Saturday, November 15, 2008

"We are our own enemy."

On our weekly chat my mother chided me for not having posted lately which, dear reader, I have already been experiencing some guilt about. Part of the problem is that we restarted training for the prefecture speech competition, which means I had no spare energy. I come home, eat, wash, sleep, wake up to rinse and repeat. The contest was yesterday - we haven't heard the results yet - so next week should be more relaxed.

And then I was hesitating because there was a Serious Post I was trying to write, but I couldn't get it right so maybe for some other day. This probably sounds ridiculous but I take a long time to write this silly little entries. I can't hit "publish" until I'm satisfied that every word is in the proper place. I once wrote down my thoughts on romance, from the PoV of someone who'd never dated, but before I was satisfied with it I'd started dating someone. So I revised it from the PoV of someone dating for the first time, but before I finished that we'd broken up. I still have that entry on my computer - it's about three years old.

Why am I so obsessive about a web journal that only a handful of people read? I think it has to do with my poor memory - for most intents and purposes I don't remember anything outside my present circumstances. I remember living in Japan because I look around me, I see the apartment walls and the hideous curtains. Although I know that before that I lived in my parent's house, in a Seattle apartment, that I went to a big college and a small high school, that I've made some friends. But I don't actually remember what that was like, I just know it happened. If you told me that in fact it didn't happen and I just imagined it all, I would quite possibly believe you (on some level). There are some exceptions, like a certain smell will remind. And then there's the humiliation component, that I will infinitely experience the slightest embarrassment as though I'm still standing there with egg on my face. I still shudder over things in elementary school - in those circumstances at least my memory is crystal clear, and razor sharp.

Which is all to say that I keep a journal because if I don't it's like nothing ever happened. Even if it means nothing, if no one reads it, it means something about me won't disappear when I do. Words are the most important thing in my life, obviously, and by writing down my inconsequential thoughts I can make me feel like I'm something important too.

Sometime I'll have something good to write you. Ah, over Winter Break I'll be going to Osaka, primarily to see a concert of my beloved duo, but hopefully I'll also get to see the area, Kyoto, Nara. I'm spending a wince-worthy amount on the whole excursion, but considering I haven't even left my apartment this weekend I think I deserve an outing.

Hmm, in the cooking world - when I can get myself to make something more than dashi broth - I was recently given a bag of persimmons. I'd never had persimmons - for a fruit aficionado I am woefully unaware of the more exotic types, and I thought they were tomatoes at first. Then because I'm uncreative I made some into pancakes, which don't taste bad but are quite floppy.

Ah, this was an experiment you might turn your nose up at, but I swear it's worth it! Herbs are prohibitively expensive here, so I asked my mother to bring some de Provence when she visited. But I must have been thinking of some other herb blend because this has a sour quality that doesn't make it my favorite. "I need something sweet to counteract it," I thought. Since I'd eaten a can of peaches for breakfast I'd saved the juice, so I mixed with an equal amount of mirin, a spoonful of Herbes de Provence, and a little bit of ginger. Then I cooked some beef in it on the stove top - is that simmer? Sautee? I don't understand the terminology of the kitchen - and put the result on top of somen. Seriously, incredible. Makes my mouth water just sitting here writing about it.

Here's an odd song-of-the-day for you (though not as odd as the last one, haha) because I don't actually like this trio. Shuuchishin is one of those shoved-together-for-TV cookie-cutter groups. They're the Ken-dolls of J-pop, down to their assigned primary colors. And one of their previous songs sets my teeth on edge because it perpetrates a bit of Engrish I could do without. But this song's school-anthem, straightforward, inspirational tone gives it the heart their previous endeavours lack:

I was talking about enka earlier, the style of music popular among older Japanese that is distinguished by a quaver in the voice and mournful lyrics. The queen of the genre was Misora Hibari:

And because I love them and because I'm going to be at their New Year's Countdown Concert which will never stop being exciting:


Beeniac said...

Hi Em,
I didn't mean to lay non-posting guilt on you. I just really look forward to hearing from you. I know what you mean about not remembering much of your past. I'm the same. It might have to do with doing two or more things at the same time, so that your brain isn't registering your environment. Just an idea.
Love you,

brother newman said...

The friend who cares makes it clear that whatever happens in the external world, being present to each other is what really matters. In fact, it matters more than pain, illness, or even death. It is remarkable how much consolation and hope we can receive from authors who, while offering no answers to life's questions, have the courage to articulate the situation of their lives in all honesty and directness. Kierkegaard, sartre, camus, Hammarskjold, and Merton: none of them have even offered solutions. yet many of us who haave read their works have found new strength to pursue our own search. Their courage to enter so deeply into human suffering and to become present to their own pain gave them the power to speak healing words...Therefore to care means first of all to be present to each other. from experience, you know that those who care for you become present to you, when they listen, they listen.......... Henri Nouwen. Out of solitude.