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ukuleles in Osaka

At The Cellar, a pub Shinsaibashi. Eric is playing later with "The Tardy Boys". I came down early, to find a ukulele recital.

Drinking Guiness on St. Particks Day (yes, I'm wearing green, as are several Nihonjin here) in a pub in Osaka, listening to ukulele recital, with songs sung in English and Japanese. Am I a world citizen yet?

Let's self medication!

Yes, let's self medication! Seems I've picked up a bit of a cold, so yesterday I was off to Universal City in search of a drug store where I might be able to understand what I was buying, and where I found this delightful sign.

But let me back up a bit. Saturday, I met up with Liz in Osakajo-koen, Osaka Castle Park. Lovely day!

We wondered about the park a bit, then headed down to Shinsaibashi. Our orginal plan was to meet up with a friend of hers to go to New Age healing fair, which sounded like it might be interesting, but that didn't work out.

Instead we got dinner at Slices (yes, I was able to order up vegan style pizza), met up with Eric later on. I ended the evening with a few drinks at Mojo Bar, a little walk-down place in America Mura. Not a gaijin-bar, but enough English about that I could talk a bit. The nihonjin present were tickled that I was a karate teacher and a shiatsu practitioner.

the tale of the jitensha

Found the music store yesterday, thank goodness. Bought a tuner, capo,
slide, and some picks to replace what I left in Baltimore. Didn't find
wireless but the cable guys came this afternoon, so I'm good.

So: the tale of the jitensha...

Andy, gaijin-liason for my landlords, had suggested a nearby bike store
with a used selection at good prices. I found a decent one at 5500 yen
(interestingly, it was what we'd call a girl's model in the states, but
that doesn't seem to apply here) and decided to buy it.

The shopkeeper had about as much English as I have Nihongo. And there was a
form to fill out. Apparently bikes have to be registered (which,
fortunately, I remembered from a conversation on a previous visit; I
wouldn't have gotten the idea otherwise, and might have tossed the paper he
gave me.) But the shopkeeper was a good nihonjin, full of ganbatte - "go
for it", "don't give up" - and wasn't going to let language stand in the
way. So we made it work.

the adventure begins

And so the adventure begins...

Arrived in Osaka Tuesday night, after almost a full day stuffed into flying
metal tubes. Got into a rolling metal box to get from the airport to
Bentencho Station, called my new landlord Andy to meet me there. Just a
few minutes walk to the apartment building; loaded with heavy baggage, I
was grateful for that! Signed papers, dragged my stuff up to my room, and
ran down to the Family Mart for a good old konbu onigiri for dinner (and
beer, of course).

Yesterday, shopping; hit the 100 yen for various housewares, bought a bike
(more on that later), stocked up on groceries. Mundane but pleasant; a
place is not home if there's no food there. Sent some e-mail from my
rental phone, as my internet service isn't up yet.

letter to Ted Rall

Letter in reply to Ted Rall's column:

Hello Ted. Long time reader, first time writer.

Regarding your piece "What Must Die So We Can Live?":

> Since the mid-19th century, some scientists have claimed, for example,
> that plants respond to music and speech. "The Secret Life of Plants" was
> a bestseller in the 1970s. The truth is, no one knows.

In fact, we know pretty well. "The Secret Life of Plants" is in the
same category as creation science, global warming "skepticism", and

Gun control laws are about as effective as drug control laws

Letter to the editor, Baltimore Sun:

The logic of gun control ("Ban assault rifles, save Maryland lives", February 27) is seductive: take away the bad guys' guns and they can't hurt us.

But the hard fact is that gun control laws keep guns away from bad guys
about as well as drug control laws keep heroin away from junkies.

It's easy to turn away from that unpleasant truth into the sort of factual
and logical errors that Mr. Helmke falls into.

First, we must be accurate in our terms. It is unfortunate that advocates
of stronger gun control have consistently obscured the meaning of "assault
rifle". Assault rifles - carbines capable of selective automatic or
semi-automatic fire, such as the M-16 carried by American soldiers - are
already so heavily regulated as to be effectively banned for civilians. The
National Firearms Act of 1934 strictly regulates all automatic weapons, the
only sort capable of anything resembling the "spray" of bullets that Mr.
Helmke mentions.

February 18th Zeldas: a dozen little poetry projects

This is an exercise based on "Twenty Little Poetry Projects" from our usual text, "The Practice of Poetry". We had four people there and each contributed three little "projects", things to put in a poem, for a dozen total.

1. use a color under many names

cloudy perlescent smoky indeterminate

2. describe an emotion

left him feeling like an empty cup, full of possibility, light, ready to hold anything the cosmos might poor into him

heart singing, like Bugs Bunny,

3. use a sentence that bugs bunny might use

carrots are divine, you get a dozen for a dime, it's magic

4. reach for french vanilla in your thoughts

Feb 11 Zelda's Inferno

exercise: an alphabet list

Alley behind my parent's house
Baseball games with ghost runners, my brother and I
Car coming down, time out!
Double if it went into the yard with the pool
Equal, me older, but my brother more athletic
Fencepost over there, third base
Gloves, oiled leather, breaking them in, the smell
Here is the true game, in alleys and lots and schoolyards, not in stadiums
Infield fly rule, Talmudic mysteries of the baseball rulebook
Jim, my brother, my opponent, my playmate, the strange relation of brothers
K, the scorer's symbol for a strikeout
Line drive over my brother's head, him turning to chase it up the alley

February 4th Zelda's exericse

At Zelda's - missed first exerfcise, busy ripping hole in the living room wall for the satellite cable. It was to write a five stanza poem, with one for each of the five senses.


exercise 2: wordlist, on the theme: music
/guitar /emotion treble harmony pitch melody comfort /catharsis visions dance /tension /colors /sharp /crescendo /voice

seeking catharsis of sharp emotion
voice rises in a sharp SCREAM
let it out through the throat
instead of taking up a sharp blade
to let it out through the skin

tension builds like tightening a guitar string
until something must either snap or be cut

sick puppy - update

Chewie's home, seems everything went ok. He's got a drain line in the surgical site that I get to flush out with betadine twice a day, and he has to wear one of those satellite dish collars to keep hom from ripping it out, which means he can't get out the dog door and keeps running into things. So he's not a happy dog at the moment, but looks like he'll be just fine.


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