Umbrellas, Dali, Daruma

Umbrellas.

I don't have a good history with them. They tend to be ripped away by the wind, or left behind, within a few days of my purchasing one. So I usually go with a hat to keep my head dry, and a reasonably rain-repellent jacket.

But, I don't live in a mass-transit culture; when it's raining, I just don't spend much time outdoors.

Here, when it rains, umbrellas come out. Everyone has one. There are boxes or stands for wet umbrellas outside every shop.

Tramping around in the rain, getting damp, surrounded by umbrellas, getting weird looks for being an idiot who's gtting rained on, I gave in an bought one at a convenience store in Shinsaibashi. We'll see how long it lasts.

Earlier today, went to the Dali exhibit with Liz and company. Quite crowded; everyone very quiet, moving in orderly queues.

An interesting experience to not be able to read any of the information on the exhibit cards, just the Romaji of the titles; therefore free to focus on the art itself.

(Let me just mention in passing, that two of the piece exhibited, illustations for a collection of essays by an author I can't recall, featured dodecahedrons. Blue dodecahedons. A dodecahdron is also present (partially) in his version of the "The Last Supper", which wasn't in the exhibit but was in prints in the gift shop. Twelve and five.)

The exhibit was at the Suntory Museum. Every time I see that brand here (which is fairly often) I think of Bill Murray in Lost in Translation: "For relaxing times, make it Suntory Time." It occurs to me that I could do that, be a pitchman for some Japanese product, use my unkempt, long-haired barbarian charm to sell some fashionable geegaw or the other.

More crazy internationalism, going to an exhibit of a Spanish artist in Osaka with Australians and Japanese.

At Mojo Bar again. They are burning Ganesh brand incense, same stuff I used to buy at Spencer's when I was a kid, I'd know the scent anywhere.

It occurred to me earlier this week that by now, this is not just the longest I've spent out of the U.S., but out of Maryland; I don't think I've been out of my home state for longer that ten days or so.

Of course, in many ways Osaka is less alien than some parts of the U.S., deep red states, would be.

But being around Nihongo so much, my brain now has reached the point of false associations. Sometimes I'll hear two or three words of English that almost make sense, only to realize that it's Japanese being spoken and my brain is just looking for familiar patterns - a sort of lingusitic "man in the moon". (Though I understand that here, they see a rabbit in the face of Luna.)

Now I'm at Cinqucento. 11:30 and I think I'm missing last train. Perhaps I'll walk home in the rain, it's a long way but my legs work...

The dude next to me has a little Daruma figure hanging off his keitai. Really, ol' Bodhidharma is truly the most popular gaijin in Nihon for hundreds of years running.

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