just read a part from _神の子供たちはみな踊る_ that had been translated in English, "His wife disappeared," but in Japanese the word wife is really "his wife's shape" or "his wife's figure" and the word for disappear is the same word you use when you say you shut off the lights. It's like a passive cut off or removal: it was cut off or it was removed. Maybe I will try a translation of one of these stories for fun. See how it compares to the official translation.

I also found a cheap flight to Paris on my preferred airline. I will be buying those tickets on Saturday, baring disater. Now, to get the woman to come over too.

Other than that, my friend Neal coined the phrase "New Year, New Neal" early on Sunday morning and I've been using it to refer to my desire to become a better person this new year. New Year, New Neal. Everyone now.

My diet hit a snag this weekend with everyone eating a lot of nonesense at parties, but I did my best to stay under my allotted calorie intake. I think I can give myself a little leeway in that I'm exercising my ass off. No real progress yet, though. I thought I saw some on Thursday, but it wasn't anything really. I have been trying to convince my American friends here that what passes as a healthy weight in America and what passes as overweight are seriously skewed. I was showing some folks a BMI chart, and someone actually said, "Yeah, but that doesn't take into account how broad your shoulders are." Honestly, now. I'm beginning to get tired of hearing people spout of psuedo-science all the time. No, no, no.

I also can't find running shoes in this country that fit.
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