plum blossom

plum blossom in Osaka Castle Park

early cherry blossoms in Osaka-jo park, March 10

a lovely day, Osaka Castle (which is actually a museum built as a replica) in the background

Osakajo-koen, March 10

Osaka castle park on a lovely Saturday

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.

"Let's Self Medication!"

great advice!

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

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